The best sports bras of 2022

The best sports bras of 2022


It’s no secret that a supportive and comfortable sports bra is crucial to achieving a great workout, whether you’re headed to hot yoga, taking a spin on the Peloton or training for a marathon.

To help you find the best sports bra for your body and workout preference, we had nine reviewers test 18 popular bras. Our panel put them through months of workouts — both leisurely (errands) and high-octane (running) — and in the end we found four bras that you should absolutely get.

Best overall sports bra

All of our testers — even those with 38G and 36DD chest sizes — found the ultra-supportive Nike Dri-Fit Swoosh to be the most comfortable sports bra they’d ever worn. The soft, breathable, sweat-wicking fabric and simple zip-front design kept everyone comfortable even in high-octane workouts.

Best running sports bra

We love Lululemon’s leggings, and the Lululemon Run Times high-impact sports bra lived up to the company’s reputation with padded, adjustable, crossable straps and sweat-wicking fabric that kept our testers comfortable through high-intensity runs.

Best low-impact sports bra

If you want to stick to low-impact fitness, Lululemon’s dainty Flow Y Nulu racerback bra crafted from the same soft material as its Align leggings is perfect for everything from leisurely strolls to Pilates reformer classes.

Best sports bra for lounging

A sports bra that is as comfortable as it is cute, the Girlfriend Paloma has a racerback design and features a buttery soft fabric made from 79% recycled plastic bottles.

Nike

The Nike Dri-Fit Swoosh Women’s Medium-Support Padded Zip-Front Sports Bra scored our top spot because it checks all the boxes — fit, support, comfort and an ingenious design. Hailed by our reviewers as the most comfortable sports bra they’ve ever worn, the Swoosh’s sweat-wicking Dri-Fit fabric, made from recycled polyester fibers, kept us cool and dry workout after workout. Even during our hardest sessions, the mesh backing kept us feeling cool and the stretch band never retained moisture — a big selling point for anyone who prefers to head straight from working out to running errands. This bra won’t get stinky or gross, and trust us, it’s so comfortable, you’ll want to keep it on straight till bedtime.

The Dri-Fit Swoosh fit all of our testers snugly, supporting larger chests sizes just as easily as smaller ones, with straps that evenly distribute weight without pinching or digging. The bra’s stretchy fabric and band provide a compressive feel — but not constrictive — ensuring that your breasts evenly fill up the bra without any air pockets or empty gaps. In terms of sizing, it comes in XS to 2XL, and we found the measurements to be accurate. One of our reviewers is a 36DD, ordered a large and found it to be her exact size.

The zipper closure turned out to be the best thing about this bra. Not only is it super sturdy, but it keeps breasts securely tucked away. Don’t worry about it coming undone; there’s also a hidden buckle inside the bra providing backup protection. The zipper is a savior post-workout too, making it simple to shed your bra — no more wrangling sweaty fabric over your face and head like traditional bras.

We found the Dri-Fit Swoosh washed beautifully, with the removable insert pads even staying in place after multiple washes and dries. In terms of style, the bra’s simple design is totally worth showing off — the zipper and mesh design details keep it from being boring — and it matches most Nike swoosh-bedecked leggings. And if you absolutely don’t want to show off your sports bra, the zipper lays flat and won’t leave any bumps under your tank or tee.

Ultimately, the Dri-Fit Swoosh won our top honors because of its unmatched comfort and unicorn ability to handle busts of all sizes during workouts of all types, providing maximum support. And it’s cute to boot.

Lululemon

Lululemon’s Run Times is a running-specific encapsulation-style bra that offers complete support for cups B through G during even the most fast-paced road or track workouts. Molded cups lift and separate the breasts, while the thick, padded straps are not only adjustable but also crossable for even more support. The result is a full-coverage bra that not only keeps your bust steadfastly in place but is also so comfortable it can be worn all day. One of our reviewers felt the straps helped to improve her posture during the workday, and that it fit so well she forgot she was wearing a bra.

In addition to adjustable straps, the Run Times has a soft, stretchy hook-and-eye closure band that allows for even more customization. Sized like a traditional bra — most of the five colorways are available in 32B to 42G — the Run Times’ fit is incredibly accurate, with the straps and cups seemingly molding to the body, lifting and supporting the chest without smashing or constricting. Our reviewers attested their bras felt like they were made specifically for them, with zero gaps or awkward space in the cups.

