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Knix Catalyst Review

A highly adjustable encapsulation-compression style sports bra that takes some time to break-in, but is well worth it in the end
Knix Catalyst
Credit: Knix
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $89 List
Pros:  Highly adjustable, encapsulation support, high impact, fun colors
Cons:  Stiff material, takes time to break in, not everyone likes encapsulation support, expensive
Manufacturer:   Knix
By Hayley Thomas ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 17, 2022
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73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 14
  • Comfort and Fit - 40% 7.0
  • Support - 30% 9.0
  • Style - 15% 7.0
  • Ease of Care - 15% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Knix Catalyst offers support in the form of encapsulation and compression. While it takes some time to break in, this bra becomes more comfortable with time. It offers extreme adjustability, making the break-in period more bearable, and allows you to wear it regardless of a little healthy weight fluctuation. The thicker material is supportive and stiff but soft to the touch, and the colors range from gorgeous pastel greens to sleek black. The Catalyst has sufficient structure and a low enough neckline to be worn as a real bra and not just a sports bra. If you're in the market for encapsulation support, inclusive sizing, and high adjustability, then this is the bra for you.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Knix Catalyst
This Product
Knix Catalyst
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $89 List$52 List
$26.56 at Backcountry
$58 List$52 List
$41.95 at Backcountry
$98 List
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Highly adjustable, encapsulation support, high impact, fun colorsSoft, made from recycled material, high neck, adjustable straps, decent compression, versatile, comfortable rib bandUnbelievably soft, forgiving sizing, decent compression, wide rib band, stylish straps, extra stretchyLongline fit, soft, made from recycled material, decent compression, very size inclusiveAdjustable, soft fabric, high support, breathable, good for larger breasts, elegant back design, stitch-free
Cons Stiff material, takes time to break in, not everyone likes encapsulation support, expensiveIn between sizes can be tricky, best to air dry, thin straps get twisted in the washMust size down for ample compression, limited color optionsNot adjustable, tight on larger lats, best to air dryVery expensive, best not to machine dry
Bottom Line A highly adjustable encapsulation-compression style sports bra that takes some time to break-in, but is well worth it in the endThis high neck sports bra offers decent compression, soft material, a versatile fit, and is excellent for a wide array of bodies and workoutsSoft material and world-class comfort paired with decent compression and elegant strap details make this sports bra a crowd-pleaserA stretchy longline sports bra with a comfortable ribbed rib band and decent compression that can double as a crop topThis encapsulation-compression sports bra offers high support without sacrificing elegance for larger breasts
Rating Categories Knix Catalyst Girlfriend Collecti... Vuori Elevation Girlfriend Collecti... Lululemon Enlite We...
Comfort and Fit (40%)
7.0
9.0
10.0
8.0
8.0
Support (30%)
9.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
9.0
Style (15%)
7.0
10.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Ease of Care (15%)
5.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
7.0
Specs Knix Catalyst Girlfriend Collecti... Vuori Elevation Girlfriend Collecti... Lululemon Enlite We...
Material Shell: 59% nylon, 41% spandex - Lining: 86% nylon, 14% spandex 79% recycled plastic bottles (RPET), 21% spandex 86% polyester, 14% elastane 79% recycled plastic bottles (RPET),21% spandex Bra: 56% nylon, 44% lycra elastane
Cup: 80% polyester, 20% elastane
Support High impact Low-medium impact Medium impact Medium impact High impact
Strap Style Shoulder straps Crisscross Crisscross Racerback Crisscross + shoulder straps
Support Type Compression / encapsulation Compression Compression Compression Compression / encapsulation
Adjustable? Yes, highly Yes No No Yes
Padded? Yes No Yes, removable No Yes
Neck Line Scoop neck High neck High neck Square neck Mid neck
Key Pocket? No No No No No
Size Range 32A - 42G XXS - 6XL XXS - XXL XXS - 6XL 30C - 42DDD
Features Tri-flow ventilation Doubles as a minimal crop top Sweat-wicking and extra soft Doubles as a shirt Lightweight, breathable built-in cups are engineered to soften bounce, bonded underband won't constrict, dig in, or ride up, stitch-free hook-and-eye closure lies flat for a distraction-free fit
Recomended Activity HIIT Cardio, running Casual, hiking, yoga Casual, hiking, yoga Casual, hiking, yoga Running, HIIT cardio

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Knix Catalyst provides support from both compression and encapsulation. This highly adjustable sports bra is an excellent option if you're looking for a little structure on your body. It takes a bit to break in, but the adjustable nature and the memory foam-style cups make this worth your while.

Performance Comparison


Knix Catalyst sports bra - the catalyst offers very inclusive sizing, and looks great on most...
The Catalyst offers very inclusive sizing, and looks great on most bodies.
Credit: Hayley Thomas

Comfort and Fit


A sports bra's comfort level and fit can make or break the garment. We pay special attention to any chafing, pinching, or spilling our testers experience during our hands-on testing. We also consider the softness of the fabric and whether or not each bra is true to size. This Catalyst is a very structured bra, which can be supportive, but the stiffness can be less comfortable.


