Nike FE/NOM Flyknit Sports Bra and Knix Catalyst Sports BraShare on Pinterest

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

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

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 (1).

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 (2).
  • Closure. Pullover sports bras may provide enough support for smaller chests, but people 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 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 people with fuller busts may prefer an adjustable style (1, 2).
  • Trainer recommendations. We checked in with trainers and coaches to see what sports bras they like for high impact activities like running.
  • Vetting. The sports bras on our list have been vetted to ensure that they align with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. You can read more about our vetting process.

A note on price

General price ranges with dollar signs ($–$$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher cost.

Generally, list prices range from $35–$75, though this may vary depending on where you shop.

Pricing guide

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

Best overall

SHEFIT Ultimate

  • Price: $$$
  • Sizes: XS–6Luxe

The SHEFIT Ultimate has 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.

Plus, you can even adjust the rib band by as much as 8 inches (in.).

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

Laura Flynn Endres, a private personal trainer and founder of the online team fitness game Get Fit Done, is a fan of the SHEFIT Ultimate for running, jumping, and dance workouts. She reports that plenty of her clients say it’s by far the best sports bra they’ve ever worn, making it worth the higher price point.

Flynn Endres says, “You can adjust this bra in three spots: the shoulder straps, the front zip closure, and the bra strap band area! It’s easier to size because of the front zip closure. Usually, you feel like you have to dislocate a shoulder to get out of a sweaty sports bra. Not with this one!”

Pros

  • front zipper and Velcro rib band
  • removable pads
  • convertible, adjustable straps

Cons

  • straps and underband may chafe or itch skin
  • material may feel a little stiff
  • runs small

Most comfortable

Nike FE/NOM Flyknit

  • Price: $$$
  • Sizes: XS–XL

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. It doesn’t have extra padding, which keeps it from feeling too thick and stiff.

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.

Pros

  • provides compression and high support
  • lightweight fabric
  • comfortable and durable

Cons

  • material is too thin for some
  • may not provide enough support for larger breasts

Best for sensitive skin

Mate the Label Organic Stretch Sports Bra

  • Price: $
  • Sizes: XS–3X

The Organic Stretch Sports Bra by Mate the Label is made with double-layer fabric that’s 92% organic cotton and 8% spandex. It’s a good option for people who prefer the comfort and breathability of natural fabrics.

Plus, cotton is known for being friendly on sensitive skin and may help prevent heat rash and chafing, which can happen especially if you’re running in hot, humid weather (3).

This soft, breathable bra provides comfortable support without being too restrictive. However, it may not be the best choice for people who want high support.

A few reviewers say the bra stretches out over time, so you may want to size down if you’re between sizes.

Pros

  • soft and breathable
  • double-layered organic cotton
  • extremely comfortable

Cons

  • straps are too long for some
  • a few customers say the underband is too tight

Best back clasp

Brooks Dare Racerback Run Bra 2.0

  • Price: $$$
  • Sizes: 32B–44DD

In 2004, Brooks teamed up with the popular sports bra company Moving Comfort to continue the work of producing durable sports bras that can handle the high impacts of running. The Dare Racerback Run Bra 2.0 is one of Brooks most well-liked options, and for good reason.

It’s comfortable, supportive, and holds everything in place.

Plus, it features adjustable racerback straps and back clasps to get the perfect fit. The lightweight, moisture-wicking fabric helps keep you cool on hot days.

Several customers report the bra runs small, so you may consider sizing down if you’re between sizes.

Pros

  • comfortable and adjustable
  • designed for runners
  • reduces bounce

Cons

  • may be difficult to put on and take off
  • side seams may irritate skin
  • may stretch over time

Best for smaller breasts

Under Armour Mid Crossback

  • Price: $
  • Sizes: XS–XXL

If you love compression sports bras for your runs, this Under Armour bra is a great pick. The bra is a good option for people with smaller breasts, providing support without being too restrictive.

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.

Pros

  • comfortable compression
  • lightweight, moisture-wicking fabric
  • removable cups

Cons

  • runs small
  • difficult to put on
  • not supportive enough for some

Best color options

Sweaty Betty Ultra Running Bra

  • Price: $$
  • Sizes: 30A–38G

With more than 10 different colors to choose from, the Sweaty Betty Ultra Running Bra is a great choice if you’re looking to switch up your outfit or find a bra that matches your favorite running shorts.

This bra’s straps are convertible, so you can wear it in a racerback style or as a U-back. The straps are also adjustable, which is a huge plus for anyone having a hard time finding 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.

