Top 5 Tried Tested and Recommended High Impact Sports Bras For Active Girls and Women


As you may already know, over the last six months or so, I have been putting a number sports bras through their paces in a bid to provide you, the reader with my top 5 tried tested and recommended high in impact sports bras within the fitness industry. My criteria included overall fit, performance, bounce test and price but before I delve into my findings and present the bras and brands that made the short-list, I have enlisted the knowledge and expertise of Salaine Saxby, founder of online sports bra manufacture Less Bounce to help explain why it is mega important for active young girls and women to invest in sports bra, regardless of age or bust size.

Image courtesy of Selaine Saxby

Selaine Saxby established Less Bounce in the year 2000 through her frustrations of having been unable to find a good sports bra on the high street. Wanting to enable women to purchase the products they need, Less Bounce has thrived since its birth and is now one of the UK’s online leading retailers for sports bras.

Despite the stresses of running a business, Selaine still teaches aerobics part time and is a qualified personal trainer. In addition, she trains hard herself having completed the London Marathon and Playtex Moon Walk.

Selaine sees many ladies a week, taking part in different activities and therefore has a good idea of what works and what doesn’t so took the opportunity to ask her a few questions last week via email why women should invest in a sports bra, regardless of how big or small their bust size is.

Why Is It Important For Young Girls And Women To Invest In A Sports Bra?

The prospect of irreversible breast sag faces over 9 million women in the UK, exercising without an appropriate sports bra according to research at Portsmouth University*. The study found that breasts move in a three dimensional figure of eight, going up and down, in and out and side to side.

With the average 36 C breast weighing between 200-300 grams, this uncontrolled movement puts great strain on the breast’s support structure, which comprises only the outer skin and Cooper’s Ligaments. The research found that each breast moves independently of the body by an average of nine centimetres during each step taken on a treadmill.

So while your legs run a metric mile, your breasts bounce up to 135 metres! G cup breasts bounced 14 centimetres per stride or 210 metres per mile and even an A cup moved 4 cm with every step! 

There are two direct results of this breast movement: pain and discomfort which although temporary affects 56% of women and stretching of the Coopers’ ligaments, which is permanent and can lead to an irreversible droop!

So how do active young girls and women find a well fitting sports bra and be confident it will reduce the bounce?

There are a few mandatory rules you will have to adhere to source well fitting sports bra for your chosen sport / training method.

Rule No 1 – Do NOT buy the first one you find! There are far more sports bras available from specialist retailers than on the High Street so have a good look to make sure you are getting everything you want! For example, if you want wires, or side fastenings all these variations are now available in virtually all sizes.

Rule no 2 – Your sports bra should be the correct size for you – there should be no evidence of bulges and no gaps.

Rule no 3 – The bra should give you enough so you to run in comfort. To test this, make sure run on the spot in your bra before taking the labels off. It should significantly reduce the bounce of your girls – if it doesn’t, rest assured there will be a better bra out there for you so do keep looking!

Rule no 4 – Unbeknownst to you,  your sports bra has a limited life, and should therefore be replaced every 30-40 washes as the elasticity of the fabric is damaged through use and laundry.

*mini interview concludes* 

Sources: *Department of Sports and Exercise Science, University of Portsmouth December 2005 **Less Bounce online research survey June 2003

Now you are more knowledgeable on why it is ESSENTIAL for us active young girls and women to invest in / wear a sports bra whilst training and working out (thanks again Selaine for the enlightening This Woman’s Word readers) the time has now come to share with you my highly anticipated Top 5 Tried and Tested and Recommended High Impact Sports Bras, starting with the most known sport bra brand Shock Absorber.

Shock Absorber Multi Sport Bra


It appears that the preferred sports bra brand for active woman is Shock Absorber, and having had the opportunity to put the Shock Absorber Multi Sports Bra through its paces it is not hard to see why! The overall design, fit and performance is second to none hence being my joint favourite sports bra brand alongside Anita Active.

This particular model is usually available in cup sizes 30 D+ but was extremely fortunate to have been sent the limited edition rose red and bluebird in my size (32 B) by the lovely people over at. The Multi Sport is made with 3 dimensional support and has double layered panelled cups to give the wearer maximum support with the addition of a wireless sturdy under bust support band.

