Sports Bra Ultimate Guide for 2022 and Beyond

Bra Definition

Bra (a derived term from word brassiere) is an undergarment worn by women to support or cover the breasts. Bras have mostly made of cotton, polyamide or cotton-like materials. Designed for a different purpose such as creating a cleavage, boosting breast size or other fashion, aesthetic or sports purposes.

What is a Sports Bra?

A sports bra is your best friend that helps while running, dancing, hiking, or any other activities. It’s strongly secured, specially designed bra to provide adequate support and also to protect the bust. It’s an ideal solution for low-impact sports such as yoga and strength training or high impact sports like biking and running.

Technically, the sports bra is a piece of a garment made from high-performance fabrics that protect your breasts from ligament damaging during training, discomfort and wick away moisture also. You can damage breasts Cooper’s ligament (a suspensory ligament) if your breast hasn’t adequately protected.

Put simply, once damaged chest ligaments don’t repair themselves and will potentially cause the breast shagging. So, you should choose a quality sports bra that will reduce bounce factor, preventing chest pain, shagging and discomfort.

Why Wear a Sports Bra?

For the best protection, comfort and performance sports bra is the perfect option for women workouts. Selecting the adequate sports bra is crucial for women of any bust size, activity level or shape. It’s essential to ensure that you have proper support. Therefore, you can work out generally without discomfort or pain. A fitted sports bra delay bust sagging, occurs by women age or because of the suspensory ligaments.

Wearing a Sports Bra Everyday

Like you wearing out your running shoes every time for workouts, you should wear your sports bra also. It helps you to perform better, feel more comfortable during your training time and prevents your breast damaging. Everyday workout with the adequate breast support provides protection from pain, stretched skin and ligaments or discomfort.

Types of Sports Bra

Sports bra have divided into several categories: by activity-level, size, construction, features, strap type, back types, closures, and materials.


For the wanted performance and support, it’s crucial to combine sports bra support with the type of activity you’re performing. They’re made to support 3 levels of activity:

  • Low-level activity: yoga, walking, strength training, hiking, weight training or mat exercise;
  • Medium-level activity: vigorous walking, skiing or jogging;
  • High-level activity: dancing, aerobics, biking, running or team sports.

Sports Bra Sizing

Since, every women body is different, not like a mannequin, you should apply fine-tuning and use back closures or adjustable straps. If that doesn’t work, try with various brands or methods until you figure out which is the best one for you.

Follow these 3 steps below to find your size:

Step # 1 Rib Cage and Band Size

Snugly measure about your rib cage, under your breasts. The soft tape measure shouldn’t be so tight, that affects on normal breathing. Round down to the nearest number of for your band size.

Step #2 Bust Size

Measure around the fullest part of the bust. Use the tape straight across your back. Round your measurement to the nearest inch.

Step #3 Cup Size

Minus your rib cage measurement from bust measurement and that difference is your cup size. If you are between sizes, repeat the process.


Sports bra reduces bust motion with a 3 different construction types: encapsulation sports bras, compression sports bras, and compression/encapsulation sports bras.

  1. Encapsulation sports bras: With individual cups, they support and surround each breast individually. They are great for low-level activities because there is no compression in the bras. Also, look more natural than compression bras.
  2. Compression sports bras: These bras typically pull over your head and compress the breasts against the chest wall to minimize movement. They don’t contain cups built. Compression sports bras are ideal for medium level activities
  3. Compression/encapsulation sports bras: Various sports bras combine these 2 approaches into a one sports bra, providing more support and comfort than compression or encapsulation one. These high support sports bras are ideal for high-impact activities like running or swimming.


3 main bra straps types are optimal for different kinds of support: crisscross, tank top, and racerback straps.

  • Crisscross: They crisscross in the back and typically serve adequate support and protect. The straps are usually adjustable, so you be able to fine-tune the fit. Relying on the designee, they can cover discreetly underneath a top sporty tank. It’s excellent dancers sports bra.
  • Tank top: This strap type is same as a regular bra. Like a crisscross strap, tank top straps are also adjustable, so you can fine-tune the fit.
  • Racerback (cross-back): Sports bras with a racer back contain shoulder straps that come together among your shoulder blades to make a Y or T shape. They are adequate support for medium and high-level activities. They hide right below a racerback tank top and they are the best sports bra for running.


Each of us has a different priority when it comes to bra style and material. Here're some typical sports bra features to look and find one that matches your proportions.

