Fashion

These Ultra-Breathable Sports Bras Will Keep You Cool When Your Workouts Get Heated

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A good sports bra can have an unexpected impact on your workout. When you're not distracted by sweat or an improper fit, you can focus on hitting your reps or setting a new personal record. The best breathable sports bras are made from moisture-wicking performance fabric and have mesh panels or cutouts to promote extra air flow. That said, offerings abound in this category, from lightweight encapsulation bras to budget-friendly compression options, so keep reading to find one that's going to work with your body the best.

Materials

You've probably heard about the breathability of cotton but it's a material that's actual moisture-clinging (i.e. it feels like a wet blanket when you break a sweat), so you'll want to steer clear of sports bras that feature largely cotton blends. Opt instead for moisture-wicking synthetic fabrics, like nylon or polyester, that transfer sweat away from your body to the surface of the garment, where it evaporates quickly to keep you feeling dry. Although polyester is more likely to feel airy than nylon, both fibers can be very breathable depending on the weave.

Support

In terms of support, sports bras generally fall into two categories: compression and encapsulation. Compression bras are exactly what they sound like — they have an intentionally tight fit to hold you in place (think: traditional sports bras). They usually offer all the support that smaller cup sizes need, and can be a good choice for low- to medium-impact workouts.

Encapsulation sports bras have individual cups and underwires like a regular bra. Anyone can wear them, but the additional support may be especially useful for larger cup sizes. Separating the breasts helps eliminate cleavage sweat or chafing and eliminates the uniboob effect.

Some hybrid bras combine the stay-in-place fit of a compression bra with the structural underwires of encapsulation. They reduce movement the most, and are ideal for high-impact workouts regardless of what size you wear. You'll also find hybrid options that have individual cups without the underwires, which provide a little more structural support without the fear of wires rubbing.

From lightweight bras with removable cups to the encapsulation bra worthy of a flying trapeze, these five breathable sports bras will help keep you feeling dry and supported through every type of workout.

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1
A Full-Coverage Sports Bra With Gel-Infused Straps

This full-coverage sports bra has molded cups like an encapsulation bra but without underwires — it's a hybrid style bra that fans love (it comes backed by more than 4,000 Amazon reviews). It's made from a nylon and spandex blend that uses a fabric technology for extra wicking power, and there's a breathable mesh front panel that promotes extra air flow. The straps are lined with gel cushioning to offset any uncomfortable pressure digging into your skin — plus, there's a hook-and-eye closure in the back (no fighting to get it on or off!). "This gives maximum support without digging in or smushing anything out," one shopper wrote. "A plus is the breathable mesh panel at the cleavage area, which provides more coverage than many sports bras and is such a relief."

  • Available colors: 34
  • Available sizes: 34C – 42DDD
2
A Budget-Friendly Strappy Sports Bra With Removable Cups

This affordable and lightweight sports bra comes in a compression style that's designed for medium impact. The stylish strappy back allows your skin to breathe, and the nylon/spandex fabric blend is wicking and quick-drying. You can remove the inner foam cups in case you want even fewer layers during intense sweat sessions. Reviewers raved, however, that the pads actually stay in place through machine washing. "This is the first I've found with pretty back strapping that is actually super supportive," one shopper noted. Another commented that it "Offers a breathable compression, so I’d recommend for regular workouts, however for me personally it did not offer me enough support for running."

  • Available colors: black, and multicolor packs
  • Available sizes: Small – XX-Large
3
This Encapsulation Sports Bra With A Breathable Back Panel

This encapsulated sports bra provides 360-degree support with sturdy foam-lined underwire cups that can withstand high-impact workouts. It's made from a blend of polyamide ( a type of nylon) and spandex in a moisture-wicking weave, and although the back panel is wider for support, it's made with a layer of mesh so you don't feel as sticky. A hook-and-eye closure provides a supportive band that's still easy to take off. "I took a chance on this inexpensive sports bra and it's a revelation," one 36E fan raved. "I can actually run and jump without bouncing or straps painfully digging into my neck. And this bra doesn't take contortionist effort to get on."

  • Available colors: 8
  • Available sizes: 32B – 42DD
4
A Plus-Size Sports Bra With A Cult Following

This wireless sports bra has over 5,000 five-star reviews from shoppers who "highly recommend" it for its great support and a comfortable fit. Similar to the first pick on this list, it's a compression bra with a little extra structure since it comes with reinforced bottom cups without wires. A high mesh panel adds coverage against cleavage without sacrificing breathability. This popular sports bra is made from a moisture-wicking synthetic blend with two-way stretch for a flexible fit that provides medium support. You can toss it in a washing machine at the end of your day. "This bra actually fit, was oddly supportive for a wireless bra, was comfortable, and breathed well," a reviewer noted, adding, "I also liked how high up the neckline is to prevent spillage." If you prefer bras with more structure, check out the brand's underwire sports bra.

  • Available colors: 8
  • Available sizes: 34C – 50J
5
An Affordable Multipack Of Ultra-Popular Compression Bras For Stocking Up

Available in an affordable four-pack, these wildly popular breathable sports bras lift and support with medium compression that lasts through your workout. The brand's "Climacool" design and nylon/poly weave helps disperse heat and moisture with targeted vents and a cutout racerback. It has removable pads for customizable coverage, and shoppers reported it was great for all types of training. Plus, these bras are machine washable although hand-washing is recommended. "The front isn't super low plunge. And the material is soft, breathable and comfortable," one commented. "I might not wear it to run a marathon but for all my normal gym weight lifting and cardio, it's my go-to. I've been washing on delicate and line drying and it's holding up great." For $34, you get more than half a week's worth of bras.

  • Available colors: 6
  • Available sizes: Small – XX-Large