I am extremely fond of the keyhole back design that has stretch mesh incorporated for supreme ventilation. The 3 column, 2 row hook and eye rear closure does mean that you’ll have to put this bra on from the front and twist it around once fastened, a slight inconvenience but once one you really appreciate the additional back support this design gives you. Having completed the ‘jog test’ I experienced hardly no bounce or movement so switched it up to incorporate some lung busting sprint intervals around the block and was delighted that once again, my girls stayed put.

As my training was predominately cardio based last year I recently decided to see how the Multi Sport Bra would hold up during a heavy weights session. During this session in the comfort of my own home, I bench pressed, squatted and incorporated 10 deadlifts and a number of slow controlled chin ups  in just my sports bra and leggings. I was sweating profusely after my 45 min session, and despite my body dripping in sweat, the Multi Sports Bra was quite dry considering, ensuring that the moisture wicking breathable fabric done its job at keeping me dry.

Like the other sports bras mentioned within this article, the Multi Sports Bra has maintained its shape, vibrancy and shows no sign of wear and tear from the numerous washes and training sessions I have put this bra through. The straps are fully adjustable so you can find that perfect fit and is padded around the shoulder area.

The Shock Absorber Multi Sport Bra can be purchased from various online retail outlets, including Less Bounce where you can can get your hands on one starting with prices starting from, what I would call a fair and reasonable amount of £26.00. Sizes are available in 30 D – 

This Woman’s Word Scores

Overall Fit: 5 / 5

Zero Bounce Test: 5 / 5

Performance: 5 / 5

Price: 4.5 / 5

Anita Extreme Control Sports Bra

Image courtesy of Anita Active

Anita is renowned for its quality lingerie having been establish for over 125 years. Their Anita Active Sports Bras  high-function design reliably supports, shapes and encompasses the bust so that movement and uncomfortable ‘pulling’ is minimalised.

The Anita Extreme Control Sports Bra is one of the most comfiest bra’s I personally had the pleasure of training. This bra joins the the Shock Absorber Multi Sport Bra as my joint favourite sports bra I have  ever worn and trained in . My girls stay put during my kickboxing classes / high intensity workouts and have experienced zero bounce or movement when worn during my kickboxing sessions and plyometric circuits that involves a vast amount of jumping.

In relation to the design of this sportsbra, I particularly ADORE the clever idea of the incorporating high function netting to the side of each breast going right around to where the hook adjustments are for maximum breathability.

The straps itself are sturdy and strong with adjustable fastenings. The bra is not a typical race back style but is designed in a way that it will stay hidden from view should you opt to wear a racer back top. The hooks has three metal clasps, something I have yet come across with other sports bra brands making the overall fit very snug and comfortable.


Despite numerous washes, the brilliant white and strikingly royal blue and vibrant red coloured stitching used around the cups as displayed on the picture above shows no sign of fading which is a big plus for me.

The Anita Extreme Control Sports Bra can be purchased from Less Bounce in a variety of gorgeous colours and is currently priced at  £48.00. This bra is available in sizes 30 B – E 46. Whilst I agree this model is expensive, it is robust in keeping your girls secure and worth the investment in my humble opinion.

This Woman’s Word Scores

Overall Fit: 5 / 5

Zero Bounce Test: 5 / 5

Performance: 5 / 5

Price: 3.5 / 5

Wacoal Sport Countour Sports bra

Image Courtesy of Wacoal

A highly recommended sports bra brand designed for those with bigger busts. Given I am a standard 32 B (not Wacoal’s target audience) I gave one of my friends at PKA Kickboxing the opportunity to put this style of bra through its paces. Below are her thoughts on fit, performance etc.

“Hands down, this bra is the BEST bra I have had the pleasure of wearing in a long time! I am extremely fond of the unique 8 hook adjustments so the wearer cane easily find the perfect fit. The wide padded straps are also a genius feature incorporated within the design and like the fact I can adjust the straps to wear it criss-cross should I want to wear the bra this way. The under-wire cups are moulded which provides additional support whilst giving the breasts great shape.

The Wacoal Contour Sports Bra is extremely comfortable and forget that I am wearing a bra at times. I find myself opting to regularly wear it as a t-shirt bra under work and casual garments so get maximum use out of it. I haven’t experienced any problems with the bra retaining its shape after numerous washes and despite the somewhat high price tag, will not hesitate in purchasing another bra from this brand as it is mega comfy and does a fantastic job at supporting and holding down my girls”.

The Wacoal Sport Black Contour Sports Bra can be purchased directly from the Wacoal website where prices start from £48.00 and are available in sizes 32 C – 38 F.

