8 best high impact sports bras for running, HIIT and more that Fitness Editors genuinely rate

Because high-impact exercises require proper support

one of the best high impact sports bras tested by ally
(Image credit: Future)

The start of the year always sees an uptick in the amount of people exercising. If you've recently taken up running or sticking more determinedly to your HIIT class schedule, you could probably do with adding one of the best high-impact sports bras to your athleisure collection. 

We all know investing in one of the best sports bras is key to a good workout - not only does it make you feel good, but it's important for your health, safety, and performance. Case in point: research has shown that your boobs can move as much as eight centimetres in every direction when you run? 

That has an impact - it can loosen your skin over time and cause breast pain, an issue that affects 72% of women when running.

One 2023 study published in the Frontiers in Sports and Active Living journal even found that wearing the right sports bra can actually improve running speed by up to 7%. Add this up, and you'd knock 15 minutes off of your marathon thing — a number we've no doubt any runner would jump at the chance to shave off.

Choosing the right sports bra is an essential part of working out. Even if you're not a runner, any form of HIIT or high-intensity sport like football requires a high-impact sports bra, too. 

I'm Chloe Gray, a fitness writer and regular gym-goer, and together with my Marie Claire UK colleagues, we've rounded up the only high-intensity sports bras we reckon are actually worth the money. Whether you're big-boobed (read our edit of the best bras for big boobs, here), small boobed or looking for high-impact comfort, we've got bras offering the right support for everyone. 

Testing process

Senior Health Editor and eight times marathoner Ally Head, triathlete and fitness writer Alice Barraclough, and myself, personal trainer and fitness writer Chloe Gray, have tested all of the bras in this round up.

Between us, we sweat test kit and workout for a living, so know a thing or two about which bras are worth your investment and which aren't.

What to look for in a high impact sports bra? 

  • Sizing: We all know the importance of wearing the right bra size, and that's even more crucial if you're exercising in it. Unfortunately, technical pieces of kit are yet to catch up on inclusivity, but we've been sure to include options for every size.
  • Coverage: Do you prefer a high neck bra or a low cut bra? It all comes down to preference, so choose whatever feels best for you. 
  • Fastening: Sports bras come as pull overs or with fastenings at the back or front. Depending on your proportions and breast size, you might prefer one over the other. 
  • Sustainability: It always pays to check the credentials before you buy. Again, technical items aren't always the most sustainable, but there are some options that manage to support you and the planet.

8 of the best high impact sports bras

1. Super high impact sports bra

adidas stella mccartney sports bra

(Image credit: Adidas)

Adidas by Stella McCartney High Impact Bra

Reasons to buy

+
Clasp fastening 
+
Cross-back.

Reasons to avoid

-
Higher price point.

What we thought when testing: "I don't go out on a run without this Adidas bra on. It's one of the only items I've worn where I don't feel my boobs bouncing thanks to the higher neck design and the material is so soft it doesn't dig in or rub. The details look good but are actually all about function: a clasp fastening and adjustable cross straps mean everything is snug and perfectly tailored to your body." - Chloe Gray, Fitness Writer

2. High impact sports bra for long-distance running

on active sports bra


(Image credit: On)

ON Running Active Bra

Reasons to buy

+
Responsive elastic
+
Light padding.

Reasons to avoid

-
Medium support
-
Size XS to XL, rather than cup size.

What we thought when testing: "This is great if you're a runner who trains over long distances as the straps contain responsive elastic to move with your body and ensure the bra supports you in the right ways. Rest assured, the bra has been tested by pro athletes too, going through six prototypes over two years before landing on the perfect product. It's also made from 65% recycled polyamide" - Ally Head, Senior Health Editor 

3. Most comfortable high impact sports bra

brooks comfortable high impact sports bra

(Image credit: b)

Brooks Dare Crossback Bra

Reasons to buy

+
Crossback 
+
Pullover design
+
Soft to the touch.

Reasons to avoid

-
Runs slightly big
-
Can lose shape quickly.

Designed with research partners at the University of Portsmouth Institute for Breast Health, Brooks caters for a large range of sizes, from a 30A up to a 40E - and the brand has really delivered on this bra.

