Expert-Tested: The 10 Best High-Impact Sports Bras of 2022

After testing nine options, Athleta’s Advance Bra earned our top spot

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Best High-Impact Sports Bras

Verywell / Chloe Jeong

An essential piece of athletic gear, sports bras are needed to support breasts, control bounce, and prevent strain, especially during high-impact workouts such as running, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and plyometrics.

Tested & Approved

We chose Athleta’s Advance Bra as our best overall pick because it features a stretchy, snug band and molded cups that are supportive and reduce bounce. Another versatile option for all types of high-impact workouts, we love the Brooks Dare Crossback Run Bra.

“During high-impact activities, there may be more breast tissue movement, so it is important to wear a supportive, well-fitting bra to help decrease the extra movement,” Jackelyn Turner, PT, DPT, clinical director at Strive Physical Therapy in Delran, NJ, says. “Wearing an ill-fitting bra with insufficient support can lead to upper arm muscle and nerve pain, postural issues, back pain, and a change in the way your body moves, which can result in injury.”

When selecting a high-impact sports bra, look for ones that provide superior bounce control and support through full coverage designs, adjustable straps and bands, molded cups, and compression. For the best comfort and chafing protection, select bras made of quick-drying, moisture-wicking fabrics. We tested the sports bras by wearing them through several high-impact workouts and evaluated each bra for its support, performance, adjustability, material, comfort, appearance, and value.

Based on our research and testing, here are the best high-impact sports bras on the market.

Best Overall: Athleta Advance Bra, B-G

4.9
Athleta Advance Bra, B-G

Athleta

Our Ratings
  • Fit
    5/5
  • Performance
    4.5/5
  • Adjustability
    5/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5
Pros
  • Fully-adjustable straps

  • Soft, smooth sweat-wicking material

  • Easy to get on and off

Cons
  • Could use more ventilation

  • Not available in A cups

Designed specifically for high impact workouts, this comfortable, supportive Athleta bra scored high in all of our categories—earning a perfect score of 5 out of 5 for fit, adjustability, comfort, appearance, and value—and was a clear choice for our top bra.

Our tester immediately noticed how easy it is to slip the bra on and adjust it to the exact right size, thanks to the adjustable straps and hook-and-eye closure. With a combination of a stretchy, snug bottom band, thick straps, encapsulation, and compression, it offered great support and controlled the bounce, even when running and jumping. Our tester also noted that the bra’s sleek, soft material molded to the body and didn’t rub or irritate any areas, helping to earn the bra a perfect score for comfort.

During testing, the padded cups provided excellent coverage and support, without feeling too thick or bulky. Our tester also appreciated the bra’s exceptional moisture-wicking capability during intense workouts, and noted that any sweat that was absorbed dried quickly—so we gave it a nearly perfect score of 4.5 out of 5 for material.

Sizes: 32B - 40DD | Support Level: High | Adjustability: Adjustable straps; hook-and-eye closure | Padding: Light | Materials: Nylon, spandex, polyester | Care & Washability: Machine wash, hang dry

What Our Tester Says

“With adjustability in both the straps and back closure, it’s easy to get a snug, comfortable fit with this bra. It provides great support and control, and the soft, smooth material feels really good against the skin.” — Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best Budget: Champion Women’s Show-Off Sports Bra

4.5
Champion Women’s Show-Off Sports Bra
Our Ratings
  • Fit
    4.5/5
  • Performance
    4.5/5
  • Adjustability
    5/5
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Comfortable and supportive for A to D cups

  • Adjustable straps and closure

  • Good ventilation

Cons
  • Straps may be irritating during long-term wear

  • Thinner straps than other options

This comfy sports bra from Champion offers high support and control, without a huge price tag. The adjustable straps and hook-and-eye closure helps you get a custom-like fit, so the bra earned a perfect score of 5 out of 5 for adjustability—our highest score on the list for this attribute. During testing, the bra’s stretchy material didn’t feel like it was pinching or causing irritation and the bottom band provided exceptional support.

With performance mesh in the front and back, the bra is well-ventilated and the moisture-wicking fabric also helped to keep our tester dry during a test run. The smooth, molded cups are not overly thick or hot, but provide enough coverage as well as some extra support.

Our tester was also impressed with the bra’s streamlined, racerback cut that looked nice under a tank top or shirt, or by itself. The adjustable closure and a keyhole cut-out in the back also helped our tester avoid a post-workout struggle to get it off. The straps may be a bit too narrow for optimal support for very large chests, but this bra is a great option for women in the A to D cup size range.

