5 Different Types of Sports Bras Your Active Wardrobe NEEDS

5 Different Types of Sports Bras Your Active Wardrobe NEEDS

Sandhya TS Sandhya TS
9 minute read

My love-hate relationship with the gym never quite extended to my sports bras. This was not the case earlier though. Back when I had five pairs of not-so-pretty t-shirt bras I had donated to my activewear wardrobe, I absolutely hated my bras. But then I discovered sports bras and the absolute need for them. It took me a while to shift from having no sports bras ever to literally stocking up on different types of sports bras for different occasions. As a woman who is an avid athlete and gym-goer, I know just how important it is to have the right type of sports bras for the activities you are doing. It's not just about comfort and support - the right sports bra can also help you perform better and prevent injury.

different types of sports bras

What is a sports bra?

Before we get into the different types of sports bras, it is important that we are all on the same page. What is your understanding of a sports bra? Mine used to be very vague. In my head, I wasn't indulging in athletics so a regular bra seemed just about fine. A sports bra is your best friend when it comes to working out! It's designed to provide extra support to your bust and keep you comfortable during physical activity. A good sports bra should be snug and supportive, but not so tight that it restricts your breathing. It should also be made from moisture-wicking fabric to help keep you cool and dry. 

Why are sports bras important?

While I have already elaborated on why your breast friends matter the most, let's have a quick recap before we dive into the important types of sports bras you need to know about. Different kinds of sports bras serve different purposes, though largely the same basic benefit. Here are a few good reasons why the five different types of sports bras we talk about here are important:

  1. They support you. Sports bras provide support by compressing the chest and limiting movement of the breasts during physical activity. They typically come with adjustable straps and a hook-and-eye closure for the perfect fit. 
  2. The material is usually breathable and lightweight. It is also moisture-wicking to ensure there is no sweat buildup when you are working out so you stay cool and comfortable throughout your moves. 
  3. Most types of sports bras have padding that prevents nip slips and provides additional cushioning.
  4. Sports bras designed to absorb your high-impact moves are also good at preventing bouncing.
  5. There are different sports bra styles of cropped length that can be worn by themselves eliminating the need for additional layers.

Is padding important in sports bras?

Padding in a sports bra is sometimes overlooked by makers who focus purely on very low-impact activities or sports bras as mere style pieces. While there are different styles of sports bras out there, a padded sports bra is a very basic must-have in your wardrobe. The padding does the obvious job of covering your nipples but it also does more -

  • helps prevent chafing and provides additional support
  • often is sweat-wicking and keeps the body cool
  • reduces the risk of injury during excessive movement
  • kind of helps reduce the bounce and keeps your boobies in place
  • helps reduce the impact of shock, vibrations, and other physical activities

What do 'impact levels' mean?

Impact levels of activities are determined by the amount of force that is applied to the body during the activity. Impact levels vary according to the type of activity you are performing. Broadly, there are three impact levels recognized based on which activities are categorized. 

Low Impact: Activities that have minimal impact on the body, such as walking, yoga, or swimming.

Medium Impact: Activities that involve more physical movement, such as jogging, cycling, or dancing.

High Impact: Activities that involve more intense physical activity, such as running, jumping, or weightlifting.

Different styles of sports bras are effective in helping you achieve optimal performance in your physical activities in different ways. Designed to handle different levels of impact, I share with you five types of sports bras you need to stock up on right away:

The 5 different types of sports bras you must know about:

While there are many different kinds of sports bras out there, five of them broadly cover most of the functional aspects of all of them. This is why I have focused on these different styles of sports bras in particular and ignored the rest.

Compression Sports Bra

A compression sports bra is a type of sports bra specifically designed to provide extra support and stability to the breasts during mid to high-impact activities. Usually made from fabrics like nylon, polyester, and spandex, the fabric in itself is compressive and provides extra support to the breasts during movement. These types of sports bras are very effective in preventing too much bouncing during impactful activities. Many styles also feature adjustable straps and a wide, supportive band around the ribcage to provide extra support. They also often include padding to provide additional cushioning and protection, as well as a moisture-wicking material to keep the body cool and dry during exercise.