What we thought when testing: "It's a great investment thanks to its super support and next-level comfort. I really had no complaints when trying it. It's comfortable yet high support, with adjustable straps, too. Plus, I really like the range of colours available." - Ally Head, Senior Health Editor

4. Best high impact sports bra for all sizes

runderwear power running sports bra

(Image credit: Runderwear)

Runderwear Power Running Bra

Reasons to buy

+
Zero bounce
+
Adjustable straps
+
Good range of sizes.

Reasons to avoid

-
Sometimes difficult to get on and off.

The Power bra that Ally tried is now sold out, but you can try one of the brand's very similar styles, such as the Power Zest Running bra (made from certified 75% recycled fabric) which we've linked out to, or the Energize Bra. The brilliant thing about this brand is that it caters for over 70 sizes throughout its collections, so you're sure to find something that fits. 

What we thought when testing: "I'm often sceptical of bras that offer zero bounce, but this one really held me in.  I'd buy it if you're a runner or HIIT lover - the adjustable straps mean it can fit you like a glove for any workout." - Ally Head, Senior Health Editor

5. Easy-on/off high impact sports bra

sweaty betty zero gravity bra

(Image credit: Sweaty Betty)

Sweaty Betty Zero Gravity Bra

Reasons to buy

+
Bright colours 
+
Quick release dual-clasp
+
Seamless straps.

Reasons to avoid

-
Runs small
-
Higher price point.

Barraclough is a big fan of this bra, sharing that it's supported her on long runs and cycles.

What we thought when testing: "Designed for running and high-impact exercise, I love that this bra supports, not squashes. It's available in sizes 30A-38F and comes with thick, seamless straps and a quick-release clasp. (No getting stuck in your bra after a sweaty workout, here)." - Alice Barraclough, Fitness Writer

6. Most stylish high impact sports bra

patagonia cross back sports bra

(Image credit: Patagonia)

Patagonia Women's Switchback Sports Bra

Reasons to buy

+
Odor control 
+
Cross-back.

Reasons to avoid

-
Medium support.

This Fairtrade bra, made from recycled polyester and nylon with odour-controlling additives, is a great option for gym classes and running alike.

What we thought when testing: "With a cross-back for extra support, it's good for people who prefer less coverage and cooler styles." - Ally Head, 

7. High impact sorts bra with supportive technology

maaree black cross back sports bra

(Image credit: Maaree)

Maaree Solidarity High Impact Bra

Reasons to buy

+
Offers compression and adjustable overband technology
+
35 different sizes
+
Three row hook and eye clasp.

Reasons to avoid

-
Higher price point.

What we thought when testing: "I'm a big fan of Maaree bras - the brand has impressive sustainability credentials and offers really high impact support, too. Need-to-knows: their overband and underband technology stops both upward and downward bounce, meaning you feel fully held in. I also rate that you can sign up for an appointment with Maaree's founder to find your perfect fit, as well as the fact sizes run up to 38H." - Ally Head, Senior Health Editor

8. Most sustainable high impact sports bra

gym plus coffee pink high neck sports bra

(Image credit: Gym + Coffee)

Gym + Coffee Celero Bra

Reasons to buy

+
Stylish design 
+
High neck.

Reasons to avoid

-
Runs large.

From a carbon-neutral brand on its way to becoming B-Corp certified comes this high-neck sports bra. Not only do Gym+Coffee's designs nail sustainability, but support, too.

What we thought when testing: "With 74% recycled nylon and dual back straps which hold you in while looking stylish, this bra will get you through your run feeling secure." - Chloe Gray, Fitness Writer

What type of bra is best for high impact activities?

There are a few key things to look out for when investing in a sports bra to guarantee sufficient support. 

Most important are the straps and fastenings - the best high-impact bras will offer adjustable straps, to ensure it fits your body correctly, as well as a racerback detail with clasps for easy removal.

You'll also want to make sure the material is sweat-wicking, breathable, and anti-chafing, to make sure you stay comfortable throughout your workout. 

Do avoid low-impact yoga designs, designed for - yep, you guessed it - low-impact activities, like yoga and Pilates. They won't hold you in and could cause tissue damage to your breast muscles.