One of the most important items a woman can have while hiking is a proper sports bra. The best hiking bra for you will support your breasts comfortably throughout your entire hike. You should also look for a quick dry sports bra as you’ll be sweating a lot on your hike and may even get rained on.
I’m typically out hiking 3-4 times a week and have been testing out hiking sports bras for years. Here are a few of my favorite hiking bras to help you on the trail!
What to Look For in a Good Hiking Sports Bra
There are a few things you should consider when picking the best hiking bra for you.
Compression and Impact
Considering that we’re talking about hiking bras, the impact level will most likely be moderate. For this level, a compression bra made of stretchy material is what you should look for. Compression essentially means that the breasts will be held close to the body, reducing pain or discomfort with movement.
There are also combination compression/encapsulation bras. Encapsulation basically means that the bra is built with two cups (like a traditional bra) to hold the breasts separately in place. For higher-impact activities, you’ll find that having both encapsulation and compression will serve you best.
Sports Bra Construction
When you’re hiking, consider that you have a pack full of gear to carry on your back. That’s why the actual construction of the bra is so important. How are the straps designed? For some, a racerback construction feels more comfortable and supportive for their chest size and shape. For others, the fabric that runs down the center of the spine feels like an extra layer that causes more sweating under your already sweat-inducing hiking pack. If this is concerning to you, you may want to opt for tank-style construction instead.
Same for any extra paraphernalia the hiking bra may have. Where does it fasten? How is the fastener designed? If there’s anything that could poke, pinch, chafe or dig into your skin, eventual discomfort is inevitable! You need to analyze every angle and every seam.
Which brings us to the next thing to consider – underwire or no underwire? While many traditional bras have underwire for extra shaping and support, just think that this is a potential problem if a wire should decide to move and poke through. Ouch. With a quality compression bra, you should get all of the support you need without having to worry about this. If you like the shaping underwire provides, make sure that the wire is properly encased so that it feels seamlessly integrated.
The same goes with padding. You’re going hiking, so having padding doesn’t seem like much of a necessity – or is it? In the sports bra world, the pads are called “modesty pads” – and rightfully so. If you catch a chill, you don’t necessarily want to announce it to the world. Depending on the usual conditions of your hikes, a bra with removable pads may be an option you want to have.
Don’t forget to consider basic biology. Every woman’s chest is built differently – which means the complexity of breasts goes way beyond cup size. Besides the obvious that some breasts are larger and some smaller – the volume and position on the chest varies too. Some sit high, some low, and breasts can be positioned more outward or inward…there are countless variations. Be sure to get proper measurements taken to find your optimum fit.
The Best Hiking Bras
Handful Sports Bra
My absolute favorite hiking bras are made by Handful. Handful supports breast cancer survivors and offers great discounts to those women affected by breast cancer. They also give 12.5% of revenue from a few of their top bras back to Young Survival Coalition each year.
Besides their ethos, I love to shop Handful as I always know their sports bras are going to fit me well. Their sports bras are heavy duty and durable, just what you need for hiking. They are made out of quality material, are chafe-free, quick-drying, and even come with stash pockets. Use code TWP15 for 15% off.
Title Nine AC Sports Bra
For a versatile, comfy hiking bra, the AC sports bra fits the bill. This is one of the best hiking bras for large breasts on the market. The best part is that it’s constructed with open mesh in all the right steamy areas, making it completely breathable and moisture-wicking. It’s basically like carrying AC with you and keeping your body cooled down no matter how high the heat gets turned up.
There’s no pokey underwire to worry about either. Built-in contour cups provide the ideal compression for all-day comfort and modesty. The straps are wide enough to sit comfortably on your shoulders without digging in and are completely adjustable to fit your unique chest type.
The Title Nine comes in a variety of cool colors – from a neutral rose or dark grey to black with neon. If your style calls for brighter colors, you can choose a beautiful coral, pink, or yellow. Another thing to note is that the AC Sports Bra comes in sizes 32-38 B, C, D, and E – but is best suited for C-D cups.
Patagonia Barely Sports Bra
If you’re in the B-C cup range and prefer a racerback strap style, Patagonia’s Barely Sports Bra is a smart way to go. It’s one of the best backing bras as it is lightweight and seamless. The fabric blend of recycled polyester and spandex is perfectly lightweight and moisture-wicking for long-lasting comfort on even the longest of hiking ventures.
The bra includes internal cup pockets with removable pads and an underbust panel that gives the right amount of compression for a supported fit. You’ll appreciate that this sports bra is entirely void of any hardware and is tagless for a guaranteed itch-free, poke-free fit.
As part of not having any hardware, this Patagonia hiking bra doesn’t have a clasp or any fasteners. This is something to keep in mind if you have a preference for how the bra can be put on and taken off. It also means the size is less adjustable, so if you decide to go with the Patagonia hiking bra, make sure your measurements are accurate.
Brooks Maui Hiking Bra
If you’re on the upper end of the cup-size spectrum in the C-D range, the Brooks Maia could be the perfect pick for you. The bra is designed with a higher yet understated, neckline that provides extra support while looking stylish. It’s perfect for even medium-impact workouts to hold everything comfortably in place.
You’ll get a snug and comfortable fit with the compression fabric that’s used for the seam-free, contoured cups. If you enjoy the extra shaping provided by underwire, you’ll appreciate that the Maia sports bra includes an underwire between the bra cups that’s fully encased – so you won’t feel any annoying poking or discomfort.