The perforated panels on the front and back keep air flowing throughout, which was a game changer for our running reviewers. And despite the bra’s nylon/Lycra fabric being somewhat thick, we found it successfully wicked sweat from the body during runs and high-intensity workouts.

All in all, this bra was our top pick for running because it offers incredible support for chests of all sizes during high-intensity runs while also keeping users dry and cool.

Lululemon

If the Lululemon Flow Y Nulu Bra Light Support taught us anything during our review process, it was not to judge a book by its cover — or, rather, not to judge a bra by how it looks on the hanger. Made from the brand’s lightweight, buttery soft, four-way stretch “Nulu” fabric (80% nylon, 20% Lycra), the compression-style bra looks flimsy at first. But it offers plenty of support to keep your bust in place for a medium-intensity workout. Our reviewers, a 34C and a 36C, tested it through a variety of exercises — from Pilates reformer and Core Power Yoga classes to treadmill runs and strength training — and found the bra moved with their bodies and stayed ultra supportive with zero bouncing.

That said, design-wise, the wireless bra does offer less coverage than most. Featuring skinny racerback straps, the Flow Y manages to compress the breasts and keep them separated (removable pads help with this) without any pinching or digging at the shoulders or band area. While you can rest assured that you’ll never spill out over the top of this bra, know that cleavage will be on display if you’re wearing it solo. Our reviewers also felt that the bra’s continuous support and compression was a bit much after a few hours — this isn’t our first choice for all-day wear. It excels during your workout, but we found that the band started to feel tight as the day went on, prompting us to take it off.

In terms of wicking, the fabric’s claims hold true. We tested it out during a hot yoga class and the bra kept us dry, despite the fact that we were sweating profusely. Beyond that, the fabric never chafed our skin, and it washed beautifully, with zero pilling after more than a dozen cycles. The bra caters to small cup sizes (A to C) and is available in sizes 2 to 14 (basically ranging from a 28A to a 44C), so larger sizes are out of luck. While both our reviewers found a size 6 adequately fit their chests, we recommend sizing up if you’re on the cusp of two sizes, since the bra has a tight fit. Available in more than a dozen colors and patterns, you can coordinate with a slew of Lululemon leggings and shorts, because who doesn’t love to match?

What stands out the most is this bra’s minimalist design. There are no bells and whistles here — just a great-feeling fabric and simple, flattering silhouette that hugely delivers on support for low- and medium-impact workouts.

Girlfriend Collective

Let’s face it: Not every day is a workout day. But why not ensconce your body in something that is supportive yet incredibly comfortable anyway, such as the Girlfriend Paloma Racerback Bra? Yes, you can throw this bra on for low-impact workouts, but our reviewers unanimously agreed that they preferred it for all-day wear, and tested it while partaking in activities ranging from lounging and running errands to Zooming from home and traveling across the country.

The Paloma is a full-coverage, wireless bra with a longer design than most we tested, with the built-in support band landing mid-torso. It also has a flattering scoop neck and thick racerback straps that evenly distribute the weight of the chest without any digging or pinching.

One Underscored editor likened this bra’s snug, supportive fit to a “nice hug on my chest.” The soft material (made from recycled plastic bottles and spandex) clings to the body, supporting your breasts in a way that is compressive and gentle all at once, with zero riding up — even after a full 10 hours of wear.

The Paloma may not work for everyone, however. The bra is available in sizes XS through 6XL, and while our reviewers with smaller chests (34B and 34C) found the bra’s size and fit to be perfect, our reviewer with a bigger cup size (32H) struggled with the fit — the medium smashed her breasts, but sizing up would have resulted in the band being too large.

The four bras we recommend can cover all your workout needs. From a zippered workhorse that can handle anything to a supportive and adjustable running bra, a skimpier yoga option and a cozy, wear-all-day essential. But what do you need to know before you choose the sports bra that’s best for you?

No matter what size your breasts are, they need proper support when you exercise. Though your chest has pectoral muscles, none of those reside in or support your breasts. Which means you’re going to need some help if you want to stave off the forces of gravity while you move.
First, finding your correct size is key. You can measure around your chest to find the band size, then measure around the largest part of your bust for cup size. Next, you’ll want to consider the type of exercise you’ll be using it for: low impact for things like strength training, yoga, Pilates and walking; medium impact for activities like spinning, skiing or boxing; or high impact for exercise like running, HIIT and Zumba.

