As anyone who has struggled with a racerback sports bra in a dressing room, or found revealed raw, red nipples disrobing after a long run, finding a sports bra that supports you in your activities is about as hard as trying to find true love. And like dating, the wrong fit can scar you from even wanting to "get back out there."
Researchers from the Biomechanics Research Laboratory at the University of Wollongong in Australia found a strong relationship between breast size and regular exercise, reports the New York Times. Basically, women with larger breasts felt more discouraged from working out.
But all it takes is the right bra. In a 2012 study from the University of Portsmouth in England, researchers found that a correctly fitting bra can reduce breast pain.
We're believers in having the right clothes in the right situation. Even the bustiest among us don't need the most supreme encapsulation bra when we're at barre class. That's why we decided to round up some options based on activity.
Pilates for those with small breasts
"I love how this bra feels like you're wearing nothing, but still gives good coverage," Erika Bloom, a pilates instructor, and former professional dancer, told The Cut. "The straps are thin, so they disappear under tops, and don't dig or slide off."
Barre class for those with small to medium breasts
Bloom calls this medium-support bra supportive without being restrictive. We like the minimalist spaghetti-strip shape coupled with cool, graphic print—perfect for peeking out from a top.
Pilates and yoga for those with medium breasts
Imagine pairing this longer-line beauty with a mesh band across the chest with high-waisted leggings and feeling like the Ali Cutler goddess you are.
Running for those with large breasts
This may be the trickiest category, where function tends to take precedence over form. But we've recommended this bra before, and we're happy to do it again. Look, we're not alone. "It's a nightmare shopping for sports bras that can take me through high impact. This one did the job perfectly, says one reviewer. This one's solid as a rock comes in a zillion colors and goes up to a J-cup.
We're worn and loved this ourselves, and running coach Elizabeth Corkum backs us up with our allegiance to Moving Comfort (a sister brand to running stalwart, Brooks); her busty clients swear by them. "They love this brand. It's very supportive but comfortable." Those cushy, padded straps might have something to do with it.
Spin class for those with medium to large breasts
Sydney Miller, a SoulCycle master instructor, told The Cut this sleek, high-necked style is "perfect for larger-chested women since it's super supportive and feels substantial."
Zumba for those with medium busts
It's just so damn cool, isn't it? For activities where you want to feel your breasts move — but not knock you out — this medium-support, asymmetrical arty bra will have you feeling like a Fly Girl. And you will be able to fly through class since the dreamy-soft fabric will keep you from chafing.
HIIT for those with small busts
Maryam Zadeh, the owner and founder of HIIT Box, recommends this Under Armour bra because it "feels like a second skin. I love the skinny straps. It's best for someone who's muscular but has small breasts." And she's not alone. Others love the wicking properties and those cute, cute straps.