A Guide to How to Choose the Right Sports Bra

Have you ever felt wholly uncomfortable while working out because your chest is bouncing all over the place? Women around the world struggle with this feeling, so know that you’re not alone. The way to combat this discomfort is by choosing the right sports bra. In middle school, you might have just worn whatever mom picked out, but this no longer does the trick. Especially if you exercise regularly and take on medium- to high-impact exercises, your chest needs support. Do your workouts, your body, and your workout comfort a favor, and follow this guide on how to choose the right sports bra. For real, you won’t want to miss these tips!

Understand the Different Types of Sports Bra

Your first step to choosing the right sports bra is understanding what’s out there. There’s more to sports bra construction than ones that squish your chest to death or ones that don’t really support anything. Different sports bras minimize breast movement through various approaches—we’ve listed the three main construction types below!

  • Encapsulation

These sports bras are the most similar to regular bras. They use individual cups to surround and support each breast separately. Encapsulation sports bras don’t focus on pushing the breasts closer to the chest, so they’re best for low-impact activities. People tend to like these bras because they offer more of a natural shape than the flattening of compression bras.

  • Compression

In opposition, compression bras press the breasts against your chest to restrict movement—say good-bye to the bounce with these bras. Strict compression sports bras do not have cups built into the bra, giving that “flatter” shape. These bras may have adjustable straps and bands, but many just pull over the head.

  • Compression/Encapsulation

Many bras combine these two constructions to create a power bra. They provide support and natural shaping, offering more support than either of the other two offers alone. It supports each breast individually but also compresses against the chest. With these bras, you can get the flattening feeling without losing shape!

Measure Your Chest

When you’ve decided which sort of construction would work best for you, next comes measuring your chest and breasts. This is often the place where people fall short and end up messing up sizing. Just because you are a size D in your regular bra, that does not necessarily mean that you’ll be size D in a sports bra. It’s always a good idea to measure yourself before you buy—bra sizes change over time! Again, the construction type you choose will affect the sizing you choose. We’ve listed a few tips for measuring below.

  • Start by Measuring Your Rib Cage

You don’t have to head into a store to get your breast size sorted out. To begin, measure your rib cage. This measurement should begin just under your bust. If you’re in between, round down to the closest inch.

  • Compare That to Band Size Measurements

Next, you’ll compare that measurement to figure out your band size. These band size measurements can change depending on the brand you shop for. Here’s a typical chart, but all our sports bras will have a size chart in the last photo of each product to help you get a better idea of how our sports bras fit!

Rib Cage Measurements

Band Size

















  • Determine Your Cup Size

Your last step is to determine your cup size. Pull out the measuring tape again, and measure around the fullest part of your bust. For this step, you’ll round up to the nearest whole number (this ensures that you have enough space). Once you get that number, then you’ll subtract your rib cage measurement from your bust measurement. The difference between the two will give you your cup size! Here’s the typical translation.

Difference in Bust Size to Rib Cage Size

Cup Size

















Decide on Support Level

Once you’ve determined what your cup size is and how that correlates to most sizing charts, you can delve deeper into the task of finding the right sports bra. The next step is to decide on what level of support you need. If you’re running a lot, doing a lot of cardio, completing HIIT workouts, dancing, boxing, or partaking in any other sort of high-impact activity, then you’ll want a sports bra with high support. High support bras will have wider bands and adjustable straps—they will also most likely have that dual construction we mentioned above!

If you’re more of a yoga, strength training, or cycling person, then you can go for medium or low support sports bras. These bras will typically have narrower straps and pullover styles without any sort of band adjustment. Low support bras are often compression bras that work to hold breasts to the chest.

Test It Out

Various sports bras will have various features. We’ve talked quite a bit about adjustable straps and band closures, but there’s also underwire, wicking fabrics, different straps, and more. These features are more so for personal preference, but this is one of the most important tips for choosing the right sports bra we can give you—test out a sports bra first! If you’re not at a store and instead choose to buy online from us (great choice, by the way!), then you can try it on, see whether it fits, and send it back for an exchange if you went too big or too small.

Most importantly, don’t try to force a sports bra to fit if it’s not working. If there’s too much of a gap between your chest and the fabric, then you went too big. If your breasts are spilling out of the cups, then you went to small. You’ll feel much more comfortable if you follow through with these tips for finding the right sports bra. No more bounce, and no more squishing!

CB Collective’s Fire Bras

Okay, we promise you that, once you’ve followed these tips, you’ll want to get your hands on our sports bras. They give you the support you need while helping you look even more amazing. Don’t miss out on our thick bands, adjustable straps, hot patterns, and confidence-boosting designs. Here at Celestial Bodiez Collective, we want everything to give you that confidence you’ve been striving for. Check out our sports bras, wrap tops, and jogger leggings. When you partner and shop with us, you’ll look great and feel even better!