A good sports bra is crucial during exercise, but we didn’t have the bra we know today (terrifyingly) until 1977. Lisa Lindahl, then a PhD student, began jogging during the fitness craze that swept the nation in the 1970s, but found exercise without assistance painful. She teamed up with theater costume designer Polly Palmer Smith and Smith’s colleague Hinda Miller to solve this problem by taking a page out of the men’s exercise book: the trio disassembled two jock straps and turned them into a “JogBra”. The breasts were drawn close to the body and the sports bra was born.
Almost 50 years later, the sports bra industry is huge, with low and high impact bra options for all types of exercise.
In need of a low impact sports bra?
Different sports require different types of bras. “A low-impact workout requires very little stress on the joints,” says Vanessa Chu, co-founder of Stretch * d. “In other words, it’s a non-jumping workout. These workouts are particularly suitable for anyone who has to do with joint pain or injuries to wrists, ankles, shoulders or knees. “
Low to medium impact sports bras works best with walking, yoga, pilates, and weight training. They usually have a cupless design that still keeps the breasts close to the chest, but not quite as tight as a high impact bra. High impact sports bras are used for activities such as running, aerobics, and mountain biking. They usually have a cup to compress and encapsulate each breast and prevent painful swaying.
How to choose the best low impact sports bra
Like a good pair of hiking boots, a reliable bra hits the knot between comfort, style and support. “I think comfort is as important as coverage,” says Chu. Even if you know your size, it can be difficult to find the brand or bra that is right for your body. Here are some tips for getting the right fit.
✔️ Test with movement: “Try them on and do a few exercises,” says Sareena Rama, a certified personal trainer and fitness trainer. “It might feel weird getting into a down dog in the locker room, but sports bras are an investment!” Fortunately, many brands offer free returns so you can test at home.
✔️ Adjust the straps: Some bras come with adjustable straps so you can adjust the fit to your body. If you move your arms and find the straps lifting, it could be a sign that they are too long. If they leave marks on the skin after exercising, they are definitely too tight.
✔️ Look at the material: Sports bras come in many different materials and you should make your choices based on your compression and sweat needs. “Cotton bras can work for you if you feel like your breasts aren’t producing too much sweat. However, if you’re a sweaty girl, some moisture wicking will be a much better feeling, ”explains Rama.
️ Try the two-finger test: Sports bras should be tighter than a regular bra, but you should still be able to breathe! “It’s important not to be distracted while exercising so you can focus on your form,” says Chu. If more than two fingers fit between your body and the lower ligament, it is likely too loose.
Find in advance the best low impact sports bras for a variety of cup sizes and body types to meet all of your training needs.
Best overall bra
Lemedy sports bra tank top
This is a bra that is loved by Amazon shoppers and TikTok influencers alike because it resembles something from a fitness boutique but costs half the price. The removable pads give you some range of support and impact, and reviewers find it The fit works great with many different cup sizes.
Best price performance ratio
Fruit of The Loom strappy sports bra
This classic Fruit of the Loom pullover bra is available in a set of three, optionally with racerback or over-the-shoulder straps. While it doesn’t offer the same moisture wicking technology as some of our other picks, it does Cotton is super comfortable and breathable for less strenuous workouts – also at a great price!
Prana Momento crop top
Trainer Sareena Rama is the absolute favorite low-impact sports bra for relaxation yoga, the Momento Crop Top by Prana. “I have it in three colors!” She says reversible, ultra-light crop-top bra. The recycled nylon blend is light and stretchy and Fair Trade certified. You can flaunt it as a shirt or a bra.
Best bra with high coverage
Alo Yoga Airbrush Real Bra Tank
Stretch * d co-founder Vanessa Chu is also a fan of the bra / shirt hybrid style. “The Alo Airbrush Bra Tank is ideal for low-impact workouts. It offers a light grip and is also a cute tank top, ”she says. The airbrush fabric is smooth and soft for maximum comfort when exercising (or relaxing!). Available in a range of bright colors, this bra also has a built-in shelf and soft cups.
Best anti-chafing bra
GapFit Breathe strappy sports bra
The GapFit Breathe is durable and simple and comes in a material that is both comfortable and moisture wickingthat will keep you cool and dry when your workout starts. The double straps provide good support, but the scoop neckline keeps the bra hidden under most shirts.
Best eco-friendly bra
Girlfriend Collective Paloma Sports Bra
The moisture-wicking material of this bra is made from recycled polyester and is ideal for endurance hikes or a sweaty workout class. One busty reviewer called it The holy grail of sports bras, wrote, “I didn’t have high expectations, but the snug (supportive) fit and wide band helped my blessings not only to stay in place, but they looked great too!” It also comes in a variety of colors and sizes.
Best zipper bra
Athleta Empower Daily Bra ??
Designers developed the Empower bra in response to customer feedback: women need a reliable and fashionable sports bra after a mastectomy. This soft, versatile bra has a front zip for easy maneuvering around scar tissue and expandable pockets to fit dentures.
Best size including bra
Athleta Exhale printed bra
Finding good DD coverage under $ 60 can be tough, which is why we love the Athleta Exhale bra. His back straps offer crusade to the hold large busts tight without suffocating. Athleta notes that this bra is best for studio work so you can still feel confident and comfortable while doing yoga, pilates, or barre.
Best for small chests
Eleven parallel sports bra
Venus Williams, former world number 1 and seven-time Grand Slam individual champion, founded the EleVen brand to help women give their best in high-quality activewear. The seamless lines of this bra prevent chafing, while the mixed nylon material ensures quick drying and great breathability. “It’s great for a low impact and smaller bust,” writes Venus. “That was one of my most comfortable bras so far.”
Best for yoga
Lululemon Free to Be Bra
Another of Chu’s favorites, the Lululemon Free To Be bra, features sweat-wicking fabric and low friction. It’s definitely on the smaller side, supports the A and B cups and is specifically designed for light support during yoga (although it works well for hikers too). “It also has funny straps in the back that go well with a loose tank,” says Chu.
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