Best Back Brace for Posture
In the past few generations, poor posture has become increasingly common, much of which is due to the increased amount of professions involving work in front of a computer or in a sitting position. As if this weren't enough, stress, injuries, and other underlying conditions can also be contributing factors to poor posture, so virtually everyone is prone to developing poor posture at some point in their lives.
Just this morning I was being treated for a disc issue in my neck, and much of the treatment focuses on improving posture in order to prevent issues further down the road. As someone who is well-versed in the field of biomechanics and sports medicine, I was still surprised at how weird it felt to try and maintain a proper neutral posture along the plum line, and I knew that trying to maintain this posture on my own throughout the day would prove to be largely unsuccessful.
Fortunately, there are some simple and convenient back braces that can help anyone maintain a proper posture. These braces not only allow you to have good posture while you wear them, but they also train you to maintain this posture naturally, ideally allowing you to develop a natural posture that is healthy and comfortable.
In this article, we will review the best back braces for posture, with a focus on the upper back (i.e. correcting slouchy shoulders). We have already provided thorough reviews of the best lumbar back braces (lower back), so feel free to check those out as well, as we won't include them here.
Reviews - Best Back Braces for Posture
This section will provide a brief overview of our Top 10 Best Back Braces for Posture. Below this table you can find 5 of those 10 braces featured in more detail. Below that we will provide some more information about back braces and back posture in general, so you can learn more about the why posture matters.
Average Customer Rating
One of the most conventional and popular back braces for posture correction. Affordable, effective, and minimal in material. Moveable D-rings for adjustment.
This back brace has more dispersed padding for even distribution, ultimately enhancing comfort. Straps around your waist, but can also be adjusted at the shoulder like a backpack.
This back brace combines the standard posture correction features with lumbar support and semi-rigid fixation of the spine. More robust, but only meant to be worn a few hours per day.
This is arguably the most simple and minimal back brace for posture correction. This is one of the cheapest ways to remind yourself to maintain correct posture.
A little overpriced in our opinion, but effective nonetheless. The increased cost is due to the rubber tubing, which can also be used for stretching and strengthening.
This is another conventional back brace for posture correction that is known to be effective and reliable. It can be a little difficult to put on by yourself, but after the first couple times you'll have a good strategy.
This is a take on the conventional back brace for posture correction, just with added padding. The trade off to the padding is it's a little more bulky.
This is a really cool smart back brace for posture correction. It connects to your phone via bluetooth and detects when there's too much tension on the straps (i.e. you're going into bad posture). Expensive, but pretty innovative.
This is another well-liked back brace for posture due to its simplicity and effectiveness. It's not as comfortable as some other back braces, but its cheap and great when worn periodically.
This back brace is a little bulkier, but it's meant to also provide some lumbar support and align the spine up the length of the back, while still addressing the shoulders. The size runs a little small.
Individual Reviews - Best Back Braces for Posture
As we briefly mentioned in the table, this is a classic take on a conventional back brace for posture correction. It's not the absolute simplest back brace for posture, as the Posturific Posture Corrector Brace takes that cake for that, but the StabilityAce back brace is pretty close.
The StabilityAce Upper Back Posture Corrector is design to help lift your shoulder and retract your scapulae, essentially moving you from a slouchy position to a straight position without over-correcting. We mention over-correcting because sometimes that can be easy to do when you're trying to correct your posture without a brace. This can involve arching the back or placing too much emphasis on the trapezius muscles ("traps" - shoulder shrugging muscles), which can potentially complicate issues.
This brace is also highly convenient in that it can be worn under clothes fairly discretely. Some people don't like having it directly on their skin, so in this case, one option could be to wear a thin and tight shirt that goes between your skin and the brace, and then your normal shirt over top of the brace. Of course, you can simply wear it over your shirt as well.
On the front side, this back brace basically mimics a backpack, whereby the straps come over your shoulder and down the armpits, but the straps are tighter than a backpack. Some people find it takes a while to become accustomed to the brace because the straps can feel a little constricting or may rub the underside of the armpits. A good way to work around these issues is to only wear it for short periods at a time over the course of the day. This will ease you into the brace while still helping you correct your posture and gain a sense of what the desired posture should feel like without a brace.
Overall, we voted this to be the best value back brace for posture because of the very low cost, efficient design, ease of use, and overall effectiveness. It's not 100% perfect for everyone, as a few customers have noted it can be a little uncomfortable under the armpits, but usually this can be resolved by optimizing the tightness, when you wear the brace, and simply becoming accustomed to the new feel.
We decided to discuss the ComfyMed Posture Corrector brace in more detail simply because we view it as one step ahead of the StabilityAce back brace we reviewed above. The ComfyMed Posture Corrector uses basically the same design as the StabilityAce, but they tweak the strapping just slightly so that there's a strap that goes around the waist, and each individual strap is wider and more padded for enhanced comfort. However, keep in mind that at the front of the shoulders, the wider straps and D-ring adjustment system might not be the most discrete under a shirt.