Sizes: 32A-38D | Support Level: High | Adjustability: Front adjustable straps, hook-and-eye back closure | Padding: Light | Materials: Mesh, nylon, polyester, spandex | Care & Washability: Machine wash, line dry

What Our Tester Says

“This bra offers the support, comfort, and coverage of higher-end bras, but at half the price. The stretchy material, adjustable straps, and hook-and-eye closure make it possible to get a custom-like fit.” — Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best for HIIT: Nike Alpha Sports Bra

4.5
Nike Alpha Sports Bra

Nike

Our Ratings
  • Fit
    4/5
  • Performance
    4.5/5
  • Adjustability
    5/5
  • Comfort
    4.5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Excellent sweat-wicking fabric

  • Good ventilation

  • Adjustable straps and closure

Cons
  • Not sized by band size

  • May not work for plus-size

The Nike Alpha sports bra provided exceptional support and movement control during our HIIT workout test, so it was an easy choice for the best in that category. It features molded cups for an encapsulated fit, comfortable coverage, and a flattering shape.

During testing, the bra’s stretchy material felt soft and secure, but not constricting—earning it a nearly perfect score of 4.5 out of 5 for the material attribute. Our tester noted that the racerback design was very comfortable and allowed for good range of motion. The moisture-wicking fabric and the perforated front panel also helped to keep our tester cool, dry, and comfortable.

Each bra size works for a range of cups and band sizes, so the sizing is not as exact as some of the other bras we tested. However, the adjustable straps and rear closure allowed our tester to get a snug yet comfy fit.

Sizes: XS A/C – XL D/E | Support Level: High | Adjustability: Adjustable straps and hook and eye closure | Padding: Medium | Materials: Nylon, spandex, polyamide | Care & Washability: Machine wash, hang dry

What Our Tester Says

“I love this bra for high-intensity exercise because the stretchy material and racerback design allow for such good mobility. The ventilation and sweat-wicking capability also make it a great option for sweat-inducing workouts or warm weather exercise.” — Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best Design: Brooks Dare Crossback Run Bra

4.5
Brooks Dare Crossback Bra

Courtesy: Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Fit
    4/5
  • Performance
    5/5
  • Adjustability
    3/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Soft, smooth material

  • Minimal seams

  • Built-in cups

Cons
  • Not adjustable

  • May not work for tall women

The best-looking sports bras don’t always provide optimal support, but that’s not the case with the well-designed, attractive Brooks Dare Crossback Run Bra. The versatile bra offers exceptional comfort and coverage, and looks flattering underneath a shirt or worn alone. Our tester immediately noticed the bra’s soft fabric and flat, wide straps that provide good support, without feeling too constricting.

The bra isn’t adjustable, which is why we gave it a 3 out of 5 for the adjustability attribute, but that also means that it has minimal seams, hardware, or potential areas for irritation. Our tester noted that the smooth, streamlined design felt very protective against chafing, and gave the bra a perfect score of 5 out of 5 for the performance, material, comfort, and appearance attributes.

During testing, the bra did an exceptional job of wicking away sweat and, if it did absorb any moisture, it dried very quickly. Made of a stretchy nylon and spandex blend, it was a cinch to get on and off, despite it being a pullover bra. Our tester also really appreciated the built-in cups, which provided just the right amount of coverage and stayed put when the bra went through the washing machine.

Sizes: 30A – 40E | Support Level: High | Adjustability: None | Padding: Medium | Material: Nylon, polyester spandex | Care & Washability: Machine wash cold, hang dry

What Our Tester Says

“I love the smooth, soft fabric and comfortable fit of this bra. It’s very streamlined and has minimal seams, which is great to prevent chafing and also looks flattering under a shirt or even without one. Despite it being an over-the-head bra, it was very easy to get on and off.” — Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best Breathable: Lululemon Run Times, High Support Bra

4.9
Lululemon Run Times Bra

Courtesy of Lululemon

Our Ratings
  • Fit
    5/5
  • Performance
    5/5
  • Adjustability
    5/5
  • Comfort
    5/5
  • Value
    5/5
Pros
  • Good ventilation

  • Comfy, supportive fit

  • Padded straps

Cons
  • Limited color options

  • Straps difficult to adjust with bra on

High-impact activities usually involve some serious sweat, so it’s crucial to find a bra that allows for good air flow and wicks away sweat. A versatile choice for running and other high-intensity activities, the Lululemon Run Times bra excels in both of those areas.

