The best sports bras for support when exercising

Find out what it takes for sports bras to be comfortable enough to wear around the house, at the gym or yoga class.

Best sports bras: a senior woman with sports bra on a terrace in summer, doing exercise

by Lily Anderson |

It's so important that you're getting your daily dose of physical activity for both your physical and mental health. Whether you enjoy walking, jogging, dancing, skipping, or cycling, it's time to up your fitness routine.

Guidelines from the NHS recommend that adults aged 19 to 64 should do some type of physical activity every day and engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week.

That said, if you're finding it difficult to work out because of the weight of your breasts or you're experiencing back pain because of them, then sports bras are here to provide extra support when exercising.

Read more: Pole fitness for beginners: everything you need to know

What are sport bras for?

During exercise, many women experience discomfort because of their breast movement. Sports bras have been designed to stop this from happening - instead, they provide extra support and minimise movement.

The benefits don't stop there, unlike regular bras, sporting options also minimise sweat, help with body temperature control and look amazing!

Are sport bras supposed to be tight?

Before hitting the local spin class or working out on your living room floor, we need to settle whether or not sports bras are supposed to be tight. To help us get to the bottom of this fitness debate, we looked to running specialist, Runners Need.

With almost 40 years of experience supplying running shoes, clothing, nutrition, and accessories, they had this to say on the matter, "A sports bra should fit tighter than a regular bra but shouldn't restrict breathing; you should be able to fit two fingers between the straps and your shoulders."

The best sports bras 2022

Thinking about starting Couch to 5K? As well as a pair of good running shoes, you'll need the right sports bra for support and extra comfort while out on the road. Thankfully the Shock Absorber sports bra is here to save the day as it has been created especially for running and high impact sports.

Review: "Very firm hold and good shape for high impact story's such a running and riding (I use it for both). It washes well, and stays in perfect shape. Sizing is quite small. Normally 34, but needs 36 with this one."

Feel supported in all the right places with this multi-pack of seamless bras. Not only are they cosy enough to wear every day, but they're great for running, gym classes and home workouts. Not sure these are right for you? Sizes range from small to 4XL. But, best of all, they aren't restrictive, scratchy or irritating.

Review: "I love these bras! I workout every day and while I have a lot of high-impact sports bras, I didn’t have anything comfortable for yoga or Pilates. These are just perfect for my yoga sessions - they’re really nice quality! I ordered a size M (I’m usually a 34B) and they fit really well. The band is wide and doesn’t roll up or dig in and the straps are wide enough to offer a little support without being ugly. The fabric is really soft, but my favourite thing is that there’s ruching down the centre of the bra, so there’s none of that dreaded mono-boob thing going on. They arrived quickly and were well packaged. Really happy with them!"

Providing high support, the Nike Rival Sports Bra features a compressive fit with moulded cups with an underwire for a secure feel that helps minimise bounce. We love that the adjustable straps make it a good fit for plus size ladies.

Review: "BEST INVESTMENT EVER!!! I am not a plus-size woman but I am very busty and finding an ‘underwire sports bra’ that actually supports you and is comfortable is very hard to find. I happened to accidentally come across this one and to say I’m beyond satisfied is an understatement. Comfortable, great support, true to size and wide adjustable straps makes life 10x easier. Wish they offered more colours, I would buy them all."

Available in sizes A to E, this sports bra is all about functionality. Designed with ultimate bounce control, more coverage, and thicker straps, this bra absorbs and spreads the force of movement to minimise bounce making your runs way more comfortable. As well as having moisture-wicking Cool Comfort™ technology, we love the zip-front design which should make putting your sports bra on a little easier. It's worth noting that customers say this one fits a little small.

Review: "I just bought 3 more of these as I had worn out my original ones by washing them so much. They are soft, easy to get on and off when you are hot and sweaty. Love them."

For as little as £16, you can take home a pack of two sports bras from Cotton Traders. Not only are they cheap, but the bras are easy to pull on, have robust straps and wash up nicely. What's not to like?

Review: "I suffer from arthritis and find normal bras difficult to manage. These comfort bras tick all the boxes for me… They support well and are so comfortable. I will be buying more."

Nothing says bargain like an Aldi Special, right? We can't get over how amazing this patterned print option is from the supermarket favourite. If you're looking for a sports bra with padded cups, this is the one for you.

Review: "Great comfy sports bra that washes well. The best thing about it is the fixed padding/ cups that don't get scrunched up or come out in the washing machine. Has been washed and worn many times now along with the matching leggings and is still in great condition. The cross straps at the back are adjustable and wide, so they don't cut in at all."

If you're looking for a sports bra that you can wear as you potter around the house or to dash into a shop after attending a Pilates class, this is ideal. Although this option won't support as well as others on this list, the twist detail is super stylish.

Available in sizes XS to XXL, Gymshark is one of the kings of gym wear, and so it was expected they'd have some great sports bras available to shop. We really like this high-neck option which will you full coverage and medium support through your workout whilst still being sweat-wicking. Plus, it comes in four different colours, each with the cute all-over butterfly jacquard print.

Review: "Very comfortable and great for all exercises! Yoga, weights, cardio etc. I love the high neck for giving me lots of coverage so I don’t “fall out”! The bra goes with everything."

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