To be clear, the strap you see at the front isn't a belt, but instead, it's a continuation of the straps at the back that allows you to easily put on the brace and tighten it from the front. You can consider this the main strapping system, but there are also D-ring strapping systems at the front of the shoulders, which help you adjust the fit and tightness of your back brace. Check out the image below for visual steps on how to put on this back brace for posture.
While this back brace employs a smart design, like anything else, it isn't completely perfect. For example, the shoulder straps still dig in to the armpits a little bit, but not as much as most braces. It's also a little more expensive than baseline back braces for posture, but the enhanced design and more comfortable straps can make this worthwhile if you have room in the budget. Lastly, even though it's not really a belt, the front waist strap doe help serve as a reminder to engage your core. It won't do it for you, but it helps as a reminder and offer a little bit of support as well (but NOT lumbar support!).
Overall, this is another back brace for posture that hold great value, as this ComfyMed back brace is a very close runner-up to the StabilityAce brace for best value. The increased cost was the main reason it didn't select this for best value, but in an absolute sense (i.e. not considering the cost), we do like this brace a little better than the StabilityAce brace.
This Toros-Group back support brace is way more robust than the conventional upper back braces that we just discussed above. One of the first things you may notice is the amount of coverage that this back brace provides. It addresses all of the key areas where the majority of poor posture occurs, so it's capable of addressing a wide variety of back and/or posture conditions. The company itself states that it is indicated for kyphosis, lordosis, kyphoscoliosis, and winged scapula.
One thing we would like to point out right away is that the portion extended from the lumbar region up the length of the back isn't fully rigid, but rather, it provides semi-rigid fixation of the spine. This means it can provide you with some lumbar support for posture correction, but you're still capable of movement. So unlike the ComfyMed brace that just saw a portion of the straps meet around the belly, this brace can be considered both a lumbar support and an upper back brace for posture correction.
Given this brace covers a large area of your back and also provides support in numerous areas, the company suggests that you start out by wearing it for only 15-25 minutes per day for the first couple days. Then, once you become a little more accustomed to the brace, you can add 20 minutes per day. Eventually, you can reach a suggested maximum of 3-4 hours per day. The idea here is that you slowly start to build muscle memory in the corrected positions without forcing your muscles to rely too heavily on the back brace. A balance between support and natural correction is the ultimate goal.
Overall, this is a great back brace for posture correction for many areas of the back. It's comfortable and lightweight, especially considering how robust it looks. It's towards the upper range of cost for back braces, but this is somewhat expected, as it does incorporate more material and features, addressing multiple areas of the back simultaneously. Therefore, if you need some serious posture correction, this could be a great option that is at least worth considering, but if you just need something to remind you now and then to pull your shoulders back, you may want to start off with something a little less expensive like the StabilityAce or ComfyMed back braces we reviewed above.
The PostureMedic Original Posture Corrector Brace provides a different take on the simple/conventional design of the most standard upper back braces for posture correction. The main difference here is that instead of using adjustable straps, this back brace uses elastic tubing with padded sleeves over points of pressure. If anything, this is actually more simple than any other posture corrector we have seen, so why is it more expensive than some others?
The main reason this brace isn't the cheapest thing going is that the company also markets it as a stretching and strengthening tool because of the rubber tubing. This is technically correct, as you can use it for all of the above, but personally, we don't really agree that this warrants in increase in cost.
Nevertheless, this back brace can still be highly effective at correcting posture in the upper back and shoulders, and can give you a tool to perform some stretching or strengthening exercises. The durability is questionable, and we say questionable because it depends how often you are using it and what for. For example, if you use this purely as a back brace, it will last much longer than if you are using it for everything.
Overall, this is still a good back brace, we just think it's a little overpriced. If you think you can make use of the tubing for stretching and strengthening, then it definitely increases in value, but otherwise, we would suggest sticking to something a little more standard, at least to begin with. The particular model of PostureMedic back brace we reviewed here is 'Original', but they also make a 'Plus' model that is designed for athletic individuals who regularly participate in a strength training program.
This back brace for posture correction is a lot more expensive than your standard strapping system due to the technological innovation incorporated into this back brace. It syncs to your smart phone via Bluetooth and detects when you are starting to go into bad posture. However, unlike previous systems that judged this based on the angle of your back to the vertical, it detects changes in tension in all of the straps, making it much more sensitive and accurate to shifting posture.
For such a technologically advanced back brace, it's impressively slim. The main console at the back where the straps all attach is noticeable in terms of area, but it's still surprisingly slim. The shoulder straps have padding at the front and it's a good balance between comfort and minimizing the material.
As you may have already guessed, the fact that it syncs to your smart phone means that it also comes with an app, which is actually required in order to use this smart back brace. Don't worry, the app is free, and it's actually nice because it can give you tips on your posture and keep track of your progress over time. That being said, it's still similar to other braces in that you don't want to wear it 100% of the time. Starting out with 20-30 minutes per day is a good idea, and you amy gradually increase this eventually, but you still want your own muscles to be able to maintain a proper posture without the brace.
