Health & Wellness, Meet the Merchants

The Sports Bra Handbook: Our Fit Guide and Top 10 Best Sports Bra List


Everyone wants to get fit and stay healthy—starting in about 10 days, anyway! But for us women, the trade-off is that working out hard can lead to a sagging chest over time. Not ideal.

How to Choose a Sports Bra:

HeatherV2_smWhen shopping for a sports bra, Heather Viskovic, our premium brands buyer, suggests starting with the cuts and styles that are most comfortable for you personally: “Otherwise, you’re not going to want to wear it!” Next, consider impact level and design type. Then try it on to see how well it supports your figure. If you already wear a bra from that particular brand, you’re a step ahead in terms of fit and size. A quality sports bra is a worthy investment: “They’re just as technical, if not more so, than regular bras because of upgraded fabrics, additional padding and more strap configurations.”

For average-sized busts, “as long as the sports bra fits properly, it will support you,” says Heather. Choices like encapsulation (the breasts fit into two separate cups) versus compression (the bra binds both breasts to the chest) and underwire versus wire-free are personal preferences.

If you’re a DD or above, the solution, hands down, is a bra-sized sports bra. Some styles have criss-cross straps, or a J-hook for extra support. “You need a good one because the connective tissue anchoring the breasts to the body can lose its elasticity, which is what leads to sagging,” says Heather. “That’s why it’s so important, number one, that your sports bra fits and, number two, that it contains just as well—if not better than—your regular bra. Think about it: We wear a structured bra for sitting at a desk or walking around, but not when we go for a run?! That’s when it’s most important to wear a bra tailored to your body!” says Heather. “All the rest—wicking properties, adjustable straps—is a bonus.”

Sports Bra Sizing

Sports bra sizing follows the same rules as regular bras. If you haven’t been fitted within the last six months, give our  Bra Fit Experts a call at 877.728.9272. They’ll size you for free and can point you to the perfect sports bras for your body and lifestyle.

Our Top Ten Best Sports Bras

1. Panache Ultimate Maximum Control

Impact level: Medium-high
Design type: Encapsulation
Our #1 best-selling, all-time customer favorite cuts bounce by 83%.

2. Chantelle Maximum Control 

Impact level: High
Design type: Encapsulation
All the reinforcement you need, with minimal padding.

3. Under Armour Armour High Impact Wire-Free

Impact level: Medium-high
Design type: Compression
Keep your cool with built-in breathability features, not to mention gel-lined straps.

4. Anita Maximum Control Wire-Free 

Impact level: High
Design type: Encapsulation and compression
Super-soft lined cups never rub you the wrong way.

5. Wacoal Maximum Control 

Impact level: High
Design type: Encapsulation and compression
The fit you love from your favorite everyday bra, now at the gym.

6. Le Mystère Maximum Control 

Impact level: High
Design type: Compression
Convertible criss-cross straps keep you firmly in place.

7. Nike Pro Rival Maximum Control Wire-Free 

Impact level: Medium-high
Design type: Encapsulation
Serious support from a brand that knows a thing or two about fitness.

8. Freya Active Molded Cup 

Impact level: High
Design type: Encapsulation
The airy spacer fabric gives great shape, too.

9. Moving Comfort Maia Maximum Control 

Impact level: High
Design type: Encapsulation and compression
More coverage means comfort as well as support.

10. Enell Full Figure Maximum Control Wire-Free

Impact level: High
Design type: Encapsulation and compression
Made for plus sizes and fuller busts, with an easy hook-and-eye front closure.

How many sports bras you need depends on your main diversion and its intensity. “If you’re regularly active, it’s about having enough in the rotation so they last a long time. If you get three or four, they should last a good year and a half before replacing them gradually. You know it’s time when the band feels loose, straps slip or elasticity feels less than firm,” Heather says.


Fitness routine: “As a new mom, I squeeze in workouts whenever I can. I aim for three days a week at the gym for cardio and circuit training. I go spinning. I love yoga, especially on the beach, and my husband and I enjoy bike-riding during the summer, too.”

Favorite sports bra: “Le Mystère Maximum Control. I love that it’s a tank style yet you can crisscross the straps. It keeps you snug on the inside, with a smooth look on the outside. It’s easy to put on, which is not always the case with a tight sports bra! In fact, I find it so comfortable I’ve sometimes been known to wear it all day.”

Motivation: “I exercise to burn calories and raise my heart rate. I really find it helps keep my energy up and takes away the blahs this time of year. Let’s be honest, I sit at a desk all day, and I don’t want flab next to my fab!”

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Brooke Glassberg
Brooke is the editor of this here blog. In a previous life, she was an editor at Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine. Brooke has written for Glamour, Travel+Leisure, New York Magazine and more. She’s into concerts, travel and her exceptionally adorable daughter and husband.
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  • Reply Glenda Morgan September 29, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Do you have the Crop top barely there,style 0103?

    • Reply Bare Necessities Bra Fit Expert September 29, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      Hi Glenda, that product was discontinued in 2012. Give us a call at 877-728-9272, and we can recommend something similar. Talk soon!

  • Reply Glenda Wheeler November 18, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    I am very disappointed, It’s the only one that fits

    • Brooke Glassberg
      Reply Brooke Glassberg November 21, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      Totally feel your pain! Give us a call when you get a chance (877-728-9272 x4), and we’d be happy to find you something you love just as much.

  • Reply Karin Joye November 7, 2017 at 7:39 pm

    I have a Bali, lace and smooth, 2 star firm control , Cami.

    Could you please tell me where I could order, or shop for more of them?

    I live at zip code 94019

    Thank you.

    • Reply Bare Necessities Bra Fit Expert November 9, 2017 at 9:52 am

      Hi Karin! We carry the Bali Lace ‘N Smooth Firm Control Camisole on Give a Bra Fit Expert a call at 877-728-9272 (select option 4), and she can take good care of you.

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