A supportive sports bra is just as important as a good pair of leggings. So when it comes to the best sports bras for large breasts specifically, fit, design and comfort are essential. Not having the right bra can place greater demands on your spine, leading to discomfort and back pain later on. “Better sports bras help minimize breast motion, decrease force generation and support the thoracic spine during activity,” explains Dr. Daphne Scott, a sports medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
At Forbes Vetted, we’ve spent months testing sports bras in all shapes and sizes. To narrow down our top picks, we asked staffers and contributors with larger busts for their top go-to sports bras. (Want more options? Check out our best sports bra story, which features styles tested by a panel of women with bra sizes up to 42DDD.) Whether running, HIIT or boxing is your thing, these bras will hold you in without holding you back.
Best Of The Rest
How We Tested The Best Sports Bras For Large Breasts
This list consists of sports bras that were firsthand tested by a panel of staffers and contributors. One contributing writer, who tested the Athleta Advance, the Champion Spot Comfort, the Knix Catalyst and a discontinued version of the Nike Alpha (it has since updated with an newer version), ran at least three miles in each option to judge them on comfort and support. The Outdoor Voices Doing Things Bra and Athleta Conscious Crop Bra come recommended by our marathon-running editor, who wears a size 36D and uses them for training. The Wacoal Underwire was judged by a group of ladies sizes 32A to 42DDD for our panel-tested best sports bras story.
What To Consider When Buying A Sports Bra For Large Breasts
The best sports bras do more than just hold down; they offer comfort and the appropriate amount of support for the activity at hand (and the wearer’s cup size). Below, see a few points to consider before making your purchase:
Most sports bras come in three main style and you can choose one that suits the type of support you’re looking for.
- Compression: These sports bras flatten your chest to prevent bouncing, meaning they will make your breasts appear smaller. They are generally better for low-impact workouts.
- Encapsulation: Encapsulation bras separate the breasts, typically by using molded cups or underwire. These offer higher support and maximum hold.
- Combination: Combination bras offer a mix of a little compression and a little encapsulation. Like encapsulation bras, they are better for high-impact workouts and offer maximum support.
When looking for a supportive bra for larger breasts, consider sports bras with hook-and-eye or front-zip closures. These make putting your bra on and taking it off much easier than traditional styles (especially if you have large breasts and especially after you’ve gotten sweaty). One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of bras with hook-and-eye closures have a fixed racerback, which means you still have to pull the band over your head and chest, which can be difficult. If that’s a concern, bras like the Champion Spot Comfort, the Knix Catalyst or the Reebok PureMove+ are excellent easy 0n-off options.
Some sports bras are made with low-impact workouts in mind, others offer more support for high-impact workouts. If you plan on doing high-impact exercise like running, HIIT or anything that involves jumping, look for sports bras that offer maximum support, like the encapsulation or combination bras mentioned above. If you plan on doing lower-impact workouts like biking, yoga, pilates or barre, lighter weight, less structured sports bras will suit you just fine.
For bigger-busted women, finding the right size is crucial for your ideal fit. Instead of buying bras in small, medium or large sizes, look for options that offer your correct band and cup size.
Materials made with moisture-wicking properties, like nylon or polyester, will help keep you dry even as you’re sweating (depending on the workout, of course). Ideally, it should also be blended with spandex-elastane, which offers body-molding stretch for added comfort. If you know you’re doing an intense session, look for bras that have mesh or built-in perforations to enhance cooling and drying.
Most sports bras have similar care instructions: machine wash on cold, then skip the dryer and lay flat to dry. If you want convenience, pick sports bras that can go in the washing machine for easy washing versus hand washing.
Are Sports Bras Good For Large Breasts?
To put it simply: yes. When you have large breasts, a supportive sports bra is essential for a comfortable workout. Without the support you need, exercise—especially something high-impact—can lead to a lot of bouncing, discomfort and pain. A sports bra made with breathable and stretchy materials can also help keep you cool and dry throughout your workout session.
How Do You Keep Your Breasts Separated In A Sports Bra?
If your main concern is keeping your breasts separated in the bra, then avoid compression bras. Made to compress your breasts for low-impact workouts, these bras do tend to smush your breasts together tightly against your body. Instead, look for encapsulation bras, which are made to separate your breasts with underwire or molded cups.
How Do I Choose A Good Sports Bra?
The most important part of a good sports bra is the fit. Look for sports bras that come in band and cup sizes and get fitted to make sure you’re buying the correct size. Select a comfortable and slightly stretchy material that makes the sports bra feel supportive but not restrictive. To make getting dressed easier, look for hook-and-eye closures or front zippers to make it simple to put the bra on and take it off.
Why Trust Forbes Vetted
At Forbes Vetted, our fashion team knows that undergarments are the unsung heroes of any outfit. And when it comes to the best sports bras for large breasts, it’s not just about fashion and style, but it’s also about comfort and being able to get the most out of your workout (or even just your day) without having discomfort. Our team of staffers and contributors tested nearly every bra featured in this piece and we considered the fit, size options, compression levels and overall comfort when selecting the best sports bras to include here. This piece is regularly updated to reflect the most accurate information. It was last updated in August 2023.