Ask Belle: Supportive Workout Bras

Oct 19, 2015

Hi Belle,

I was cleaning out my closet this weekend and realized all my sports bras are now several years old, stretched out, and pretty much useless. Can you give me some recommendations for a quality sports bra?

Thanks! Carol

Breasts really take a beating during a strenuous workout.  And the bigger they are, the harder they fall.  It’s important to reduce the bounce to prevent damage to the delicate tissues that support the breasts.

My workout is charitably described as less than hardcore.  I hike a bit.  I do yoga.  I walk long distances.  I am trying to get back into tennis.  Combined with my small-C bra size, it doesn’t take much to provide me with enough support.

I like this medium-support Splendour bra from Lululemon.  When I want more support, I own both the Jockey Stay Still Compression bra and this Nike Pro Rival bra that is lightweight and breathable.

This is one area where I know the readership has great suggestions.  So I am going to open the floor to comments and recommendations, particularly for women with smaller or larger busts.  Also, if you’ve tried a brand that was a total disappointment, that’s also good to know.

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  1. Wildkitten says:

    Moving Comfort (up to DD) or Freya (DD and over).

    • Kat says:

      Agreed. The Moving Comfort Maia bra is amazing.

    • Brittany says:

      Yep, I wear a 34D and am a distance runner. The Moving Comfort Juno bra is amazing (before this bra I used to layer two bras to keep things in place). Note that if you are wearing your bra regularly you need to replace it! I used to hang onto mine way too long.

    • Crystal says:

      I’m on the smaller side, and I still swear by Moving Comfort. (And I’ve finally gotten my bustier friends to buy Moving Comfort bras and stop simultaneously wearing two or three cheaper ones.) They’re reasonably cute, supportive, flattering, and don’t make me look totally flat-chested.

  2. bigboobs says:

    I’m a 34/36H, former (terrible, slow) runner, and now spinner. I would have bounced my boobs right off my body were it not for the Shock Absorber and Panache sports bras. Occasionally hard to put on (…I can never quite reach the top hook…!) but SO worth the awkward struggle. Signed, Black Eyes (and Ribs) No More

  3. Abby says:

    I don’t remember how I survived before Moving Comfort!!!

  4. w says:

    I am a 38DD but I found Lane Bryant to have the best sports bra and holds the sweat in the fabric, so you feel dry. I am not plus size – so you don’t have to be to get this bra

  5. I’m a 36DD and I wear Enel when doing high impact workouts. The sizing is different, but you just have to go off your actual measurements before ordering. They also have great customer service. For low impact workouts, I use Victoria’s Secret Knockout sports bra. No complaints with either one.

    • BK29sailor says:

      Yes I agree with Enel. It is great when it comes to running. I wear a 34GG in bras and the Enel bra holds everything in!

  6. Lauren says:

    I’ve got a small back and DDD breasts. The only thing I’ve found that gives me support and the look I like in a shirt is the Ta Ta Tamer. It’s a bit of an investment but they last pretty well and helps me feel confident when stretching, jogging on the treadmill and jumping.

  7. Molly says:

    For running support and low cost, I wear Gap and Old Navy sports bras. There’s no such thing as a comfortable high-impact sports bra, in my book, but these are the best I’ve found. I also like their low support bandeau bras for yoga, climbing, and lifting, especially the racerback ones.

  8. Nicole says:

    I’m a DD and a runner and Moving Comfort is hands down the best for keeping the gals locked and loaded. I swear by them – great quality and they get the job done.

  9. Emily says:

    I love Athleta’s Double Dare Bra. I’m a 34C. I run and do a high intensity group class regularly. It’s completely supportive and comfortable, but doesn’t feel like I’m being smashed or can’t breathe to keep everything in place.

  10. Erin says:

    Panache works great if you have a large cup size and small band size. I use it for pretty much everything from running to lifting to yoga. There are band sizes from 28 to 40 and cup sizes from C to H so really something for anyone who needs support.

  11. Bianca says:

    I am a 34DD and I run. I find that VS Sport has very supportive sports bras. They work well for me.

    • Valerie says:

      I’ve liked the VS sports bras for normal daily runs, but found that it chafed really badly under the cups (in a 34D) during a recent 10-mile race; I have blisters on both sides now. But for lower-intensity workouts (or shorter distances) they work fine.

  12. CLS says:

    For larger cup sizes, I HIGHLY recommend the Panache Sports Bra (https://tinyurl.com/opayfs2). Seriously, it’s comfortable, feels like a regular bra (no uni-boob) and comes in fun colors and patterns. Super supportive and keeps them in check without a lot of bounce, a must for a larger chest.

    They are not cheap (I think about $75), but mine have lasted me 4-5 years now without much stretching out. Once I found these I will never go back to anything else.

  13. Mags says:

    In this conversation, I think it’s really important to differentiate between compression and encapsulation bras– figure out which fits you better and which is most comfortable for the activity that you’re doing!
    When I can find them, I do also really like the lululemon run: stuff your bra- it’s amazingly supportive without feeling like a straightjacket. I am a 34c and bounce in everything – this is a compression bra but the structure of the back means I have much better movement in my arms and shoulders.

