A round-up for five good quality sports bras for runners. Whether you’re small or larger chested, a sports bra is an important item of kit for all kinds of activities. For high impact sports, such as running, a good quality bra is essential.
According to research, runners can expect their boobs to get shaken around by an average of 14cm in three directions – up, down, side to side, and forwards to back.
Any bounce has the potential to stretch the Cooper’s ligaments – the ones that maintain the structural integrity of breasts – which do not recover once over-stretched.
But there is a solution, according to the study by University of Portsmouth, which found that a sports-specific bra can reduce movement by 78 per cent.
A good quality sports bra with a wicking, breathable fabric will also help to reduce sweat so you do not end up with chafing.
What style of sports bra do I need?
The more intensive the sport, the more support you’ll need. Crop tops, which compress the breasts against the chest, are generally fine for yoga and weight training and for A to C cup sizes.
Any exercise with a lot of movement, such as running or HIIT, or if you’re a D cup or above, you’re better going for more of a more traditional bra-shaped option, which tend to support rather than compress.
However, there are new designs and brands being created and some that seem less traditional can offer great support.
How can I tell if a sports bra fits?
The back band on a sports bra should be slightly firmer than your normal bra to provide you with enough support for your chosen sport.
You should be able to get two fingers between your skin and the band at the side.
Ideally, pick a bra that fits correctly on its largest hooks, which gives you the scope to tighten if the elastic loosens over time.
Make sure that all your breast tissue sits inside the cup, or you risk bruising and chafing.
And regardless of how comfortable it might feel, six months to a year is the lifespan of a sports bra if you wear it regularly.
The movement of exercise and washing will make it go baggy and lose support.
Tested: Five sports bras
Bellum Active Luxe Crop Bra
This is a medium-to-high impact sports bra ideal for up to a C cup.
Sizes: XS (UK6) to L (UK12).
Features include: Sweat wicking, dynamic two-way stretch, moulded removable padding and funky colours and designs.
On test: It’s a comfortable and supportive bra thanks to wide chest band and shoulders straps, plus a racer style back.
The bra also looks great and could be worn on its own in sunny weather or at he gym.
There’s a choice of extra padding, or simply remove them from the cups.
New Balance Captivate Crop Bra
New Balance states: “The Captivate Crop Bra elevates your workout ensemble with a next-level luxe feel.”
Sizes: XS to XL
Features include: Performance knit fabric “with a bit of modern shine”; lower neckline; stylish strapping; medium impact support.
On test: The bra looks good both at front and back, while light padding gives a flattering outline. You could wear this as a top on its own at the gym.
Support is fine for up to a C cup and the wider chest band adds to the comfort.
The shoulder straps would be better if they were wider.
Oldo Comfort High Sports Bra
£40, See Amazon and Odlo.com
Soft-to-the-touch yet structured for support, the High Comfort sports bra is “designed to boost comfort and confidence”.
Sizes: 32A to 42F
Features include: Soft stretch jersey fabric; adjustable, padded and crossable straps; a combination of seamless padded moulding technology (inner bra) and compression (outer bra top layer); and adjustable underbust width.
On test: The fabric is soft and comfortable straight away. The fit is flattering and supportive, especially with the cross back.
The looks is more traditional bra ha crop top, which many larger chested women will welcome.
Runderwear Running Support Bra
£40, See Runderwear.
The brand states: “Runderwear Support Bra is designed specifically for runners looking for reduced bounce, maximum support and comfort.”
Sizes: 28A to 38E.
Features include: Soft first layer against the skin; non-slip, adjustable soft-feel straps; adjustable J Hook straps with closure at the back for additional support and bounce reduction; moisture-wicking fabric; no labels; removable pads.
On test: The bra is comfortable and very supportive. I like the racer back for fit and support.
There is enough adjustment both at the back and shoulder straps to allow for a good but comfortable fit.
I like the attention to no-chafing detail such as a soft layer next to the skin and no labels. Annoyingly, the removable pads fall out in the washing machine.
Maaree Solidarity High Impact Sports Bra
A high-impact sports bra with a “world-first” adjustable Overband® for a tailored fit and support.
Sizes: 32C to 38F
Features include: Adjustable Overband; two-way shoulder straps; wide-set underband; padded and curved shoulder straps; wicking, fast-drying and breathable; strategically placed mesh panels.
On test: A brand new bra to the market with Overband technology that prevents breasts from going up, as well as down.
Apparently, this is often overlooked by the mainstream bra manufacturers who are more concerned with keeping them up, rather than down.
The bra has adjustments on the side, which are for the overband, as well as a hook to bring the shoulder straps together to create a racer back.
The look is a bit “monoboob” but the support is excellent and comfort is good.
This article appeared in my Sunday Mail outdoors column