Maybe you’ve only just started running to work out or maybe you’re looking to replace your worn-out sports bras of old—either way, this list of the best high-impact sports bras is an excellent place to start the hunt for workout wear that’s supportive, comfortable and built specifically for your body and sport level.
The Absolute Best High-Impact Sports Bras for Running, HIIT and More
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Meet the Expert
Abby Hepworth is an RRCA-certified running coach who has three marathons and eight half marathons under her belt. She has spent countless hours researching and testing sports bras, as well as talking with lingerie experts to determine exactly what goes into engineering a high-impact sports bra that is both supportive and comfortable, no matter your cup size.
What Does 'High Impact' Mean for Sports Bras?
High-impact activities include running, HIIT, boxing—basically anything that puts stress on weight-bearing joints—while low-impact activities include things like yoga, Pilates, swimming or walking. Because you’re likely to be bouncing or jumping around during a high-impact workout, you’ll need a sports bra with more support that’s built to prevent your chest from moving too much, potentially causing pain or injury. As cute as your strappy little bralettes are for yoga, they simply won’t suffice for jogging.
How to Pick the Best High-Impact Sports Bra
- Read the label. This one feels pretty obvious, but it should be stated that if a bra isn’t marketed as a high-impact bra, it likely won’t work for your needs.
- Do a jump test. Some brands have great exchange or return policies that allow you to wear a sports bra through multiple workouts before deciding whether or not it’s the right one for you. But for those who don’t (or even those who do) we recommend trying on the bra, standing in front of a mirror and doing either high-knees or jumping jacks to get a clear view of how the bra holds up to vigorous movement. Running is unlikely to cause as much bounce as jumping jacks, but if your bra can barely contain your gals for a short burst of high-knees, it likely won’t do you much good on a run either.
- Look for numerical bra sizing over S/M/L. This isn’t to say that all high-impact bras that come in S/M/L sizing are inferior, but brands that use band and cup sizes give you more specificity when it comes to fit. This is especially helpful for anyone with either a small band and large cup size or large band and small cup size.
- Opt for wide straps over thin ones. Yes, even if the bra has 40 adorablecrisscrossing straps at the back it still won’t be as supportive as solid 1-inch wide designs. Racerback silhouettes also tend to offer more support than a traditional H-formation.
- Consider breathability and fabric. A thick spandex bra will likely do a good job of holding your bosom in place, but it will also pool sweat easily and start to feel heavy and uncomfortable pretty quickly. High-impact workouts tend to leave us sweatier than low-impact ones, so look for materials that are quick-drying, breathable and that wick sweat to keep you comfortable in the long run.
The Best High Impact Sports Bras at a Glance
- Best Overall: lululemon Energy High-Support Bra
- Editor Favorite: Under Armour UA Infinity High Sports Bra
- Made from Recycled Materials: Nike Alpha Sports Bra
- Most Customizable Fit: SheFit Ultimate Sports Bra
- Best for Big Boobs: Panache Ultimate High-Impact Underwire Sports Bra
- For Smaller Busts: Asics Accelerate Bra
- Best Zip-Front Design: Athleta Ultimate Zip Front Bra
- Easiest to Adjust on the Go: Adidas FastImpact Luxe Run Sports Bra
- Lightweight and Seamless: Brooks Running Dare Crossback Run Bra
- For Sensitive Skin: ON Running Performance Bra
- For Super-Sweaty Runners: Sweaty Betty Ultra Run Sports Bra
- Best Sports Bra with Pockets: Brooks Running Drive 3-Pocket Run Bra
- Affordable Amazon Pick: Champion Spot Comfort Full-Support Sports Bra
- Best Innovative New Technology: Maaree Solidarity High Impact Sports Bra
- For the Fashionista: Brittany Allen Shoulder Sports Bra
- Size Range: 32B to 40D
- Pros: adjustable straps, multiple hook-and-eye settings,high level of coverage
- Cons: hook-and-eye closure may be irritating for floor exercises
Not one, not two, but three of the fitness experts polled for this story listed this lululemon bra as their absolute favorite. Kristina Fernandez, CPT and operations manager at Rumble Boxing in NYC; Denise Chakoian, founder of CORE Cycle, Fitness, Lagree, personal trainer and cancer exercise specialist; and Brianna Joye, personal trainer and founder of City Girls Who Walk social club, all swear by the Energy bra, as does PureWow’s own commerce editor, Olivia Kappler. “I have a larger chest (which is now very sensitive during pregnancy),” says Kappler, “and this bra really kept me supported while I was training for a half marathon. I don't feel any pain from movement and I don't have any boob spillage at the top or sides either.” The other women also stressed how great it is to have high levels of coverage and adjustable straps to really perfect the fit for your figure.
