When you are looking for the best back brace for running, search no further than Vive’s lower back brace. Pairing vertical stays and a removable lumbar pad, it keeps your spine in the correct position, even during strenuous activities. But that’s not all—read on to find out more about this and other lower back braces for running.
Running causes repetitive stress on the vertebrae that can take its toll on your lower back. Luckily, wearing a back brace for running can go a long way to protect the spine from the impact of each step. Back braces not only limit the movement of the spine but also keep it in the appropriate position to alleviate pressure on the muscles and nerves. Check out our list of the best back braces for running, and keep your back protected during fitness sessions.
Our Top Picks
The 10 Best Braces for Running
Best Choice: Lower Back Brace by Vive
A great option for dedicated athletes, this one-size-fits-most back brace comes with built-in vertical stays that deliver support without restricting movement. Plus, it is made from breathable neoprene and features adjustable fasteners and a removable lumbar pad for tailored compression. If you have any concerns, you can always take advantage of Vive’s 60-day unconditional guarantee.
- Adjustable fasteners
- 60-day unconditional guarantee
- Made from neoprene
- Vertical stays
- Removable lumbar pad
- Breathable and moisture-wicking
- Non-slip design
- Doesn’t restrict movement
- Available in 2 colors
- Not the best option for large individuals
- Velcro can lose its grip over time
Top Performance: Back Brace by Sparthos
Pairing breathable elastic mesh with industrial-strength Velcro fastenings, this back brace for running is both comfortable and sturdy. The vertical stays stabilize your back, while the removable lumbar pad delivers additional compression. This brace is available in three sizes and features two adjustable straps for a tailored fit.
- Made from elastic mesh
- Heavy-duty Velcro
- Vertical stays
- Lumbar pad
- Comes in 3 sizes
- Breathable material
- Easy to clean
- Can be worn under clothing
- Doesn’t roll up
- Higher price point
- Doesn’t accommodate curves
Can’t Count Out: Lumbar Support Back Brace by Mueller
What really makes this Mueller brace stand out from the pack is the built-in contoured plastic shell, which prevents it from rolling or bunching up. Combining a double layer design with steel springs and a removable lumbar pad, this lower back brace for running is adjustable for a tailored level of support and compression.
- Contoured plastic shell
- Available in 2 sizes
- Steel springs
- Double layer design
- Removable lumbar pad
- Stays in place
- Fully adjustable
- Posture control
- Targeted compression
- Sizes run small
- Can be difficult to return
The Other Back Braces for Running We Reviewed
Stabilizing Lumbar Back Brace by BraceUP
The perks this versatile lower back brace for running include its mesh panels and non-slip curved design, both engineered to keep you comfortable and fresh during any activity. Supportive without restricting movement, this belt also features dual adjustment straps, vertical stays, and silicone-strips to keep it securely in place. On the downside, the Velcro closures can weaken over time.Buy on Amazon
Back Brace Support Belt by AidBrace
Designed to promote correct posture, this lumbar brace features supportive stays and an adjustable lumbar pad. The special curved side design alleviates pressure on the abdominal region to ensure comfort, while the vented mesh backing will keep you sweat-free. One word of caution—the hook-and-loop closure can lose its grip over time.Buy on Amazon
Premium Quality Back Brace by ComfyMed
Available in two sizes, this lower back brace for running features double-pull compression bands and D-ring grip handles, making it easy to put on and take off. Plus, it features three supportive bones and a removable lumbar pad. Even though this product is listed as having a 12-month warranty, some users have found it difficult to return.Buy on Amazon
Lumbar Support Belt by NeoTech Care
Recommended by doctors and physiotherapists, this back brace comes with an inner wrap for compression and heat retention, and a criss-cross elastic strap for extra stability. It also features a wide back support for better coverage and elastic side panels for a tailored fit. On the downside, this brace is not as supportive as some other similar products.Buy on Amazon
Pain Relief Back Brace by Old Bones Therapy
Approved by chiropractors and FDA certified, this ergonomically-designed lumbar brace is made from latex-free neoprene. The four built-in stays offer support, while the dual elastic bands deliver compression. Plus, it features a non-slip silicone lining and an internal pocket suitable for either hot or cold therapy. The major shortcoming of this brace is its weak Velcro closure.Buy on Amazon
Lower Back Brace With Pulley System by King of Kings
The power of this stylish brace for running comes from its unique pulley system—simply loosen or tighten it for customized fit and compression. Non-neoprene and non-elastic, it comes with two supportive nylon bars that reduce strain on the lumbar muscles. Please note that this brace comes with no instructions and can be cumbersome to put on.Buy on Amazon
Lumbar Support Waist Back Brace by Flexguard Support
This brace features a wide range of perks including vertical metal bars, an adjustable compression pulley system, and a removable lumbar pad. It comes with mesh pockets for hot or cold packs and a 25-page guide with tips for alleviating back pain. Unfortunately, this brace is a bit bulky.Buy on Amazon
Causes of Lower Back Pain from Running
Running is a high-impact activity that can take its toll on your back. Here are the most common causes of a sore lower back after running.
