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Buying a sports bra for running

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

Buying a sports bra for running for maximum support and comfort

Buying a sports bra for running for maximum support and comfort

Finding the right size and style of sports bra is incredibly important for runners. This is your best line of defense against avoiding sag later in life. Get a proper one and your older self will thank you!

Due to the intensity of movement when running, breasts need extra support. Otherwise every stride will send them side to side, up and down in almost a figure eight. Regardless of your size, improperly supported breasts will result in tissue damage.

When buying a sports bra for running, the right one makes a world of difference. Breasts are composed not of muscle but soft tissue so it’s important to keep them as still as possible. Not only do athletic bras reduce movement by half, they also protect your ligaments and surrounding skin. This way everything stays where you want it to.

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The band, cups and straps are the three primary supportive features. Take the time to measure yourself for the right fit and choose a style designed to support your body and workout intensity.

Before you fall in love with a running sports bra for its bright color or flattering fit, here are the functional features to look for.


Adjustable features

Today’s styles offer a full range of adjustability. No longer do women have to make do with one-size-fits-none, generic T-backs! Padding offers comfort and a little extra boost, but you can also remove it if you need more room. Women with larger chests may want to consider modest pads.

Mesh inserts in the center front and back help your body stay cool and dry. Hidden structure enhances your shape in a way that looks and feels natural. Many styles with V-style straps and hook-and-eye closure offer a more customizable fit.

Get the right size

Fitness magazine polled women and found that the most common mistake made in buying a sports bra for running is getting the wrong size. The majority wind up wearing a cup that’s too small and a band that’s too large. The best way to avoid this mistake is to see an expert fitter in-store. If you’re buying from an online store, sites like will show you how to measure yourself and find the right size.


Running is a high intensity sport. Whether you’re building mileage on the treadmill or hitting the trails on cool days, choose a style made with sweat-wicking material. This will remove moisture from your skin to keep you from overheating in summer and catching a chill in winter. Cotton bras may feel more comfortable when you try them on, but they’re a better choice for activities like walking and low intensity yoga.

Compression VS. encapsulation

Shelf-style compression bras are more traditional. They’re best for women with small cup sizes doing low-impact workouts. If you’re training for a marathon or aiming to PR at an upcoming race, encapsulation is the way to go. Encapsulation styles have individual cups so they’re ideal for high-impact workouts and larger cups.


Racerback straps pull in at the back, securing the band closer for more support. Runners who wear larger cups may also want to go with wide straps. Wide straps are adjustable and they distribute weight best.


Pullover styles are stretchy and comfortable for light workouts or a day when you’re alternating between running and walking. The drawback is that they’re not as adjustable or supportive of large cups. Back clasps allow you to customize the fit of the band to improve support. As larger cups require the most support around the band, back clasps are the way to go.

Buying a sports bra for running is an important step in avoiding injury as you make strides towards building fitness. Once you find a style you adore, take good care of it by washing it in cold water and skipping the fabric softener. Happy running!


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