- Size Range: XS to XXL
- Pros: adjustable straps, multiple hook-and-eye settings, molded cups
- Cons: hook-and-eye closure may be irritating for floor exercises
Multiple PureWow editors recommended this as their go-to sports bra for running or other high-impact activities. “Love, love, loooveee this sports bra,” former associate editor Stephanie Sengwe raves. “It is so good you forget you have boobs.” Indeed, most reviews mention how comfortable and breathable the Infinity bra is. Per one self-described chesty runner, “I often experience a lot of movement in the chest which causes a lot of pain and discomfort. Under-boob chafing is also a big issue for me. I tested out the UA Infinity Bra during a few HIIT treadmill workouts and was very impressed with the amount of support offered. I didn't experience any pain whatsoever.” The crisscrossed straps are adjustable and there is a hook-and-eye closure at the back so you can tighten or loosen it as you need. The padding is also built in an innovative figure-8 pattern that follows the natural movement of your chest as you run for high-level support that doesn’t feel constrictive. Under Armour’s size guide suggests that an XS should fit a 28 or 30 A or B cup, while the XXL fits band sizes 40 and 42 and cup sizes B, C or D.
Made from Recycled Materials
- Size Range: XS to 3X
- Pros: adjustable straps, multiple hook-and-eye settings, front zipper makes it easy to put on and take off
- Cons: higher price point
We love that this best-selling Nike sports bra has both adjustable straps and a hook-and-eye closure on the underbust band, but really it’s the front zipper that made us swoon. Because to be honest, struggling to get out of a sweaty sports bra is a full workout unto itself. The zipper makes it incredibly easy to get this supportive bra on and off and even has a hook hidden behind the zipper to ensure everything stays put and the zip won’t suddenly start falling down during your next 400 meter repeat. The sizing is also important to note—it’s listed as XS to 3X, with each size further broken down into three cup size ranges. So there’s a M (A-B), M (C-E) and a M (F-G) to give you a better, more specified fit than other XS to 3X bras. (That said, some reviewers found this bra ran small, so if you’re between sizes you may want to go up one.) Magan, a Nike reviewer, writes, “I love this bra! It is lightweight and is the most comfortable sports bra that I own. The material is soft and breathable. It’s easy to zip up the front and a huge plus is the cups are sewn in. Plus, it’s supportive enough for my high intensity interval training workouts and running! I love that I can barely feel it there while I’m working out.”
Most Customizable Fit
- Size Range: XS to 6XL (fits cup sizes A through I)
- Pros: inclusive size range, highly adjustable fit, front zipper makes getting it on and off much easier
- Cons: design prioritizes function over fashion, higher price point
This high-impact sports bra impressed us for so many reasons—size range, breathability, color options—but the main draw has to be the unparalleled level of adjustability. The band under the bust can be tightened or loosened up to eight inches in back, while the two shoulder straps can easily be lengthened from the front up to 15 inches thanks to Velcro patches. The straps can also be worn either crossed in back or in H formation, depending on what you find most comfortable. A front zipper (with a protective inner layer to prevent chafing) makes it easy to slip in and out of this beauty without twisting yourself into a pretzel post-workout. Anna Victoria, personal trainer and the founder of the Fit Body App, names this as her favorite high-impact sports bra, despite some issues with the look of the bra. “It checks all the boxes in terms of support and adjustability. The waist band is adjustable, the straps are adjustable and it goes high enough to cover any cleavage and prevent spillage. The only thing I don’t love about it is the aesthetics of it. It isn’t the prettiest sports bra, but that really doesn’t matter when you need something to get the job done, and the SheFit sports bra does that better than any other sports bra I’ve come across! There are some days where I want something cuter, and I just plan for those days to be my lower impact workout days.”
