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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
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Knix Catalyst Review (The adjustability, encapsulation and compression work together to make the Catalyst a very support bra.)
The adjustability, encapsulation and compression work together to make the Catalyst a very support bra.
Credit: Matthew Blake
Price:  $75 List
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Manufacturer:   Knix
By Hayley Thomas ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 10, 2023
73
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 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 sports bra uses a combination of encapsulation and compression to minimize bounce and provide a secure, comfortable fit. 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 one of the best sports bras around.
REASONS TO BUY
Highly adjustable
Encapsulation support
High impact
Fun colors
REASONS TO AVOID
Stiff material
Takes time to break in
Not everyone likes encapsulation support
Expensive
Editor's Note: This article was updated on May 10, 2023, to include comparisons from our latest round of testing with new competitors.

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Bottom Line A sports bra that requires a decent break-in period but offers ample support through encapsulation and compressionThe sufficient compression, soft recycled material, and supportive rib band work together to make a comfortable sports bra, perfect for any body or occasionA plush sports bra that offers decent compression, insane comfort, and a stylish look at a fair priceA medium support, longline sports bra with adequate compression that can pass as a crop topThis low to medium impact sports tank is the perfect option for Sunday yoga and coffee with your friends
Rating Categories Knix Catalyst Girlfriend Collecti... Vuori Long Line Ele... Girlfriend Collecti... Prana Becksa Bralette
Comfort and Fit (40%)
7.0
9.0
10.0
8.0
8.0
Support (30%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
5.0
Style (15%)
7.0
10.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Ease of Care (15%)
5.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
Specs Knix Catalyst Girlfriend Collecti... Vuori Long Line Ele... Girlfriend Collecti... Prana Becksa Bralette
Material Shell: 59% nylon, 41% spandex - Lining: 86% nylon, 14% spandex 79% recycled plastic bottles (RPET), 21% spandex 87% Recycled Polyester, 13% Elastane 79% recycled plastic bottles (RPET),21% spandex 42% recycled polyester, 42% polyester, 16% spandex
Support High impact Low-medium impact Medium impact Medium impact Low impact
Strap Style Shoulder straps Crisscross Spaghetti Racerback Racerback
Support Type Compression / encapsulation Compression Compression Compression Compression
Adjustable Yes, highly Yes No No No
Padded Yes No Yes, removable No Yes, removable
Neck Line Scoop neck High neck Scoop neck Square neck Scoop neck
Key Pocket No No No No No
Size Range 32A - 42G XXS - 6XL XS - XL XXS - 6XL XS - XL
Features Tri-flow ventilation Doubles as a minimal crop top Mesh liner, moisture wicking Doubles as a shirt Interior shelf bra offers support
Recomended Activity HIIT Cardio, running Casual, hiking, yoga Casual, hiking, yoga Casual, hiking, yoga Casual, hiking, yoga

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 - 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 may also experience a little chafing where extra skin or fat spills, but 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 - 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 - the catalyst is highly adjustable.
The Catalyst is highly adjustable.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Support


Sports bras help hold you in place during exercise in two ways: by separating your breasts (encapsulation) or by squeezing them gently (compression). Some sports bras use both methods. 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 - 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. Additionally, 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 - 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 - 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 - 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

Should You Buy the Knix Catalyst?


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 also on the pricey end of the spectrum. 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.

What Other Sports Bras Should You Consider?


The Girlfriend Collective Topanga and the longline Girlfriend Collective Paloma both offer stellar coverage and support without sacrificing style or money. The Vuori Long Line Elevation takes the cake for comfort with its velvety smooth fabric. If you're looking for lowcut and comfortable, the Beyond Yoga Spacedye Lift Your Spirits is a great option.

knix catalyst - we looked pretty funny jumping around in the catalyst, but it passed...
We looked pretty funny jumping around in the Catalyst, but it passed our support tests with flying colors.
Credit: Matthew Blake

Hayley Thomas
 

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