What are the types of sports bras and how do you pick the best? I’ve got the lowdown on all the things you should be paying attention to in sports bra styles, from support to function, style to material.
Trying to find the perfect sports bra type? Keep reading for answers to these questions and more.
Types of Sports Bras
There are several types of sports bras in the market, and we categorized them based on function, level of support, style, and material.
Based on function
1. Compression Sports Bras
These sports bras don’t usually have built-in cups, meaning they treat the two breasts as a single unit (uni-boob).
However, don’t go by the name - they don’t really compress the breasts. Compression bras are usually the pullover style and can be a good replacement for everyday bras if you’re looking for a little more support.
Compression bras are best suited for low and medium-impact activities or to replace an everyday bra.
2. Encapsulation Sports Bras
These sports bras have individual cups for added support, with or without underwires.
Encapsulation bras come in various sizes, ranging from smaller cup sizes to D cup sizes and bigger. It’s important to choose the correct cup size or cup volume for a good sports bra fit.
This will ensure your breasts are molded inside the bra, nipples are covered, and you can maintain motion and performance without putting stress on your breasts.
Encapsulation styles are best suited for high-intensity workouts that involve jumping or running.
KFT's Freedom Bra is the best sports bra for women who alternate between high and low-impact workouts.
It has removable cups that make it ideal for everything from yoga and pilates to barbell work and brisk walking. The thin straps and open back style allow freedom of movement during exercise without excessive breast movement.
3. Compression-Encapsulation Sports Bras
These sports bras provide the combined effect of compression and encapsulation. They have individual cups to hold the breasts but also mesh or spacer fabric to push the breasts together. Many of them come with underwires for added support.
These bras are handy for women with smaller cups because they give the breasts a fuller appearance. But women with D cups love them too, because of the extra support they provide.
Based on the level of support
These sports bras are designed to provide support during low-impact activities in which the breasts don’t bounce around too much. Many of these bras don’t accommodate individual cups (think compression bras).
It’s best for any low-impact activity like walking, yoga, pilates, or stretching. Also a good replacement for everyday bras if you want a little more support plus comfort.
These sports bras may or may not have two separate cups. They provide more support than low-impact bras. If you participate in a variety of sports with different impact levels and are not sure what types of sports bra to get, medium impact bras are probably your best bet.
A good sports bra with medium-impact support is best for aerobics, Zumba, cycling, strength work, hiking, or brisk walking.
The Medusa Bra from KFT Brands is a medium-impact sports bra with flattering strap details and a trendy V-neck and cross-back design.
But don’t be fooled by the good looks. This is one hard-working sports bra that is ideal for medium-impact activities without discomfort. And with removable pads, it's versatile too.
A high-impact sports bra is the right sports bra for high-intensity activities that involve a great deal of breast movement and bounce.
This is the maximum support among the three levels.
These bras are usually encapsulation sports bras, although some compression sports bras also provide the support needed for high-impact activities and performance without discomfort.
They are ideal for any physical activity with a high impact level such as running, kickboxing, dancing, Crossfit, tennis, rugby, skiing, and gymnastics style sports.
Based on construction/style
1. Crisscross back
These sports bras have straps that cross over at the back in an X style. They offer flexibility and a good balance between comfort and support.
This type of sports bra also looks fashionable when worn with a deep-back tank top.
A crisscross sports bra is best suited for medium and high bounce activities.
KFT’s best-selling crisscross back sports bra, the Goddess Bra, features a thick under-breast band that provides maximum support, no matter what impact level your activities.
The trendy straps and longer length make this sports bra a great pick if you’re looking for something that’s fashionable but also provides great support. Plus, the breathable sweat-wicking fabric makes it one of the best sports bras out there.
This is a style that most sports bras feature. The shoulder straps join together at the shoulder blades to create a Y shape. It’s a great pick if you’re looking for supportive sports bras that also look trendy.
Racerbacks are a type of sports bra that provide good support during medium to high-impact sports.
The All Set Bra is a great racerback style bra that features sturdy straps and a thick under-breast band for maximum support while allowing freedom of movement. The removable pads and breathable fabric make it one of the most versatile types of sports bra you can choose.
Plus, this sports bra looks uber stylish with the front mesh cutouts.
A pullover compression style essentially consists of a tank top with an elasticized band below the breasts. Some of these sports bras even have a front zipper.
These sports bras are popular with young girls, teenagers, and women with a small cup size. They are not so great for larger-busted women because they don’t provide that much support.