Best for Big Boobs
- Size Range: 28DD to 40GG
- Pros: adjustable straps, can be worn as a racerback or H back
- Cons: higher price point,
“It’s truly a feat of engineering,” raves reviewer Jasmine D. “How an underwire sports bra can feel so comfortable is beyond me.” Indeed, this incredible bra has almost 1,400 reviews and a 4.5-star rating with most reviewers noting how surprisingly comfortable this Panache style is, while still feeling supremely supportive. It also nearly eliminates bounce even for those with larger breasts. Sizing starts at a 28DD/30D/32C/34B but goes all the way up to a 34J/36HH/38H/40GG (note: the brand follows UK sizing, so be sure to double check the size chart before you buy). “I have had a hard time finding a bra that would keep up with my intense Orangetheory workouts,” says reviewer Bianca H. “I can say that this one fits perfectly and relieved a lot of the issues I had with working out with 36HH boobs.” And while it isn’t exactly cheap, this Panache bra is incredibly durable. “I finally had to replace my old Panache bra. But it lasted ten years,” says Luci I. “Wears like iron. I wash in the machine on cold, but never put in the dryer. This is my favorite sports bra.”
Best Minimalist Bra for Big Boobs
- Size Range: 28DD to 42F
- Pros: adjustable straps, multiple hook-and-eye settings,lots of fun colors to choose from, no underwire
- Cons: higher price point
Despite the fact that this bra comes with no underwire and features H-formation straps rather than a racerback or crossback style, it offers a shocking amount of support while remaining fairly comfortable. There are five rows of hook-and-eye closures at the back of the band to help you find your perfect level of compression. The straps are also adjustable and are more secure than average. Multiple reviews extol the benefits of that front ventilation panel, which helps prevent sweat from pooling and the bra from rubbing and can even help you avoid heat rash. A quick scroll through the more than 5,000 reviews and you’ll find lots of evidence that this is one of the absolute best sports bras on the market for larger chests. Reviewer Nicole Z. says “I wear a 38G and I wanted a new sports bra that would not allow any movement while I go jogging. I was surprised that a bra without underwire would do the job, but it seems to so far. I would absolutely buy this bra again, and yes I would recommend it to my busty friends.” And if you’re wary of spending so much money on one bra, Knix offers a 30-day trial period so you can actually wear the Catalyst to work out more than once before deciding if it's truly worth the splurge.
For Smaller Busts
- Size Range: XS to XL
- Pros: adjustable straps, high coverage in front, no clasps at the back
- Cons: may not offer enough support for larger chests
Those who wear smaller cup sizes (like A and B cups) can often wear sports bras listed as medium impact even for high impact activities, provided they still pay attention to some key fit details. Case in point, Priscilla Frederick, an Olympic high jumper, who wore bras similar to the Asics style above for most of her professional career. “In looking for a high-impact sports bra, I prioritize high coverage in the front and 100 percent adjustable straps,” she says. We love that the higher front also includes a mesh panel, which helps with ventilation but is also just pretty darn cute. And because it’s a pull-over design, there are no hooks in back to potentially dig in while you’re doing chest presses at the gym. According to reviews, the material is also incredibly comfortable even on hot mid-summer days and the fit runs true to size.
Best Zip-Front Design
- Size Range: XXS to XL D-DDD (also available in XXS to XL A-C)
- Pros: made from recycled materials, sleek design minimizing chafing, comes with removable pads
- Cons: straps are not adjustable
For those who want to prioritize finding a bra that’s easy to slip on and off (you know, in addition to being supportive and comfortable), you’d be hard pressed to find a better option than this Athleta design. The minimalist racerback has no clasps to struggle with, and the front zipper has extra pieces of fabric to protect your front from the top and bottom of the metal to prevent irritation. There’s also an additional clip hidden below the zipper to help ensure everything stays put, even through the hardest efforts. And although the straps are not adjustable, it does provide excellent coverage in front. According to reviews it does run a bit small, so if you’re between sizes or prefer less compression, you may want to go up one from your usual. Reviewer Kass R. writes, “I love a good zip-front bra because who likes trying to take off a sweaty bra overhead? I have a larger chest, so I was worried that the bra wouldn't be super supportive for spin class, but I thought it was pretty good! Very comfortable, too.”
