If you’re a regular at the gym, or resolving to becoming one, then the Bare Necessities annual list of top picked sports bras is for you.
If you’re like me, you squeeze in a workout once a week or so but somehow, you’re always running. Maybe it’s to work or to school, it’s definitely errands, it’s some travel if you’re lucky and, if you’re really lucky, it’s doing nothing in particular at home. Be it working out, going out or staying in, we here at Bare Necessities know how often sports bras have to work overtime.
So when it comes to real life, these five bras—incredibly supportive yet feel-good enough to keep on all day—can handle all of the above and then some. Once in a great while, you might even want to wear them to work out!
If you live a high-impact life, look to this bra (same as the one shown above). It’s that rare wire-free sports bra that really serves busty gals (up to a 46-band and an H-cup). For day-to-day use, we appreciate that it comes in white, desert and black with gray trim, though it also comes in bolder, brighter designs. This style encapsulates each breast separately, then compresses them for a securely locked-and-loaded fit. A super plush, wicking terry lining inside the three-part seamed cups feels good in front. The ergonomically designed, padded straps are positioned to stay put. In back, the three rows of hook-and-eyes aren’t all that dissimilar from regular bras. The stretch underband keeps it comfortably anchored to your body for jogging around the neighborhood or jogging to make it to school pick-up on time.
First of all, how cute is this bra? It looks, feels and shapes like two little layered bralettes you would pull on overhead, but with discrete cups (up to a G) on the inside that do away with the scourge of uniboob commonly caused by sports bras. There’s basically a stretchy overlay atop a real underwire bra, which makes this design a perfect compromise between workout wear and lounging-around wear. Great details like the wide underband and sheer mesh panels on the wings earn it still more points and, despite its high-impact billing, you’ll find it’s extremely easy-wearing for yoga, Pilates, dancing, biking, hiking, walking, working and otherwise living life.
More than a few reviewers confess to wearing it out of the gym as much as they do in, and you can see why. It looks like an everyday bra (check out the attractive color combos), yet is strong enough to take on even the most intense workouts (up to an H-cup). The fabric is wicking, the coverage is high and full, the dual-layer cups are light, and the larger sizes have inner slings for even more shoring up. We all know Wacoal is comfortable, but this dials it up even further: In an inspired, innovative design move, the underwire is actually on the outside of the bra, lifting and supporting without even the potential for being annoying.
We’re also really excited about this new Wacoal style because it takes comfort to the max, in a lower profile. With a deeper neckline than the High Impact Sports Bra we just talked about, the Contour looks and fits like a T-shirt bra, and supports like a sports bra. In a neutral palette, the Contour has lightweight spacer foam-lined cups, comfort U-back straps that convert into a racerback and mesh insets all around that look like lace and let you breathe. Add this one into your usual rotation on the double.
In a half-dozen neutral and fashion colors, the mesh camisole layer on this really well-priced, mid-impact bra lets it function like a tank top under street clothes. This wire-free, full-coverage style gives a lot of support in an unbelievable size range (bands up to 50 and cups up to J) but, as far as sports bras typically go, it’s surprisingly lightweight. The seamed cups lift and separate; encapsulate and compress; contain the girls and let you get out there to do whatever you need to get done in comfort and confidence. Score.
Brooke is the editor of this here blog. In a previous life, she was an editor at Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine. Brooke has written for Glamour, Travel+Leisure, New York Magazine and more. She’s into concerts, travel and her exceptionally adorable daughter and husband.