Fact Checked

How do I Choose the Best Running Bra?

Misty Amber Brighton
Misty Amber Brighton

When you go shopping for a running bra, be prepared to try several of them on. Look for those made of moisture-wicking fabric. Check to make sure there are no rough seams on the inside of the bra. Choose one that has wide straps so they will not fall down while you are jogging. Avoid those that have underwires or wire closures, as these can dig into your skin.

Look for a bra made of moisture-wicking fabric. This material is designed to keep sweat away from your body so you feel cooler while exercising. Coolmax® and Dri-fit® are two popular materials used for making workout clothing. Avoid buying a running bra made entirely of cotton, as this material tends to absorb moisture rather than pull it away from you.

A sports bra for running.
A sports bra for running.

It is very important to buy a running bra with solid straps. The straps should be wide, rather than spaghetti straps, because thin straps are likely to fall down while you are jogging. Wide straps also help support the weight of your breasts better than thin straps do.

Choose a bra with a solid or racer back construction. A racer back bra has straps that arch around the shoulder blades. Racer back bras are often recommended for women with large breasts, and a running bra with a solid back might be ideal for women with small breasts.

Once you have chosen a well-constructed bra, make sure you try it on before leaving the store. If you have a special t-shirt or tank top that you wear while jogging, wear it the day you go shopping. That way you can make sure the straps do not show.

After putting on a bra, move your arms in circles forward and backward. Next, raise them above your head and lower them. This can give you an idea of whether or not the sports bra is likely to ride up while you are exercising.

The next thing you should do is jog in place or jump up and down a few times. This can let you know how much bounce control the sports bra actually provides. Discard any that do not support you well during this activity.

Even well-constructed sports bras can lose elasticity over time. This might mean a running bra will need to be replaced every few months. Laundering this garment by hand and allowing it to air dry can often increase the life of the item.

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Discussion Comments


It's difficult to find a sports bra for large breasts that doesn't have an under wire. I know they advise not to wear one for sports bras, and I can see why, but I just go ahead and wear one anyway.

I think once you get past a certain size of breast there's just no escaping the under wire. Otherwise the bra simply won't hold you in properly. It gets so that the material has to be so tight you won't be able to breathe.

The best kinds of running sports bras will have a thick pad so that the under wire won't hurt (too much anyway) and you'll usually hardly be able to tell it's there.

The one thing that annoys me about it, I have to say, is that having an under wire seems to shorten the life of the bra. It usually only takes mine a few months before the wire manages to work its way through to the outside, usually poking me in the process.

I wish someone would really sit down and design a decent sports bra for women with larger breasts.


@croydon - I've heard the theory that wearing a bra actually weakens the ligaments in your breast and leads to them becoming saggy more often than not wearing a bra will.

However, even people who think this will advise women with larger breasts to wear a sports bra, as it's all too easy to injure the ligaments when running, unfortunately.

It makes you wonder what cave women did when they needed to run somewhere. Did they just never develop very large breasts? Or did they rarely have to run.

At any rate, having a decently fitting sports bra can definitely save you some pain.


Picking a bra in the right size is even more important when you are picking a running bra. I've heard it estimated that something like 70 percent of women are wearing the wrong bra size at any one time.

And I know it's easy to go with the wrong size with a running bra since they are usually quite expensive and you might be tempted to get one that's on sale even if you know it's not really going to fit you.

But it can end up being really painful running in a sports bra that's too big or too small. And you can actually do seriously damage to the breast tissue by tearing ligaments.

My friend managed to do this and it took a long time to heal. So, try to get the best fitting, and most advanced sports bra you can find.

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    • A sports bra for running.
      By: Karen Roach
      A sports bra for running.
    • Some women's running shirts have built-in sports bras.
      By: Deklofenak
      Some women's running shirts have built-in sports bras.
    • It is very important to buy a running bra with solid straps.
      By: michaeljung
      It is very important to buy a running bra with solid straps.