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A pelvic floor physical therapist test-driving a posture brace sports bra

We Tested 4 Best-Selling "Posture Correcting" Sports Bras

Ever since Taylor Swift was photographed wearing a Forme posture bra, I’ve heard the same question from my patients again and again: “Will a posture-correcting bra fix my back pain?” Curious (and skeptical), I decided to find out.

Whether you're glued to a computer screen or feeding a newborn, the neck and upper back are super common pain points for busy folks (myself included). This also makes them a prime target for too-good-to-be-true solutions, like overpriced office chairs and clunky corrective gadgets. The marketing behind a posture bra, also known as a posture brace, sounds straightforward: wear this bra, improve your posture, and eliminate your postural pain. But can a reinforced sports bra deliver on such massive claims?

My soap box/disclaimer: as a PT, I hate the phrase “posture correcting” and really can’t get behind “good posture” as a concept. Bodies come in all shapes and sizes, which means that balanced posture varies and can’t be “good” or “bad.” Instead, I’m looking at these bras as an option for postural support and investigating their ability to help me feel more comfortable, not just looking good on paper.

Why posture bras can, in theory, help with back pain

Like me, you may be wondering how exactly a bra could improve your back pain. Although all of the brands we tested explain it a little bit differently, the idea is essentially the same: use supportive paneling to help the wearer improve the activation of muscles that support the shoulders and spine, encouraging a more neutral spine position.

As a PT, this feels similar to the idea of applying kinesiology tape, which is a type of flexible sports tape that can help increase your awareness of a muscle or position to help your brain learn new ways of moving and resting. Unlike kinesio tape, however, a bra like this won’t be customized to your specific postural needs which could prove unhelpful, uncomfortable, or at worst, cause new postural pain. The only pro of this one-size-fits-all approach? A bra is much easier to toss on without the help of a physical therapist and a whole lot less sticky than tape.

But are these posture brace bras comfortable enough to wear every day, to the point where they could make a difference? I was eager to put them to the test.

How I put these posture braces to the test

I decided the fairest way to assess these bras was to create my own scoring system, which took into account pricing, comfort, and overall wearability. I wore each bra during a work day, a rigorous workout, and weekend day to see how they’d hold up against my regular activities.

As a physical therapist who sees patients virtually, I spend around 8 hours a day at my standing desk with occasional sitting and movement breaks which involve running, weight lifting, or yoga.

I'm a fairly good candidate for a posture-correcting sports bra — I have had neck and upper back pain since a swimming injury in my teens, which shows up at the end of work most days. And I usually spend 99% of my time in sports bras. (In case you're wondering, I'm a size small in most sports bras but wear a 32D in a regular bra.)

The results of my extensive posture brace testing

For the record, Origin purchased all of these bras outright. This is important as certain brands (we won't name names) require reviewers to sign a contract and agree to terms before sending out a free bra, which can lead to less-than-honest feedback.

Test Drive 1: AlignMed

The $99 AlignMe posture brace
  • The posture brace: AlignMe™ Zipper Posture Sports Bra For Women
  • Price: $99
  • My size: XS (ordered S based on sizing guide, returned for XS)
  • Comfort: 6/10
  • Run proof: Yes
  • Overall wearability: Just okay, even though it was pretty comfortable. This bra has clasp + zipper closure, which means it takes me a second to put on and was not my fave at 6 am. The clasps are not particularly good for folks with decreased hand dexterity as they are a little tricky to hook. Aesthetically, the zipper shows underneath most shirts and the fit causes a pretty smushed fit so it’s not a super flattering pick.

Test Drive 2: Forme

  • The posture brace: Power Bra by Forme®
  • Price: $175
  • My size: S (ordered M based on sizing guide, returned for S)
  • Comfort: 7/10
  • Run proof: No
  • Overall wearability: Minus one seam in the armpit that caused some chafing, this was pretty comfortable and wearable. It was also cute and full coverage enough that I wore it on its own to the gym a few times and felt totally fine, which was a win for my laundry basket.
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Test Drive 3: Kinflyte

  • The posture brace: Freedom Bra Midi - Eco Jersey
  • Price: $119
  • My size: (ordered M based on sizing guide, returned for S)
  • Comfort: 5/10
  • Run proof: No
  • Overall wearability: I wanted to like this one the best because the color and fit were so cute, but I found the band to be a little tight and restrictive to my ribcage because of how low it sat. I changed out of this one the moment my work day ended.

Test Drive 4: IntelliSkin

  • The posture brace: Essential Bra
  • Price: $135
  • My size: S
  • Comfort: 4/10
  • Run proof: Yes
  • Overall wearability: The band on this one was soooo tight on my ribcage that it drove me nuts and made it almost impossible to take a deep breath. I thought maybe it just needed some time to stretch out so I tried wearing it a few different days and each time I was dying to take it off within a few hours of putting it on.

The Verdict

Honestly? I was underwhelmed. I could definitely tell across all 4 models that there were some posture supportive benefits, but for me there wasn’t a bra on this list that I could see myself wearing daily. I also noticed that I had more postural muscle fatigue by the end of the day, which isn’t surprising given the “corrective” nature of the bras; however, in addition to some new muscle soreness, I had my regular neck fatigue without any major changes or relief so there’s no quick fix here. Even with consistent wear over the course of several weeks, I still found there weren’t any massive changes in my posture visually or intrinsically, based on how I felt at the end of the day.

As a pelvic floor PT, my biggest concern across the board with these bras was the restrictive fit around the ribcage I noticed with all four fits. Increased pressure around the ribs can cause poor breathing mechanics and increased pressure on the pelvic floor, exasperating symptoms like pelvic organ prolapse and urinary incontinence.

My recommendation: skip these and wear a comfortable bra you like that doesn’t restrict your breathing while you work on strengthening your postural muscles with exercise, not a bra. If you want to try a posture bra, I’d (reluctantly) recommend Forme – the price is truly bananas, but it was the only one of the bunch that I personally found comfortable enough for daily wear. Unless you have a Taylor Swift budget to spend hundreds of dollars on bras, I would start with a PT appointment instead.

Emma Kaeser Headshot
Dr. Emma Kaeser, PT, DPT

Emma is originally from New Jersey, but completed both her undergraduate and doctorate studies at Northeastern University in Boston, MA. Her past clinical experiences have spanned a wide variety of settings, including oncology, scars/wound care, pediatrics, and orthopedics, which ultimately led to a passion for treating women's and pelvic health for patients in all stages of life. Both in and outside of the clinic, Emma is dedicated to improving health access and outcomes for underserved communities. Currently, she is working on research and speaking engagements pertaining to LGBTQ+ inclusive education in the healthcare field.

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