Great sports bras are more than mere garments. They’re engineering marvels that can help runners extend their workouts, improve running form, and even avoid injury. Researchers at the University of Portsmouth in England found that excessive breast movement can result in heavier, injury-promoting landings. But a properly fitted bra can reduce breast bounce by half, making it one of the best investments a runner can make. Happily, our team of sports-bra testers – who ranged in size from 8A to 26DD – analysed different bra models and discovered that the top performers don’t always command top dollar.
Best for A to B
PUMA Women’s Training PWRshape Forever Bra
No fuss bra for everyday training. Our testers loved the fun purple, peach and practical white and black colours. Made with materials that draw sweat away from your skin, the bra is great at keeping you dry during your workouts. The best part? A sleek racerback design for unrestricted range of motion and wide shoulder straps for bounce control.
New Balance Shapely Shaper
Even small-breasted runners enjoy some vavoom with this pullover racerback, which uses separate, moulded cups and removable pads to create an ultra flattering silhouette. Plus, it performs: “I did not experience any bounce or chafing,” said a b-cup tester, who also praised the quick-dry fabric. A$60;NZ$N/A, XS–L
Nike Pro Rival
This v-neck bra combines elements of compression and encapsulation for a secure yet comfortable fit. Our testers found that the moulded cups and snugly fitting chest band provided great support, and commented that the sports bra’s flattering design avoids the androgynous appearance some can create on a smaller bust. It’s worth noting that the Pro Rival doesn’t have any adjustment settings, so try it on carefully to ensure you choose the best size for your shape.
Best for C to D
Brooks Moving Comfort Uplift Crossback Bra
“I was able to focus on running without worrying about bounce,” said one c-cup tester, who praised this bra’s ability to keep her feeling cool and dry throughout her runs and circuit-training classes. Soft fabrics and seams work together to prevent chafing, and the sturdy straps look cute, not brawny. A$90;NZ$100, XS–XL
Lululemon Ta-Ta Tamer II
If zero bounce is your priority, this bra delivers. “Fit is very snug and rigid, with very little give in the bottom band,” reported one d-cup marathoner. Vertical shoulder straps convert to a crossback, and the combo of side compression and moulded cups is figure-flattering. “I look like a cosmo cover girl,” said one tester. A$69;NZ$79, 10C -16DD
Skirt Sports Kelly Bra
Seam-free with moulded cups that encapsulate and support each breast separately, there are hidden support panels to provide compression to battle bouncing. This bra is great for customisable comfort as it has a hook and eye back closure and wide cushioned straps that are adjustable, re-positionable and interchangeable. A$79.95;NZ$N/A, 32B-40D
Best for D to DD
CW-X Xtra Support III
Most pullover, tank-style bras don’t deliver enough support for large-breasted runners, but this one, while it didn’t eliminate bounce, “really minimised it,” said a DD tester. Some testers reported that it created little separation (yep, uniboob), but others gave it props for the simplicity of its design. A$69;NZ$N/A, 34D-38DD
Shock Absorber Ultimate Run
A perennial runner’s favourite, the Ultimate Run bra remains one of the best-selling on the market – and with good reason. Available in sizes up to 30A-38F (European/US), the encapsulation design holds your breasts in firmly, avoiding excess shoulder-strap pressure and helping prevent the ‘figure-of-eight’ movement that stretches the breasts’ ligaments. Eight strap length settings means the bra is highly adjustable, while its sweat-wicking fabric is unrivalled. A$68.93;NZ$73.50, 6A-18HH
Berlei Electrify Underwire Bra
One of Berlei’s most popular sports bras, the Electrify Underwire Bra reduces breast bounce by up to 50 per cent and is designed with fun vibrant colours. The mesh in the cup and back provide breathable panels for a cooler workout. The bra can work great too as an everyday option as it has hidden supportive linings, which give a natural look without the bulk. A$59.95;NZ$N/A, 8A-18E