High Impact Bra vs. Regular Bra: What Is the Difference?

running woman wearing black compression bra

Are you wondering if the kind of bra you wear on a daily basis matters? We’ll be the first to say it: not all bras are created equal. 

While you may think that one specific bra type does a good enough job, the hard truth is that particular bras are made for particular scenarios. TomboyX offers tons of bras perfect for every activity in your life, from lounging around the house to hitting the basketball court.

With that said, we’re going to talk about two different kinds of bras: high impact bras and regular bras. We’ll talk about the differences between them and where each of them shines brightest. 

A Brief History Lesson

Before we can explain why some bras might be better suited to your needs than others, we need to talk about how the purpose of bras has changed over time.

Tops that functioned like bras appeared as early as the 14th century, but they looked more like our favorite bandeaus. We can see from paintings that people wore these tops to participate in sports. 

Otherwise, people with breasts went braless underneath their clothes. Still, this all changed once corsets became popular a couple of centuries later.

After the Queen of France, Catherine de Medici started sporting the corset, the trend swept the nation and then the world. People with breasts started to squeeze into dresses that made their bodies look like the “ideal figure” — or at least what society claimed was the ideal figure. 

While the trendiest body shape would change several times over the years, corsets like these remained the standard for about four centuries.

The 19th Century: The Victorian Era

The closest thing we can find to a modern bra came out towards the end of the 19th century. These bras were called corselet gorges. The top part supported the breasts while the bottom wrapped around the waist and formed a corset.

The 1920s: The Jazz Age

Say goodbye to the cinch and pinch — the iconic Roaring 20s changed the undergarment industry for people with breasts.

They left corsets behind for tight bandeaus that would hold people’s breasts tightly to their bodies. This was helpful for them as flappers were known for their wild dancing, so anything that would reduce breast movement was a necessity. 

The 1930s: The Great Depression

The 1930s marked the surge of bra production, including a more inclusive range of sizes. The idea of cup sizes, adjustable bands, and hooks started to appear on the market for the first time.

The 1940s: The War Years

Throughout the next 40 decades, the diversity in bra types increased. Torpedo style, pushup bras, sexy lingerie, and more would come out one at a time. In 1977, the first real sports bra was released.

The industry realized that then people with breasts would need bras that made it easier for them to participate in sports as athletics became more popular. The first sports bra — or the jogbra or jockbra, as they called it — became an option that provided them more support than regular bras could offer.

Pulling It Together… 

The rest is history. However, the bra revolution is far from over. We love new, comfy, and chic styles like bralettes and soft bras. And, we’re looking for the future. 

No matter why you’re wearing your bra, we’re here to help you find the support and comfort you need.

What Is the Purpose of Bras?

There’s a general purpose for bras. But as you start to look at different kinds of bras, you’ll find nuances to each that make them fit a more specific purpose. 

For example, bras are generally supposed to help redistribute the weight of your breasts so that you don’t have all of it weighing on your shoulders.

Regular Bras

This all brings us to the purpose of standard bras. They’re the most basic kind and cover all the things that any kind of bra should do — for the most part. 

One of the most important things that regular bras do is prevent excessive movement. If you’re active or you have larger breasts, you know that lacking something to support and keep them still could be annoying at best (and painful at worst). It’s not just athletics; some people with breasts know the struggle of running up and down stairs sans bra. 

Speaking of pain, bras also help to prevent aches in your shoulders and back. Other uses for standard bras include keeping the shape of your nipples from peeking through your top and giving shape to your breasts.

High Impact Bras

High impact bras take most of the regular bras’ functions and enhance their qualities to fit specific occasions. The occasion for a high impact bra is any activity that requires lots of bodily movement.

When you see “high impact” as a descriptor, think about the impact that an activity will have on your breasts. Some of the activities that people typically wear bras for are high-intensity interval training, sprinting, and anything that involves jumping or bouncing. This can be for running hurdles at the Olympics and jumping on a trampoline.

To make up for all of that movement, high impact bras include a higher amount of compression in comparison to other sports bras. They usually have straps fashioned in a way that gives you extra support, too. To do this, the bra bands will likely either be thicker or form a T-shape/criss-cross shape at the back (or a combination of these).

High impact bras aim to provide a good balance of extra support and increased comfort. However, one notable difference between regular bras and high impact bras is that while regular bras help shape your breasts, high impact ones simply compress them. It’s more about function than aesthetics. 

When Do I Wear Each?

Just like how your sports bra may not be the best bra choice when you’re wearing a busty dress or top, you might not want to wear your regular bra when you’re being active.

It’s important to remember that bras benefit you in a specific way. Regular bras can’t provide the support your breasts need when you start grooving and moving. It’s worth the investment when it comes to preventing pain.

What Are Medium and Low Impact Bras?

If you’re interested in buying a sports bra, but you don’t need one built for high-intensity workouts, there are more options for you. Although we talked about high impact bras at length, medium and low impact bras are also options for when you need more support than a standard bra but don’t want the amount of compression that high-impact bras offer.

Both of these bras use 70% polyester and 30% Spandex so that you have just the right balance of compression and stretch. With TomboyX inclusive sizing, bras come in sizes ranging from XS to 6X, so everyone can have that little boost of confidence from their essential underlayers. 

They even come with pockets so that you can insert foam cups when you want to give your breasts a boost.

Your bra should support you. Whether you want to make moving a little easier or create the appearance of extra life, your bra should meet you exactly where you are. 


The Rise, Fall, And Comeback Of Victoria's Secret, America's Biggest Lingerie Retailer | Insider

What Is the Purpose of a Bra? Is It Necessary to Wear? | Bellatory 

Corsets in Context: A History | Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco

A Brief History of the Sports Bra | Runner's World