With a perforated panel in the front, the bra ventilates right where sweat tends to accumulate during exercise. Plus, the sweat-wicking fabric helped to keep our tester dry and cool. Our tester also noted that the material has a lot of stretch to it and felt soft and smooth against the skin, which earned the bra a perfect score of 5 out of 5 for both comfort and material. 

During testing, the soft, adjustable underband provided excellent support during all activities, while the molded cups helped keep everything separated and under control.

With some light padding, the bra’s adjustable straps were definitely the comfiest of all the bras we tested. The bra also offers some versatility in the positioning of the straps, which can be worn regular or criss-crossed.

Sizes: 32B – 42DDD | Support Level: High | Adjustability: Hook-and-eye closure; adjustable straps | Padding: Medium | Materials: Nylon, Lycra, polyester, elastane | Care & Washability: Machine wash cold, hang dry

What Our Tester Says

“With exceptional fit, support, and control, this bra is a winner for high-impact activities. The smooth, padded straps are extremely comfortable and the ventilation in the front made a huge difference when it came to airflow.” — Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best for Large Breasts: Panache Women's Non-Wired Sports Bra

4.5
Panache Women's Non-Wired Sports Bra

Courtesy of Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Fit
    4.5/5
  • Performance
    4.5/5
  • Adjustability
    4.8/5
  • Comfort
    4.5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Reduces bounce

  • Wide range of sizes

  • Breathable, sweat-wicking fabric

Cons
  • Limited side coverage

  • Large seams

The Panache Women's Non-Wired Sports Bra is specially crafted to support larger bust sizes during high-impact activities. The wide, elastic underband provides exceptional support, while the molded, built-in cups encapsulate each breast, helping to keep you bounce-free.

With a hook-and-eye back closure and adjustable straps, this bra can be customized for your own fit and preferences. The rear closure also makes the challenge of taking off a sweaty sports bra a cinch. Wide, cushioned straps offer a comfortable fit and help to disperse pressure without digging into your skin.

If you prefer a racerback-style, the straps can be converted with the included J-hook. “Modifying the shoulder straps from traditional to crossed-back or racerback can provide more support and less shoulder strap discomfort,” says Turner.

What's more, the bra is made of a moisture-wicking blend of polyester and elastane that feels soft and smooth and keeps you dry and comfortable during exercise.

Sizes: Up to 40 J | Support Level: High | Adjustability: Hook-and-eye back closure, adjustable straps | Padding: Medium | Material: Polyamide, polyester, elastane | Care & Washability: Machine wash, hang dry

Best for Small Breasts: Under Armour Infinity Limitless High Sports Bra

4.5
Under Armour Infinity Limitless High Sports Bra

Under Armour

Our Ratings
  • Fit
    4.5/5
  • Performance
    4.5/5
  • Adjustability
    5/5
  • Comfort
    4/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Breathable, sweat-wicking fabric

  • Adjustable straps and closure

  • Wide straps

Cons
  • Not enough support for DD+ cups

  • Cups feel a little stiff at first

A versatile option from Under Armour, this bra offers excellent support, coverage, and comfort for running and other high-impact activities. Although it comes in a wide range of sizes, it has an attractive design that may appeal to women with smaller breasts. The molded cups create a flattering silhouette that looks great under a shirt or without one, earning this bra a high score of 5 out of 5 for appearance.

Our tester found that the hook and eye closure and adjustable straps made it easy to get the bra on and off and adjust it for a snug and comfortable fit. During our exercise tests, the bottom band felt supportive and the wide straps helped control movement. Our tester also noted that the material was effective at wicking away sweat and the mesh fabric in the back helped with ventilation.

Compared to other bras we tested, the bra’s material felt a bit stiffer, especially in the cup area, so we gave it a score of 4 out of 5 for material. But, overall, it didn’t rub or cause any irritation, making this bra a good option for extended wear.

Sizes: 30A - 40D | Support Level: High | Adjustability: Hook and eye closure, adjustable straps | Padding: Medium | Materials: Polyester, elastane | Care & Washability: Machine wash, hang dry

What Our Tester Says

“This bra felt very supportive and provided good movement control, regardless of how intense my workout was.  If you like to exercise in just a sports bra and shorts, this is an attractive option that has good coverage and a flattering silhouette.” — Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best Padded: SYROKAN Full Coverage High Impact Sports Bra

4.6
SYROKAN Full Coverage High Impact Sports Bra

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Fit
    5/5
  • Performance
    4.5/5
  • Adjustability
    5/5
  • Comfort
    4.5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Flattering fit and design

  • Reduces bounce

  • Budget-friendly

Cons
  • High neckline

  • Could use more ventilation

Versatile and stylish, the SYROKAN Women's High Impact Padded Sports Bra delivers a comfortable, supportive fit, at a very affordable price.

