How to Choose the Best Low-Impact Sports Bra

by Karla Tafra

Disclosure: Links with a * are affiliate links.

Guest author Karla is a health and wellness writer, yoga teacher, and a nutritionist with a passion of helping others live happier and healthier lives. She lives in Seattle, and loves travelling, cooking, exploring restaurants, and spending quality time with her 16-month-old son Jax. Find her on Instagram @karlatafra.

When it comes to low impact activities such as yoga, barre, or pilates, we need sports bras that will offer support while at the same time allow for a wider range of motion. So, how do you choose the best one for you and your body? 

The Fit

Choosing a sports bra that will be the perfect fit for you depends on a variety of factors, but the most important include:

Your cup size – always make sure your sports bra size is equal to your regular bra size, and if anything, go a size up, not down. You never want your breasts to be squished and suffocated, especially since you’ll most likely be sweating. Your skin needs to breathe in order to stay healthy and prevent bacteria from building up. If the only option are letter-sized bras, try on a few different sizes before you choose as different styles may fit you differently. 

Your chest size – many brands tend to make extremely tight sports bra bands, so when you take them off, you can notice a red line right around your rib cage. Even though the line isn’t harmful and often shows up for many women, make sure the bra isn’t too tight around your chest and uncomfortable, restricting your movement, or causing chafing. 

The straps – when it comes to low-impact sports bra straps, you can now find every possible design there is, from extremely thick to tiny spaghetti straps. You don’t want a bra that digs into your skin and leaves marks, but you also don’t want to constantly have to adjust and lift the straps because they keep falling off. If you’re having issues with most brands out there, find the one with adjustable straps like this one from Halara, so you can arrange them to best fit your body shape. 

The length – some women love their bra to end right under the breasts while others want the fabric to extend almost under the ribcage. The comfort and fit will depend on your preference, but also the size of your ribcage. Some women have wider rib cages which make almost every sports bra tight in this area. That might prevent you from breathing deeply, so make sure you’re always able to fully inhale and exhale. 

The Material

Low impact workouts are still workouts and you’re bound to sweat. Especially if you’re doing hot yoga or pilates where merely being in the hot room causes your body temperature to rise. It’s important to choose a sports bra with a sweat-wicking material which won’t irritate your skin and cause redness or inflammation. 

And it’s more than just being breathable. Sweat-wicking materials actively move the sweat away from your body, and they’re made with non-absorbent fibers so that the sweat doesn’t stay there and become the perfect environment for bacteria. 

Some of the best materials for sweaty skin include:

Microfiber – a very thin, synthetic fibre that is popular for its moisture-wicking ability.

Polyester – even though you might think this to be the worst possible material, some of the best brands use its sweat-wicking version. It’s hypoallergenic and its non-absorbent fibres do an awesome job at keeping sweat away from your body. 

Nylon – another fabric you’d never think would be an awesome sweat-wicking option, nylon is amazing at transfering sweat to the surface of the sports bra and away from your body.

One material you should definitely avoid is cotton. Even though it’s light, airy, and breathable, it doesn’t do well with sweat. It will not only keep you wet the entire time, but it will also most likely cause chafing and skin irritation while it moves on your skin as you perform your exercises. 

The Style

The style of your sports bra depends on your preference, but it also has to work with your activity. Don’t choose a sports bra that only looks good but prevents you from actually performing your moves. There are plenty of brands out there with cool-looking strappy details that wrap around your chest in a variety of ways, but if they’re not functional for movement and they’re getting in the way of your exercises, they’re not going to be the best choice for your workout. 

These unique styles are definitely eye-catching and look amazing when you wear them, but maybe save them for an event or another opportunity to dress up in sporty clothes, just not while actually working out.

The Price

With so many brands of athletic wear out there, you can find everything from extremely expensive sports bras to really great options for an affordable price. How much you choose to pay is your decision, but it’s important to say that in this case, high price does not necessarily equal high quality. 

You can find really affordable, high-quality low-impact sports bra styles for $20-30 (~£16-25 / ~19-29€) like this one by Core 10* or this by Fruit of the Loom*, and you can even get them on Amazon. 

The Brands

Some of the best low-impact sports bra brands include:

Lululemon* – known for their yoga and pilates attire

Aloyoga* – the Instagram brand that became a world sensation

Underarmour* – pioneers in low to high-impact sports bras

Bandier* – known for their elasticity and stretchy fabric

Fabletics* – extremely affordable if you join their club

Athleta* – with bras that even have UPF protection

Athleta Warrior Sports Bra, $54 (~£44 / ~52€)*

At the end of the day, the best low-impact sports bra for you will be the one you feel the most comfortable in while you’re stretching, sweating, and getting in all sorts of twists and turns where the style and fit of your bra really make a difference. Choose quality over aesthetics  and go for brands that make an effort in picking out the best fabrics that will let your skin breathe, but at the same time keep moisture and sweat away.

Do you have a favourite low-impact sports bra?

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