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7 best sports bras for every workout

May 25th 2017 / Susannah Taylor / 0 comment


A well-fitting sports bra, could be your most important kit investment. Susannah Taylor (34C) picks her favourites (with help from a 34J friend)

I was told once by an ambassador for a big sports bra company that if the ligament at the side of your boobs stretches (which it will if you jump up and down too many times without the right bra on), then it can never snap back. If you want to keep your bust in good shape throughout life then the right sports bra is essential no matter what your size.

The problem is, however, that a large chest requires greater scaffolding. I’m a 34C so am forever on the look out for a sports bra with proper support but the larger the bust the more difficult it can be to find the right fit - one friend of mine is so mortified by the bounciness of her 34DD cups that she launches a triple-layered attack on them each time she goes to the gym with a bra, sports bra AND a bra/vest combo in her bid to halt the jiggle. The result, she admits, is a bounceless mono-boob, which is pretty unflattering, but at least it doesn't budge. At the other end of the scale, many of my friends complain that sports bras make a smaller bust look totally non-existent.

Another bugbear of mine are sports bras that might fit your cup size but are so tight around the back that you then get a roll spilling over the strap (attractive), or they squash then down so much they can spill over the top or out to the sides. And don’t get me started on sports bras that are so thin you can see your nipples through them – not something you need if you already feel self-conscious in the gym.

Sports bra companies are, thankfully, finally, wising up to all these issues, and the latest wave will flatter and hold like a good bra should. Many are now ditching the S/M/L sizing in favour of proper bra sizes - after all if anything, when you're jumping up and down, you need a better fit, not a looser one.

After vigorous testing (literally – I’ve spent a lot of time jumping up and down in these), here are my faves:

Best for yoga and Pilates: Sweaty Betty Brahma Padded yoga bra, £40

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Comfort rating:10/10

Low bounce factor: 7/10 (this is not designed to prevent bounce)

Support stakes: 8/10

I have always avoided yoga bras because I feel they wouldn’t have enough support for me, however, I’ve tried a few for this feature and this one is different. Why? Well the inside says it’s made from 92 per cent polyamide and eight per cent elastane, which means that it's quite supportive without being constricting. The double straps also add to the support system without digging in. This therefore means that it has enough support for someone like me with a 34C bust, but also would give shape to someone with a small bust because there is inner padding which you could remove if you wanted to. With no clasps, no seams, no zips, a supportive ribbed band under the breasts and a soft, tactile fabric, this is smooth yoga bra perfection.

Best for running: Sweaty Betty High Intensity Run Bra, £45 and Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Sports Bra, £43

Comfort rating:8/10

Low bounce factor: 10/10

Support stakes:10/10

There are two bras that are amazing and I couldn’t choose between the two so I have written about both:

Sweaty Betty High Intensity Run Bra, £45

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If you are put off running because everything bounces too much, then I suggest you go out and buy this sports bra which is comfortable but won’t budge a millimetre. However the best bits are 1) the fact that it comes up quite high in the front, so there’s no exposing decollete and 2) the hook at the back attaches one strap to the other so your breasts are not just hoisted upwards but are held in at the sides too. 3) It has a very firm elasticated waistband and adjustable straps. This means come jog or interval sprint, nothing moves, jiggles or judders. Available in proper bra sizes, this also goes up to an F cup – so no excuses!

The Shock absorber Ultimate Run Sports Bra, £43

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Comfort rating: 8/10

Low Bounce Factor 10/10

Support Stakes 10/10

I bought this bra when I was training for a triathlon and if you’re a runner then it’s nothing short of amazing. Having done lots of research into how our breasts move when we run, Shock Absorber have created a rather titillating (excuse the pun), but fascinating video of how this bra reduces bounce on the their website The Ultimate Run Sports Bra has won awards for its ability to prevent bounce and is designed with something called the Inifity8 suppport system which cleverly counteracts your breasts’ figure of eight motion when you run. With wide, adjustable, comfortable straps that also join near the top of the back, the result is a feeling of being totally ‘held in’. No longer will your breasts get in the way of running or feel like they are moving out of sync with your body.

Best for HIIT exercise: the Enlite bra, LuluLemon, £78

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Comfort rating 10/10

Low bounce factor: 10/10

Support stakes: 10/10

This sports bra (see above, this is the back) has been a long time in the making, and its quite frankly a league above any others I’ve tried. Just launched, it uses what is called “Engineered Sensation” which means that Lululemon have prioritised the importance of ‘feel’ in manufacturing it. To be honest, it really does feel unbelievable. Firstly it’s created using super soft, but seriously supportive Ultralu fabric which feels incredibly strong (not very elastic) but is lightweight and doesn’t dig in anywhere. What else? The cups are moulded into a breast shape so mono-boobs are a thing of the past, and the double strapping across the back means you feel fully supported - you’d have to have a grapple with a pro fighter for this baby to budge one millimetre. What’s most noticeable about this bra though is that it feels like a second skin – you don’t feel like you are wearing an alien contraption and under a vest it's barely visible. Watch this space – a million copycats will follow.

Best all-rounder: Rosie for Autograph Active Medium Impact Crop Top, £25

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Comfort rating:10/10

Low bounce factor: 8/10

Support stakes: 8/10

If I’m doing yoga, cycling or something a bit lower impact then I love to wear this sports bra. Designed in collaboration with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, it’s made of strong supportive fabric that holds everything in without flattening your chest completely.

It’s also simple and very stylish looking with a black outside and dusky pink inside. With no clunky clasps and made of silky soft fabric, it’s actually so comfy I often put it on when I am just relaxing at home.

Best stylish budget buy: Zakti Active Go Getter Sports Bra, £25

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Comfort rating:10/10

Low bounce factor: 8/10

Support stakes: 8/10

I might not wear this sports bra for running in but for yoga and medium intensity workouts it’s perfect. Incredibly comfortable, it’s made from soft, stretchy yet supportive fabric that doesn’t dig in or squeeze your back so hard that everything starts spilling over the top. The element I like the most are the adjustable straps at the back which in turn keep everything elevated in the front! It comes in 3 different colours ways but this is my favourite.

Best for a larger bust: Elomi's Energise Sports Bra, £34


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It's difficult for me to vouch for ladies with much larger busts and so I contacted fellow journalist Bryony Gordon at the Telegraph. Bryony has a size 34J chest and amazingly recently ran the marathon for the charity Heads Together, so I asked her which bra she loves. This is what she said: "My sports bra is by Elomi and is called The Energise. It's immense because most sports bras for big boobs just crush them down and make you look all droopy whereas this one has a halter clasp which perks them up and supports you at the same time. Magic. Don't tell anyone but sometimes I wear it under normal clothes. I was given it by Fitique, who are this awesome athletics shop. The Panache 5021 is also pretty sexy."

You can follow Susannah Taylor on instagram here

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