Encapsulated Sports Bra

If super high-impact activities are what you focus on, an encapsulated sports bra is your thing. An Encapsulated Sports Bra is a type of sports bra that is designed to provide maximum support and comfort while participating in physical activities. It offers full coverage and is constructed with a double-layered fabric that is designed to wick away moisture and keep the wearer cool and dry. The construction also provides additional support for the bust and prevents the straps from digging into the shoulders. These bras are designed to move with the body, reducing the risk of chafing and discomfort. The straps of this type of sports bra are usually adjustable and the closure typically features a hook-and-eye or zippered closure for a secure fit.

A great example of a compression/encapsulated sports bra is Blissclub's Flex-It Moulded Sports Bra. Designed for your mid-high impact moves, this bra provides you with great support and stretch while offering you a very supportive level of compression. The straps don't dig in and the underband is smooth and light on your skin. The best part is the moulding technique used to keep the cups and your boobs in place - say bye to the bounce. Get this compression sports bra here.

Wireless Sports Bra

A wireless sports bra is an active life must-have. Every woman needs one to ensure comfort, style, and the feeling of having no bra on. Trust me, a good wireless sports bra is one of the only kinds of sports bra styles that could make you feel that way. The underwire is usually added for support and to help hold'em up. Wireless sports bras provide support and flexibility without the traditional underwire, making them ideal for those with a more laid-back active lifestyle. 

These types of sports bras are ideal for those participating in low-mid impact moves. Wireless sports bras are designed to provide support while allowing a full range of motion and breathability. The design also helps reduce the risk of chafing, which can be a common problem with traditional bras. With the right fit and style, wireless sports bras can be a great option for those who want to stay comfortable and supported during their workout. 

A great example of a comfortable sports bra ideal for low-mid impact moves is the Ultimate Comfort Sports Bra by Blissclub. This wireless sports bra is one of the best types of sports bra for large breasts, especially for women engaging in low-impact moves. While providing a good level of comfort and support, it also has easily removable padding which can be slipped on later. Oh, and it is super soft. Check out the wireless bra here.

Convertible Sports Bra

This is possibly one of the coolest kinds of bras out there - simply because of just how multifunctional it is. A convertible sports bra is a type of bra that can be worn in multiple ways, offering versatility, comfort, and support. Designed for active lifestyles, convertible sports bras are often made with breathable fabrics and adjustable straps for a custom fit. The straps can be worn in traditional, crossed, or halter-style configurations, giving you the flexibility to choose the one best suited for your activity. 

In other words, you can choose the level of impact that you want the bra to offer you, depending on the kinds of moves that you have planned for the day. Among the many different sports bras styles out there, this has to be the most versatile one. The adjustable straps can be worn in multiple ways, allowing you to customize the fit to your body, provide maximum support and reduce the risk of chafing. 

Racerback Sports Bra

A racerback sports bra is the perfect blend of sporty and stylish. I personally hate layering up on top wear in the gym. Racerback sports bras are the type of sports bras that offer a good element of style so there is no need for covering it up. They typically feature adjustable straps that crisscross at the back, helping to keep the straps in place and prevent them from slipping off the shoulders. The racerback design also minimizes shoulder strain and helps to keep the chest area secure and well-supported. 

Racerback sports bras are great for mid-high impact activities depending on various factors including the construct, type of material used, etc. They provide a better range of motion compared to other types of sports bras which help when there is a lot of arm movement involved. Check out Blissclub's The Ultimate Criss-Cross Bra for a soft, sexy-back, and medium-impact sports bra featuring non-digging straps and comfortable compression. Here's the link!

In conclusion - which sports bra is right for you?

This depends on: 

  1. The type of movement you have planned - a compressive sports bra for high-impact activities would be great, while low-impact moves require simple comfortable padded sports bras.
  2. Your feature preferences - non-digging straps? wide straps? soft underband? style? Depending on what you want from the bra, having a list makes your choice easier. There is no one-bra-fits-all when it comes to sports bras.
  3. Your budget - how much you can spend matters a lot. Neither the most expensive sports bras the right kinds of sports bras for you nor the cheapest. It depends on your specific needs. 

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