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The best sports bras for comfort and support in 2022

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Whatever your workout, bra size or budget, these are the best supportive sports bras on the market

If you've ever tried to exercise without a sports bra, then you'll know how uncomfortable it can be. Fortunately, the best sports bras will alleviate most if not all of that discomfort, no matter your cup size. Research from the University of Portsmouth has found that a sports-specific bra can reduce uncomfortable movement by 78% – as well as wicking away sweat, supporting your back and improving comfort.

A decent sports bra is as much an essential in your kit bag as quality footwear, but like your trainers, not all are created equal. Some sports bras provide such little support that they're not worth your time or money.

So how do you know which is best for you? We’ve been sweating, stretching and doing far too many star jumps in a whole range of sports bras to help you find the right one for your size, activity level and budget. If you're already clued up on what you need, you'll find our list of recommended sports below.

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Best sports bra: At a glance

  • Best medium impact: Shock Absorber Ultimate Fly | Buy now
  • Best underwired: Panache Women's Full-Cup | Buy now
  • Best for yoga: Lululemon Like a Cloud | Buy now
  • Best value for running: Shock Absorber Ultimate RUN | Buy now
  • Best for cross-training: Reebok PureMove+ | Buy now
  • Best high-impact: Sweaty Betty Ultra Run | Buy now
  • Best for dancing: Decathlon Modern Dance Bra | Buy now
  • Best for big boobs: Adidas Training Plus Sculpt | Buy now

How to choose the best sports bra for you

What style of sports bra do I need?

How much support you're going to need depends a lot on the intensity of the sport you're planning to engage in. If you're into yoga or lifting weights, a crop top-style sports bra that compresses the breasts against the chest is going to be your best bet.

However, exercises that require you to move around a lot, such as HIIT or running, will require you to purchase a more traditionally bra-shaped option that offers more support. Additionally, if you're a D cup or above, you'll need the added support regardless.

Should I just look for my normal bra size when buying a sports bra?

Just to make it difficult, the way sports bras are sized varies from seller to seller, meaning you have to be a savvy shopper. Certain brands opt for standard bra sizing, which means you can choose based on your everyday bra size, but others go for small/medium/large and these can be different for different bras. Our advice: order knowing your measurements.

How can I tell if a sports bra fits?

The back band on a sports bra should be slightly firmer than your normal bra to provide enough support – you should be able to get two fingers between your skin and the band at the side. Any more and it’s too loose.

Make sure that all your breast tissue sits inside the cup or you risk bruising, rubbing and chafing. Also, regardless of how comfortable it might feel, you'll likely need a new one after six months of frequent use as the stress of exercise and frequent washing will cause it to go baggy and lose support.

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How much do I need to spend on a sports bra?

Crop tops can be quite cheap as they’re a simple shape, but for a high-impact sport, you’ll need to pay for the engineering and manufacturing quality that goes into a properly made sports bra. Around £25 is a good starting price, though many designs cost more.

The best sports bras to buy

1. Shock Absorber Ultimate Fly Bra: The best medium-impact sports bra

Price: From £20 | Buy now from Amazon

Providing high-impact support in a lightweight package, the Shock Absorber Ultimate Fly Bra is ideal for HIIT training, boxing workouts and gym classes. And it looks pretty cool too.

That cobwebby superhero effect is created using laser-cut bonded moulded cups to absorb movement and support your breasts. Light fabrics help keep the weight down – the Fly is around 16% lighter than Shock Absorber’s popular high-impact RUN bra – and it’s cool and comfortable to wear, feeling a lot less restrictive than many other high-impact options.

The lightness does come with a cost, however. It’s great for those up to around a D cup, but if you’re a larger size, you might find it’s not quite supportive enough for running or activities that involve lots of jumping around.

Key features – Sizes: 32A-38F; Material: 77% Polyamide, 19% Elastane, 4% Polyester; Colours available: 5 (noir/gris, light grenadine/empire yellow, black/deep blue water, black/coral, grey lime)

2. Panache Women's Full Cup Sports Bra: The best underwired sports bra

Price: From £23 | Buy now from Amazon

All decent sports bras should be made of wicking fabric, which draws sweat away from the skin, but if your boobs are large or close-set then your cleavage can still get unpleasantly sweaty. Panache Lingerie’s underwired sports bras are designed to separate the boobs to minimise pooling. They can get uncomfortable over a long run, say, but for an exercise class or workout, you won’t even know they’re there.

There are unwired styles too, and both options have seamless moulded cups – which means no unflattering mono-boob – with wide supportive straps. An adjustable clip means you can wear it as either a racerback or with two straps – although racerback is probably the best option for exercise if you don’t want to get entangled in gym machines and other people’s hockey sticks.

Key features – Sizes: 28DD-40GG (cup sizes B-J in some back sizes); Material: 49% Polyamide, 36% Polyester, 15% Elastane; Colours available: 15, including white, black, grey and assorted patterns

3. Lululemon Like a Cloud Bra Long Line: The best lightweight bra for yoga

Price: £58 | Buy now from Lululemon

This soft, supremely comfy but gently supportive bra from the Canadian activewear brand isn't cheap, but its luxurious feel will be worth every penny if you're a yoga lover. The long-line shape gives the bra a crop-top look, so it's ideal for wearing on its own on warmer days or in a yoga class - and the criss-cross back looks fantastic.

