Ladies, haven’t we all experienced horrible sports bras? Ones that rub our rib cage, dig across the shoulders, create a pyramid silhouette (Madonna style), and get heavy when damp? We set out to find and test the top sports bras that are grassroots created, functional and fashionable. Now you can run, do yoga, swim and cartwheel in comfort and style. (Our tester wore sizes small to medium.)
***Garage Grown Gear’s top-choice all-around sports bra***
- Supportive for all-around activity: running, trail running, hiking, yoga, bouldering.
- Sweat pools stand out and do not blend into the fabric seamlessly.
The full review:
Handful was inspired by a hole in the marketplace. While CEO Jennifer Ferguson was earning her marketing degree, she was a fitness instructor on the side. Circumstances often led her to worry about the sports bra that she was wearing, way more than she should have to. In hot or rainy conditions, she’d be leading a running group and her shirt would suddenly reveal her undergarments. She’d be in front of a cycling class and worry, “Oh, no…am I falling out?” While teaching weights class she’d hope no one knew if she were hot or cold. Jennifer felt like she had wasted enough time thinking about it, so in 2006 she launched Handful. Feel, function and fashion was what she was looking for in a sports bra, and she knew other women wanted that, too.
The adjustable bra is free of under-wire, yet supportive for high-impact activities. The straps can be worn straight, crisscrossed, or as a halter. The strap length is easily adjustable, too. The fabric is soft and comfortable, water friendly and can be worn as a swim top. Additionally, the cups have pockets, which come with modesty inserts. The pockets also function as a place to insert prosthesis. Jennifer and her business are advocates of breast health and contribute volunteer hours and a portion of sales towards breast cancer awareness and support. The color of my Handful sports bra was Gettin’ Lucky Green, which I thought was rather spunky and vibrant. But…during hot yoga class, I couldn’t help but notice that when the room really started to heat up dark sweat pools creeped from the outer edges of the bra to the middle—some serious capillary action. Other than my sweat exposure under extremely hot conditions, the bra itself is supportive, has an attractive design with an elegant cut, looks great beneath a shirt, and succeeds at providing adequate coverage. This is our number one pick for all-around activity from hiking to rock climbing, swimming, trail running and yoga.
- Unique, eye-catching and flattering designs
- Does not provide the most support during high-impact activities such as running
The full review:
Based out of southern California, Onzie designs were initially inspired by a yogi, and they’re definitely trending in the yoga classroom. Justifiably, the designs are extremely aesthetic, flattering, and the fabric is streamlined, comfortable and soft. So much so that these sports bras deserve to be worn outside of the yoga room too.
However, the models I tested wouldn’t be my top pick for running. They are best for stretching, pilates, swimming, and taking walks—nothing that’s too high-impact. I adore the Elastic Bra Top and the X Back Fitness Bra, boasting super attractive cuts, one-of-a-kind patterns, and mega comfort and softness. The Criss Cross Top also has an appealing design, but I found that the size ran a tad smaller than the other two designs, which made the straps tighter and tougher to pull over my head with ease.
- Lifts and absorbs sweat well while maintaining support during high-impact activity.
- Incorporates Merino wool into the design (which aides moisture wicking, temperature control and odor trapping).
- Does not have the most attractive or streamlined design.
The full review:I tested out two models from PULSE, the v-neck sports bra and the ultra sports bra. The ultra offers a high level of support, across the board. It wicks away sweat and keeps it off of your skin, which is great for cool, fall weather runs. However, the cut isn’t very appealing. It looks cumbersome—the straps are wide and funky, and they don’t line up with a racer-back tank top. And, adjusting the straps (which are Velcro) isn’t done with the greatest ease. However, we think there’s potential to achieve an equally supportive, yet eye-and-shirt-pleasing design for the ultra. Comparatively, the v-neck sports bra isn’t as supportive as the ultra but features a more flattering design, while still supportive enough for a run. It’s especially great for chilly days when you’re wearing multiple layers, and it does well with moisture absorption. As we know it, these are the best Merino wool sports bras on the market today.
Bonus mention: Yellowberry
If you're a Tween (or mom or older sister of a Tween), check out Yellowberry sports bras. This awesome company was founded by Megan Grassell in Jackson Hole, WY, when she was 17 years old. Just this month, Megan was listed on Time Magazine's list of the 25 most influential teens in 2014. And Time's paragraph as to why, sums it up well: "After taking her 13-year-old sister shopping for bras, Grassell was perturbed by how sexualized most of the available choices were for young girls; everything seemed to have padding and underwires. So she started her own company, Yellowberry, to offer an alternative: comfortable, colorful training bras with names like Junebug and Sugar Cookie. She initially raised $42,000 through Kickstarter—well above the $25,000 goal she set for herself—and now runs a full-fledged online retailer."
What’s your go-to, top sports bras? What must a sports bra have for you to even consider wearing it?