When’s the last time you bought a new sports bra? If it’s been more than a year and you exercise regularly, you might be due for a new one: All that action and all those washings can break down the stretchy, supportive materials before long. But how to choose? It’s all about what workout you love to do.
Research has shown that during higher-impact activities, like running or plyometric training, bras that both compress and encapsulate the breasts are key for reducing bounce and the pain it can cause. But if you’re a yogi, there’s no point in pulling on a bra with tons of support and compression—it’ll just make you feel like you’re in a corset while you flow through downward dog. So here are some of the top styles on the market right now, broken down by activity level.
BEST FOR LOW IMPACT
Activities like yoga, walking, or strength training require minimal compression.
1. MANDUKA LINEA BRA; $60
This bra is a favorite among fans of the yoga brand, and for good reason: It’s as comfy and supportive as it is stylish. It features four-way stretch, so it moves with you any way you bend, and the straps always stay put. A cutout in the back and mesh panel in the front help keep you cool, even in hot vinyasa classes. Bonus: Nearly two-thirds of the fabric in this bra is recycled materials, so you can feel extra good about wearing it.
Find it: Manduka
2. RYU BRA TOP; $53
Worn as a regular sports bra under a top or as a crop on its own, the RYU bra top gives a long, flattering fit. An interior band at the bottom and wide racer-back straps keeps it snugly in place during the twists and turns common to low-impact activities like yoga, barre, and Pilates—but because the top’s made of super-stretchy, moisture-wicking jersey, it’s also a great option for your sweatiest workouts.
Find it: RYU
BEST FOR MEDIUM IMPACT
Activities like hiking, indoor cycling, and elliptical training cause a moderate amount of bounce and therefore require moderate support.
3. HANDFUL Y BACK BRA; $54
It boasts a supportive fit and full coverage, but this sports bra’s best feature is maybe its fabric: a poly-Spandex blend that’s as soft as your favorite pajamas. Wide straps, flat seams, and a thick band at the bottom up the comfort level even more. The style is also extra flattering thanks to removable, sweat-wicking padding and a front seam that nixes uniboob without resorting to an underwire.
Find it: Handful
4. UNDER ARMOUR ECLIPSE MID-IMPACT BRA; $40
This option from Under Armour is a happy medium. Straps crisscross on the back and are adjustable to stay snug and comfortable during medium-impact activities like cycling or rowing. It wicks away sweat to keep you dry and comfy while you work and has soft cups for a little extra coverage. Its mesh lining is breathable, so you stay feeling cool and never too constricted.
Find it: Under Armour
BEST FOR HIGH IMPACT
When you're really moving—with activities like running, dance, or interval training—you need to call in the big guns.
5. NB POWER BRA; $65
Racer-back styles in general are good for offering support, but this bra has several more details that make it an ideal option for high-impact exercise like speed work or CrossFit. Inner cups separate breasts while an outer “shell” compresses them to majorly reduce bounce. And while you’re ramping up the intensity, mesh detailing and wicking fabric help keep you cool and dry. This bra also has a hook-eye closure to help give a truly personalized fit, and straps infused with gel reduce the pressure on shoulders.
Find it: New Balance
6. HYLETE ALTIUM SPORTS BRA; $50
Unlike many high-impact options, this bra doesn’t feature buttons to snap or a hook-and-eye closure—so it’s a cinch to pull on and off but still offers a snug, won’t-budge fit. Its comfortable, wide X-back straps are stitched together so they don’t slip while you cycle, sprint, or squat. The rounded neckline is flattering but also high enough that it keeps your cleavage under wraps and out of the way during your most intense workouts.
Find it: Hylete
7. BROOKS JUNO SPORTS BRA; $65
This design is the running brand’s best-selling bra season after season. Adjustable straps and a hook-eye closure gives it a totally customizable fit for your run or HIIT session—plus, the straps adjust on the front, so you can loosen or tighten them mid-workout. And its supportive, compressive “unicup” design eliminates bounce while you’re on the move but actually doesn’t cause uniboob; it’s a flattering take on full coverage.
Find it: Brooks Running