Facet Joint Irritation
Particularly common in people with a large hollow in their lower back, and weak abdominal and lower back muscles, facet joint irritation is an inflammation of the joints between your vertebrae. This irritation can be particularly painful while running.
Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction
Usually felt in the lower back and just above buttocks, sacroiliac joint dysfunction is caused by irritation or damage of the two joints that sit on either side of the lowest part of the back. Sacroiliac joint dysfunction is common in runners who tend to land harder on one foot than the other, placing pressure on one of the sacroiliac joints.
When put under the pressure of running, weak muscles have a tendency of cramping up, resulting in knots or trigger points. These can become uncomfortable or even painful, particularly if you have been running for a period of time. Back pain can also be a result of weak hips, glutes, and hamstrings, as well as core muscles, as they could be forcing your back muscles to work overtime.
Tips for Making the Most Out of Your Back Brace for Running
Follow the following steps to make the most out of your lumbar brace.
Select the Correct Size
If your brace comes in multiple sizes, buying the correct one is crucial. A brace that is too tight will be uncomfortable while a brace that is too loose will fail to deliver sufficient support. Follow your product’s measurement guidelines before making your purchase. Make sure that you stand in a neutral position, without sucking in your stomach, when measuring for your brace.
Wear a Shirt Under the Brace
Most braces are made from breathable material to keep you cool and sweat-free as you go about your activities. Nevertheless, it is a good idea not to wear them against your bare skin. Wearing a cotton shirt under your brace can prevent discomfort and skin irritation. It is best to select a tight-fitting shirt, as a baggy shirt may bunch up and aggravate the skin.
Take Care of Your Skin
While some level of discomfort is normal when you first start to wear a back brace, making sure that your skin is clean will help to prevent sores or rashes under the brace. Wash the skin under the brace daily, especially after strenuous activities. It is also important to keep your skin dry, so avoid applying a moisturizer before putting on a brace.
Take Care of Your Brace
Most back braces come with cleaning instructions. Generally, however, they are not designed to be machine washed or dried. Regular handwashing with water and soap should keep the brace free of dirt, odors, and bacteria. Make sure to remove and wash any padding separately and that the brace is completely dry before putting it on.
Exercises for Lower Back Pain
Your core supports your spinal muscles, while your hips, glutes, quads, and hamstrings keep you stable while you run. As such, working on your strength and flexibility is a great way of preventing lower back pain when running.
Start on your hands and knees. Your hands should be positioned directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Keeping your back and pelvis stable, lift your right arm and left leg off the floor—both should be fully extended. Hold for 30 seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat five to ten times on each side.
Once again, start on your hands and knees. As you exhale, slowly round your spine, dropping your head and tailbone (the cat pose). Hold for a few seconds before returning to the starting position. As you inhale, press your chest forward and let your belly drop, while you push your head and tailbone up (the cow pose). Hold for a few seconds before returning to the starting position. Repeat each pose five times.
To strengthen your upper-leg muscles, including the hamstrings, glutes, and quads, lie on your back with both knees bent. Your feet should be flat on the floor. Lift your hips up until they are around six inches off the floor before slowly returning to the starting position. Repeat this move ten times.
Lie on your side with your legs extended and feet together. Engage your core and lift your hips off the floor using your elbow. Your body should form a straight line, from your head to your feet. Keep your top hand on your hip or reach up to the ceiling to make this exercise more challenging. Hold this position for 15 to 20 seconds before releasing and repeating on the other side.
Weighing All the Factors
Many athletes and weekend warriors suffer from lower back pain after running. Vive’s lower back brace is the perfect choice for any runner who needs a little extra support. With adjustable straps, vertical stays, and a removable lumbar pad, this brace delivers both comfort and stability. The other two top braces, Sparthos’ back brace and Mueller’s lumbar support back brace both offer their own unique lists of features.