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Whether you’re a treadmill newbie or a seasoned marathoner, a good sports bra can be a game-changer. It can impact your workouts and training in more ways than you may have considered.

According to research from the University of Portsmouth’s Research Group in Breast Health in the U.K., exercising without proper support can lead to breast pain, sagging, and even lower athletic performance.

This is because breasts don’t contain any muscle. Instead, they rely solely on your skin and connective tissue, known as Cooper’s ligaments, for support. External support (aka your fave sports bra) helps keep everything protected and in place.

What makes a sports bra right for you depends on your breast size, the type of exercise you’re doing, and your personal preferences. It can take some time to find the one that works best for you, so we’re here to help make the search a little simpler.

The list below features our top picks for the best sports bras for running. Since running is considered a high impact exercise, we prioritized sports bras with more support — especially for larger cup sizes. We also made sure to include products that are rated well by customers.

Other features we considered include:

  • Support. There are three main types of support. Compression bras are usually made of elastic. They compress your breasts against your chest to prevent them from moving while exercising (think: the classic pullover sports bra you may have worn growing up). Encapsulation sports bras support each breast in a separate cup and have a bra band and straps like you see in everyday bras. Combination sports bras are a little of both.
  • Closure. Pullover sports bras may provide enough support for smaller chests, but those with fuller chests may prefer a bra with a clasp or zipper. Additionally, the ability to clasp or zip up your sports bra makes it a heck of a lot easier to take on and off, no matter your cup size.
  • Strap type and adjustability. You’ll find both H-strap and X-strap (aka racerback) style bras on our list. Which style you choose mostly comes down to personal preference, though those with fuller busts may prefer an adjustable style. Research from the University of Portsmouth notes that non-adjustable elastic X-straps may not offer the best support because they stretch more than adjustable straps.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $50
  • $$ = $50–$69
  • $$$ = over $70

Those with A–C cup sizes can find great support from many kinds of sports bras. Here are our top picks by type.

Best pullover: Nike FE/NOM Flyknit

Price$$$
Supportcombination
Closurepullover
Strap type and adjustabilityX-strap, not adjustable

If you’re a fan of Nike’s Flyknit shoes, then you’ll be stoked that the same flexible fabric is used for this sports bra.

The fabric makes the bra a lot lighter than some of Nike’s other sports bras, giving it more of a barely there feel. Reviewers are also big fans of the nearly seamless design, saying it reduces chafing and makes it a lot comfier than other sports bras.

This bra uses compression to take the bounce out of your run but also has molded cups for extra encapsulation support.

Shop for the Nike FE/NOM Flyknit sports bra online.

Best back clasp: Brooks UpLift Crossback

Price$
Supportcombination
Closureback clasp
Strap type and adjustabilityX-strap, not adjustable

This Brooks favorite is listed as medium impact, making it a great option for jogging or shorter runs.

While the J-hook back clasp doesn’t adjust, reviewers love that it makes the bra easy to put on and take off.

Take extra care when picking a size — some reviewers say it runs a little small.

Shop for the Brooks UpLift Crossback sports bra online.

Best compression: Under Armour Women’s Armour Mid Crossback

Price$
Supportcompression
Closurepullover
Strap type and adjustabilityX-strap, not adjustable

If you love compression sports bras for your runs, this Under Armour bra is a great pick. The sleek fabric is a favorite among reviewers for its comfort and sweat-wicking ability. Wearers also rave about the elastic band that keeps the bra in place at all times.

Some reviewers say the X-straps cause it to run a little small, so you might need to consider sizing up to find the right fit.

Shop for the Under Armour Women’s Armour Mid Crossback sports bra online.

Best H-strap: Sweaty Betty Ultra Run

Price$$
Supportcombination
Closureback clasp
Strap type and adjustabilityconvertible, adjustable

Yes, this bra’s straps are technically convertible, but if you’re a fan of the H-strap style, the Sweaty Betty Ultra Run is an amazing pick. The straps are also adjustable, which is a huge plus for anyone struggling to find an H-strap style bra with straps that don’t constantly fall down.

Sizing for this bra goes by standard bra sizes, which might also help provide a good fit. To top it off, reviewers also love the color options — they’re gorgeous!

Shop for the Sweaty Betty Ultra Run sports bra online.

Best overall: SHEFIT The Flex

Price$$$
Supportcombination
Closurefront zipper
Strap type and adjustabilityconvertible, adjustable

This SHEFIT sports bra hits the nail on the head when it comes to support and comfort. Using both compression and encapsulation, it’s ultra supportive. The straps are convertible, giving you multiple options to find what’s most comfortable.

It also has a front zipper (making it super easy to take on and off) and hidden clasps so you feel extra secure.

