A reliable sports bra keeps you comfortable and supported during a workout, but different types of athletes require different kinds of support. A yogi might not need the same thing as a Zumba instructor. To find the best sports bras for a range of activities, we spoke to 14 fitness experts — including runners, yogis, dancers, movement trainers, cyclists, and boot-camp trainers. To make it easier to find the right sports bra for you, we’ve broken their recommendations down by workout intensity (low-impact, medium-impact, and high-impact), and noted the size range for each bra. If you’re looking for something to wear with any of them, see our list of the best leggings for women.
Best sports bras for low-intensity workouts
A smaller chest in a low-intensity workout allows you to get away with wearing thinner, stylish things that don’t look like traditional padded sports bras, like this one from Live the Process, which goes up to a size large. Erika Bloom, a Pilates instructor and former professional dancer who runs her own studio in the city, tells us that this stretchy jersey bra is one of her favorites for wearing in and out of the studio. “I love how this bra feels like you’re wearing nothing, but still gives good coverage. The straps are thin so they disappear under tops, and don’t dig or slide off.”
Candace Taylor, the chief inspiration officer at 305 Fitness, says that “in a shocking plot twist,” she fell in love with Old Navy activewear because its low-cost sports-bra options are “great quality and usually have fun, bright colors.” She loves this light-support sports bra, which is designed to best fit A to C cups and has thin, crisscrossing bra straps. Taylor has the blue camo color — which she “always gets compliments on” — but there are nine other colors, including pink leopard, olive, black, and this muted green shade to choose from.
Bethany Lyons, the founder and CEO of Lyons Den Power Yoga, finds that this Noli bra with a banded, crisscross back ticks off several of her boxes for style and comfort: “It’s flattering, SUPER comfortable, and moisture-wicking for the sweatiest yoga class.” She recommends going down a size for the best fit. The Vixen Bra’s largest size will accommodate a band size between 36 and 38 inches, and the bra is best for those with small to medium busts.
Another favorite for low-impact workouts is this strappy Athleta bra, which Lyons says combines attention to detail and functionality. “It stays in place, has a very flattering fit, and offers good coverage without being bulky.” Athleta designed this bra to provide medium support specifically for A to C cups.
“I love all Beyond Yoga sports bras for anything low-impact, like yoga and stretching, because the material is so soft and comfortable,” says Peloton instructor Olivia Amato. Made from the brand’s Sportflex performance fabric (which is a blend of Spandex and nylon), the bras provide medium support “without giving you that uncomfortable, restricted feeling,” according to Amato. Beyond Yoga has tiered sizing, the XS will fit sizes A to C, while the XL will fit a B to DD. While Beyond Yoga has plenty of sports-bra options, Amato is partial to the Twinkle bra “because glitter!”
According to Amanda Freeman, the founder and CEO of SLT and Stretch*d, “Tie-dye is still all the rage in the fitness world.” Her favorite bra to wear when taking an SLT class is this one from Electric & Rose, which she suggests pairing with the matching leggings. The racerback style and longer silhouette provide more coverage if you have a slightly larger chest (the bra goes up to a size 12). And the straps are made with moisture-wicking mesh panels to help you stay cool during class. While this is “probably not your serious running bra,” Freeman says it is seriously cute for less strenuous workouts.
Even for low-intensity workouts, you’ll need more support in the form of thick elastic bands, higher necklines, or overlapping strap details if you’re working with a larger bust size. “I love working out in longline, high-neck sports bras,” says Jessamyn Stanley, a yoga instructor and body-positivity advocate. “I find them to be the most supportive for bigger bodies and the most comfortable.” Stanley says the thick straps of this Core 10 bra, which is available in sizes from XS to 3X, make it even more supportive.
Fitness influencer Christine Abramo likes this thermal bra from Alala for low-intensity workouts — it balances breathability and coverage with a mesh back and a high neckline in front, which can fit a range of band sizes from 30 to 43 inches. “It’s hard to find bras that mask cleavage and this bra definitely does,” she promises.
Best sports bras for medium-intensity workouts
For a medium-impact sport like Zumba, spinning, or hiking, where you’ll expect to have more movement, built-in support is key. Lyons says the Lululemon Flow Y Bra is “forever and always” her go-to for boot-camping and spinning. It has a lightweight, four-way stretch material and is intended to provide light support to B and C cups. “It’s versatile, looks good under anything, is comfortable, and gives great coverage,” she promises.
Nike bras are an athlete favorite for their sweat-wicking Dri-Fit technology. DanceBody founder and CEO Katia Pryce likes Nike’s V-neck Pro Indy bra, which she says has supportive racerback straps and just enough coverage for someone with a smaller bust size to wear. If you have a larger bust, Nike also offers this bra in 1X to 3X.
During a more intense workout class, a higher neckline and longline silhouette will come in handy if you’ve got a bit of a bigger bust. That’s why Freeman loves the Athena from Outdoor Voices, which is available in sizes AA to D, and she calls it “the best bra that doubles as a crop top.” The high neckline offers more coverage, and the top is made from Outdoor Voices’ mid-weight Textured Compression fabric, which should hold you in without uncomfortable squishing. If you’re between sizes, Outdoor Voices suggests sizing down for more support.
Taylor is also a fan of Outdoor Voices for its “variety of coverage and support options.” Her favorite sports bra is this one, in cheerful yellow, which the brand says offers medium support for sizes AA to D. Because it’s made using the brand’s light, breathable TechSweat fabric and has a comfortable mesh racerback, it would be a good option for athletes who run hot.
Lauren Roxborough, the head of marketing for hot-yoga studio Y7, says her favorite sports bra to wear to an active, sweaty class is Girlfriend Collective’s Paloma Bra. The brand says the bra’s compression fabric, which is made from recycled water bottles, is designed for medium-impact workouts. It comes in six colors, including your basic black and white as well as shades with a bit more personality, like moss green. Girlfriend Collective is known for being size-inclusive, and this bra is no exception: It goes up to a size 6XL, which can accommodate a DDD and a 50-inch band.
This Lululemon bra is crafted from supersoft fabric and has extra support for bustier women in the form of thick, crisscrossing back straps. Abramo recommends it as an everyday sports bra for a medium- to high-intensity workout. “Think of this as your little black dress. It’s simple and goes with everything,” she explains. Abramo recommended it specifically for women with larger busts, and Lululemon recommends it for B to E cups.
Also recommended by Abramo is the Victoria Sport Knockout Front-Close Bra, which zips up in the front for a snugger fit. She finds this to be more stylish than most bigger-chested bras, but just as functional. Victoria Secret calls this its most supportive sports bra — it has padded straps and concealed underwire — and offers it in cup sizes from B to DDD. “It’s light and easy to work out in,” explains Abramo.
Best sports bras for high-intensity workouts
High-impact activities like running, HIIT, and aerobics require the most support of them all. For a fashionable but still heavy-duty sports bra to wear while she’s sprinting during a Peloton Tread class or doing a HIIT & Hills Ride on the bike, Amato puts on Nike’s FE/NOM FlyKnit Sports Bra, which she calls “very comfortable and, most importantly, so supportive.” The bra fits snug to your body but, due to the minimal seams, doesn’t feel uncomfortably tight, she explains. Because of its snug fit, this sports bra is best for smaller chests (it’s available in sizes XS to XL). The FlyKnit sports bra is made from the same fabric that Nike uses for its FlyKnit sneakers (which earned a spot on our list of the best workout shoes for women), and Amato says the fabric “provides support, stretch, and comfort.”
“If you don’t need a ton of support (think A cups and sma