Outdoor Activities
The Best Sports Bras of 2024
The Best Sports Bras of 2024
Jul 24, 2024 1:31 AM

  Sports bras are like brakes on a vehicle: no one gets excited about using them, but they’re absolutely necessary. We found a few that we actually enjoy wearing for their combination of comfort and versatile support.

  The Winners at a Glance Best for Carrying a Phone on the Run: Oiselle Flyout Bra Best Adjustable Fit: Patagonia Maipo Low Impact Adjustable Bra Best for Wet Adventures: Tracksmith Run Cannonball Run Bra Best for Traveling Light: Branwyn Essential Busty Bra Best for Comfort in the Heat: Janji Groundwork Ascend bra Best for High Impact: Rabbit UtiliBRA-vo Best for Wearing All Day: Tentree InMotion Double Scoop Best Value: Quince Ultra-Soft Performance Bra Best for Low Impact: Title Nine Handful Bra The Best Sports Bras of 2024 Reviewed Best for Carrying a Phone on the Run: Oiselle Flyout Bra ($64)

  Sizes: 2-14

  Pros: Perfectly placed and ventilated phone pocket

  Cons: Wide shoulder straps show under some tops; Fabric is a little thick

  Designed for trail runners who need soft, wide bra straps that lay flat under hydration packs, the Flyout Bra was a tester favorite for all sorts of high-impact activities, from running to Orangetheory Fitness classes. “Its the only sports bra I have with padded cups that don’t fall out in the washing machine,” said Sante Fe-based tester Ellen Silva. We are all longtime fans of bras with phone pockets on the back, but the pocket on this bra exceeded expectations—it’s a cinch to reach, ventilated so your phone doesn’t get sweaty, and holds your phone in place so well you forget that it’s there.

  Best Adjustable Fit: Patagonia Maipo Low Impact Adjustable Bra ($59)

  Sizes: XSS-XXL

  Pros: Adjustable; Soft; Cute design

  Cons: Narrow band may be uncomfortable for those with larger cup sizes

  This low-impact bra is made from the same supple recycled (from fishing nets) nylon-spandex knit fabric as Patagonia’s popular Maipo tights, and we expect the midweight fabric to last a long time. A pullover style with adjustable straps that can be worn crossed or vertical, we were impressed with how supportive this bra was even for our C and D cup testers. “Usually adjustable straps are really thick and gross, and these arent,” says tester Abby Wise of northern New Mexico. Lead tester Svati Narula concurs: these are the most comfortable and easy-to-adjust straps we’ve seen on a sports bra. Our favorite feature, however, was a half-moon-shaped keyhole cutout where the front panel of the bra meets the band, which enhances heat dumping and prevents sweat buildup, not to mention chafing, on the chest.

  Best for Wet Adventures: Tracksmith Run Cannonball Run Bra ($76)

  Sizes: XS-L

  Pros: Quick drying; Excellent combo of softness and support

  Cons: Expensive; Limited sizes

  This swim-friendly version of Tracksmith’s classic Run Bra is made from an Italian blend of micro nylon and elastane. The smooth double-layered fabric is coupled with a sturdy elastic support band that manages to hold everything in place for high-impact activities without being too tight. All four testers felt comfortable in this bra—the shoulder straps didn’t dig in, the support band didn’t constrict our breathing—and we wore it happily for many different activities. “This doubled as a swimsuit top on many SUP missions,” says Abby, who also loved it “for summit bagging, because soggy bras get so chilly at high elevations. Plus, the classic scoop neck and razor back look great under basically every running tank I own.”

  Best for Traveling Light: Branwyn Essential Busty Bra ($58)

  Sizes: XS-XXL

  Pros: Exceptionally odor-resistant and comfortable

  Cons: Fabric isn’t quite as soft as we would like

  With no underwire and no padded inserts, this slightly sturdier version of Branwyn’s popular seamless bralette, designed for larger cup sizes, is a fuss-free option for low-impact activities and especially good for when you’re packing light while traveling. The adjustable straps are stretchy enough to avoid digging in, and the extra-wide band (2.5 inches) prevents boob slippage. Svati was sold on this one after wearing it for a five-hour road trip followed by an intense five-hour hike, then out to dinner and a movie. The fabric, a blend of extra-fine Merino wool with a bit of nylon and spandex, never chafed or smelled even after getting sweaty.

  Best for Comfort in the Heat: Janji Groundwork Ascend bra ($76–82)

  Sizes: XS-XL

  Pros: Lightweight, sustainable (Janji’s Groundwork Knit fabric is bluesign certified), stylish

  Cons: Expensive

  This bra was a tester favorite thanks to its wide, highly elastic underband, which fits securely without pinching or constricting. Every one of our testers said it offered the right amount of support for running, without being overbuilt or difficult to get on and off. The cut of the bra minimizes material contact near the armpits, which one tester said creates “a lighter, more unencumbered feeling.” The stealthy phone pocket on the racerback band is a plus, and the nylon-spandex fabric isn’t too slippery or heavy. This is the ideal choice for hot summer runs where you don’t want to feel anything—neither bouncing nor extraneous fabric.

