How to Find the Style of Sports Bra That Suits You

A sports bra is a necessary item for any woman that works out. During physical activities, breasts bounce which can cause damage to the tissue. Sports bras help minimize this bounce and make it less painful to do vigorous movements. They can also create a stylish fitness look. Below is a guide to finding the perfect sports bra that gives support and looks amazing.


When picking out the perfect sports bra, it is important to consider how much support you need before thinking about style.

The amount of support needed is determined by the impact level of the physical activity you want to do. The impact level is how much movement the physical activity will require. There are a total of three impact levels: low, medium and high.

  • Low impact physical activities involve slow, less vigorous movements. Some examples include yoga, pilates and weight lifting.

  • Medium impact physical activities involve a moderate degree of movement. Some examples include the elliptical, hiking and regular biking.

  • High impact physical activities involve vigorous movements that result in a high amount of bouncing of the breasts. Some examples include running, dancing and aerobics.


Once you have figured out the level of impact, you can start thinking about style. The two main features for sports bras are the cups, or lack of them, and the shape of the back. By keeping the level of impact in mind, you can choose a style that will offer you the right amount of support while still looking cute.

There are three main types of cups:

  • Compression bras do not have cups, instead, the material presses the breast against the chest to create support. The breasts are supported together, rather than individually. This type of sports bra is recommended for low to medium impact levels.

  • Encapsulation bras are similar to regular bras, as they have cups to support each breast individually. This offers better support, making the bra better for medium to high impact levels.

  • Compression and encapsulation bras are a combination of the previous two bras, offering individual breast support along with compression. This style is the best for high impact because it offers the most support.

How much support you need can also be determined by your cup size. Compression bras offer more support for smaller cup sizes, while encapsulation bras are better for larger cup sizes. A bra that combines both styles will suit all cup sizes.

There are four main types of backs:

  • Racerback bras create a “Y” shape on the back and are usually pulled over the head. This style suits low to medium impact activities.

  • Crossback bras are similar to racerbacks, with straps that come together in the back. The design allows for an increased range of motion.

  • Scoopback bras are designed like the everyday bra. It hooks in the back making it easier to put on than over-the-head bras.

  • Convertible strap bras have straps that can be changed from a scoopback to a crossback design. This style is good if you want a more flexible bra.

Women with a larger cup size might prefer a bra with a clasp rather than one that goes over head.

The sports bra was invented in 1977 by Lisa Lindahl and Polly Smith. It was created by sewing together two jock straps and was called a "jockbra."

Fortunately, that is no longer the case for the modern day sports bra. Women can now exercise with bras made specifically to suit the level of support they need and the style they like.

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