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.
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.
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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