  • Ventilation: Most of sports bras feature cut out detailing or mesh. This feature provides natural air flow during training.
  • Band: The key of the breast support is the band, which makes the sports bra foundation. The band shouldn't be too tight, just adequately snug around rib cage. Attain wanted comfort if you can fit 2 fingers between a band and your body. This is an example how should a sports bra fit.
  • Moisture – Viking fabrics: This garment technology move moisture away from your body and make you comfortable. It uses synthetic microfibers to take sweat from your skin and move it to your garment surface, keeping you fresh and dry.
  • Underwire: Flexible underwires provide better support and shape for a bra. Also, it supports each breast separately and reduces movement. The underwire should be flat vs. your rib cage, underneath the breast tissue and shouldn't pinch or poke.
  • Strap types: There're many strap types for the functional and aesthetic purpose. The typical cross-back style features straps that meet in the back to make a supportive fit. Not so adjustable, but they can reduce bounce. Spaghetti straps usually include adjustable pulls, if you want to customize your bra fit.
  • Closures: Typical sports bras are pulled on over your head, while a minority of sports bras have a back closure with hooks. Pullover bras without hooks or claps are a classic type of sports bra. Consider they're difficult to put and remove. Also, you can find sports bras with a front zipper for high-impact support.
  • Seamless: If you want a sports bra with extended span-life, choose a seam lees design bra. This design provides strong stitch. It's also prevents tear and wear on stretched areas during movement.
  • Encapsulation and Compression: Encapsulation bra is the best sports bra for large breasts that need support for high-impact activities. They support each breast individual by using separated cups. Compression sports bra has typically seen in pullover styles, and they fit snugly versus the breast to achieve no-bounce fit. Ladies with a larger cup size can use compression bras for low-level activities. For women with smaller cup size, compression bras are ideal for high-level activities. Compression bras support your breast by using fabric to press them tightly.
  • Padding: Padding is excellent for aesthetic purpose or as a built-in modesty tool. It can make additional layers of material to ensure your bust stay off and molded to provide added shape for aesthetic appearance.


Many of sports bras are design with extra features that provide safety and comfort. Here are some additional features that can be helpful, depending on your activity.

  • UPF (ultraviolet protection factor): Ideal for sunny days run or shirtless training, a sports bra with UPF provide proper sun protection.
  • Hi-Viz (high visibility): Sports bras with reflectivity are perfect for shirtless workouts, during the early morning or night, because they boost your visibility in low-lighting conditions.
  • Storage: Certain sports bras have a pocket for storing small accessories such as iPad, key or small cell phone.
  • Reversible: Provides style and versatility with an option to use both sides of the bra.


These are the 5 most using fabrics you can find in best sports bras:

  1. Spandex is a synthetic fiber that provides high-degree of elasticity and the most used component in the structural support. Commonly combined with polyester or nylon to produce lightweight compression.
  2. Microfiber is synthetic fiber typically used in bras because of its softness, moisture-wicking features, and elasticity too. It's incredibly thin and can be either polyester or nylon. Polyester is better to prevent wicking, while nylon is adequately for strength purpose of a sports bra.
  3. Elastane is a high degree elastic synthetic fiber, commonly combined with nylon or polyester. Like spandex, it’s used to achieve more reliable bra structure.
  4. Lycra is an elastic polyurethane fiber or fabric used mainly for a close-fitting sports bra. Also, has a similar preference as elastane, spandex, and microfiber.
  5. Cotton is a soft, natural fabric that provides breathability and it’s a most comfortable sports bra material. Also, great for wearing a sports bra every day. It’s a slow drying material and dump cotton can cause nippiness and chafing.

Sports Bras vs. Regular Bras

The main question is, have you been wearing a sports bra as an everyday bra or wear a regular bra while working out? Certain bras have specially designed for a specific purpose. That’s why the sports bra has an advantage in regard to regular bras. Because, sports bras can be applied from low-impact activities to high-impact activities, not only for one purpose.

It's the wrong opinion that any bra will do, particularly for ladies with small cup size. On the contrary, sports bras are crafted to grip a movement while working or running. They provide full support and hold your breasts snug. Regular bras during like these situations couldn't support your chest and may cause injury.

Sports Bras vs. No Bras

Sports bras can provide the best support and allow the ribcage to function properly. Without a bra, you’re weakening back muscles and overstraining the breast ligaments. If you don't wear a bra during a training, your back, neck muscles, and trapezius, are going to work a lot harder to balance out your weight.

Sports bras make a better position of a spine and the muscles. Certain high-intensity workouts, such as running, team sports, or boxing, do require that you wear a sports bra because the gravity and movement can cause breast pain. Performing these high-level activities without a sports bra means a big risk for your body and health.

Best tests to figure out how wearing or not wearing a sports bra can affect on your body is jumping with rope and jumping on a trampoline.

Sports Bra Chart

Sports bras are made in regular sizes as regular bras. Here are cup/band sizes.

32A, 32B, 32C, 32D, 32DD, 34C, 34D, 34DD, 36C, 36D, 36DD, 38C, 38D, 38DD, 40C, 40D, 40DD, 42C, 42D, 42DD, 44C, 44D, 44DD.

Sports Bra Size Calculator

  • Band size: Use a tape and measure rib cage under the bust. The tape measure must be level around your body and then use a snug measurement. Add 5” to this measurement and round down to even nearest number to match your band size. For instance, 34" + 5" = 39". Round down to 38," and your band size is 38".
  • Over-bust measurement: Measure around the fullest part of the bust and try to keep the measured level. The tape measure shouldn’t compress the bust.
  • Cup size calculation: Minus the band size from over bust measurement. For example, the difference is 1" = A cup, 2" = B cup, 3" = C cup, 4" = D cup, 5 = DD cup. For example, over bust measurement is 38” subtract band size of 37” = 1”. 1” = A cup. Your sport bra size is 38A.

How to Buy?

Sports bras aren't like the regular everyday bras. So, you can’t perform effectively during works out if purchase a wrong sports bra. Be a head start and invest in a quality sports bra that will offer the adequate support and comfort for your breasts. Of course, choosing a right one depends on your activity level, purpose, bust size, material, comfort and wanted aesthetic.

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