We could talk for days about what gear to wear in hot weather, and the fastest shoes on the market today—but if you don't have a well-fitting sports bra, your run will be no fun. Since they are so important to not only looking good, but feeling good while running, investing in the right sports bra for you is arguably as important as the right pair of running shoes.
While the more supportive a bra is, the better it will be for running—particularly if you have a larger chest—they can also be a pain to get on and off, especially when you are sweaty post run. One of the best solutions yet has been the zipper-front bra that gives you easy on-and-off access while still providing a high level of support when running. Plus, they are generally cute and don’t look like something your grandma wore in the ’40s.
To help you choose, we gathered up some of our favorite zipper-front bras on the market. Look below for buying advice and in depth reviews on the products.
What Makes a Bra Supportive?
There are a few key techniques that designers use to make your bra snug, supportive, and bounce-free, with these being the most common:
Though more popular in a typical T-shirt bra or push-up, the underwire also can make an appearance in sports bras. While some people find that they can constrict movement a bit, they tend to work well for large breasts as they seriously prevent bouncing, making them a great choice for high-impact workouts.
Most sports bras have some sort of cup to them, but a molded cup is generally not removable, and it actually helps to shape, support, and prevent bouncing. If you aren't keen on the feeling of an underwire or high levels of compression, this may help you feel both comfortable and supported.
Compression is present in just about every sports bra—though some more than others. It is highly effective in eliminating bounce as it presses the breast into the body, making it a bit flatter, tighter, and locked in. Depending both on personal preference and your build, you may prefer a higher compression bra, or a light compression, but the tighter you go, the more support it will give—and the better it will be for preserving the elasticity of your breast tissue in the long run.
How We Choose
To find the best options among the many zipper-front sports bras out there, we researched the most popular models available. We then took into account price, materials, fit, and impact level. Finally, we consulted more than 37,000 reviews, written by people who’ve bought these models on sites like Amazon, Target, and Nike, to settle on these eight.
Athleta Ultimate Zip Front Bra
This bra was designed to keep larger chests tamed without breaking a sweat putting it on. It is designed specifically for cup sizes D to DD and comes in sizes XXS to XL, which means it fits women of all sizes. While Athleta designates it as a medium-impact bra, they state that it is made to hold up in high-intensity activities like running and HIIT.
Victoria's Secret Knockout Maximum Support Front-Close Sport Bra
Victoria's Secret hit the nail on the head with both a wide range of sizing (32B to 40 DDD), and 16 color options with this bra. It has a super soft, four-way-stretch fabric that is comfortable on the skin and allows you to move without restriction. The support comes from slight compression and a padded underwire that prevents movement without digging into your ribs.
All in Motion Zip-Front Seamless Bra
If you are looking for a more affordable option, this bra comes out to just $20. No only does it meet the budget, but it is super size-inclusive, ranging from XS to 4X. The design is sleek and simple, but it provides a high level of compression that makes it great for preventing bouncing during high-impact activities.
Nike Dri-FIT Shape
Nike elevated the zip front bra from basic to statement piece. Not only does it come in cute and trendy color combos, but it features a double layered racerback that adds both a fun design feature as well as additional support. The zipper has a protective fabric slit at the bottom to prevent chafing, and built-in pads that provide support and shaping.
Alo Fast Bra
For a sleek and neutral look, try this Alo Yoga bra. It has an easy to pull zipper thanks to circle design, and it is a universally flattering design. It isn’t the most size-inclusive, as it only comes in sizes XS to L—and it’s better for smaller-chested people, since it is more of a light support bra.
Lululemon Enlite Bra Zip Front High Support
While $100 is admittedly a lot for a bra, we think this one is worth it. It comes in four neutral colors and it ranges in size from a 34A to a 40 DD. It is designed specifically as a running bra, so you know that it will hold up in any high-intensity training session. Plus it uses a soft and smooth four way stretch fabric that contains lycra for shape retention over time.
Longline Zip Front Sports Bra
For days when you don't feel like layering up, this crop-top bra can be worn on its own—and it's cute. It comes in six different colors, and sizes small to 3X. The material is breathable and supportive, and it gives you a snatched waist without feeling constrictive.
SheFit Ultimate Sports Bra
This bra was designed with customizability in mind. They use a patented “zip, cinch, lift” technique that helps to get you the right fit every time, and adjust it based on the impact of your exercise. It comes in four neutral and pastel colors and five limited-edition patterns. Sizes range from an A cup up to an I, which makes it our most inclusive option on the list.
Maidenform Underwire Racerback
This racerback style is affordable, and lighter in weight than some of our other options. While it may not be the best style for running—particularly for larger chests—it is a great option for medium-impact exercises where you don't want to feel quite as constricted. It also has built-in motion-control cup technology, which helps to minimize bounce when you don't want it.
Jockey Women’s Zip Front Seam Free Bra
Jockey knows that sometimes simplest is best, and that certainly is the case for this seamless zip front. It comes in six neutral colors and sizes S-XL, and it has removable cups, which is great if you prefer a less padded feel. It has thick straps and a breathable racer back that helps to keep you cool, and it's super affordable at only $25.