Best sports bras: 13 designs best for supportive, stress-free workouts, as tested by team MC

When it comes to working out, a good sports bra is essential.

A woman wearing one of the best sports bras
(Image credit: Future)

Making sure you're wearing one of the best sports bras is really important. Case in point: one adidas research piece found that our breasts move with as much force as an F1 car when running. That's a lot - especially as breast tissue is largely only supported by skin and ligaments.

Your boobs deserve the right amount of support, and need it to avoid breast pain and issues further down the line. Here at Marie Claire UK, we believe that protecting your boobs during your workouts is essential and a totally valid reason to invest in some of the best gym wear. Heck, wearing a good sports bra is maybe even more essential than wearing the best running trainers. That said, if you're exercising regularly, you really should be doing both.

As a Health Editor who runs marathons for fun, I know how important effective kit is - which is why my team and I have tested all of the bras in this round up. Many of the bras have even lasted the test of a 26.2 with me, so you can rest assured that any featured are supportive, sweat-wicking, easy-to-wash, and long-lasting, too. They have our personal seal of approval.

Keep scrolling to shop the best sports bras for 2023, and don't miss our guides to the best gym sets for women, oversized gym t shirts, and running shorts for women, while you're here. Not sure which sweat session to wear your new bra for? These PT-approved celebrity workouts are seriously fun.  

Testing process for the best sports bras

Keen to know how team MC test all of the products we include? As above, all of the below products have been personally tested by team MC and are sports bras we all wear and love.

They've been sweat tested over runs, walks, gym workouts and more - so you know they are genuinely recommended.

best sports bras for women tried by Marie Claire UK

Health Editor Ally Head and Ecommerce Writer Grace Lindsay testing some of the bras in this round up

What did we look for when deciding on the best sports bras?

Aka, what are the success criteria? Good question. In short, it kind of depends on how big your boobs are and what exercise you'll be doing. If you've got bigger boobs, opt for a more supportive design: if you're lesser endowed, you can get away with something less functional.

  • Support: Is the bra supportive enough and does it hold your breasts in place?
  • Straps: Are the straps adjustable and comfortable? Does the fabric chafe? 
  • Material: Is the material breathable, high performance and sweat-wicking?
  • Fit: Are there a wide range of fits, sizes and options available for all breast sizes and shapes? 

We've indicated next to each of our best sports bras who they'd best suit — we know there's nothing more infuriating than a bra that just really isn't cutting the mustard for you. If you're looking for extra information, don't forget to check out our guide on how to choose a sports bra that's right for you.

Best sports bras 2023, tried and tested by team MC

Best sports bras for running

Best sports bra for large breasts

Best sports bra for high impact

Best supportive sports bra

Best affordable sports bra

Best long-line sports bra

Best padded sports bra

Best yoga sports bra

Why is wearing a good sports bra important?

So, why is wearing the right sports bra so important? Research from adidas has found that your boobs can move up to a whopping 19cm when you exercise, and with more G Force than an F1 driver's car. Unsurprisingly, their research also found that working out in the wrong sports bra, in the long term, can cause damage to your breasts. Think chronic breast pain, ligament damage, and, ultimately, side effects like drooping, sagging, and stretch marks.

You wouldn't go on a 5km run in a pair of Converse (we pray), so we'd like to assume you also wouldn't whip out your home gym equipment for your next HIIT session, Pilates class or Joe Wicks workout without proper protection for your boobs.

Ally Head
Health, Sustainability and Relationships Editor

Ally Head is Marie Claire UK's Health, Sustainability, and Relationships Editor, eight-time marathoner, and Boston Qualifying runner. Day-to-day, she works across site strategy, features, and e-commerce, reporting on the latest health updates, writing the must-read health and wellness content, and rounding up the genuinely sustainable and squat-proof gym leggings worth *adding to basket*. She regularly hosts panels and presents for things like the MC Sustainability Awards, has an Optimum Nutrition qualification, and saw nine million total impressions on the January 2023 Wellness Issue she oversaw, with health page views up 98% year on year, too. Follow Ally on Instagram for more or get in touch.