When you think about essentials, you can't get around the necessity of a solid sports bra. The right one for your body and running style will let you leave any comfort issues behind and concentrate on a good run. Enter our Role Mothers. They come in all shapes and sizes and run at every intensity level, offering a wide range of experience, thoughts, and opinions on the matter. Find your sports-bra spirit runner below and absorb their sage advice to find the best sports bra for running.
Nicole Blades, the Regular Runner:
I have 10 sports bras, but not all of them are in steady rotation. In fact, there's one from waaaay back that only comes out when all others are in the midst of the wash cycle. I typically wear five of them and the others serve as back-up.
I have an odd size that can be a challenge to find. I’m a 32E, so for me, the secret to a good sports bra is the right fit and also feel. It needs to have really good support and control to reduce the “bounce,” but it also needs to be comfortable—and by that I mean, a smooth shape with flat seams that all come together and rest softly against my skin.
Melissa Fenton, the Marathoner:
Because I'm in such a hot and humid climate, my sports bra needs to be made of a lightweight fabric, but still offer decent compression. I like wide straps that don’t dig into my shoulders. I don’t like any padding (too hot!) and don’t mind hooks, if it helps get a better fit—and they're also nice for certain times of the month when my breasts change in size and tenderness.
One of my favorites is the Saucony Athlete Avenger. No bounce! And breathable. It's practically neon, but actually I love that you can see the bra underneath a mesh-type top. And also, BONUS: It covers enough/is not see-through, so that I could wear it as-is, without a top, and run in it. (Again, hot as hell here so I lose my top a lot on runs.)
Ashley Hinze, the Beginner:
Motherhood did a whammy on my chest. Pre-baby = no boobs at all, immediately following baby = huge boobs needing serious control, returning to post-baby body = ending up somewhere in the middle and still needing support.
I always look for straps that cross in the back to hold those babies in! I prefer the no-movement type. This is crucial, as my bra is the last thing I want to worry about on a run.
My favorite is the Saucony Curved Crusader. It has just the right support, but comfortable enough to wear all day.
Tania, the Sputterer:
I probably own around 10 sports bras and wear about three of them on a regular basis. I wear the others if I need a specific color for a running costume.
For me, the secret to a good sports bra is fabric that doesn't chafe. Since I'm not well endowed, I also need some padding. But not funky shaped padding. Honestly, the best bras that I've found for me are from Old Navy.
Pam, the Grandmother:
I have more than a dozen, but I only wear about five of them on a regular basis.
The secret to a great sport bra is the fit and support. I really like the girls to stay put when running. I also like a sports bra with hook and eye closure, partly because they are easier to get on and off.
Sarah Wassner Flynn, the Triathlete:
I currently own five sports bras, which I wear on a regular basis, plus another five tanks with built-in bras which are also on heavy rotation.
As a small-chested woman, I don't have much to support, so I focus mostly on comfort and color. I tend to skip bras with fussy details like padding and hooks, opting for softer, stretchy fabrics and surprising elements, like a strappy back or a keyhole racerback.
I love both the Saucony Athlete Avenger and Sweet Elite. The bold, bright colors are totally my vibe and the fit is on-point. I'm also a fan of C9 bras from Target. They're super-affordable and comfortable, too.
We want to know: What do you love about your sports bra(s)? Tell us in the comments section below.