Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Nowhere else is the bra fit as essential as during sports. Whether you’re jogging, playing volleyball or tennis, a good sports bra should support the breasts without constricting the wearer. But finding the right sports bra is not that easy.

In our big sports bra test 2022 you can find out everything you need to know about this topic. We explain the different types of sports bras, their functions and much more. Plus, our built-in buying criteria can help you find the perfect sports bra for you.




Summary

  • Unlike a conventional bra, a sports bra prevents strong swinging movements of the breasts and painful tension in the shoulder and back area. This means you can play sports such as basketball without being disturbed.
  • In order for the sports bra to do its job, it should fit perfectly. You can choose between a bra with hooks and eyes, a bra with a ring back and a bra with a push-up.
  • The workmanship, the material, the load and the design are the most important criteria you should consider when buying a sports bra.

The Best Sport Bra: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a sports bra

What are the benefits of wearing a sports bra?

Apart from being very comfortable, wearing a sports bra prevents sagging breasts from forming more quickly. In addition, strong swinging movements can lead to painful tension in the shoulders and back, which you avoid by wearing a sports bra.

Did you know that the first sports bra was launched in 1977?

Lisa Lindahl designed the first sports bra by sewing two suspensories together. The jogbra was meant to be a solution for women to make jogging more comfortable.

Ultimately, this invention also led to an increase in female participation in sporting events. At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, only 13% of all participants were women. Then in London in 2012, it was already 44%.

However, these advantages will only be effective if you have found the perfect fit and therefore the optimal size for you. We recommend that you always order several sizes, even above and below your standard bra size. Try more unconventional size combinations. Less width and one cup larger can work wonders.

Sports bras are specially designed bra models. They are made to protect the breasts during sports so that the breasts cannot move inside them.

What does a good sports bra have to do?

Apart from the fact that it should look good, it is of course important that it fits comfortably during your workout. This also means that it should not be so tight that you can hardly breathe.

A good sports bra should fit perfectly and be made of high-quality material. (Image source: pixabay.com / Pexels)

Make sure the material is well made and the straps are wide and padded. If it pinches, burns or the straps constantly slip, you know that the product is not ideal for you.

Who is a sports bra for?

In general, for every woman who enjoys sports. Regardless of age, size, weight or even gender. In 2017, Hunkemöller introduced a sports bra for men.

What do I have to look out for when buying?

A disadvantage for the online shoppers among us: It is very advantageous if you can try on different models before buying. This is the only way to find out which bra is actually the most comfortable for you.

It’s hard to find out via Amazon or Zalando. It is also very important that your sports bra is breathable, just like shoes.

Is a sports bra worth it for everyday wear?

First of all, it is not harmful to your health if you wear it ‘just because’. If you feel more comfortable with it than with a normal bra, it’s worth it.

However, if you don’t like to do sports and you’re fine with a regular bra, it’s less worthwhile because a good sports bra is usually a bit more expensive.

If you feel comfortable in it, you can also wear your sports bra in everyday life. (Image source: pexels.com / Nathan Cowley)

Decision: What types of sports bra are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, sports bras are divided into four different levels: The faster and more jerky the movements of the sport, the higher the level should be.

Of course, the bras also differ visually:

  • Sports bra with hooks and eyes (classic)
  • Sports bra with racer back
  • Sports bra with and without push-up

We would like to make it easier for you to find the best sports bra for you. For this purpose, we will go into more detail about the types mentioned above, so that you can first get a good overview.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a sports bra with hooks and eyes?

Every woman knows them, most of them own the normal version. The sports bra with hooks and eyes hardly differs visually from the normal bra. The advantage of the classic is obvious: you are familiar with its design. You should make sure that the straps are wider and more padded than those of a normal bra.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a sports bra with a ring back?

It has a very practical closing mechanism and completely encloses the breast. It has proven to be very practical for many women, not least because you can simply pull it on. The enormous freedom of movement is also a feature of the ring back.

A sports bra with a ring back completely encloses the breast and guarantees great freedom of movement. (Image source: pixabay.com / Hans)

What distinguishes the sports bra with or without push-up and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

That’s a question of taste and the type of sport you like to do. In general, however, push-up bras tend to be low-impact bras and you should therefore opt for a bra without a cup if you play ball sports.

Low-impact bras are sports bras for low-intensity activities. To get an idea of whether your sport falls under this category, take a look at the purchase criteria under “Stress”.