Finally, you’ll choose between the three different styles of sports bras. Compression bras restrict breast movement by compressing them against your chest, while encapsulation bras use individual cups to lift breasts, keeping them separate. A combination compression/encapsulation bra offers extra support with a combination of techniques — mainly for larger cup sizes.

There are many factors that go into creating a quality sports bra. To assess them, and to find out how the bras worked over a wide range of sizes, we had nine Underscored staffers review each bra at least four times each over the course of several months. Our testers put each bra through low-, medium- and high-intensity workouts, in addition to a rigorous “lounge” assessment. We relied on the following categories and subcategories to investigate the best sports bras:

Performance

  • Support: Arguably a sports bra’s most important factor is support — does it adequately reduce breast movement during exercise?
  • Versatility: Can the bra effectively handle busts of all sizes? Can it do so in a full spectrum of workout levels? If not, what types of workouts is it best suited for?
  • Wicking: A bra that keeps you cool even during the most rigorous workout is the bra you want to buy, which is why we kept a close eye on how well each bra’s fabric wicked away sweat from the body while also staying dry.
  • Comfort: How long would you want to wear this bra? All day, or is it something you’re ready to take off when the workout is over?
  • Material: Is the material stretchy? Does it maintain its stretch without becoming loose? How does it feel against the skin?
  • Fit: How does the bra fit your body? Is it snug and supportive without being constrictive? Was there any pinching or digging at the straps or band? If it’s encapsulation-style, do the cups mold to the body? Are there any gaps or spaces?

Design

  • Adjustability: Being able to adjust a bra on the fly is a huge bonus, which is why we paid special attention to whether our contenders featured any adjustable straps or bands, and how successful that optionality was within the bra.
  • Coverage: Does the bra provide adequate coverage to achieve an optimal workout? Is cleavage visible? Where on the torso is the band located?
  • Innovative details: We love a bra that goes the extra mile, and that can include anything from a mesh backing, ventilated fabric, adjustable band or J-hooks that convert U-backed bras into a racerback.
  • Pads: Are removable pads included? If so, do they stay put or do they slide around?

Sizing

  • Was the brand’s sizing chart accurate? Was the bra size on par with the sizes reviewers typically order? If not, did the bra run small or large?

Style

  • Is the bra cute enough to warrant showing off? Or is it purely functional and something best kept under a T-shirt? Does it come in a variety of colors/patterns? Does it have matching leggings or bike shorts to coordinate with?

Cost

  • Is the bra worth its price? If more than $50, is it worth the investment?

Featuring just the right amount of coverage, this bra was a close contender for best overall slot. We loved the breathability the mesh backing offered, the compression-style support (that never felt constrictive) and the soft, sweat-wicking material. Available in sizes XXS to XXXL, the bra is currently available in nine cute colorways and patterns, each of which has coordinating leggings and bike shorts. Downsides (there weren’t many!) included no adjustable components and that the back band wasn’t as soft at the bra’s front band.

A solid running bra option for busts big and small, it comes in sizes 30A to 38G, and the bra is incredibly comfortable (enough for all-day wear) and supportive, even when tested during high-intensity runs. We loved the padded, adjustable shoulder straps that can transform the bra into a racerback with a J-hook, the hook-and-eye closure and that it is a compression/encapsulation combo, with molded cups and outstanding support. More to know: The bra’s ventilated fabric actually works — we stayed dry during even the sweatiest of workouts. Downsides were that the bra did get wet when we were drenched with sweat, and that the design was more function-inspired rather than form-inspired, meaning we wish it were a little bit prettier, like all the stylish wares Sweaty Betty is known for.

Bandier All Access Chorus Bra ($24.97, originally $58; bandier.com)

Great for lower-impact workouts like yoga and Pilates, this compression bra features spaghetti straps and a Y-back that are dainty and flattering as well as a hidden elastic band on the inside of the bra. We loved the sweat-wicking fabric that always stayed dry and the hefty support of the bra. That said, it offers less coverage than most — if you’re cleavage-averse, this is not the sports bra for you. And if you’ve got a bigger bust, it’s likely not going to offer enough support for a rigorous workout.