Shop for the SHEFIT The Flex Sports Bra online.

All of our top picks for fuller cup sizes are encapsulation or combination bras with adjustable straps and closures. These are more supportive than compression or pullover sports bras, so they may help you avoid breast pain while running.

Best encapsulation style: Freya Women’s Active Underwire

Price$$
Supportencapsulation
Closureback clasp
Strap type and adjustabilityconvertible

This Freya underwire bra has encapsulated cups. They give you plenty of support and lift on your run, but also enough to wear under a tank top even when you’re not exercising.

Reviewers rave that it’s comfortable enough to wear all day long. They’re also big fans of the wide range of colors to choose from.

Heads up: This bra comes in U.K. sizing, so if you’re used to U.S. sizes, check out the sizing conversion chart before you buy.

Shop for the Freya Sonia High Impact Underwire sports bra online.

Best wire-free: Knix Catalyst

Price$$$
Supportcombination
Closureback clasp
Strap type and adjustabilityH-strap, adjustable

If you can’t stand underwire sports bras, this Knix bra is an awesome high-support, wire-free option. It also has a super flattering, smoothing shape.

Some reviewers complained about the straps coming undone during certain workouts (weightlifting, kickboxing), but they should stay in place while running.

Added bonus: Knix has a “30 Days to Wash and Wear” policy, so even if you wear it and wash it multiple times, you can still send it back if it’s still not for you.

Shop for the Knix Catalyst Sports Bra online.

Best for DDD and up: Panache Ultimate High Impact Underwire

Price$$
Supportcombination
Closureback clasp
Strap type and adjustabilityconvertible

This Panache bra is known for the bounce-eliminating comfort it provides fuller-busted athletes. Reviewers love how much support it offers without the straps digging into their shoulders — which can be really hard to find.

Some reviewers note that the underwire started to poke out after a few washes. To help avoid this, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s care instructions.

Heads up: This bra comes in U.K. sizing, so if you’re used to U.S. sizes, check out the sizing conversion chart before selecting your size.

Shop for the Panache Ultimate High Impact Underwire sports bra online.

Best for short runs: Brooks Maia

Price$$
Supportcombination
Closureback clasp
Strap type and adjustabilityH-strap, adjustable

The Maia sports bra is listed as medium impact on the Brooks site, making it an ideal option for short runs. Reviewers swear by it for its amazing support and comfort, saying it gives them a bounce-free experience while avoiding the uni-boob look that many sports bras can create.

Shop for the Brooks Maia sports bra online.

Best overall: SHEFIT Ultimate

Price$$
Supportcombination
Closurefront zipper
Strap type and adjustabilityconvertible, adjustable

This bra is a lot like our SHEFIT recommendation for smaller cup sizes, but with more support. It has the same compression and encapsulation for maximum support, super customizable straps, and a front zipper that locks into place for extra security. It also has extra strap padding on larger sizes to make it even more comfortable for those will fuller busts.

Reviewers rave about this one (with over 19,000 reviews!) for its support and comfort, so it’s definitely a winner.

Shop for the SHEFIT Ultimate Sports Bra online.

When you’re searching for the best sports bra for running, it’s important to look for higher support options. Most brands will label what impact level their sports bras are designed for, but you should still keep support, closure, and straps in mind while searching.

For those with smaller chests

If you have a smaller chest, a compression bra will probably offer adequate support while running. You can also try an encapsulation or combination bra if you prefer a little more support.

Closure and strap types come down to personal preference. If you struggle with getting pullover sports bras over your head (especially after a particularly sweaty run!), you might want to try a back clasp or zipper front bra. If X-straps cause any shoulder pain, then an H-strap style might be the right choice for you.

It might take a little trial and error to find what you like best but take comfort in knowing that most medium and high impact sports bras should provide you with the right support while running.

For those with fuller chests

Since running is a high-impact activity, you’ll likely find the most support with encapsulation or combination sports bras. These styles support each breast separately, which may be more comfortable and provide less bounce.

Some research suggests that sports bras with adjustable back clasps can make a bra a lot more comfortable for those with fuller busts. Zipper-front bras are also a great option. Pullover sports bras likely won’t offer enough support while running since they aren’t adjustable.

Strap style is again a personal preference. As long as they’re adjustable, they don’t typically affect the amount of support the bra offers. If you find that your sports bra straps dig into your shoulders, H-strap bras may be more comfortable.

Finding the right sports bra for running can be challenging, but it’s absolutely necessary if you want to prevent pain and stay comfortable and supported.

Since running is a high-impact exercise, it’s important to prioritize bras with higher support. Look for support, closure, and straps that make the most sense for your chest size and personal preferences.

If you’re having trouble finding a great fit, you can also try getting a fitting from a retailer near you to see what they recommend.