How to Choose a Sports Bra


When choosing a sports bra, look for a comfortable fit that provides enough support for your planned activities. Breasts can move up to 15cm during running or high impact workouts. A good sports bra will reduce bouncing, improving comfort and enhancing performance.

Breasts contain glands and fat cells but no muscle. They are connected to the body by the skin and thin connective tissue known as Cooper’s ligaments. Over time, the weight and movement of the breasts can cause these tissues to lose their natural elasticity, causing the breasts to sag.

Physical activity can heighten this stretching effect. During running, the breasts move in a figure of eight, causing pain and discomfort. A well-fitting sports bra can reduce bouncing by up to 80%. Exercise will be more comfortable, and long-term sagging effects will be reduced.

Research has shown that the movement of unsupported breasts makes physical activity harder. A higher energy demand increases breathing rate and decreases stride length. Well supported breasts eliminate these effects, improving your posture and performance.

Which sports bra is best?

The best sports bra will depend on your choice of activity and the size of your breasts. High levels of support will be needed for comfortable, bounce-free running. Hiking or yoga cause less impact, but a sports bra will reduce movement while bending or stretching. Consider underwired sports bras to avoid uncomfortable pressure with larger breasts. 

The two main categories of sports bras are compression and encapsulation. A compression bra uses elastic materials to hold the breasts close to the chest. Encapsulation bras maintain two separate cups with additional support for each breast. Underwire is included in some sports bras, especially for larger breasts, where excessive compression may be uncomfortable.

To choose the perfect sports bra, start by considering the type of activities you have planned. A high impact sports bra offers essential support for activities such as running or mountain biking, which cause the greatest range of breast motion. Low impact pursuits such as yoga or walking require a sports bra that reduces movement in all directions.

The North Face Women’s Bounce Be Gone Sports Bra provides medium impact support, ideal for hiking, cycling and yoga. Engineered to help you perform, the durable, breathable fabric technology moves moisture away from the skin. Available in a range of sizes, the ventilating mesh back panel will keep you cool under pressure.

Sports bra fitting is essential for comfort and effectiveness. A bra that is too tight will make you uncomfortable over extended periods. Start by trying on a sports bra in your normal bra size and work from there, based on the support, feel and observation of the bra.

When you try on the bra, try to recreate some of the motion you will encounter in your planned activity. Check that the support band remains around the ribs and doesn’t slide up onto the breast itself. Lift your arms above your head and check for tightness around the band and the straps. 

The bra should feel more snug than your standard bra but should not dig in. The breasts should be enclosed within the bra and not bulging out of the sides or top.

Is it OK to wear a sports bra all the time?

Wearing a sports bra all the time can be comfortable as movement of your breasts will be reduced. But like with any type of bra, it is a good idea to give your breasts a rest from time to time.

A sports bra can feel more comfortable to wear than a standard, underwired bra designed for extra support. Especially if you are active during the day, you may prefer to wear a sports bra most of the time.

Bras designed for activewear are constructed from fabrics designed to wick sweat away from the body and keep you cool. This also makes them comfortable to wear in hot weather or anytime you begin to perspire under your breasts.

Wearing sports bras all the time can become problematic if the bra is too tight. When you try on a sports bra, it should feel snug but not uncomfortable. The bra should not restrict your breathing and should not leave any red marks on the skin after it is removed. Wearing a too-tight sports bra for extended periods can cause discomfort and skin irritation.

The Women’s Active Sports Bra has a seamless construction to avoid chafing. Designed for versatility, it provides effective support for everything from cross-training to hiking without sacrificing all-day comfort.