Boobs are beautiful: fact. All shapes and sizes, big, small, perky or not – they’re fab. But, when you’re a woman who is blessed with slightly larger assets, shopping for underwear is no easy task.
In the past, the bras that would range beyond a double-D were the most basic you could find. They’d usually come in the standard three tones – black, white and nude – and they’d tend not to have any frills.
That might not seem important, but we all know that when you’ve got underwear on that looks good, regardless of whether anyone is seeing it, it gives you an all-important confidence boost.
We’re pleased to say, however, that things have started to improve. Brands like Savage X Fenty are paving the way with a host of bras that are stylish and sexy without compromising on support. But when it comes to finding an equally stylish and supportive sports bra, the perfect model can still prove elusive.
We know the pain of relying on a standard bra – which, let’s face it, was not made for jumping jacks and burpees. So, we made it our mission to find some decent options for the larger breasted woman among us, so you too can have peace of mind throughout even the most arduous workout.
There were three main things we were looking for in our sports bras. Firstly, they had to be comfortable – we didn’t want wires digging into our ribcage or straps leaving those dreaded red marks on our shoulders.
They also had to be flexible, with our ideal bra having adjustment options and being able to handle an intense HIIT class as well as a gentler yoga or stretch session. Most importantly, though, they had to be supportive.
Bonus points were awarded to bras that came in a large number of sizes, stretching well beyond the UK’s average of 36DD. As did those that came in a variety of colours and styles too, because working out doesn’t have to be boring – so why should your sports gear be?
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
Panache wired sports bra
Best for: A good all-rounder
Panache’s wired sports bra has been a firm favourite for us for some time now. We’ve worn it for every kind of activity – high-intensity workouts, dancing, yoga and even just running errands – and without fail, it always holds up (pun intended). It’s not only fashion forward, but comfortable and super supportive. The underwire is strong and thick, but as it’s concealed under thick gel padding, you barely even notice it’s there. Similarly, the cups are moulded, encapsulating each breast and giving great coverage, control and a defined shape. Plus, as it’s seam-free, it feels smooth and soft against the skin, which is a welcome comfort.
There’s also a breathable fabric, similar to mesh, on both the cleavage and band, which is ideal for air flow and keeping you cool during even the sweatiest sessions. And we also love the sturdy J-hook, which is easy to fasten and gives an extra bit of support and lift for those really intense workouts. Basically, we’re obsessed with this bra, and as it comes in more than 10 different colours and patterns, as well as sizing extending up to a 40J, we’re certain you will be too.
Buy now £37.50, Bravissimo.com
M&S goodmove extra high impact non wired sports bra
Best for: Circuit training
If you’re a woman blessed with a larger bust, the average price for a standard sports bra (and even a regular T-shirt bra) can be anywhere between £30 and £40. If you’re an avid gym-goer – and therefore find yourself having to replace your bras more often than most, due to the amount of use and washing they get – the cost of kitting yourself out can end up being ludicrously high.
That’s why this budget option from M&S is a godsend. Not only is it less than £20, it comes in two colours and more than 20 sizes and is a high-quality product that we instantly fell in love with. It’s non-wired but has thick straps and a wide underband that gives great support during a number of exercises. We even found it helped us with our posture. Plus, the higher neck gave us brilliant coverage and ensured our boobs stayed secure throughout every sit up, burpee and squat.
Overall, it’s a really impressive product and easy on the eye too. We personally love the little cut-out detail on the front which, when coupled with M&S’s “cool comfort” technology, moisture-wicking fabric and mesh panel, not only look good but helped us keep cool. We felt confident and comfortable – really, what more could we ask for?
Buy now £17.50, Marksandspencer.com
Bravissimo inspire sports bra
Best for: A gentle jog
This was probably the most flattering bra we tried – from the moment we slipped it on, our shape changed dramatically. We felt uplifted – both physically and spiritually – and noted how the extended wire gave us a great, rounded shape. All that and it kept our boobs separated throughout our workouts too.
More than that though, it was supremely comfortable. The straps and hook are all padded, and at the top of the cleavage – where wires can sometimes break through and impale you – the bra is made of a sturdy yet flexible material. The bra continued to mould to our shape through every movement, without causing us any discomfort. We reckon this bra could withstand a lot of use both inside the gym and out, but perhaps for a longer run something with more coverage at the front might be best.
