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What to Look For in a Great Running Bra: Part 2

Yesterday, we started showing you what you need to know to find the perfect running bra! Today, we’ll wrap up our running bra shopping guide with a few more practical considerations, and some examples.

Bra Cups
This is where running bras vary widely. Some sports bras work by compression, which means they squish your boobs to try to hold them in place. Others work with encapsulation, which means they have regular bra cups like any other bra, and they’re designed to hold you in place without squishing.

In my experience, the best bras for running are combination bras, which use both compression and encapsulation. Compression alone can cause your entire bust to move every time you take a step, and encapsulation alone tends not to provide the support I demand – combination sports bras are the best of both worlds. But you may find that one or the other works better for you – don’t be afraid to experiment!

If you’ve got a full bust, underwire sports bras provide extra support. My two favorite sports bras are wire-free, but the bands are very snug, so I don’t get any extra comfort by going wire-free. My third and fourth favorite running bras have wires – I don’t find the wires at all uncomfortable. Encapsulation-style sports bras are more likely to have wires, while compression-style sports bras are more likely to be wire-free – so this factor depends largely on the style you choose.

Other things to look at in bra cups: multi-part cups tend to provide more support for running. Molded cups are great under a t-shirt for shaping, but they aren’t great at providing control for the up-down and side-to-side motion of running. I’ve got the Le Mystere Energie Sport Bra 320, and the band is a good size so it provides good support, but the molded cups just don’t hold me in place the same way my other running bras do. It’s the last bra I reach for when I run – I only wear it running when all my other running bras are in the laundry! It does look great under a t-shirt, though!

Finally, moisture-wicking and breathability are important in bra cups, too. Padded bra cups may seem like a good idea to protect your modesty, but they can get hot real fast! Look for a bra whose cups retain their shaping and support even when moist, and if you run in a hot climate, breathability becomes a big factor. I only wear my Enell Sports Bra to run if the temperature is ~65 or under because the fabric isn’t breathable. Something with breathable mesh panels or a breathable center gore can really help with the warm-weather running.

Bra Straps
Oh, the dreaded bra straps! You want to make sure your running bra straps stay in place while you run. I hate having to constantly pull up my bra straps when I’m running, and if straps are slipping, you may not be getting enough support, either. Racerback style bras are great for women who have narrow or sloped shoulders, and for whom the bra straps are prone to slippage. Women with wider shoulders or women who typically don’t find themselves having trouble with bra straps can wear pretty much whatever they want, as long as the straps are adjustable and can be appropriately tightened.

The straps should only support 10 to 20 percent of the weight of your bust, but they are important in helping prevent bounce and side-to-side motion, so look for something with wide, competent straps to ensure you’re getting the best support.

Now you know everything you need to know to shop for a running bra! Check out reviews and see what our other shoppers have to say – and good luck finding the perfect running sports bra for you!

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