High support sports bras for small band sizes

Stop layering 2 sports bras - here's a list of high support sports bras that fit small band sizes AND bigger cup sizes

As you and I know, but most bra manufacturers apparently don’t, wearing a small band size does not automatically mean you also wear an A cup. Any time I click through an article promising “best running bras for D+ cups”, I’m lucky to find even one that starts smaller than a 34 band. If you’re familiar with this dilemma, I’m here for you: I’ve scoured the world (okay, the internet) for high support sports bras that come in band sizes 28-32 and cup sizes D and up. I’ve tried out at least a dozen styles over the past few years, and these are my favorites. There are no underwire or non-racerback bras among my favorites because I loathe those. Sorry if that’s what you came here looking for.

If you live somewhere you can try and buy these brands in a store, I recommend you do to make sure you get the right fit. For those (me) who have to order online, measure your bra size so you have a better chance of ordering the right size the first time – and please note the instructions in that link do *not* have you add 4 inches to your band size. A band that loose can’t provide high support no matter how good the bra is. Ahem, that might have been a small soapbox. Stepping off and getting to the high support sports bras now.

Sturdy Girl Sports

Sturdy Girl Sports bra - front

My personal favorite because they’re a basic pullover racerback design. These look like your classic sports bra but provide excellent support. Sturdy Girl regularly has 25-30% off discount codes (usually around holidays) that you can find through their email list or Facebook. There’s currently a 25% promo that’s good through August 11.

Sturdy Girl Sports bra - back

Sizing: Mostly true to size. They manufacture a small range of sizes, and I wish they carried a 30 band. That said, the bands run snug enough that sizing up still provides enough support.

Cons: The padding is a bit thick for my preference. I think it’s part of the support system, it just tends to feel like I’m wearing a lot of bra.

Shock Absorber Ultimate Run and Multi-Sport Max bras

Shock Absorber sports bras

While the Ultimate Run bra is obviously the one designed specifically for running, I actually slightly prefer to run in the Multi-Sport.The Ultimate Run has a clip at the back of the straps to make a racerback-ish shape, or you can leave it undone for traditional bra straps. The Multi-Sport just has the racerback-O configuration. Both keep things locked down without feeling locked down – these are the lightest high-support bras I’ve tried. They also come in the largest range of sizes, by far, compared to the rest of this list.

Shock Absorber sports bras - back

Sizing: is tricky, so order from somewhere with free returns/exchanges. Shock Absorber recommends sizing up one band size and down one cup size, but I found I needed to keep the same cup size.

Cons: Both styles are difficult to fasten – but if it seems impossible your band’s probably too small.

Fabletics Emmy

Fabletics Emmy sports bra

I’d avoided Fabletics’ sports bras since I tried their first “high” support bra, which barely deserved to be called medium support. They’ve since figured out the meaning of high support, and I appreciate the zip front on the bra – I was afraid it would unzip easily, but it stays securely in place. While Fabletics only uses letter sizing for bras, I would say this style could fit at least up to a DD cup. However….

Sizing: Don’t even attempt to order based on their bra size chart. Do you think someone with a 30 band is going to get any support from a size medium? No, no they are not. I suggest trying an XS (if you’re in the 28-32 band range) and taking advantage of the free exchanges if you need to adjust from there.

Cons: there’s a stiff bit at the bottom of the zipper that rubs uncomfortably when I’m not running. Strangely it doesn’t bother me on the run, but I’ll probably try covering it with a softer fabric.

Fabletics Emmy sports bra - back

Miscellaneous notes: while I mostly talk about running above, these bras work for any high-impact activity. I consider running the ultimate test for high support sports bras because of the every-which-way bouncing running causes. If a bra can handle that, it can almost certainly handle whatever else you want to throw at it.

Finally, I find all these bras reasonably comfortable, but none are the most comfortable sports bra you’ll ever wear. They are excellent for their primary purpose of keeping you locked down and non-bouncy, but you sacrifice a little comfort in the process. Still beats wearing two bras, right?


What are your favorite high support sports bras? Any suggestions for non-racerback or underwire lovers?


Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday & Coaches’ Corner

10 Comment

  1. I never even knew that was an issue (says the A cup)…
    Glad you’ve found some brands that work!
    Jen @ Pretty Little Grub recently posted…Mixed Berry Muffin Protein Smoothie and a GiveawayMy Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Thank you!

  2. You posted this at the perfect time! I was just shopping for sports bras! Thanks for sharing and linking up 🙂
    Annmarie recently posted…DVRT Total Body Blast Park Bench WorkoutMy Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Hope you found some that work!

  3. Great picks! Finding the perfect sports bra can definitely be a treasure hunt. I’m glad you found some that work!
    Nicole @ Fitful Focus recently posted…August 2016 GoalsMy Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply


  4. This is so helpful for so many! I’m annoying–34B-C, but I have a girlfriend who is a TINY band size with giant bazoombas. Totally pinning and tweeting!
    Susie @ SuzLyfe recently posted…Building Your Fitness Support System (ACTIVEx Review)My Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      BAZOOMBAS. How have I never heard this term before?

  5. Rachel says: Reply

    I totally do not have this issue. Ha! But I do know several of my athletes who do. Thanks for sharing!!
    Rachel recently posted…Women Runners to Root for in the 2016 Rio OlympicsMy Profile

    1. Hannah says: Reply

      Thank you!

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