During testing, the bra immediately stood out to us for its soft, smooth material, adjustable straps, and hook-and-eye closures—features that are often found in much more expensive bras. Our tester found that the combination of thick straps, built-in molded cups, and snug and stretchy bottom band offered exceptional support and bounce control, whether running, dancing, or jumping. She also noted that the fit of the bra was exceptional—giving it a perfect score of 5 out of 5 for this attribute.

The built-in molded cups offer just the right amount of padding for good coverage and a flattering shape. They stayed in place and didn’t rip or warp in the washing machine.

Compared to other bras we tested, this one didn’t have as much ventilation in the front. The neckline is also a bit higher than some other options, which may offer more coverage and support for large-chested women, but doesn’t serve much of a purpose for smaller chests. Overall, this bra is an excellent pick for women looking for an adjustable bra with exceptional support and control.

Sizes: 32A – 40DD | Support Level: High | Adjustability: Adjustable straps, hook-and-eye back closure | Padding: Medium | Materials: Polyamide, spandex | Care & Washability: Machine wash cold, delicate cycle, line dry

What Our Tester Says

“For great coverage, support, and control, you can’t go wrong with this bra. I love the flattering fit and adjustable straps. If you need to stock up on sports bras for high-impact exercise, it’s a fantastic option.” — Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best for Running: Runderwear Original Support Running Bra

4.5
Runderwear sports bra

 Courtesy of Runderwear

Our Ratings
  • Fit
    4.5/5
  • Performance
    4/5
  • Adjustability
    5/5
  • Comfort
    4.5/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Lightweight and breathable

  • Racerback style

  • No built-in cups may be preferable to some

Cons
  • Not as much coverage as padded bras

  • No DD+ sizes

The Runderwear Original Running Bra features a classic racerback style that’s very comfortable for running and offers the support and chafing protection that runners need. During testing, it felt lightweight and very breathable, earning it a high score of 4.5 out of 5 for comfort. The fabric was also very effective at wicking away sweat, with our tester noting that the bra would be an ideal choice for hot weather running. It also rated high for adjustability, earning a perfect score of 5 out of 5 for that attribute, thanks to the non-slip adjustable straps and hook-and-eye back closure. 

The elasticated underband offered superb support and kept everything in place. The smooth material felt soft against the skin and our tester had no issue with chafing or rubbing while working out in this bra.

Unlike the other bras we tested, this bra doesn’t have any padding, so it doesn’t separate the breasts as well as other bras. It also doesn’t provide as much shape and coverage as padded bras. However, if you find built-in cups to be too hot or bulky, especially for running, this bra is an excellent option.

Sizes: 32A – 38D | Support Level: High | Adjustability: Adjustable straps, hook-and-eye closure | Padding: None | Material:  Polyamide, elastane | Care & Washability: Machine wash, hang dry

What Our Tester Says

“You can tell that this bra is designed with runners in mind. The material is super soft and smooth, and feels comfortable against the skin, and doesn’t chafe. Although I sometimes prefer the coverage of a padded sports bra, this one is a great option for warm weather runs when you need a lightweight, very breathable bra.” — Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best Front Closure: Lululemon Enlite Zip Front Bra

4.3
Lululemon Enlite Zip Front Bra

Courtesy: Lululemon

Our Ratings
  • Fit
    4/5
  • Performance
    5/5
  • Adjustability
    3/5
  • Comfort
    4.5/5
  • Value
    4/5
Pros
  • Four-way stretch material

  • Excellent support and control

  • Wide range of sizes

Cons
  • Expensive

  • Not adjustable

With a front-zipper closure, this Lululemon bra offers an easy post-workout escape. What’s more, its exceptional support and control earned it a perfect score of 5 out of 5 for performance in our testing. The bra’s underband offered snug support, without being too constricting, digging in, or riding up. The built-in cups helped to control the bounce, but didn’t feel bulky and were very breathable.

Our tester was also impressed with the bra’s smooth, soft four-way stretch material that molds to the body, which earned it a score of 5 out of 5 for our material attribute. Although the bra isn’t adjustable, the fabric has enough give that it’s still easy to get a snug and supportive yet comfortable fit. The fabric also wicked away sweat very effectively and didn’t rub or cause chafing during our tests. 