Easiest to Adjust on the Go
- Size Range: 2XS A-C to XL D-DD
- Pros: underband hooks are easy to adjust while on and won’t dig in, adjustable shoulder straps, comes with removable padding
- Cons: harder to pull on and off, high price point
This pull-over sports bra has both adjustable straps and an adjustable underband, which is great for customizing the fit for your exact needs. But even better is the fact that both can be easily tweaked with the bra already on, so there’s no stretching and twisting to reach your back if you find you need to tighten or loosen anything on the fly. Plus, the proprietary new materials are incredibly lightweight and ideal for wicking away moisture to keep you cool and comfortable, no matter what. “Love this bra,” writes one reviewer. “The material is so soft and very supportive. A bit fiddly to put on but worth it. I love that it's so adjustable, particularly when my boobs retain water at certain times of the month. Definitely plan to buy another.”
Lightweight and Seamless
- Size Range: 30 AB to 40DE
- Pros: seamless design minimizes likelihood of chafing, incredibly lightweight
- Cons: harder to pull on and off, sizing can be confusing
Brooks semi-recently revamped its sports bra collection, introducing designs with a slew of new technology and innovation behind them, as well as the input of tons of runners of varying sizes and skill levels. The Crossback is one of the absolute best to come out of this new wave. It’s incredibly lightweight and breathable, and its near-seamless construction means there are no hot spots likely to cause chafing. “When I first put it on the band felt odd, like it was riding up in back or something, but I completely forgot about it once I started running,” says Xi L., an avid half-marathoner based in NYC. The bra currently has a 4.3-star rating with almost 400 reviews. The only downside appears to be that the bra isn’t adjustable (and some may not be fans of the pull-over design). As for sizing, cups are grouped—A/B, C/D AND DD/E—and while most reviewers say the Crossback runs true to size, if you’re in between sizes we recommend sizing down one for extra compression that won’t dig in.
For Sensitive Skin
- Size Range: XS to XL
- Pros: high level of coverage, no wires, clasps or seams to irritate your skin, super lightweight
- Cons: higher price point, straps are not adjustable
Peloton Tread instructor Kirsten Ferguson is a major fan of the ON Running Performance bra, calling it her all-time favorite. “The bra has single piece construction, and it provides support all the way round, with no clamping, wires or irritating seams. So, whether you’re doing sprints, changing direction quickly or tackling a HIIT workout, it’s got you covered. It has light padding and a high rise in front so it has you covered—literally!” Our favorite thing about this sports bra is the seamless construction Ferguson mentioned, which means there are no hooks digging into your back while you do crunches, no clasps to potentially slide around mid-workout and no seams to chafe your skin while you move. It’s also made from a super lightweight, breathable material that wicks away sweat quickly, to further help prevent any irritation or discomfort. Because the straps and underbust band are not adjustable, be sure to double check the size chart before you order.
For Super-Sweaty Runners
- Size Range: 30A to 38G
- Pros: adjustable straps, can be worn as a racerback or H back, mesh panels offer lots of ventilation
- Cons: runs small
For those who have never understood the concept of going straight from the gym to meetups with friends with just a change of T-shirt and spritz of dry shampoo, this sports bra is your new BFF. The minimalist silhouette combined with strategically placed ventilation panels and an ultra-breathable, lightweight fabric mean you’ll stay cool and comfortable no matter how much you sweat. A hook in back allows you to alternate between racerback and H-formation styles, and there’s a hook-and-eye closure that allows you to easily put it on and take it off without having to pull drenched spandex over your head. Reviewer Siobhan T. says, “Fits brilliantly! My chest is well supported, and the lightly padded shoulder straps make it very comfortable. I forget I even have it on. It’s very lightweight and doesn’t make you overheat. The only downside to me is that it looks more like a regular bra, so I’d only wear it under a shirt, never on its own.” One other potential negative is the sizing—multiple reviews suggesting going up a size, at least in the band (or you can try your bra’s sister size), to avoid the bra feeling too snug.
