The best Nike sports bras for running

Buying guide

From padded options with adjustable straps to compressive ones with classic racerback designs, here are the best styles to wear based on your needs.

Last updated: 19 October 2023
6 min read
The best Nike sports bras for running

Running is one of the most accessible workouts, simply because all you need is a good pair of shoes. But there's one big caveat for anyone with breasts: a supportive, sweat-wicking bra built for high-impact sports is also a major must-have.

Logging miles without one of the best sports bras for running is more than just annoying—it can be uncomfortable. When breasts are not properly held in place, their movement can strain the Cooper's ligaments, the connective tissue that shapes and supports breasts. This is just one reason why it's so important to find a supportive sports bra that securely fits before racking up the miles.

Running sports bras: fit and features

There isn't a single best sports bra for running. What works for you may not be right for someone else, and that's because everyone has different fit preferences, body shapes and breast sizes. If possible, when shopping for bras online, consider ordering more than one size so you can get a feel for your preferred fit—the ones that aren't a match can always be returned.

Can't figure out if a sports bra is right for running? Here's what to know: the sports bra should lend support while jumping and feel secure, but not be constricting. To help figure this out, try the two-finger rule: if you can't fit two fingers under the bottom band or shoulder straps, it's probably too tight. When a bra is too tight, it can cause the skin under the breasts to chafe. Also, if the shoulder straps are digging into your skin, that's a good sign you need a size up. Conversely, if you can fit more than two fingers, consider going a size smaller.

When shopping, there are a few important things to bear in mind. Generally speaking, bras are broken down into high-, medium- and light-support categories. Larger cup sizes generally require more support, and that's found in high-support sports bras. Within each of these categories, various features help cut down on breast movement in different ways. Some of the features Nike incorporates into its designs include:

  • Compression—this offers a secure fit, providing breasts with support while minimising movement. Generally, compression bras provide low to medium support.
  • Encapsulation—some of Nike's high-impact and plus-size bras may have separate moulded cups for each breast to help cut back on movement.
  • Hook-and-eye closure—this is the clasp generally used on a traditional bra. The feature offers adjustable compression while typically providing a snug fit on the band to keep bouncing to a minimum.
  • Adjustable straps—this feature enables you to customise your fit and lifts the breasts to control movement. It's also worth noting that wider straps tend to offer more support than thinner ones.

To help you narrow your search, here are the best sports bras for running by size and level of support.

1. For young girls

Even before children begin puberty, they may ask about getting a sports bra. While some kids may need the coverage and support for their maturing bodies, others may just like the look of a bra—and both are totally OK.

For both younger and older athletes, the best sports bra for running is one that lends an appropriate amount of support so they feel comfortable and confident. Nike has light- and medium-support options for girls, as well as tank tops with built-in sports bras to keep chests snug. Many styles are made from Dri-FIT materials to stave off prepubescent sweat and odour, and offer additional lift and hold with racerback straps. The cheery patterns and fun colour options are the icing on the cake, enabling kids to feel excited about wearing their bra.

Nike youth bras come in sizes 6 to 20 plus and generally fit children ages 7 to 15. However, if a child or young teen feels like they aren't getting enough support when they work out, a women's sports bra may be a more suitable option.

(Related: The best sports bras for kids by Nike)

2. For those looking for light support

If you don't like feeling too compressed during runs—and have a smaller cup size—light-support sports bras might be the top choice for you. Nike light-support sports bras have a host of features to keep you feeling supported and comfy, including sweat-wicking technology, removable pads for customisable coverage and adjustable straps for added lift and comfort.

In terms of style features, you can find longline and traditional bra silhouettes in both U- and V-necklines, cooling details like cut-outs and mesh inserts, and fashion-forward, dual-tone colourways.

3. For those who prefer medium support

Medium-support bras help to minimise bounce and provide a secure fit for small to medium cup sizes. Breathable mesh, front zip closures, compressive materials, removable pads and bold prints are just some of the design and fit features that support you as you rack up mileage. If you prefer extra security, look for styles with wider straps or those that cross over at the back, which may offer more bounce protection.

(Related: The best Nike sports bra for nursing)

4. For those who require high support

If you're looking for some of the best high-impact sports bras for running, you're definitely in the right place. With sizes that fit A to G cups, Nike has some of the best high-support bras for running.

These bras come in a variety of colours, from vibrant pink to basic black, with chest-supporting features such as adjustable shoulder and bottom bands and encapsulated pads that mould to each breast to help keep motion to a minimum. Whether you're running a 5K, taking a HIIT class or lifting weights, high-support bras will serve as a go-to for just about any type of workout you've got planned.

5. For those who wear plus-size bras

For a high-impact running sports bra that's specifically made for your body type, Nike offers a variety of plus-size options. Many plus-size sports bras are designed with the assumption that all shoppers who wear larger sizes also have a big chest. But many of the 1X to 3X sections at Nike are built specifically to support different cup sizes, from A to G. This means shoppers get a customised fit for next-level bounce protection.

Apart from customisation being a top priority, Nike plus-size sports bras come in a range of styles. Many of the plus-sized bras have features like adjustable straps and bottom bands, front zips and moulded cups, which all work to keep you comfortably contained. Eye-catching print options, crossed front straps and cut-out detailing help to further boost confidence as you crush your run.

(Related: The best plus-size sports bras from Nike)

Words by Dana Leigh Smith

Originally published: 13 October 2023

Related Stories

The Best Nike Shoes and Gear for Running an Ultramarathon

Buying Guide

The Best Nike Shoes (and Gear) for Running an Ultramarathon

How To Pick the Best Rain Jacket for Running By Nike

Buying Guide

How To Pick the Best Nike Rain Jacket for Running

The best hats for running by Nike

Buying guide

The best hats for running

The best Nike leggings for support and compression

Buying guide

The Best Nike leggings for support and compression

What Is overtraining syndrome—and how to avoid It

Sport & activity

What is overtraining syndrome—and how can you avoid it?