Buy now £40.00, Bravissimo.com
Pour Moi energy elevate zip front lightly padded sports bra
Best for: Cycling
We’ll be the first to admit that we’ve always been sceptical of zip front bras – they’ve never screamed comfort or support to us. Perhaps it’s the threat of the zip suddenly buckling under the pressure as we attempt jumping jacks or a downward-facing dog.
We weren’t sure what results this Pour Moi model was going to yield, but we were pleasantly surprised. Made from polyamide, elastane and cotton, it’s lightweight and feels soft against our skin. The adjustable straps make pulling the bra on a lot easier and, once again, we liked that it includes a J-hook. We also found it to be absorbent and despite the lack of an underwire, it was also surprisingly supportive – a tighter and wider underband ensured our breasts stayed clamped into place during even the most intense spin session.
By far our favourite element of this bra though, and something we can’t say we’ve seen on similar models, is the small hook tucked away in the zip line. It helps to keep the bra firmly in place and just gave us extra piece of mind. We wore a 36G and found it ideal for our lower-impact activities like cycling and pilates, but some might find it works for running too.
Buy now £22.99, Pourmoi.co.uk
Elomi energise sports bra
Best for: High-intensity classes
Innovation, femininity and strength – these are just three of Elomi’s core values, all of which are demonstrated beautifully here. Firstly, this bra is uniquely designed with non-compression technology. This means that, instead of clamping your boobs to your chest, it aims to encapsulate your full bust and give the best all-round support. We can attest that it did just that, with our breasts staying firmly in place without ever feeling squashed or restricted.
Secondly, we found the flexible, three-piece cups really helped give us a more curvaceous figure. Our breasts were lifted and separated, similar to the way they were in the Bravissimo inspire sports bra, (£40, Bravissimo.com), which gave us a huge confidence boost before we even started our workout. Plus, the nylon fabric was great at mopping away sweat.
Finally and most importantly – this is a strong bra. It has a moveable J-hook and a really thick underwire. We knew this bra could withstand even the toughest Tabata sessions – we only wished there’d been a bit more padding on the underwire as after an hour of wear we did start to feel a bit sore. That said, this bra comes in the widest variety of sizes we saw, so if it’s something you love you can keep purchasing it, even if your shape changes.
Buy now £36.00, Elomilingerie.com
Royce Lingerie aerocool sports bra
Best for: HIIT
If you want a bra that has style and substance, then this model from Royce has plenty to spare. Coming in a deep shade of purple with lighter mesh panelling, we were immediately impressed with how chic it was. We’d even go as far as to say it was the prettiest bra we tested.
But this bra is amazingly functional too. It’s the UK’s first wire-free, high-impact sports bra for G-K cups and is designed to give the best support for larger-chested women – and boy, does it deliver! There’s no underwire this time, but the wide elasticated band, high neckline, and internal side sling ensures maximum security during even the bounciest of workouts. The straps are also adjustable and there is the option to convert it into a racerback for additional support.
A word of caution though: because of this bra’s style and compressive qualities, Royce advises you up your cup size to ensure it fits. We opted for a 34H on this occasion, and still found the band a bit snug. Don’t let that put you off though – Royce offers an incredible virtual bra-fitting service so that you know exactly which size will fit you best. So, not only will you know you look good, but you’ll be able to work out comfortably and confidently too.
Buy now £45.00, Royce-lingerie.co.uk
Freya epic sports bra
Best for: Running
We’ll agree that this bra is “epic” in size and in coverage. There is no cleavage or side boob on show, giving us great piece of mind, and it has one of the biggest back bands we’ve seen. Because of this, we felt totally secure during our run knowing that we weren’t going to pop out unexpectedly or feel our breasts jiggling as we jogged.
However, the underwire was extremely tight and about halfway into our run we felt it starting to dig in – not idea if you’re training for a marathon. So, we’d perhaps try going up a back or cup size to see if this changed the tightness at all. For that reason, we’re nicknaming this our “Marmite bra” – some of you will absolutely love it (for the coverage and the security it gives), others, well, maybe, not so much.
Buy now £42.00, Freyalingerie.com
Asquith balance bra top
Best for: Yoga and pilates
If you’re looking for a super supportive bra to get you through intense HIIT sessions, then keep on scrolling. But if you’re more of a budding yogi, then this could be the best bra for you. Made from Asquith’s trademarked performance fabric, Bambor (a mix of super soft bamboo and organic cotton), this felt amazing against our skin. It is soft, breathable and naturally helps sweat evaporate. It felt so comfortable that we never wanted to take it off.