Best Sports Bra with Pockets
- Size Range: 30AB to 40DE
- Pros: has three built-in pockets, high level of coverage in front, no clasps, lots of fun colors to choose from
- Cons: straps aren’t adjustable, harder to pull on and off
Running packs have a tendency to bounce around and not all shorts or leggings come with pockets large enough to fit your essentials, like your phone. This bra solves both issues with a trio of conveniently placed spots to stash everything, including your phone, ID, keys and even goos or gels. There are two smaller mesh pockets on either side under the arms (we suggest avoiding putting overly too bulky in these, although many reviewers say they can comfortably run with an Airpod case or similarly sized gel pack in these pockets) plus one larger cell phone-size pocket in the back. As for support, the Drive 3-Pocket bra offers full-coverage and compression support, with removable padding in the bust. Like the Crossback, this bra isn’t adjustable, and reviews suggest it may run a little big, so if you’re between sizes you might want to go with the smaller of the two. “This bra is AWESOME,” raves Elizabeth M. “It is comfortable and has good coverage and compression to run long without issues. And the pockets are the greatest thing since sliced bread.”
Affordable Amazon Pick
- Size Range: 34C to 42DDD
- Pros: under $40, adjustable straps, multiple hook-and-eye settings
- Cons: less durable than higher priced sports bras
This bra comes recommended by multiple PureWow runners with big boobs, and is especially great for anyone looking for ample support without the stiff structure of an underwire. “The minute I began running, I forgot I was even testing a sports bra and just focused on the road ahead. That’s how well it performed,” raves associate editor Chelsea Candelario. “For once, I wasn’t worried about my boobs being compressed or spilling out the top, either.” Padded, adjustable straps provide a perfect balance between support and comfort, and the hook-and-eye closure at the back makes it a breeze to put on or take off, even if you’re totally drenched in sweat.
Best Innovative New Technology
- Size Range: 28DD to 38H
- Pros: phenomenal support for larger busts, adjustable straps, can be worn as a racerback or H back
- Cons: high price point
Mari Thomas, founder of Maaree, knows a lot about sports bras. Besides being an avid runner herself who wears a size 34E bra, Thomas has also been professionally testing sports bra technology for years. She’s spent countless hours talking with women of a variety of body shapes and sizes about what their “ideal” sports bra would look like and the support it would provide. The result of Thomas’s immense knowledge base is Marree’s proprietary Overband feature, which works to limit upward bounce by way of a curved panel over the top of the bra, which can be easily adjusted using slides on the sides under the arms. The shoulder straps are also adjustable and can be hooked together to form a racerback silhouette or left in an H-formation. Per one size 32G runner, “This is the Rolls Royce of sports bras. The comfort is real and the quality amazing. I am currently marathon training and no chafing and all the support without feeling trussed up and boobs not under my chin.” The Solidarity should run true to size, but as it is UK sizing, we highly suggest double checking the brand’s size chart before you buy, or taking advantage of the free virtual size consultations available.
For the Fashionista
- Size Range: XXS to 4X
- Pros: lots of fun colors and patterns to choose from, more inclusive size range
- Cons: not as supportive as a two-strap design, high price point
Ferguson also recommends this one-shoulder style by designer Brittany Allen for anyone looking for a truly cute sports bra that also won’t leave your chest feeling sore after an HIIT session. “Sports bras have come a long way and there are a lot of different fun options when it comes to high coverage bras,” she says. “I have even found a high coverage, one-shoulder bra! Yes, I said one shoulder. The key is the thicker strap and higher rise of the bra. Designer Brittney Allen has perfected this style and you can often find me and my fellow Peloton instructors wearing her one-shoulder bras in class.” Of course, a one-shoulder design will not be as supportive as a two-strap bra, but the wide strap, high neckline and compression fabric do all go a long way in offering ample support. So if you’re the kind of gal who doesn’t want to sacrifice style while she breaks a sweat, this Brittany Allen sports bra might be worth checking out.
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Abby Hepworth is an RRCA-certified running coach who has worked in fashion for over 10 years. Want to know what shoes are in this season? She's got you. Need recommendations on the best running apps? She's your gal. From trend explanations to designer gossip, Abby has your back.