When brand new, the Catalyst feels a little tight and stiff. Our testers reported some pinching in the armpits and lats, but this bra stretches out and forms to the body over time. You also may experience a little chafing where extra skin or fat spills over, but again, this feeling is temporary. The Catalyst must be broken in, similar to your favorite pair of boots or jeans, and we promise it's worth the time and effort.

Since the Catalyst is highly adjustable, it's also somewhat malleable. The thick back strap and shoulder straps can be worn on their loosest setting while you break it in and can be tightened or loosened as your body fluctuates and changes. The firm, thick fabric is surprisingly breathable, and small perforations allow for extra airflow between the breasts.

Knix Catalyst sports bra - details like perforations between the breasts help encourage air flow.
Details like perforations between the breasts help encourage air flow.
Credit: Matthew Blake

The sizing ranges from 32A to 42G, which is very inclusive. The Catalyst is great for most body types but truly shines when allowed to support bustier bodies. The sizing chart that Knix offers is accurate, but we recommend erring on the side of sizing up if you are on the fence.

Knix Catalyst sports bra - the catalyst is highly adjustable.
The Catalyst is highly adjustable.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Support


Sports bras can offer support through encapsulation, compression, or a combination of the two. Throughout our testing, we pay attention to how the type of support, the stretchiness of the material, and the coverage work together to keep you feeling supported no matter what style of exercise you are performing.


The Catalyst uses the perfect combination of encapsulation and compression to ensure that you are supported. The shapely cups, when sized correctly, feel a little stiff at first but form to the body after a few short wears. The highly adjustable shoulder straps and rib band work together to ensure that support is customizable to your liking. If you prefer a little extra compression, simply synch down the rib band. The high adjustability level also allows your body to fluctuate naturally without sacrificing support or comfort.

Knix Catalyst sports bra - the shoulder straps are very adjustable and super comfy.
The shoulder straps are very adjustable and super comfy.
Credit: Matthew Blake

This sports bra is limited in the stretch department. It is somewhat stiff, but, as we mentioned, it doesn't take long before it fits like a glove. And, the stiffness can be an asset, as it keeps everything in place during particularly bouncy exercises. The coverage is somewhere between modest and sexy, offering up a little bit of cleavage and a natural-looking lift.

Knix Catalyst sports bra - bounce tests reveal the very high level of support the knix catalyst...
Bounce tests reveal the very high level of support the Knix Catalyst offers.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Style


Sometimes encapsulation bras look a little over-the-top when compared to their compression bra counterparts. We polled a group of folks to better understand how the general public feels about each bra. We also consider the versatility and color options available to gain a well-rounded take on how stylish each bra is and how much versatility it can offer.


The Catalyst gets mixed reviews in the category, though it still fared well. The structure and support give it more of a real bra aesthetic than a strict sports bra look. The adjustable shoulder straps are very neatly designed, and while it may not double nicely as a crop top, it does make a great t-shirt bra. The subtle arch on the sternum section is elegant, and the square-ish neckline is very flattering. The Catalyst is also available in many fun and neutral color options.

Knix Catalyst sports bra - these are two gorgeous colors that the catalyst is offered in.
These are two gorgeous colors that the Catalyst is offered in.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Ease of Care


Not everyone wants to hand wash and hang-dry their bras. In this metric, we consider the care instructions and the general durability of each sports bra. The Catalyst requires special care, but we feel it is worth the extra leg work.


Because of their structure and padding, encapsulation bras often require additional care. The Catalyst must be washed in cold water and air-dried. Air drying is not too big of a burden, but if you are the kind of person that can't remember to remove the appropriate garments before placing your load in the dryer, you may want to explore a lower maintenance option. As far as durability goes, the Catalyst is a very well-made article of clothing, and caring for it properly will extend its life exponentially.

Knix Catalyst sports bra - this durable bra didn't pop a stitch no matter how much we bounced...
This durable bra didn't pop a stitch no matter how much we bounced around it in.
Credit: Hayley Thomas

Value


The value of an item is an assessment of how its price measures up to its performance. The Catalyst offers very high support through its encapsulation-compression combo, and its highly adjustable nature allows for a very versatile fit. That said, it is the priciest bra in our lineup by quite a bit. However, if your main concern is support and you don't mind paying a little extra for it, this garment is sure to not leave you with buyer's remorse.

Conclusion


This encapsulation-compression style sports bra offers amazing support, inclusive sizing, and a high level of adjustability. The break-in period requires some patience, but don't get discouraged — the comfort level is significantly higher after just a few wears. The thicker material is not very stretchy, but the memory foam-like cups and adjustable shoulder and back straps help hug your curves perfectly when adjusted properly. This bra style is not for everyone, but if you are seeking an adjustable encapsulation bra and don't mind spending a few extra bucks, there is no better option than the Knix Catalyst.

Knix Catalyst sports bra - we looked pretty funny jumping around in the catalyst, but it passes...
We looked pretty funny jumping around in the Catalyst, but it passes the support test with flying colors.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Hayley Thomas

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