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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?