The main downsides to this brace are two-fold: 1) It's a lot more expensive than a convention upper back brace for posture correction, and 2) Some customers find it a little confusing at first in terms of properly setting up the brace and adjusting it appropriately. While there isn't much that can be done about the cost, there are a couple helpful 'How-To' videos regarding setting up and adjusting this smart back brace that can solve that 2nd problem (see below).
Overall, this is an awesome back brace for posture correction. The smart posture detection and Bluetooth capability is no gimmick. It seems like the company made sure to work out all the kinks before releasing their new product, and they also offer a 30 day money-back guarantee if you find it doesn't work that well. Simply put, you get what you pay for in this brace, so if it's well within your budget, it could be a great option.
Information About Correcting Posture
How Do Back Braces Correct Posture?
As we eluded to above, back braces can help correct posture by positioning your body in the correct posture. Theoretically, you may be able to do this yourself simply by using your own muscles, but I know from my own experience that moving into a proper posture can actually feel way more awkward, or "wrong", than your problematic posture that feels more normal to you. Therefore, braces serve as excellent guides as to what it should feel like in a proper posture.
Wearing the brace a little bit each day will help you become more familiar with your new and improved posture, slowly working in muscle memory so that you can eventually retain this posture on your own. This is why you won't usually see a company advising you to wear the back brace 24/7. If you become reliant on the brace in order to be in that position and your muscle start to atrophy, this defeats the whole initial purpose!
Hardly anyone has perfect posture. Try standing with your back on a wall with your feet shoulder width apart. Engage your core and lift your shoulder up and back into the neutral position. This will probably feel a little (or a lot) restricted. While maintaining this position, retract your chin, which is the same as trying to make a double chin. Keeping your core engaged and your shoulders in the proper position while also retracting your chin might feel super weird and actually really difficult to do. This is certainly the case for me, but as I actively work on my posture, it becomes more natural every week.
Why Good Posture is Important
As I write this, I'm currently involved in a training program to try and improve my posture, particularly the upper body. Back braces are certainly helpful, but I've had enough issues that I really need to put a huge focus on this. For example, I suffered a herniated disc in my neck, which resulted as a combination of sports and bad posture, but mainly bad posture. The problems I had with my herniated disc affected everything I did and severely affected my quality of life. So in addition to learning through school and other resources about the benefits of good posture, I've seen this first-hand, and I can't overstate how good it feels to start experiencing relief from these issues.
If you know you have bad posture, but you aren't experiencing any health problems because of it at the moment, just be warned that I was in the exact same situation not too long ago. Bad posture can create a snowball effect, whereby it gets worse and worse over time as certain muscles weaken and others try to overcompensate. Eventually, this could lead to some form of injury, which in turn can further exacerbate the problem.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Do Posture Braces Actually Work?
A: Before you go out and purchase a posture brace, it’s normal to be a little wary if these braces actually do what they are described as doing. Thankfully, the majority of these posture braces are actually proven to show some great benefit. For example, in this ScienceDirect study, wearing a posture brace that helps to pull back the shoulders, “Is more effect in restoring natural shoulder position than scapular posterior tilting exercises”, and truly helps to restore your posture back to a natural position.
Q: How Do Posture Braces Work?
A: Now that we’ve established that if done properly, posture braces actually do provide quite a bit of benefit, it’s time to get into how it works. To put it simply, homosapiens have a natural spinal and scapular alignment that is most efficient and optimal for our bodies. Over the past few hundred years as humans have grown and relied more on sitting in upright chairs our individual muscle systems have slightly changed. These changes have caused our shoulders to droop forwards into a hunched positon, and spinal alignment to tweak out of sorts slightly. These slight changes in some humans changes our bodies into be in the incorrect positions and causes this pain and stress we feel in our back and shoulders with improper posture.
That being said, these posture braces work to counteract and return our shoulders and spine to the correct alignment. The majority of these braces work to pull the shoulders backwards into a more natural and optimal position, along with providing support to the spine to help return that to it’s correct position as well.
Q: Does Posture Affect Breathing?
A: One common question relating to posture, is does it affect breathing? Although this question can go into extreme depth, the simple answer is Yes. When you have poor back and shoulder posture, it can cause the muscles surrounding your chest (Back, shoulders, and Pectoral Muscles) to become extremely tight which can actually limit your rib cages ability to expand while breathing. This can cause our breaths to be more shallow and rapid compared to the healthier option of slower and deeper breaths. So to put it simply, to have the best breathing for your body, you want to improve your posture as well!
At the end of the day, good posture is one of the most underrated factors to living a healthy and pain-free life. If you have let your posture progress to a point where you can recognize it could be problematic, don't worry, you can definitely fix it. Our recommendation would be to book an appointment with a physiotherapist in case there is anything else they can detect or suggest that will make your posture improvement an easier task. Of course, back braces for posture are always very helpful as well, so there are a lot of resources you can use to get to that healthy posture. Good luck, and keep it up!