Pros

  • wide color choice
  • convertible, adjustable straps
  • compression and encapsulation support

Cons

  • runs small
  • difficult to put on
  • some customers say it rips and stretches out within a few months

Best for reducing bounce

Lululemon Run Times Bra

  • Price: $$
  • Sizes: 32B–42E

The Lululemon Run Times Bra features padded cups, back clasps, and sweat-wicking fabric. Made for runners and high impact activities, the bra offers high support that helps to reduce bouncing. Plus, it’s comfortable enough for daily wear.

The Run Times Bra is a favorite of Michele Canon, a NASM certified personal trainer and XPRO trainer for STRIDE.

She explains that this bra is great for running because it has “perforated paneling for airflow and a soft underband to prevent chafing. You can cross the cushioned, adjustable straps for additional support, and the sizing based on cup size ensures a perfect fit.”

Pros

  • high support
  • comfortable padded straps
  • minimizes bounce

Cons

  • too padded for some
  • customers report the hooks fall off or malfunction

Best for larger breasts

Knix Catalyst

  • Price: $$$
  • Sizes: 32A–42F

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.

This encapsulation-style bra has separate molded cups for extra support that are made to adapt to your body over time.

Some reviewers complain 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.

Pros

  • moisture-wicking fabric
  • good color options
  • adjustable strap length

Cons

  • straps come undone and loosen easily during wear
  • frequent fit issues
  • inconsistent sizing

Best underwire

Panache Ultimate High Impact Underwire

  • Price: $$
  • Sizes: 28B–40J

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.

Pros

  • high support
  • comfortable straps
  • reduces bounce

Cons

  • straps are too wide for some
  • underwire may cut or dig into skin
  • several customers report fit issues

Best for all-day wear

Lorna Jane Compress & Compact Sports Bra

  • Price: $$$
  • Sizes: XXS–XXL

The Lorna Jane Compress & Compact Sports Bra offers high support, adjustable straps, and removable padding. Many customers say the bra is comfortable for runs and daily wear.

This bra also gets high marks from Canon, who says, “When it comes to fit and fashion, Lorna Jane tops my list. The Compress & Compact Sports Bra offers heavy duty support with a lightweight feel due to the breathable fabric with four-way stretch. The straps are fully adjustable, and there is even a clasp to convert the straps to a racer back if you need extra support.”

However, several reviews report the bra isn’t supportive enough for larger chests.

Pros

  • convertible, adjustable straps
  • lightweight, moisture-wicking fabric
  • removable padding

Cons

  • not supportive enough for some
  • uncomfortable back clasp

Most adjustable

SHEFIT Flex

  • Price: $$$
  • Sizes: XS–6Luxe

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

Plus, it has a Velcro strap closure in the back that allows you to adjust the rib band by up to 8 in. for a truly customized fit.

It also has a front zipper, making it super easy to take on and off.

Reviewers love the adjustability this bra provides and find that it’s comfortable enough for daily wear, too.

Pros

  • front zipper and Velcro rib band
  • easy-to-adjust convertible straps
  • comfortable and supportive

Cons

  • thick material may rub underarms
  • too constricting for some

Best zip front

Athleta Ultimate Zip Front Bra

  • Price: $$
  • Sizes: XXS–XL

The Ultimate Zip Front Bra offers medium support and has lightweight, removable pads. The front zipper makes this bra easy to take on and off, and it lies flat to prevent irritation. According to Athleta’s website, this bra is best for A–C cups, though it’s also available for D–DD cups.

Jess Evans, a USA Boxing certified coach and FightCamp trainer recommends this bra for running. She also says it works well for Pilates, yoga, and cycling.

Evans says, “The reason I love the Athleta Ultimate Zip Front Sports Bra is that since the zip is in the front, it has a tighter fit around your rib cage to help hold everything in place. Plus, the thicker straps in the back add support and comfort. I have a smaller chest, so this is something that I can run in and feel supported.”

Athleta uses recycled plastic bottles to manufacture SuperSonic nylon fabric for this bra, which provides breathability and dries quickly.

Pros

  • zip front
  • comfortable and supportive
  • easy to put on and take off

Cons

  • runs small
  • straps aren’t adjustable
  • some customers say it’s difficult to zip

Best for full coverage

Nike Dri-FIT ADV Alpha

  • Price: $$$
  • Sizes: XS–XXL

The Nike Dri-FIT ADV Alpha bra features a chest overlay that adds high front coverage and helps reduce bounce. It has wide adjustable straps, two back clasps, and comes in a sweat-wicking fabric to keep you dry during intense runs.