Our tester noted that the underside of the zipper, which could be a potential source for irritation, is well-covered with fabric so it won’t rub against the skin.

Sizes: 30A – 40DDD | Support Level: High | Adjustability: None | Padding: Light | Materials: Polyester, elastane, nylon | Care & Washability: Machine wash, line dry

What Our Tester Says

“If you prefer front-zipper closures, this bra is a very comfortable and supportive option. I really love the four-way stretch fabric that feels soft and smooth against the skin and really moves with you.” — Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Compare

Overall Rating Fit Performance Adjustability Comfort Value
Athleta Advance Bra, B-G
Best Overall:
Athleta Advance Bra
4.9
5 4.5 5 5 5
Champion Women’s Show-Off Sports Bra
Best Budget:
Champion Women’s Show-Off Sports Bra
4.5
4.5 4.5 5 4 4.5
Nike Alpha Sports Bra
Best for HIIT:
Nike Alpha Sports Bra
4.5
4 4.5 5 4.5 4.5
Brooks Dare Crossback Bra
Best Design:
Brooks Dare Crossback Run Bra
4.5
4 5 3 5 4.5
Lululemon Run Times Bra
Best Breathable:
Lululemon Run Times, High Support Bra
4.9
5 5 5 5 5
Panache Women's Non-Wired Sports Bra
Best for Large Breasts:
Panache Non-Wired Sports Bra
4.5
4.5 4.5 4.8 4.5 4.5
Under Armour Infinity Limitless High Sports Bra
Best for Small Breasts:
Under Armour Infinity Limitless High Sports Bra
4.5
4.5 4.5 5 4 4.5
SYROKAN Full Coverage High Impact Sports Bra
Best Padded:
SYROKAN Full Coverage High Impact Sports Bra
4.6
5 4.5 5 4.5 4.5
Runderwear sports bra
Best for Running:
Runderwear Original Support Running Bra
4.5
4.5 4 5 4.5 4.5
Lululemon Enlite Zip Front Bra
Best Front Closure:
Lululemon Enlite Zip Front Bra
4.3
4 5 3 4.5 4

Final Verdict

We chose Athleta’s Advance Bra as our best overall pick because it features a stretchy, snug band and molded cups that are supportive and significantly reduce bounce during high-impact workouts. The smooth, quick-drying, and moisture-wicking fabric keeps you dry, comfortable, and chafe-free. 

Another versatile option for all types of high-impact workouts, we love that the Brooks Dare Crossback Run Bra provides high coverage, support, and control in a classically cool racerback design. This flattering, sweat-ready bra is sure to keep your skin cool and dry no matter the heat or intensity of your workout.

How We Rated the High-Impact Sports Bras

4.8 to 5 stars: These are the best high-impact sports bras we tested. We recommend them without reservation.

4.5 to 4.7 stars: These high-impact sports bras are excellent—they might have minor flaws, but we still recommend them.

4.0 to 4.5 stars: We think these are great high-impact sports bras, but others are better.

3.5 to 3.9 stars: These high-impact sports bras are just average.

3.4 and below: We don't recommend high-impact sports bras with this rating; you won't find any on our list.

How We Selected and Tested the Best High-Impact Sports Bras

To determine the best high-impact sports bra, we purchased and tested nine sports bras and evaluated them based on seven key attributes—including support, performance, adjustability, material, comfort, appearance, and value—and scored each attribute with a rating of 1 to 5. Each bra also received an overall star rating, which considered the overall qualities of the bra and reflected whether or not we’d recommend it to a friend.

For our testing process, we first washed and dried each bra according to the manufacturer’s instructions to see how it held up through that process. Next was the all-day wear test, during which our tester wore the bra for an entire day (without exercising in it), to assess its overall comfort. During our high-impact workout tests, our tester wore each bra for four different workouts, which included a 30-minute jog, a 30-minute dance workout, a 30-minute HIIT workout, and a 15-minute jump rope workout. Our tester stayed in each bra for 30 minutes post-workout to evaluate the bra’s quick-dry capability.

What to Look for in a High Impact Sports Bra

Support Style

Encapsulation styles feature two designated cups that lift, support, and stabilize the breasts during physical activity. Sports bras with molded cups provide a supportive, flexible fit without compromising shape or comfort. Ideal for all bust sizes, molded cups are seamless, providing built-in, smoothing coverage.