This Woman’s Word Scores

Overall Fit: 5 / 5

Zero Bounce Test: 5 / 5

Performance: 5 / 5

Price: 3 / 5

Joey Bra Sport

Image Courtesy of Joey Bra

I’m never really into gimmicky sports products and fads but there was something about American Brand ‘The Joey Bra’ that had me very intrigued to accept the opportunity to put it through its paces. This bra is designed with your personal valuables in mind, giving the user the option to store small change, keys and even your smart phone within the two disguised zip pockets on both sides of the bra.

Attending kickboxing coupled with sparring sessions at least twice a week can pretty demanding on the body and therefore need extra support when wearing a sports bra, especially with all the jumping and kicking combinations we do in class. I’m unsure of the level of impact the bra is designed for but can confirm the bra definitely held my girls in place throughout my workouts and absolutely LOVE the fact that the bra is padded!!

Not only does this give the user a better shape without flattening your bust like most sports bras do, it also stops the embarrassment of having ones nipples on display through your top! I particularly like the double clasps used to secure the bra in place and the adjustable straps were used with ease .

I was particularly  impressed with the inside of the zip compartment. The plastic padding stops items stored in the bra from getting wet from the sweat and moisture built. I was slightly apprehensive if the bra would retain its shape after many washes but needn’t have worried for it line drys well once washed and does not loose the original shape when first tried on which is a massive plus for me.

Overall I am pleased with the Joey Bra and would definitely recommend it for my followers to purchase if they too are in the market for a well fitting padded sports sports bra with a unique selling point of storing valuable items.

The Joey Bra Sport is available to purchase directly from the Joey Bra website at a reasonable price of $39.99 and is available in sizes XS – XXL (use Bra Conversion to determine which size will best suit you)

This Woman’s Word Scores

Overall Fit: 4.5 / 5

Zero Bounce Test: 4.8 / 5

Performance: 5 / 5

Price: 4.5/ 5

Extra High Impact Flexible Underwired Sports Bra

Image courtesy of Marks and Spencer

Over the past year especially, high street brands have been stepping up the levels in order to competitively offer us fitness enthusiasts, affordable yet stylish active wear that also meets our ever growing performance needs! One brand that has taken me by surprise me is Marks and Spencers and boy am I LOVING their Extra High Impact Flexible Underwired Sports Bra at the moment!

Aside from the cool design that incorporates moisture wicking yarn with breathable holes around the cleavage, side breast and follows around to just under ones lats, it is the smooth feel of the of the inner cups reduced friction and chaffing reduction that sells it for me. Unlike the other sports bras mentioned in this article, the design is very reminiscent to that of your everyday t-shirt bra, making it less than ideal should you want to wear a racer back top.

For this reason, I chose to use this bra when training during these colder autumn / winter months and can confirm it makes a winter essential when worn under long sleeved activewear or base layers.

Even though I am small busted, I experienced no over spill or pinching and held its own when completing an insanity workouts on five consecutive days and maintains its shape well after numerous washes.

The Extra High Impact Flexible Underwired Sports Bra is currently priced at an affordable £25.00 via the Marks and Spencer’s website and is available in sizes 34 B – 40 G.

This Woman’s Word Scores

Overall Fit: 4 / 5

Zero Bounce Test: 4.7/ 5

Performance: 5 / 5

Price: 4.7 / 5

I hope you have found my Top 5 Tried and Tested High Impact Sports Bras article informative and helpful as the aim of this piece was to have taken the guess work out of choosing a high impact sports bra by taking it upon myself to be the Guinea pig and complete a series of tests for you. Indeed there are many other sport bra brands on the market but of the various bras I have personally tested over the six months or more, the sports-bras mentioned within this article made a lasting impression on me.

I heard from the grapevine that January is officially ‘sports bra season, where many a young girls and women are actively on the hunt for discounted sports bras to add to their collection, so with this in mind, I have teamed up with the lovely people at Less Bounce to give one lucky reader the opportunity to WIN themselves a Shock Absorber Sports Bra of their choice (keep your eyes peeled)

Do you have any sports bra recommendations for high impact sports that wasn’t included in my Top 5 shortlist? Share them with me by leaving me a comment below 🙂

Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post nor has any money been exchanged. The sports bras mentioned in this article along with the other sports bra brands that did not make my Top 5 shortlist were gifted to me as part of the product performance test . All opinions expressed within this article are honest and entirely my own.