When it comes to finding the perfect running bra, I’m a tough fitness editor to please. I’ve tried bras that chafe, bras that just don’t offer the right amount of support, and bras that fill you with what can only be described as pure fear when you get stuck in them at the end of the run. With all this in mind, when I heard that On Running had entered the running bra game, I was keen to find out more.
On is a brand famous for its slightly unusual ‘cloud’ shoes, which have distinctive pillows on the outsole of the shoe. In the past 12 years, it’s become one of the top players in the running shoe market, but how would its Performance Bra stack up against some of the best sports bras on the market? I reviewed the On Performance Bra by putting it to the sweat test to find out more.
On Performance Bra review: Price and availability
The On Performance Bra costs $74/£65 and is available online now (opens in new tab). The bra comes in three different colorways — sea/black, twilight/black, and black. Size-wise, it comes in sizes XS to XL, so you’ll have to use the size guide tool on the On website to convert your regular bra size. I am a 32C and tested a size small.
Like all of the best running bras, you want the bra to be tight fitting so it minimizes movement as you run. An ill-fitting bra won’t protect your breast’s Cooper’s ligaments; once these ligaments stretch, they can cause sagging, so be sure to get the right size. Unlike your day-to-day bras, a running bra will likely feel too tight and restrictive to sit around all day in — this is a good thing.
On Performance Bra review: Design
Known for its minimalist shoes, On has seemingly used similar inspiration for its apparel, and this shows with the sleek, simple design of the bra. The bra is seamless, without any wires, or annoying padded cups that’ll bunch up in the washing machine, and ultimately, be pulled out of the bra. On says it has used “single-piece construction” to support each breast when you run.
The bra is an encapsulation bra in design — encapsulation bras support each breast as you run, separating them and holding them in place for high support. By contrast, compression bras hold your breasts flat against your body to minimize movement. For this reason, they’re often more difficult to get on and off, and more uncomfortable for women with larger breasts.
The On Performance Bra has a light amount of padding in the molded cups, allowing you to wear the bra without a shirt in the summer months if you prefer. It also has a higher neckline, which gives you a little more protection from the sun in the summer months and provides extra support against vertical bounce.
On Performance Bra review: The sweat test
But how does the On Performance Bra feel on the run? The first few times I went out to test this sports bra, I forgot I was wearing it. While this delayed the writing of this review, in my eyes, it’s a true testament to how comfortable and supportive it was on the run. The bra was buttery soft against my skin, even when sweaty, and didn’t chafe or move.
At five-feet nothing, I often find bra straps are often too long for my frame, so I was hesitant about the On Performance Bra, which doesn’t have adjustable straps. Thankfully, I didn’t have any issues with the fit of the bra and found the racer back design supportive during both longer marathon training runs and faster speed sessions.
Unlike other sports bras I run in, the On bra wasn’t overly tight across my chest. It was incredibly comfortable on the run and felt lightweight, even when wet. Despite the racerback design, I didn’t have to do that weird, awful wiggle to get out of it at the end of the run. It’s also machine washable, which is a huge plus in my eyes.
Of course, all that tech comes at a price, however, and there are cheaper options on the market. Still, it’s cheaper than the likes of the Lululemon Enlite Bra and the Nike FE/NOM Flyknit bra.
On Performance Bra review: Verdict
The On Performance Bra is a seriously impressive first running bra from a brand that has focused predominantly on shoes for 12 years. It’s comfortable, supportive in all the right places, and doesn’t chafe. For those who can afford it, you won’t be disappointed.
As its name suggests, this is a high-impact performance bra designed for running and HIIT training, rather than yoga and Pilates. If you are looking for a lower impact bra, check out our medium impact picks in the best sports bra guide here.
If you’re looking for a cheaper running bra, check out the Brooks Dare Crossback bra, or the Under Armour Infinity High Sports Bra, which both scored highly in our sports bra test.