Buying a bra is never easy. The quest becomes even more tedious when you want a sports bra that’s both supportive and comfortable.
Unfortunately, there is no single, most comfortable sports bra for everyone. The ideal bra for you is the one that fits YOUR body shape, makes YOU feel good, and gives the right amount of support for YOUR favorite activity.
With that in mind, here is the list of the most important factors to consider, including options for every cup size and activity type.
Compression Vs Encapsulated Sports Bra
The first distinction you’ll notice when shopping for sports bras is the compression vs encapsulated style. As its name implies, the compression bra utilizes compression to hold and support your bust. The encapsulated bra uses a defined cup structure to separate and support each breast.
The compression sports bra is perfect for smaller cup sizes (A to B) and low-impact activities. Meanwhile, larger-chested women will benefit more from individual cups.
Both compression and encapsulated bras offer the same level of comfort, as long as you chose the correct type for your body shape.
Low Impact Vs High Impact Sports Bra
Another way to differentiate sports bras is the level of support. The three different levels of support are low, medium, and high impact. The correct choice will depend on the activity you need them for, so it’s best to have all three types in your wardrobe.
The low to medium-impact sports bras work well for yoga, Pilates, walking, and strength training. High impact bras offer the maximum level of support necessary for high-intensity workouts and running.
Low impact bras are generally the most comfortable, becoming a perfect option for lounging. On the other hand, high-impact bras prevent pain and discomfort during intense workouts.
Choose the Right Type of Band and Straps
The bottom band of a sports bra is responsible for 70% of its support. That alone explains why it’s crucial to pick the right type of band. In general, thicker and wider bands are the more supportive and also the more comfortable option.
When it comes to the straps, your safest bet would be to get a bra with adjustable straps, to ensure a perfect fit.
Wider straps provide more support, and also more comfort–especially for larger-chested women. Thin straps are appropriate for women with small cup sizes, and for low-impact activities.
Both the band and the straps should neither be too snug nor too loose. You should be able to comfortably put two fingers (but not more) between the band/straps and the front of your body.
The Correct Type of Fabric
It’s normal to sweat during your workouts, but if your bra stays wet, it could cause chaffing and skin irritation.
Luckily, most sports bras are made of technical, quick-dry materials. These fabrics make a huge impact on comfort during your workouts as they stay breathable and dry. Classic cotton sports bras are also comfortable but are only appropriate for lounging and gentle activities.
It All Comes Down to How YOU Feel
Having all the features we described in mind, the last thing to consider before you buy a sports bra is how you feel.
Make sure you like the style, color, fit, and feel of the bra before you commit to your purchase. If you’re more confident and comfortable when wearing a sports bra, you’ll naturally be more eager to crush a workout (or lounge like a pro).