  Best for High Impact: Rabbit UtiliBRA-vo ($55)

  Sizes: XS-XL

  Pros: Über-secure phone pocket and classic racerback fit

  Cons: Not the most breathable

  If you love classic racerback bras, add a few of these to your stable. Chances are good theyll fit and support you well, as one of our testers raved, “The fabric hits a sweet spot of compression that I think will please 85% of runners—not too much, not too little.” This bra also has the most secure back phone pocket we’ve ever used, without being over-designed. “Most phone pocket bras try to be all fancy and featured and space-agey,” another tester said. “ This is the first one Ive tried thats basically just a regular old racerback, both in terms of fit and looks.” The polyester-spandex fabric is slightly thicker than the other favorites, making it a great choice for high-impact activities year-round.

  Best for Wearing All Day: Tentree InMotion Double Scoop ($48)

  Sizes: XS-XL

  Pros: Flattering scoop neck, made of 79% recycled post-consumer polyester

  Cons: Wide straps are visible under many of our favorite summer shirts

  “It’s like the little black dress of sports bras,” said our yogi tester Aleta Burchyski—need we add more? We found this bra incredibly versatile for both low- and medium-impact activities thanks to the flattering scoop neck. It works just as well for yoga inversions as it does under a button-down sun shirt on long hikes, and some of us wore it multiple days in a row without it getting stiff or stinky. “The band was even comfortable on my third-trimester bump,” Aleta added. We also liked that all of the polyester (79 percent with 21 percent elastane) in the super-soft fabric is recycled.

  Best Value: Quince Ultra-Soft Performance Bra ($30)

  Sizes: XS-XL

  Pros: Supreme comfort at a low price

  Cons: Not supportive enough for high-impact activities

  “I nearly cried when I first tried this on,” said Svati, so happy to have finally found a low-impact bra that she can wear for 12 hours without wanting to tear it off at some point. Don’t be fooled by the bargain price: the recycled polyester-spandex blend feels as soft and performance-oriented as bras that cost double what this one does, and dries surprisingly quickly. We wore this comfortably from the office to the trail to cross-country plane flights—for days in a row without washing.

  Best for Low Impact: Title Nine Handful Bra ($62)

  Sizes: XS-XL

  Pros: Loose cup fabric is supremely comfortable for low-impact activities

  Cons: Adjustable straps can chafe

  Testers were impressed by the combination of the compressive chest band and loose cups on this bra, which provided a balance of support and flexibility. “I found myself reaching for it over and over,” said tester Stefanie Hausner, who liked that the shaping avoided the “uni-boob” effect. She also appreciated how it supported her as an active mom. “This bra was really comfortable for breastfeeding!” she reported. “Some of the more fitted bras made it tricky or impossible to pop a boob for a hungry baby.” We also like that the thin straps and lower cut of this bra make it easy to wear under all sorts of tees and tanks.

  How to Buy When shopping for sports bras, you need to consider three factors: comfort, support, and breathability.

  Comfort Comfort is personal. Nothing can replace trying the bra on and ensuring it fits your body and the fabric feels good against your skin. Each brand sizes their bras differently, so be sure to try on a range of sizes.

  Support When it comes to support, different categories like “low impact” and “medium support” can be confusing because different brands define them in different ways. In general, bras marketed for low-impact activities like yoga or hiking will offer less support and technical features than those for high-impact activities, like running or HIIT classes. On the flip side, bras designed to offer higher support may be less breathable and more constricting

  If you have a small cup size, you may find that low- and medium-support bras work perfectly well for high-impact activities, but women with larger cup sizes often need those “high support” bras even for some low-impact activities. Whatever you choose, know that the bra’s underband—the most important part for support—should fit securely but not so tightly that you can’t breathe. The straps should not dig into your skin or leave red marks when you take the bra off.

  Breathability Too much sweat accumulation on a bra is not only uncomfortable but unhygienic, trapping bacteria on your skin and back. Sport-specific fabric blends—often made with polyester, nylon, or merino wool—should have strong moisture-wicking properties, and bras made of thinner fabric will allow more heat and perspiration to pass through.

  How We Tested Number of testers: 6 Number of bras tested: 22 Hours working out in test bras: 350 Longest time worn post-workout: 8 hours We wore these bras for running, yoga, hiking, dog walking, and going to work. Every tester wears a different size, ranging from A to D cups. If at least two testers agreed that a bra was comfortable and functional, it made our short list. Then we narrowed down the contenders based on style, price, and versatility.

  Meet Our Lead Testers Svati Kirsten Narula is a writer and Outside contributing editor based in Santa Fe, NM. She tested all the bras in this review while running, doing yoga, hiking throughout northern New Mexico, and driving and flying long distances in between. She still hasn’t found a bra that she can run in and bear to wear for more than six hours after, but hey, six hours is pretty good.

  Ellen Silva is a Clinical Dietitian and ultrarunner in Santa Fe, NM. She enjoyed getting to test gear while in Hawaii, Maine, Arizona, Colorado, and New Hampshire last summer.

  Anna Grace Tiede Hottinger is a public policy professional and dog mom who tested bras on many runs, both short and long, while training in New Mexico for a 100-miler.

  Abby Wise is an editor based in northern New Mexico. She tested bras on pre-dawn tempo runs before work and longer weekend runs in the high-desert mountain sun.

  Stefanie Hausner is a working parent who carves out time between work and daycare pick-up to hit the trails and enjoy fresh air.

  Aleta Burchyski is a writer and outdoorsmom who loves keeping her mental and physical batteries charged with yoga and stroller jogging.

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