How to Choose the Best High Impact Sports Bra for Runners

Are you in need of a sports bra designed for your maximum comfort and health?

Sports bras are necessary for athletes regularly engaged in any high-impact activity.

The right sports bra can make running, sprinting, or jumping any distance a breeze.

It can be tough finding a sports bra that works for you. This is especially the case if you require a larger size or one that can mesh well with other competitive clothing.

In this post, we’ll take a close look at everything you can do to find the best high impact sports bra so that you can hit the track with confidence!

1. Know Your Measurements

Before you head to your local athletics store, make sure you know some key measurements to assist with sizing.

Keep in mind that the sports bra that fits you won’t necessarily be the same size as your regular bra, although the measurements may be similar.

Some sports bras will have sizes like extra-small, small medium, large, extra-large, etc. Others may have sizing by band and/or cup measurements.

It’s helpful to have a flexible tape measure to take these measurements. Begin by measuring the distance around your rib cage, just beneath your breasts. This will enable you to identify your band size.

In general, your band size will be five numerical increments higher than your rib cage measurement.

Next, take your measuring tape and measure around your torso and the center of your breasts. Subtract your rib cage measurement from this number. The resulting number will correspond to a letter size.

Check out this sizing guide for more information when searching for a high impact sports bra.

Your total sports bra size will be your band size and cup size together.

2. Choose Your Style

When searching for a high impact sports bra, make sure to identify what style you’d like beforehand.

High impact sports bras are designed for athletes who need maximum support. These bras may be styled differently than ones designed for lighter support. Make sure to browse bras that look as if they can provide comprehensive support.

A supportive high impact sports bra may be in racerback form. Much like an athletic tank-top, racerbacks provide full cup coverage with straps that converge in the back.

Racerbacks generally aren’t adjustable, so they definitely require proper fitting prior to purchase.

Other high impact bras may have a relaxed tank-top look with straps converging lower in the back. These straps may be thin or thick depending on style, and most bras are adjustable.

Lastly, most sports bras will be built in different ways to provide high-impact support. In general, sports bras are designed with compression, encapsulation, or both.

Compression bras are what they sound like: they compress breasts in order to keep them secure during intense workouts.

Encapsulation acts much like a normal bra. Sports bras with encapsulation often have cup embedded in the material itself to keep breasts contained this way.

In general, athletes who pursue high impact activities will find greater luck in sports bras that use both encapsulation and compression. These bras are more likely to be adjustable or highly tailored to individual users.

3. Select a Material

Most sports bras are made of similar materials designed to wick moisture away from the skin.

When on the search for a high impact sports bra, be careful about material selection. Some sports bras won’t wick moisture as well as others.

High impact sports bras should be lightweight and built of high-quality wicking material. Read the manufacturer’s label to check for fabric types.

In general, avoid any bras made of cotton. Cotton may feel comfortable on the skin, but it tends to accumulate rather than wick moisture away from the body.

Look for wording like “wicking” and “breathability” on manufacturer labels when browsing bras. These ones will be more likely to keep athletes cool and dry during intense workout sessions.

4. Identify Leading Brands

A high impact sports bra goes through a lot. This is especially the case for athletes preparing for a triathlon or major athletic event.

It’s essential to choose a bra from a high-quality manufacturer. Research well to identify brands designed to stick with athletes through the sweatiest of days.

Be cautious of purchasing a sports bra simply because it’s affordable. Lower-priced bras can skimp on quality, and you may just find yourself replacing that bra sooner rather than later.

If possible, find sports bras sourced from athletic wear companies like Athleta.

5. Try on for Fit

The key to choosing the best high impact sports bra is actually trying it on. Even if a bra is in your exact size, it may not feel comfortable or supportive enough for your training sessions.

When trying on sports bras, be wary of any chafing under the band, hooks, or straps. This can indicate a poor fit or wrong size.

Test your mobility in the sports bra, too. Jump up and down in the fitting room, and notice any sliding of the band or cups. This can mean the bra is too small.

Also, pay attention to how your breasts feel. Do they feel supported, or do they have a lot of wiggle room? If your breasts are moving around a bit during your mobility test, you may need a different size.

Finding the Best High Impact Sports Bra

It is possible to find the sports bra that can suit all of your athletic needs. Take key measurements to determine your exact sizing.

Decide what type of support and style of sports bra is best for you. Always choose a material designed to wick rather than retain moisture, and don’t be shy about trying on bras until you find one that fits.

At, we love connecting the world’s athletes with the advice and resources they need to achieve their fitness goals. Check out more of our fitness gear ideas here.