Model Advantage
Sports bra with hooks and eyes comfortable to use as it is very similar in design to a normal bra
Sports bra with a ring back enormous freedom of movement and comfortable to wear
Sports bra with and without push-up depending on the type of sport you do, a push-up can offer you support

Buying criteria: These are the factors you can use to compare and evaluate sports bras

In the following I would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate sports bras. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain bra is suitable for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • The right support
  • Load
  • Workmanship
  • Material
  • Design

In the following steps, you can read about the criteria for finding a suitable sports bra.

The right support

No matter what sport you do, a well-fitting sports bra is one of the most important pieces of sports equipment – regardless of the size of your breasts.

If you don’t take this into account, you can quickly turn your well-formed breasts into sagging breasts. But a sports bra is also a must for your health, otherwise you risk chest pain and posture problems.

The aim is for your bra to provide a supportive fit and relieve pressure on the connective tissue. But it is just as important that you benefit from a comfortable fit, because sport should still be fun and not a tight and uncomfortable affair. This brings us to the second, very important criterion.

If the breasts swell over the cups or they are pressed strongly against each other, the bra does not fit optimally. When you try them on, they should fit perfectly in the cups under the arms and at the neckline.

Cup size

To find out your cup size, you need to calculate the difference between your upper chest circumference and your lower chest circumference (upper chest circumference = difference). You can use the difference to determine your cup size from the following table:

Cup size Difference* in cm
AA 10 to 12 cm
A 12 to 14 cm
B 14 to 16 cm
C 16 to 18 cm
D 18 to 20 cm
E / DD 20 to 22 cm
F 22 to 24 cm
G 24 to 26 cm
H 26 to 28 cm
I 28 to 30 cm
J 30 to 32 cm
K 32 to 34 cm

Load

Furthermore, you should choose the sports bra that is best for you depending on the type and intensity of your sport. As already mentioned, there are about four different levels:

  • Level 1 (low load): including Pilates, yoga, hiking and gymnastics
  • Level 2 (medium load): including dancing, gymnastics, cycling and weight training
  • Level 3 (high impact): including ball sports, backstroke games, Zumba and aerobics
  • Level 4 (very high impact): including athletics, competitive sports, horse riding, martial arts, jogging, but also for women with a large bust size

The four different levels are a good guideline for determining how much strain your sport puts on your breasts.

Processing

Straps

The wider the straps, the better the weight can shift. They are also more comfortable and practical because they don’t cut in when you move, which is probably the case with normal bras. The bigger your bust, the more you should look for padded straps.

Back

There are usually three different styles of back straps: The traditional strap style with hooks and eyes, the racer back and the ringer back. The choice of cut should also be made depending on the sport load. Hooks and eyelets are not suitable for running or ball sports.

If the sports bra has as few seams as possible, it is less likely to pinch, pinch or chafe.

Material

Of course, it is also important that your future sports companion is skin-friendly and soft. Breathability also plays a big role here. Cotton, for example, is less suitable because your sports bra will stay wet for a long time.

This is often a very unpleasant experience. Microfibre, however, is much better, as this material is highly breathable and has good drying properties.

Design

Nevertheless, the aesthetics should also be right. Many manufacturers offer sports bras with push-ups, so you don’t have to do without them in the gym. There are also no limits to the range of colours: from neon green to the usual black, various manufacturers offer just about every colour imaginable.

Facts worth knowing about sports bras

Is a sports bra safe to wear after breast augmentation?

As after any operation, you should seek professional advice from your doctor. Only a doctor can tell you what is best for you after breast augmentation and how you should proceed.

Most of the time, you will wear a so-called support bra shortly after your breast augmentation. This is similar to a sports bra in that it fits tightly around your breasts and prevents swelling and bleeding.

Are sports bras for children useful?

They exist for a good reason. Whether children really need a sports bra is by no means dependent on their age, but should be determined on an individual basis. As soon as it hurts to touch the breast, it is growing. From that point on, it can also make sense for children to wear one.

What experiences have other women had with a sports bra?

Finally, we can only advise anyone who is considering buying a sports bra: Check out reviews and testimonials from others on the internet. It is always interesting to see how different the experiences are.

Did you know that the sports bra first gained attention through a football goal?

At the 1999 Women’s World Cup, American Brandi Chastain scored the decisive goal in the penalty shootout in the final between the USA and China.

She took off her jersey and fell triumphantly to her knees – wearing only her shorts and sports bra. Her goal celebration went down in sports (clothing) history as the “Brandi Bra moment” in 1999.

You can often get a rough idea of the product, but this is no substitute for trying on different models.

Image source: pexels.com / Scott Webb

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