10 best sports bras, tested in the gym by a fitness editor | plmubl.com

10 best sports bras, tested in the gym by a fitness editor

As a fitness trainer and health editor, the most important part of my workout starts before I even get to the gym. It begins at home, when scouring through my workout kit, deciding what to wear. To be more even more specific, it begins with finding the best sports bra.

What you wear to the gym can make or break your workout in many ways. A good sports bra can make you feel more confident, reduce pain and improve performance – that might sound like big claims to make about an undergarment, but Portsmouth University’s Research Group in Breast Health found that, when athletes were given an individual ‘bra prescription’ to find a style and fit that worked for their body, 97% reported benefits in comfort, fit and support while 17% said it had significantly improved their performance.

“How you dress can have a direct impact on your mood and your overall performance when exercising,” agrees personal trainer and Pilates instructor Rachel Lopez. “When doing your workout, your focus should be fixated on form and mind to muscle connection, not your outfit and how it makes you feel. An uncomfortable bra can also lead to tension headaches, upper back tension and neck pain.”


Best sports bra 2024 at a glance:

  1. Best All-RounderLululemon Energy Longline Bra, £48
  2. Best Sports Bra For Gym Workouts: Gymshark Ruched Sports Bra, £28
  3. Best Sports Bra For PilatesFree People Never Better Bra, £44
  4. Best Sports Bra For StyleSEFI Timeless Bra, £46

Meet the experts:

  • I’m Chloe Gray, a health and fitness editor, fitness trainer and avid exerciser. I wear sports bras to exercise in every single day, so I know what works for pretty much every style of training.
  • Rachel Lopez, a PT and Pilates instructor, is also here to advise on sports bras. She’s trained hundreds of women and has to wear a sports bra to work every day, so she’s also a great mind when discussing fitness kit.
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How we test sports bras:

I’ve road tested countless sports bras over the years, and there are some key factors I look for when testing sports bras (you can also read more about how Glamour test products here). If you’re looking for sports bras for running or HIIT, don’t forget to check my guide to the best high-impact sports bras.

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  • Support: The two types of sports bra support are compression – where the breasts are pushed in towards the chest wall to limit movement – and encapsulation – in which each breast is cupped by material. I like bras with both style of support – as long as it’s genuinely strong enough to hold me in during workouts.
  • Fit: I’ve outlined more about what makes for a good fitting sports bra below, but finding a bra that genuinely fits your own body shape is really important – yet it’s thought that 90% of women wear the wrong size sports bra.
  • Style: Yes, it’s important that the bra looks good. But by ‘style’ I mean whether the sports bra is the right cut and design for your style of training. The best bra for running won’t be the same as the best bra for yoga, and it’s important that a bra designed for a certain sport fits its brief.
  • Quality: A sports bra could be the best fit in the world, but if it starts fraying or loosening after a few wears, then it’s not going to cut it. Sports bras can be an investment, so making sure it’s high quality is important.

How to find a good fitting sports bra:

The first step to finding a good fitting sports bra is to use a tape measure to check your band size and cup size. A sports bra should feel snug, with the underband lying flat across your ribs and chest bone the whole way round. You should be able to fit two fingers between the straps and your shoulders – any more and they might be too big, any less and it’s likely too tight.

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You also shouldn’t have any loose fabric to pick up or pull at around the cups, nor should you feel like you’re spilling out of the cup.


What to consider when shopping for a sports bra:

  • Type of movement: “The type of movement they are going to use it for is the first consideration when buying a sports bra. Someone heading out for a run will need something very supportive that covers more skin area to minimise movement, while those doing yoga will need something more lightweight and stretchy to accomodate their flows and twists,” says Lopez.
  • Material: If you’re a sweaty person, or you are going to wear your sports bra during sweaty workouts, you might want to consider whether your material is sweat wicking and breathable. It will mean the material dries faster so you aren’t wearing wet fabric. In winter months, you’ll likely want a technical material that can keep you warm without overheating.
  • Seams: For workouts where you’ll be lying on the floor or leaning against surfaces, make sure your seams and straps won’t lead to discomfort. Seamless options can be great for yoga and Pilates for this reason, or opt for softer, flatlay seams.

Is it OK to wear a sports bra as an everyday bra?

“I always recommend clients not to wear this sports bra all the time and to prioritise them for gym time only. Without the constant support of a bra, your pectoral muscles will have no choice but to activate and support the breast tissue,” says Lopez.

Personally, I often wear low-impact sports bras and bralettes throughout the day, as these tend to be comfortable, soft material and without any pull on my chest. But I wouldn’t wear anything that’s designed for gym workouts, running or higher impact activities outside of my workouts.


Scroll to shop the best sports bras of 2024 that will make you feel confident, supported and ready to sweat.

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