    • Claire says:

      Ditto, the encapsulation v compression distinction is crucial. Encapsulation is often better for larger chests/higher intensity. I like Moving Comfort and the Nike Pro Rival Belle mentioned for encapsulation support for high intensity workouts -worth the spend. For low intensity I refresh my Target c9 compression bras whenever they look misshapen…I probably have some that are way past their prime, but they’ll keep things in place during yoga. I’m a 36c if that helps.

  14. Beth says:

    I am a 30 FF and I absolutely agree with the endorsements for Panache. I also like the Anita bra if I’m doing something a little lower-impact like yoga.

  15. Rachael says:

    I am a size 34D, and I workout pretty intensely, so a good sports bra is vital to me. I’ve tried dozens of brands, and my favorite by far is Panache’s underwire sports bra. This bra keeps my breasts lifted, separated, and supported. It also offers good coverage, and you can adjust the length of the straps and take them from regular to racer back. Unfortunately, it is a little expensive (retail $68), but you can sometimes find it on sale on Amazon, Athleta, or Dicks Sporting Goods. It holds up well and is definitely worth the investment!

  16. Tracy says:

    Enell bra! They are the best sports support bra. Comfortable too.

  17. Shelley says:

    As stated above Panache provides the best sports bra on the market for larger breasted women. I am a 34DD and will only wear Panache. I wear it for running, weight lifiting and yoga. You still have two boobs which is very uncommon in a sports bra and the bra is comfortable. The offer several color choices too!

  18. Sara says:

    Moving Comfort is a good brand. Don’t fall into the trap of getting smaller bra, thinking it will hold things better in place. For one thing, you’ll probably stretch it out as you wrestle it on and off and another thing? Your lungs can’t expand very well when they’re being compressed too tightly. I also wash mine on the delicate cycle and hang dry them so they last longer.

  19. Kat R. says:

    I swear by the Moving Comfort Juno bras if your ladies are large and in charge. Target/C9 make decent lower cost options as well. They are nice because they hook in the back like a normal bra and you don’t have to pull it over your head and boobs.

  20. Jennifer says:

    I’m a 32D post-baby and have found that the Lululemon Tata Tamer is completely worth the money!

  21. SF in House says:

    I love Title 9 for sports bras. If you have a store near you, you can try on tons, bounce around on their trampoline and get a great sense of what works for you.

  22. V says:

    I am a 38DDD/38E and I agree that Panache is great. I also like the Wacoal sports bra. I second Sara’s recommendation not to buy a smaller size, especially with the Panache and Wacoal. I find the bands on them to be a little smaller than the bands they use for their non-sports bras, such that sizing down would make the sports bras much too tight.

    I throw them in with my other workout clothes to be washed in my gym’s laundry service (mesh bags + regular wash cycle = broken/bent hooks), but to protect the hook and eyes I fasten the band through an old, think tube sock with the foot cut off.

  23. Erika says:

    I wear 75 FF in regular bras and the best sports bra I’ve had is ShockAbsorber D+ Max. They are a bit snug in the band so I go for 80F.

  24. Cheri says:

    I have to add the Victoria’s Secret Knockout Front Close Sports Bra. It is a front hook, underwire bra with a sports bra over it that zips up the front. I use it for trips to the gym, pilates, and I ride horses competitively and these are the only ones that keep everything in place, no bounce and keep you from having a uniboob. I’ve tried a lot of others and nothing seemed to work as well, for me at least. I’m a 34D

    • Anna says:

      Yes! I’m a 36DD and I’m shocked by how much I loved this bra. I got the first one as a gift and wasn’t expecting much, but I ended up pitching all my old sports bras and buying three more of these.

  25. Kay says:

    I do high intensity workouts and I am a 34 D. I really like Champion’s Spot Comfort Full Support Sports Bra and their Marathon bra. Both are fairly cost competitive and they keep everything in place for the duration of the work out. The only downside is that they aren’t particularly cute.

  26. liza says:

    I’m a 34C and used to double up on old cotton Champion bras, but now I buy multiple of this Champion T back sports bra: https://www.amazon.com/Champion-Womens-Shaped-T-Back-Sports/dp/B000LUY0XC.
    It keeps the girls in place and it’s also flattering. It’s tight around the ribcage and it surprisingly snug.

  27. Gabby says:

    As a 32G who runs regularly, this topic is near to my heart (much like my bosoms), and for my money (literally, it’s not especially cheap), the best sports bras are Shock Absorber. They run tight in the band and I’ve had success actually ordering down a corresponding cup size, so I usually order a 34E or F. No pain, books securely in place. Can’t say enough good things

  28. Jeanie says:

    Lululemon all the way. I’m a 34D and love a daily sweatfest – the Energy bra is terrific for anything except running (holds everything in, including through yoga inversions, soaks up sweat without getting gross, etc.), and the Ta-Ta Tamer is great for running, including half marathons. What’s really great if you can get to a Lulu store is that they have a great selection of styles in various prints and sizes so you can figure out what’s perfect for you AND not be banished to uglyville if you’re a little bustier.

  29. Alisha says:

    I really like the Adidas Supernova (34B here)

  30. LC says:

    Another Moving Comfort fan here too! My routine is yoga, running, hiking, and barre. Sometimes I pick up great deals directly at the Moving Comfort website, or through the Clymb. Actually, the Clymb is a great site for quality fitness clothes/gear – it’s the Gilt Group equivalent.

  31. Para says:

    Moving Comfort Fiona fan here for years

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