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Sports Bra Reviews

By: Saundra Latham on December 07, 2016

Editor's note:
In our latest sports bra update, the Panache Sports Bra knocks off the Brooks Moving Comfort Juno as our favorite sports bra for a large bust. While we still recommend the Juno for high-impact activities, the Panache offers excellent support and is also available in hard-to-find sizes and several attractive styles.

Brooks Moving Comfort Fiona Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Support type: Combination Adjustable: Yes Sizes: 30B – 44D

Best sports bra

One of the most popular sports bras on the market, the Brooks Moving Comfort Fiona has legions of fans because of its custom fit and versatile support. Reviewers like the wide range of sizes, easy-to-use Velcro front-adjust straps and effective sweat-wicking fabric. They also say it's a good all-around pick for both low-and high-impact activities and is equally at home in the yoga studio or on long, sweaty runs.

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Champion Curvy Show-Off Review
Also Consider
Specs that Matter Support type: Encapsulation Adjustable: No Sizes: Small - extra-large (32A-38D)

Best padded sports bra

Women who want who want to avoid the dreaded "uniboob" love the inexpensive Champion Curvy Show-Off sports bra, which has sewn-in, lightly padded cups to help maintain a more natural shape and nipple coverage under thin workout shirts. Reviewers say the bra is also quite comfy, with no claps or seams that rub skin raw, and they like the flattering V-neck and stylish racerback and keyhole.

Buy for $34.76
Panache Sports Bra Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Support type: Encapsulation Adjustable: Yes Sizes: 28DD – 40GG

Best sports bra for large busts

Women with large busts sing the praises of the Panache Sports Bra, which is available in a wide range of hard-to-find sizes and attractive styles. The lightly padded cups encapsulate each breast, eliminating uncomfortable rubbing, while an underwire adds lift and support without chafing. The wide, padded straps are adjustable and can be converted into racerback for additional support.

Buy for $70.00
Enell Sport Review
Best Reviewed
Specs that Matter Support type: Combination Adjustable: No Sizes: 00-8 (32C – 52DDD)

Best high-impact sports bra

Known for keeping even the most formidable breasts on lockdown, the Enell Sport uses a combination of encapsulation and compression and a full-coverage design to make high-impact workouts possible for women up to 52DDD. Front closures make getting into the bra easy, and users say it doesn't ride up. The durable, moisture-wicking fabric keeps wearers dry and comfortable through the toughest workouts.

Buy for $66.00

Types of Sports Bras

Sports Bras

Sports bras let women tackle workouts with gusto while keeping bouncing, jiggling and other potentially painful breast movements to a minimum. Experts say a good sports bra can help active women keep delicate breast tissue from drooping and sagging, and happy users say the right sports bra lets them participate in high-impact activities comfortably. There are three main types of sports bras: compression, encapsulation and combination. Compression bras support the breasts by compressing and holding them firmly against the body, while encapsulation bras have a separate internal cup for each breast. Combination bras combine compression and encapsulation to provide a high level of support for women of all sizes.

Padded Sports Bras

Unlike many regular padded bras, padded sports bras aren't intended to make breasts appear larger. Padding is thin, and it's generally used with molded cups to provide lift and separation -- no unflattering "uniboob" in this category. Padding also helps keep nipples from showing through bra cups, a particular concern for those who like to exercise shirt-free. Some women, however, feel padded cups add unnecessary bulk, absorb sweat or otherwise become a nuisance.

Sports Bras for Large Busts

Large-busted women don't have to skip their favorite activities if they opt for a bra with adequate support. Sports bras for larger busts use encapsulation or a combination of encapsulation and compression to keep bouncing to a minimum. Bras intended for larger breasts generally come in a wider range of sizes than those aimed at women with smaller breasts. Most have thick, adjustable straps and hook-and-eye closures. Some women complain these bras aren't designed with style in mind, however -- many say the designs are utilitarian, "orthopedic" even, and colors or patterns are limited.

High-Impact Sports Bras

Like many bras aimed at large-busted women, high-impact sports bras use a combination of compression and encapsulation to limit breast movement. These bras are intended for use by women of all sizes during running, cross-training, boxing or other intense activities. Like bras for larger busts, some use band-and-cup sizing, but others may offer only a handful of sizes such as small, medium and large. These bras typically have heftier straps and thicker fabric than bras intended for lower-impact workouts, and straps can often be crisscrossed into a racerback for greater support. Some women may find the structure and fabric to be too stiff or overwhelming, however.

Finding The Best Sports Bras
Our Sources
"Running Bras"
"Best of the Test: Sports Bras"
3. Self
"The Best New Sports Bras for Every Cup Size and Workout"

There are several expert roundups that recommend sports bras based on first-hand testing, though these roundups tend to lack detailed methodology and don't compare bras. Sources that take an in-depth look at recent bras broken down by size include Good Housekeeping, Self.com, WomensRunning.com and RunnersWorld.com. One site, GearInstitute.com, undertook impressively detailed, even-handed testing, but its recommendations could use an update. User reviews of how sports bras fare during day-to-day use are especially valuable. The best sources include mega-retailer Amazon.com and HerRoom.com, which specializes in lingerie. In all sports bra reviews, we focused on comfort, support, ease of use and style.