“Compression sports bras do not have cups, but instead restrict breast motion by compressing the breast across the chest wall,” Turner says. This style does not separate the breasts, and in turn, can present a minimizing, or uni-boob, effect. Compression bras are often wire-free and moderately stretchy for a comfortable fit. 

Some bras, like many of the ones we tested, are combination sports bras, which means that they offer both encapsulation and compression.

Adjustability and Fit

None of us are built the same, and for that reason, “one-size-fits-all”—or generically sized small through extra-large bras—do not deliver the highest level of support for every individual. Bras with adjustable shoulder straps and bands enable you to tailor the fit to your shape, support, and comfort level.

Some sports bras have underbands equipped with a hook-and-eye back closure that also make getting dressed much easier as there’s no pulling the bra over your head. Some styles even feature convertible straps to change up the fit from crisscross to a straight back fit. 

For fit, it should be tighter than a regular bra but not so much that it restricts your breathing or feels uncomfortable. “A sports bra should not be loose in any way, but it should not be so tight that it digs into your skin,” Lauren Sheu, RRCA, certified running coach and founder of Running for Wellness, says. “Be sure to try on a variety of sports bras in order to find the best fit possible.”

Fabric and Breathability

Look for bras that can keep you dry, comfortable, and chafe-free. “Make sure to get sports bras made of moisture-wicking fabric,” Sheu says. “Avoid cotton at all costs.” Absorbent materials like cotton dry slowly, while also trapping odor and bacteria. Opt for materials like nylon and spandex, along with styles that feature mesh paneling or perforation for increased ventilation.

Care and Maintenance

Once you’ve found your match, take the necessary steps to get the most mileage out of your new sports bra. Start by always following the tag's care instructions, as some sports bras include materials that may be too delicate for the washing machine. For best results, hang dry your sports bras rather than putting them in the dryer. High heat should be avoided at all costs as it can ruin the elasticity of the fabric and damage padding. 

For all machine washable styles, wash on delicate and use mild detergent. Also, avoid fabric softeners to preserve the fabric’s moisture-wicking properties. We suggest always fastening the hooks before washing to prevent snagging other fabric, and rotating between sports bras to maximize their lifespan.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the difference between a high-impact and low-impact sports bra?

    Sports bras are measured by impact level, which translates to the amount of support and compression the garment offers your bust in relation to the physical demands of various activities.

    Low-impact sports bras are designed for casual, non-strenuous activities where comfort is the main priority—like a leisurely stroll, stretching, or gentle yoga. Designed with light support, low-impact sports bras often prioritize style and comfort over structure and stability—think comfy loungewear or an open-back yoga bra.

    High-impact sports bras hold your bust firmly in place—through molded cups, compression, an underwire, or a combination—during vigorous activity and sudden bursts of movement. High-support styles are typically fully adjustable and often offer fuller coverage with wider straps and higher necklines.

    “A high-impact sports bra should be tight and fit snugly,” Sheu says. “You should be able to fit two fingers under the straps on your shoulders.”

  • When should you wear a high-impact sports bra?

    The more bounce in your step, the higher the level of support you’ll need. High-impact activities where your feet simultaneously leave the ground—like running, jumping, HIIT, and court sports—all result in a high degree of breast movement. “Picking the correct bra type can decrease breast discomfort, bra discomfort, and limit breast movement during high level activities,” Turner says.

    Wearing a low-impact bra during high-impact activity may not provide sufficient support. When in doubt, opt for a higher impact bra for long-term support.

  • Is there such a thing as wearing a high-impact sports bra for too long?

    In general, you should be able to wear a high-impact sports bra for a long period of time, as long as it fits properly. If it gets wet with sweat during a workout, you should take it off promptly. Sitting in a sweaty sports bra can lead to skin irritation or breakouts, due to the mineral salts and bacteria that are left behind from evaporated sweat.

  • How many high-impact sports bras should I own?

    The number of high-impact sports bras you need really depends on how often you work out—and how frequently you do laundry.

    If you hit an exercise class, do high-intensity workouts at home, or run about two to three times a week, you can probably get away with two high-impact sports bras. It’s recommended to wash your sports bras after each wear so, if you have two, you’ll have one to wear when the other is in the laundry pile.

    However, if your workouts are more frequent, such as four or five a week, you’ll need more than two. Four is a good number for avid exercises to have in rotation.

Why Trust Verywell Fit

Certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and fitness writer Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, has spent years researching, testing, and recommending fitness and athletic products and knows that the right gear can tremendously improve performance and comfort.

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4 Sources
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