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 12 Absolute Best High Impact Sports Bras for Running, HIIT and More
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What Does 'High Impact' Mean for Sports Bras?
High-impact activities include running, HIIT, boxing—basically anything that puts stress on weight-baring 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.
- Numerical bra sizing is typically better than S/M/L. That 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 adorable crisscrossing 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:
1. under Armour Ua Infinity High Heather Sports Bra
Multiple PureWow editors recommended this as their go-to sports bra for running or other high-impact activities. “Love, love, loooveee this sports bra,” raves Stephanie S. “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.
2. lululemon Airsupport Bra, C-ddd Cups
Best Barely-There Feel
Lululemon’s new AirSupport bra really lives up to its name, offering ample support and incredibly breathability all at once. The Ultralu fabric molds to your body and allows you more flexibility than more rigid bras while still holding your boobs firmly in place. Speaking of the fabric, it is unbelievably soft, so much so that one size 32D tester was skeptical it would really do the job—how could anything so lovely also stand up to a super-sweaty long run? “I was really pleasantly surprised by how comfortable I felt in this bra,” says Bobbie D. “I sweat a lot pretty much all the time, but when I set out to do a marathon training long run on a humid morning in mid-August, the amount of sweat is truly comical. This bra kept me comfortable through the whole thing and didn’t feel saggy or heavy at the end of ten miles.” One caveat, however, is that this bra is a little difficult to put on at first. “I worried it wasn’t going to fit, even with the straps on their loosest setting, but once I got the back clipped I found it actually fit really well,” added Bobbie.
3. shefit Ultimate Sports Bra
Most Customizable Fit
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. Per one size 36DDD runner, “With most sports bras I either spill out of the sides or out the bottom, or I don’t get nearly enough support, but not with this bra at all. My boobs do not move at all. Everything is so secure and [the adjustable features are] so easy to use.” In fact, while this bra works well for those with just about any cup size, we particularly recommend it to anyone with a larger chest.
4. brooks Running Dare Crossback Run Bra
Best Seamless Design
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. 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 (though 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.
5. panache Ultimate High-impact Underwire Sports Bra
Best High-Impact Sports Bra for Big Boobs
“It’s truly a feat of engineering,” raves Jasmine D. “How an underwire sports bra can feel so comfortable is beyond me.” Indeed, this incredible bra has more 1,200 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 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 10 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.”
6. sweaty Betty Ultra Run Sports Bra
Best for Super-Sweaty Runners
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. 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.
7. athleta Phenomena Bra B-dd
Most Accurate Sizing
Athleta is really great with sizing for sports bras and understands that S/M/L just doesn’t work for anyone with either a small band and large cup size, or large band and small cup size. The Phenomena style also earns points for being easy to get on an off—thanks to a hook-and-eye closure at the back and adjustable straps—and for its molded cups that keep everything in place without simply smashing your boobs down. Per Destiny H., a fitness instructor who wears a size 36DD, “I teach a lot of HIIT classes, and as someone with a 36DD bra size, I am so impressed! They don't move! I can jump and do burpees and run and I feel secure in this bra.” Destiny did add that she ended up exchanging for a 36D after test-driving the 36DD, thanks to Athleta’s Give It a Workout Guarantee, for a more snug fit. Also, we should note some reviewers found the straps starting to slip after a few wears, but as one fan mentioned, you can easily pin or sew them in place should this happen to you.
8. knix Catalyst Sports Bra
Best Minimalist Bra for Big Boobs
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. Knix’s proprietary sizing system extends from a 32A up through a 42G, but we find this bra is even more of a game-changer for those with larger chests. A quick scroll through the nearly 3,300 reviews and you’ll find the vast majority of them are from women wearing sizes closer to 40C, 34DD, 36E and even a 34G. 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.
9. Brooks Running Drive 3-pocket Run Bra
Best Sports Bra with Pockets
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.”
10. Athleta Advance Zip Front Bra B-dd
Best Front-Zip Style
Honestly, pulling a super-sweaty swath of spandex up over your head might just be the most difficult part of working out. (It falls only slightly behind burpees in our book.) That’s why we love the ease of a front-zip sports bra. Athleta’s original Advance bra is one of our go-to pull-over styles, so it came as no surprise that the zippered option is equally as supportive. The only downside appears to be the sizing, which multiple reviews suggesting the bra runs small. That said, fans rave about how soft and breathable the fabric is and no one mentioned any issues with the zipper slipping or coming undone mid-workout. There’s also an extra panel of that same gloriously comfy fabric behind the zipper to prevent rubbing or chafing, as well as a clip to help secure the bra even more. The straps are adjustable, but so is the chest band with the addition of a hook-and-eye closure at the back for even more control over the fit. “I love a good front-close sports bra and this one does not disappoint,” says Jane E. who wears a size 34DD. “I get great hold, comfort and utility from this during my HIIT classes. Definite win!”
11. Champion Spot Comfort Full-support Sports Bra
Easiest to Get On and Off
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 Chelsea C. “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 your totally drenched in sweat.
12. Maaree Solidarity High Impact Sports Bra
Best Innovative New Technology
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 chaffing 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.