With no clips or wires in this bra – just a simple racerback detail to give a bit of support – we don’t advise doing anything too adventurous while wearing it. But we found it to be ideal for low-impact activities, and still comfortable enough to wear on our Sunday stroll or while lounging about the house.
It comes in four different colours and sizes ranging from an XS (size UK8) to XXL (UK18), plus all of the brand’s packaging is now 100 per cent recyclable. So not only can you look and feel good by wearing this bra, you’ll also be helping the planet. It’s a win, win, win!
Buy now £45.00, Asquithlondon.com
M&S goodmove extra high impact serious sport bra
Best for: Boxercise
As another budget-friendly option, we were a little bit concerned that we might miss out on quality or support we’d come to love from more expensive models. But as always, M&S really delivers. This bra is ideal for a range of high-impact activities, including boxing.
Developed in collaboration with scientists at the Asahi research centre in Japan, this bra aims to reduce bounce by 25 per cent. The straps are a huge part of making that possible, and were perhaps the most adaptable of all the bras we tried. Not only do they cross at the back and adjust there, but they can be modified on the front as well, giving us the best fit yet. It also meant that as we practised floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee, our straps (and boobs) stayed firmly in place. We could imagine going for several rounds in this bra and still never tiring of how it felt.
Buy now £28.00, Marksandspencer.com
Bravissimo atlas non wired sports bra
Best for: Dance class
We’ve always been jealous of those that can slip on non-wired bras and still be supported. Even as they shimmy and sway during a dance class, they’re still perfectly covered. But now, with this option from Bravissimo, we’re not so green with envy.
The atlas bra, similar to the Royce aerocool model (£45, Royce-lingerie.co.uk) is designed with compression in mind – with its principal aim being to strap your boobs close to your chest so you don’t jiggle while you exercise. And we can promise that it does this with ease.
As soon as we pulled it on, we felt totally secure. The high front ensured we weren’t spilling out over the top. And if you’re worried that it could sound restrictive or tight, don’t be. The inner moulding ensures you’re still supported and the aerated front keeps you cool throughout sessions. We also liked the addition of the padding to the front of the strap, so you’re comfortable from front to back.
Buy now £39.00, Bravissimo.com
Pour Moi energy empower U/W lightly padded convertible sports bra
Best for: Walking 10,000 steps
As soon as we tried the energy empower bra, we knew it was something special. It’s the second of Pour Moi’s bras to feature in this list, and considering they only ventured into the sports bra arena in 2017, that’s pretty impressive. But given how good this bra looks and feels, it’s actually not that surprising at all.
The fabric felt softer than any of the other bras we tried, and we loved the additional mesh-like fabric on the inside, which was, again, great at keeping us cool. But probably the best part of this bra was the extra padding around the band, which stopped it not just from bunching up, but from rubbing or chaffing as we moved about. That’s why we think, despite its claims of being “perfect for high-intensity workouts”, it’ll be best used for those who enjoy long walks or aim to hit their 10,000 steps a day. While it is supportive, it didn’t give us the same sense of security as others on this list.
It was one of our top choices in terms of style – it’s supremely pretty and comes in a variety of gorgeous colours, including rose gold. Our only complaint was that we’d have liked to see a J-hook instead of the option to physically cross over the straps, as, in our experience, these aren’t always as strong and can ping off at the most inopportune moments. It still deserves a space in our wardrobe though, and we only hope Pour Moi will continue to surprise us with great bras.
Buy now £23.00, Pourmoi.co.uk
The verdict: Sports bras for bigger busts
We loved all of these bras, but there’s no doubt that the Panache wired sports bra is our best buy. It was our best all-rounder – supportive during high-intensity workouts, yet comfortable enough for gentler tasks – and came in a great number of sizes and colours to suit all. Plus, it was a great price for such a versatile model.
On days where we’re after a more relaxed fit, we’d definitely opt for Asquith’s balance bra top. It was super comfortable and we didn’t mind sacrificing a bit of support for that. For value for money and as a great inbetweener, we’d opt for the M&S goodmove extra high impact non wired sports bra, which was supportive and stylish without breaking the bank.
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