Made from super-light fabric, the bra has moulded seamless cups and a built-in chest band so there's no rubbing. Unusually, a cold machine wash is recommended – that's not how we'd normally wash our sports kit, but happy buyers report that the bra remains stink-free despite staying away from hot water.

Key features – Sizes: US dress sizes 2-12 (34-44 bust); Material: 75% Nylon, 25% Elastane; Colours available: 2 (violet, black)

Buy now from Lululemon


4. Shock Absorber Ultimate RUN Bra: The best-value sports bra for running

Price: From £9.95 | Buy now from Amazon

It may not be the most aesthetically beautiful design, but this award-winning bra has attained cult status among female runners, thanks not least to its humongous range of sizes, stretching from 30A-38G.

A real workhorse of a bra, it’ll serve you well whether you’re eating marathons for breakfast or simply going for a jog around the park. The specially designed “Infinity-8” support system ensures an almost bounce-free ride even in bigger sizes (we tested it in an E cup).

Its wide straps fasten in two places, meaning there’s no slippage when you’re sprinting for the finish line. The inner is seamless to reduce the chance of chafing – although some runners find that the chest band presses a bit on long runs. It even has reflective detailing so you can strip off your T-shirt for extra visibility.

Key features – Sizes: 30C-42B; Material: 81% Polyamide, 10% Polyester, 9% Elastane; Colours available: 20+

5. Reebok PureMove+ Bra: Best sports bra for cross-training

Price: £50 | Buy now from Reebok

Most of the sports bras we've recommended so far are ideal for particular types of activity, such as running or yoga – but this high-impact support bra from Reebok aims to provide maximum compressions and support only when you need it. Its Motion Sense fabric adapts to your movement, firming up as your activity gets more intense, then relaxing again as you cool down. So it's perfect for the gym, where you switch between weights and HIIT (high-intensity interval training), and want your bra's support to switch too.

The bra is quite compressive when it's in high-impact mode, which you'll find more comfy if your boobs are on the small side. However it's also extremely supportive and provides loads of coverage, thanks to its high neckline. The neckline doesn't dig in because its edges are free-cut to create a really comfortable second-skin effect. Some buyers report that it looked too thin and soft to support their big boobs, but in practice they found the bra to be fantastically supportive, keeping bounce to a minimum even when they were going full pelt at the gym.

The sizing is impressive, too. Reebok's Size Guidance tool (available on the product page) helps you find your true size from the 21 on offer, using a combination of your bra size, cup size, bust measurement and band measurement. If only other bra makers understood that one bra size doesn't fit all!

Key features – Sizes: 23 (XSA-D to 3XLE-F); Material: 73% Nylon, 27% Elastane; Colours available: 3 (black, grey, red)

Buy now from Reebok


6. Sweaty Betty Ultra Run Sports Bra: Best high-impact sports bra

Price: £50 | Buy now from Sweaty Betty

This is a sports bra that means business. No smooth seam-free cups here, but instead a fine piece of activewear engineering with moulded high-support cups and compression technology to keep even large boobs secure while you run, jump and box. The bra is designed to survive regular sweaty workouts, with padded shoulder straps to avoid chafing, mesh panels for ventilation, and quick-drying fabric. The innovative back straps are fully adjustable so you can wear it as a U-back or racer back, whichever you find most secure.

Buyers love this bra, with women of all sizes saying "quality and fit is spot on", and "no chafing... kept everything in place". The model in the pic wears the smallest size (32A), but this reliable bra comes in no fewer than 25 sizes, up to 38F. Currently on a special offer of two for £75.

Key features – Sizes: 32A-38F; Material: 75% Polyamide, 13% Elastane, 12% Polyester (machine washable at 40C); Colours available: 6, including black, white, ice blue, blush pink

Buy now from Sweaty Betty


7. Decathlon Women's Modern Dance Bra: Best sports bra for dancing

Price: £9 | Buy now from Decathlon

Dancing is a tough, all-round exercise, but high-impact sports bras tend to be too restrictive for the range of movement you need when dancing. So Decathlon's dance team has created a special dance bra that's supportive enough to keep your boobs secure, but flexible enough for freedom of movement in all kinds of contemporary dance. The soft-breathable fabric also wicks sweat and dries quickly to keep you comfortable. Best of all, this bra looks fantastic, with a sophisticated silhouette and lovely details such as the crossover back straps. And such a low price, it's an absolute steal.

Key features – Sizes: UK 4-16; Material: 90% Polyester, 10% Elastane (machine washable 30C); Colours available: 4 (pink, blush, green, black)

Buy now from Decathlon


8. Adidas Training Plus Sculpt: Best shapewear sports bra for a large bust

Price: £50 | Buy now from ASOS

Adidas's new bra is a must-have for making the most of plus-size curves. It's sculpting and supportive enough to give bigger boobs a shapely boost, with elasticated underband and removable pads to help you get the silhouette you want. But the bra is also really comfortable, with no wires, a racer back and a pull-on style that dispenses with clips and zips. In fact it's comfy enough to wear all day, and may finally be the bra that provides the support you need without the annoyance of underwires and tight straps.

Downsides? It only comes in plus sizes, starting at 43in (2XL) so if you're hoping for a lift for anything smaller than 43in bust you're out of luck with this bra, which only comes in 2XL-4XL.

Key features – Sizes: 2XL-4XL (43-50in bust); Material: 100% Polyester (machine washable); Colours available: 1

Buy now from ASOS


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