From American Eagle and Aerie’s workout brand, Offline, comes this ultra-soft and cozy bra that we found best fit for lounging or low-impact workouts. Super cute in design, the bra comes in sizes XXS to XXL and in four basic hues (gray, black, navy and green). Matching leggings and joggers are available. The biggest fault we could find was that the bra’s band retained moisture, often becoming wet during our sweatiest workouts.

Target for the win! This sports bra is a no-brainer for two reasons — first, it’s got adjustable straps that can be crisscrossed and an adjustable hook-and-eye closure band. Second, it’s only 24 bucks. We also love the size inclusivity (34B to 40DD), how comfortable it is and that it provides a hefty dose of support for a medium-impact workout. But beware: We found the sizing to run small, so we’d recommend going up if you’re on the cusp.

We love most products from running store Brooks — its running sneakers are among our favorites — so it’s no surprise that this running bra is up to snuff. Featuring adjustable straps and a hook-and-eye back closure, the encapsulation-style bra has molded cups separating and supporting the breasts and comes in sizes 30B to 44F. While it got the job done, the bra’s tight band and looser cups made for an awkward fit, especially when compared to the bras that topped our list.

More than 1,500 Amazon reviewers love this bra for fuller busts, and we get why — it’s chock-full of adjustable options (strap lengths, J-hook for racerback optionality, ultra-wide hook-and-eye closure) and provides a consistent fit. We also like that it is super supportive and was described by one of our reviewers as being “absolutely comfortable enough for all-day wear.” That said, another reviewer found the bra’s band to be so tight that it left red marks around her rib cage — and said she would be happy to never wear the bra again. The good news is that sizing comes in 28D to 40G; the bad news is that the bra is definitely not cute enough to show off on its own.

A medium- to high-impact bra for fuller-busted individuals — cup sizes go up to a KK — this underwire option features two molded cups that encapsulate each breast like a traditional bra, in addition to several adjustable options like straps that can convert to a racerback with a J-hook and a hook-and-eye closure. Unlike a lot of options out there for bigger chests, this one is pretty cute, and it did a great job at wicking away sweat during intense workouts. The bra’s biggest shortcoming was tricky sizing due to the UK size chart, which we were ultimately able to cheat, thanks to adjustable straps (for example, we tested a 32H when a 32FF would have been a better fit).

Boasting more than 3,000 reviews on intimates brand Knix’s website and a 4.7-star rating, the Catalyst is a great option for medium- to high-intensity workouts for a variety of bust sizes — it can accommodate sizes 32A to 42F. The encapsulation bra has molded cups that separate and stabilize the breasts in addition to adjustable straps and a hook-and-eye closure. We found that it offers tons of support for larger busts during rigorous workouts and is super comfortable and appropriate for all-day wear. The downsides include the price — though it’s currently on sale, the bra typically retails for $89 — and the fact that the band’s width should be a bit longer, with more hook-and-eye closures. More to know: Our smaller-busted reviewer felt the sizing was off and the support wasn’t up to snuff.

For the price, this bra is a good investment for low- to medium-impact workouts. The cute design features a scoop neck, wide cross-back straps and a sweat-wicking material that gets the job done. We recommend sizing up, and we wish the fabric were a bit softer — even after several washings, it remained rigid and led to a bit of chafing around the band.

Similar in fabric to our best overall bra by Nike, this Dri-Fit alternative features a one-piece pad that is inserted via a pocket at the top of the bra. Appropriate for medium-impact workouts, the bra comes in more than 15 colors and sizes XS to 2XL — we recommend sizing down, as it tends to run big. The biggest flaw we found was that the pocket at the top of the bra often gaped open, resulting in an ill fit.

Boasting nearly 900 reviews on the Athleta website, the Advance Bra is a bestseller for the brand for a few reasons. In addition to offering an adjustable band and straps, the compression bra has tons of ventilation, thanks to the open back and sweat-wicking and quick-drying fabric. For us, the biggest problem was fit — the band was universally tight on all of our reviewers, and we didn’t love the fact that you had to both pull the bra over your head and fasten the band via hook-and-eye clasps in order to get it on.



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Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.

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