Another awesome feature of the Maia as a hiking bra is that it has wide straps with gel in the straps that give extra padding – perfect for backpack-burdened shoulders! The straps are also adjustable, and the bra’s hook-and-eye closure style includes three adjustment options that offer a personalized fit.
Smartwool Racerback Backpacking Bra
When it comes to superior feel and performance, merino wool has lots of adoring fans and creates a quick dry sports bra for all women. This is probably because merino wool is incredibly moisture wicking and temperature regulating for even the most strenuous activities. A huge plus is its naturally odor-resistant properties – great news for longer hiking trips where doing laundry isn’t convenient.
With the Smartwool racerback bra, you’ll enjoy these benefits with a Merino wool interior for optimum comfort. Plus, the hiking bra is completely seamless, making your performance wear feel like natural second skin.
You’ll be sure to get plenty of lift and shape with the Smartwool’s specially engineered knit cups and removable padding. The bra is available in classic back or navy blue and beautiful light blue or orchid purple if you prefer a splash of color. If the idea of Merino wool is appealing, this hiking bra is for you.
Icebreaker Cool Lite Travel Bra
If you want all the comfort, odor-resistance, and performance of Merino wool in a low-impact hiking bra, the Icebreaker Cool Lite is an excellent solution. Its patented cool-lite fabric, which combines two natural, lightweight fibers (Merino wool and a wood fiber), offers advanced moisture-wicking and breathability.
The Icebreaker offers a clean, classic look. It’s available in a classic black, a soft orchid heather shade, or a fiery orange color, so you can choose what best suits your style. You’ll also enjoy the benefits of the lycra material that make this sports bra perfectly suited for stretch and maximum range of motion. It’s streamlined and seamless, with the option to remove the bra cups.
The Cool Lite has ample compression for a snug fit and support, but please note that this sports bra is best suited for low-impact activity, which makes it an excellent choice for casual hiking versus trail running. It’s so comfortable that you may even find yourself wearing it daily on or off the trails!
Patagonia Wild Bra
If you’re looking for a racerback style, high-impact support sports bra and are in the B-C cup-size range, the Patagonia Wild Bra has what you need. It also works well as a mid-support hiking bra for sizes D+. There’s a wide range of sizes available to accommodate every type of woman – plus, it’s nice to see such a variety of color and pattern options that let you choose a style to best suit your unique taste.
The fabric is soft, moisture-wicking, and features a nice added bonus – a treatment for odor control. The soft mesh lining ensures breathability and power mesh for extra support. If you’re larger chested, the molded panels perfectly accommodate bigger cup sizes.
You’ll find that the wide elastic band provides added moisture control and support, making the feel on the trails more comfortable. The band also includes a hook-and-loop closure for adjustability; many find that it makes putting it on and taking it off a bit easier. It offers all of the quality and performance you’ve come to expect from Patagonia.
Odlo Seamless Backpacking Bra
For any woman with a medium to larger chest searching for an ultra-comfortable, high-impact, and quick dry sports bra, you’ll find what you need in the Odlo Seamless bra. It’s perfect for hiking, plus any other higher-intensity activities that require a firmer hold. If your activity requires any bouncing around, you don’t want anything holding you back!
If you prefer a sportier, racerback-style bra, you’ll appreciate the broader straps for added comfort and stability and the hook-and-eye back closure for easier putting on and taking off. The bra pads are also easily removable, which may feel more comfortable for larger breasts.
Everything about the Odlo is seamless. The integrated functional zones are streamlined and smooth with a snug side rib structure that give that extra hug of compression to keep you supported. Choose between black or dark grey, or go for an exciting orange or deep red hue. You’ll love this sports bra’s versatility of use!
Brooks Fiona Sports Bra
The Brooks Fiona is one of the best sports bras for hiking and is the ideal find for anyone looking for a tank-style compression bra that’s built for medium-impact activities. It’s made mostly of polyester for advanced moisture-wicking performance, with some spandex for all the comfort and mobility you need.
The Fiona does an excellent job of making it customizable to every woman’s shape by featuring front-adjustable straps that are held comfortably in place by a hidden hook-and-loop closure. The back closure is also adjustable and padded, so you’re sure to get the right fit every time.
An added perk about the Brooks Fiona sports bra is how functional it is with the tank style that passes off as more than a sports bra. It’s perfect to wear on its own as a fashionable piece of sportswear but could also serve as a bikini top if the occasion calls for it!
Brooks FastForward Hiking Bra
For a sleek, sophisticated look in a low-impact sports bra, the FastForward by Brooks is a great looking hiking bra! The front keyhole and crisscross back straps offer maximum ventilation and style. For carrying a backpack on low-impact hikes, you may appreciate the minimal back coverage.
Whether you decide to leave or remove the bra cups, you’ll get the compression and encapsulation you need to stay comfortable and mobile. The brushed bottom band also adds to the flexibility and easily allows a natural full range of motion.
As with the Brooks Fiona bra, don’t be surprised if you find yourself using the FastForward for other things too – like going for a swim! There are a variety of cute color combinations to choose from if you want a bit more flair. With its elegant style, this functional hiking bra will serve you well.
Happy Hiking Ladies! Make Sure to Check Out My Favorite Women’s Hiking Checklist too!
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