There’s a cutout between the chest overlay and the rest of the bra that allows for extra ventilation, so you won’t have to sacrifice breathability even with the added coverage.

Reviewers note that this bra is comfortable and keeps everything in place, offering a tight fit without being restrictive. Plus, it’s stylish enough to wear on its own.

Pros

  • chest overlay provides extra coverage and prevents bounce
  • comfortable and supportive
  • breathable, moisture-wicking fabric

Cons

  • chest overlay shows through some shirts
  • not supportive enough for some

Best with a pocket

Oiselle Flyout Bra

  • Price: $$
  • Sizes: 2–14

If you want to run hands-free without weighing down the pockets on your shorts or leggings, then you may want to consider the Oiselle Flyout Bra. It has a mesh pocket on the back that’s big enough to hold a phone but snug enough to keep it from bouncing around.

This compression-style bra also has a removable cup, and it’s made with a polyester and spandex knit fabric that’s designed to provide plenty of support and coverage.

The shoulder bands are extra wide, which can help you stay comfortable even if you’re wearing a hydration backpack.

Plus, it’s available in Oiselle’s signature flying birds print.

Reviewers love the pocket on this bra, and some mention that they even forget they have their phone with them during runs.

Pros

  • pocket can securely hold a phone, keys, and more
  • removable cup
  • comfortable fabric

Cons

  • some reviewers mention that the bra can trap heat
  • may be difficult to put on

Sports brasPriceSizesStrap typeClosure
SHEFIT Ultimate$$$XS–6Luxeconvertible, adjustable,
padded
front zipper and Velcro rib band
MATE The Label Organic Stretch Sports Bra$XS–3XX-strap, nonadjustablepullover
Nike FE/NOM Flyknit$$$XS–XLX-strap, nonadjustablepullover
Brooks Dare Racerback Run Bra 2.0$$$32B–44DDX-strap, adjustable back clasps
Under Armour Mid Crossback$XS–XXLX-strap, nonadjustablepullover
Sweaty Betty Ultra Running Bra$$30A–38Gconvertible, adjustable, paddedback clasps
Lululemon Run Times Bra$$32B–42Econvertible, adjustable, paddedback clasps
Knix Catalyst$$$32A–42FH-strap, adjustableback clasps
Panache Ultimate High Impact Underwire$$ 28B–40Jconvertible, adjustable,
padded
back clasps
Lorna Jane Compress & Compact Sports Bra$$$XXS–XXLconvertible, adjustableback clasps
SHEFIT Flex$$$XS–6Luxeconvertible, adjustable,
padded
front zipper and Velcro rib band
Athleta Ultimate Zip Front Bra$$XXS–XLracerbackfront zipper
Nike Dri-FIT ADV Alpha$$$XS–XXLX-strap, adjustableback clasps
Oiselle Flyout Bra$$2–14nonadjustablepullover

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 it’s important to keep support, closure, and straps in mind while searching.

For people 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 have a hard time 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 most medium and high impact sports bras should provide you with the right support while running.

For people with fuller chests

Research suggests that poorly fitting sports bras may limit physical activity and exercise levels, especially for people with larger breasts. It’s important to find a properly-fitting sports bra that provides adequate support and minimizes pain and discomfort (4).

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 help prevent bouncing.

For people with fuller busts, adjustable back clasps and zipper-front bras are usually the most comfortable. 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, straps don’t typically affect the amount of support the bra offers. If you find that your sports bra straps dig into your shoulders, you may want to try an H-strap bra (5).

Do you have to wear a sports bra for running?

You don’t have to wear a sports bra for running, but they’re generally the best way to reduce breast movement, alleviate discomfort, and provide support (6, 7).

If you have a smaller chest, you may prefer to wear a wireless bra or tight-fitting top.

How should a sports bra fit for running?

A running sports bra should fit slightly tighter than your everyday bra without being too restrictive or causing skin irritation.

It should provide enough compression and support to keep everything in place but still allow you to breathe and move freely. The straps should be secure, and the underband should be level and parallel to the floor.

How do you find the right sports bra size?

Sports bra sizes vary among brands, so be sure to check the size guide on company websites. You can use your cup size and bust and underband measurements to determine the appropriate size.

First, use a tape measure to measure the fullest part of your chest while wearing a bra. Next, measure under your bust where the underband of a bra is.

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.