The best sports bras 

Versatile and supportive, the Brooks Moving Comfort Fiona (Est. $40) is equally at home in the yoga studio or on the treadmill, reviewers say. Beloved for its cushioned, adjustable straps and closure, the Fiona keeps bounce to a minimum with compression and lightly molded, seamless cups.

Made of 82 percent DriLayer polyester and 18 percent Spandex, the Fiona offers solid moisture-wicking, reviewers say. Seam-free cups reduce the potential for chafing, and few reviewers report problems on that front. The wide straps do not cross or meet in the back as on many sports bras, but are easily adjustable with Velcro closures in the front. A handful of women say the Velcro irritates their skin, however. Some also complain the wide chest band can start to twist and curl uncomfortably. The hook-and-eye closure on the back of the bra means wearers don't have to struggle to pull the bra on overhead, which many women appreciate.

The Fiona combines compression and encapsulation support. The bra is a favorite for medium- and high-impact workouts, including running, aerobics and cross-training. Brooks recommends the Fiona for B to DD cups, and most users agree that it minimizes bounce for large busts. However, some larger-busted reviewers recommend bras with deeper cups to better support each breast. Offered in sizes from 30B to 44DD, the Fiona makes it easy to find a comfortable, supportive fit.

The Fiona has a slightly scooped neckline and an open back. Reviewers are divided on the style -- some find it attractive, while others say it's a bit utilitarian, especially compared to bras featuring racerbacks, keyholes and the like. Several women warn that the slightly molded cups don't provide enough nipple coverage, making the Fiona a less than ideal option for going shirtless. The bra comes in a wide variety of colors, though availability varies around the web.

For women looking for a sports bra with a little more stretch and a little less structure, we recommend the Nike Pro Classic (Est. $30). Reviewers particularly this bra like for its comfort, simplicity and excellent moisture-wicking abilities.

Experts with Good Housekeeping praise the Nike Pro Classic for superior comfort and its quick ability to absorb and lock away sweat during intense workouts. Owners echo this praise, saying the bra does a good job of keeping them dry and irritation-free, though a couple say the seaming on the sides is a bit rough. The bra is made from 88 percent Dri-FIT polyester and 12 percent Spandex. The straps and band of this pull-over style bra are not adjustable, reducing opportunities for chafing, but also making proper sizing especially important. The bra is available in extra-small through extra-large, which Nike says should fit women with bra sizes ranging from 30A to 38E.

Glamour.com recommends the Nike Pro Classic for low- or medium-impact workouts such as yoga, hiking or cycling. Reviewers mostly agree, saying there are better options for activities like running that cause a lot of bounce, especially for larger-busted women. The Pro Classic is a compression-style bra that does not have an underwire or separate cups that encapsulate each breast. While some women appreciate the simplicity of this style, others warn that it can smash breasts together uncomfortably.

Style is one of the Nike Pro Classic's strong suits. Reviewers like the bra's clean, sporty look, with its wide scoop neck and stylish racerback. It's also available in a seemingly endless array of colors and patterns around the web. A few reviewers say the fabric doesn't offer enough structure or nipple coverage, however. Women who want a little more modesty or shape can buy the Nike Pro Classic Padded Sports Bra (Est. $30).

Padded sports bras give you a lift with style

Some women despise how traditional sports bras mash and flatten their breasts. Padded sports bras help them maintain a curvier shape under clothes, and the padding even provides a little extra nipple coverage for women who wear thin fabrics or prefer to go shirt-free while working out.

Women don't need to fear uniboob with the padded Champion Curvy Show-Off (Est. $18) which gives them an appealing shape instead of mashing breasts, reviewers say. As a bonus, the Curvy Show-Off is relatively inexpensive for a sports bra.

The body of the Curvy Show-Off is made of 87 percent polyester and 13 percent Spandex; it also features a mesh back that is 95 percent polyester and 5 percent Spandex. Reviewers give the bra high marks for comfort – there are no clasps or seams that chafe – and they like that the molded foam cups are sewn into the bra and don't shift around. Moisture wicking gets mixed reviews, with a couple of owners saying the pads absorb a bit more sweat than they would like. The bra is available in four sizes, small through extra-large, that Champion says should work for bra sizes 32A to 38D.

Champion recommends the Curvy Show-Off for low- to medium-impact activities such as walking, Pilates and yoga. Owners agree, saying it provides enough support for day-to-day gym sessions but not enough for high-impact activities such as running, especially for well-endowed women. The Curvy Show-Off is an encapsulation-style bra, meaning it supports each breast in individual cups instead of compressing them against the chest. It is not adjustable, and some say taking it on and off requires some dexterity since it goes over the head.

Reviewers love the style of the Curvy Show-Off, which has a low-cut V-neck that makes it look decidedly less utilitarian than a typical sports bra. A racerback with a keyhole adds interest in the back, and the padding on the cups gives women enough nipple coverage to wear thin fabrics or go shirt-free, reviewers say. It's available in more than a dozen vibrant color combinations.

Elsewhere In This Report
Recently Updated
Sports Bras buying guide

What every best Sports Bras has:

  • Adequate support for your workout.
  • Compression, encapsulation or a combination of the two.
  • Breathable, sweat-wicking fabric.

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