A pullover sports bra is ideal as an everyday bra or replacement for regular bras. It is also good for low-impact activities like yoga or stretching.
4. Back clasp
These sports bra styles resemble everyday bras. They come with adjustable straps, underwires, and pads, so they’re incredibly versatile.
They are the best choice for women who want shoulder straps that adjust and a sports bra that you wear like a regular bra. If you’ve ever struggled to get out of a sweaty sports bra, then this is the sports bra for you.
Back clasp bras are ideal for light to medium-impact activities that require less support. It can also be a replacement for a normal bra that offers comfort while providing additional support.
Based on material
Natural materials like cotton are moisture wicking fabrics. They are comfortable because they let your skin breathe.
However, cotton may not be the best sports bra material for high-intensity workouts where you sweat a lot because it can get soggy and you could lose support.
Cotton bras are good for indoor workouts in air-conditioned environs where you’re unlikely to sweat excessively.
Polyester, nylon, and Spandex fibers are more sturdy materials, so they can take more wear and tear. If you’re looking for sports bras that last years and years, these are the materials you should go for.
However, these fabrics may not absorb sweat as well as cotton.
KFT offers a good variation of sports bras made from durable materials. Here's the bestselling Freedom Bra, made of 87% nylon and 13% lycra/spandex.
These types of sports bras are ideal for activities that require flexibility and movement.
How To Choose A Sports Bra
First things first--keep in mind that when choosing a good sports bra, it must provide the necessary support to your breasts during physical activity. It should also prevent symptoms like breast pain and back discomfort after an intense workout.
Many women find the different styles in sports bras confusing. If you’re still asking yourself - Do I need a compression style in cotton or a racerback with Spandex fibers? Which sports bra will provide great support for larger busts?
If you’re still unsure, consider the following when picking the best type of sports bra for you.
If you do mostly low-impact workouts, compression sports bras can be the comfiest while still providing support. But if you go running or play tennis, then in addition to comfort, you need a bra that is supportive. To ensure that your boobs are supported, look for racerback or crossover styles in sports bras.
2. The fit
It’s important to wear a sports bra that fits your bust size. Bras that don’t fit well will not serve any purpose and may even cause chafing.
When you try on a sports bra, it should fit snugly without being too tight. It should not cut into your skin or cause discomfort. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be so loose that it is no longer supportive.
To know more about your sports bra size and fit, visit our sizing page.
3. The type of material
Cotton bras are typically soft and comfortable and offer breathability. However, they are not recommended for sports in which you are likely to sweat excessively.
Many women choose Spandex sports bras because of their flex and elasticity, allowing a comfortable workout. Microfiber is another synthetic fiber that is a good choice because it is a moisture-wicking fabric.
4. Your comfort
While a sports bra should fit slightly more snugly than a normal bra, it should not cut into your skin or restrict breathing.
When you are buying a new sports bra, make sure you get the correct bra size. You can do this by ensuring you can slide two fingers between the sports bra straps and your shoulders. Also, make sure there are no wrinkles in the fabric of the cup - this indicates that the cup is too big.
Generally speaking, you should feel good in your sports bra while exercising. You should not be uncomfortable because the bra is too tight or because your breasts are bouncing around too much.
What is the best type of sports bra for everyday wear?
The best type of sports bra for daily wear are those made with low to medium impact support.
Ideally, it should also be easy to put on and take off--so stay away from racerback styles as they may be difficult to wear on a daily. Instead, think about getting a pullover style or a back closure sports bra in a breathable fabric like cotton.
But the main thing to consider for a sports bra for everyday wear is your comfort. Make sure it fits right with your breast size, and preferably with removable pads for more flexibility.
Is sports bra size the same as an everyday bra?
Yes, your sports bra size is likely the same as your regular ones.
Regular bras are designed to provide good support during everyday activities. Sports bras are specifically designed to provide greater support than regular ones, minimize breast movement, and wick away sweat.
To protect your breasts, stay comfortable, and look stylish during your workout, wear a sports bra that is appropriate for the type of physical activity you are doing and which fits you well.
Are non-padded sports bras better?
Yes, non-padded sports bras are generally preferable because they fit better. Pads are pre-made, and unless they fit perfectly, they may allow the breasts to move around.
On the other hand, padding can provide more coverage for the nipples while training, so if that is a concern, you should definitely consider sports bras with pads.
There are sports bras for every body type and every physical activity.
Now that you know the different types of sports bra available, I hope you are better informed to find the sports bra that is perfect for you.
Check out KFT Brands for more information and great deals on sports bras.