7 Best Posture Correctors (2024): Braces, Apparel, Laptop Stands | WIRED

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7 Best Posture Correctors (2024): Braces, Apparel, Laptop Stands | WIRED

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WE SLOUCH AT our desks for at least 40 hours a week and bend our necks toward our phones the rest of the time. All of this may be affecting our back health. Bad posture doesn’t just cause temporary pain and stiffness; it can cause a permanent hunch. If you just adjusted your shoulders while reading this, it's time to work on your posture.

After seeing far too many photos of myself with a horrible slouch—my shoulders fully rounded over, my stomach somehow pushed forward while my hips are pushed back—I wonder why anyone has ever voluntarily spoken to me in public. So I decided to do something about it, trying gadgets and gear meant to make me sit up straight.

These are the best posture correctors we've tried. None of these options will fix your problems overnight, and you shouldn't be in pain while using them. Start by using them 10 to 20 minutes a day, and add time as you go (and listen to the product's directions). If you have severe back pain, a hump, or scoliosis, talk to your physician before trying any posture correctors.

Updated November 2023: We've added the Prana posture and deep breathing trainer. We've also updated prices and links throughout.

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The best thing you can use is a device that reminds you to sit up straight, like Upright Go products, instead of forcing you to, like the other braces on this list.

Upright Go products are the best option for correcting your posture. They're easy and safe and work by vibrating when you hunch over for too long. It's like someone tapping you on the shoulder every time you slouch. Just place this little rectangle on your back, either through adhesive strips or a necklace (I highly recommend getting the necklace), calibrate it through the app, and forget about it. You can change the length and intensity of the vibrations within the app. You can also track your slouching habits without vibrations if you want to see some humbling data on just how bad your posture is.

The Go S is new and cheaper than the Go 2 I originally tested (8/10, WIRED Recommends), but it's just as great in nearly every way. The S stores your results for seven days before you'll need to sync it over Bluetooth via the companion app, whereas the Go 2 can store data for 30 days. The Go S has just one sensor to detect movement instead of two, and there's no advanced movement detection, but I didn't notice any difference or error in its capabilities. The only major downside is you get two and half days of battery life instead of five. (You can recharge it via USB-C.) Still, these have been the only devices that managed to make me think about my posture even when I'm not wearing them.

★ Upgrade pick: If you don't want to charge the battery as often, the Go 2 ($60) is still a great device, and you can often find it discounted. It might be worth it for the extended battery life and additional sensor.

If you work at a desk, a laptop stand is a good way to get your screen at eye level, reducing the need to slouch over it. A good stand might be all you need, but pairing it with a brace or the Upright Go S is an even better solution, depending on your situation.

The ObVus Solutions Tower is our favorite, as you can adjust it to several heights. It's sturdy, lightweight, and small enough to move around the house freely (or coffee shops and offices). Depending on your desk setup, you may want to add more risers. I use the Superjare Dual Monitor Stand Riser to hold my ObVus Solutions Tower on one side and my monitor on the other. Check out our Best Laptop Stands guide for more options. If you have a bigger budget, consider a standing desk—we've tested several in our Best Home Office Gear guide.

We prefer Upright Go devices over other correctors because they pose no risk to your muscles. Some users wrongly use braces so tight and so frequently that they're nearly the only thing holding them up. That will weaken your muscles in the long run and make your slouching way worse. This shoulder brace isn't rigid like the type of brace someone may need after an injury, but you should still be cautious.

WIRED writer and reviewer Louryn Strampe uses the BackEmbrance, which supports mostly the upper back and makes it difficult to roll your shoulders forward. It's soft and thin enough that you can wear it under clothes, and it doesn’t look like a medical-grade brace if you decide to wear it on top of your shirt. Strampe is a side sleeper, who regularly contorts her shoulders for eight hours per night, but this corrector has helped to reduce her neck and shoulder pain during the day. It's unisex, but is a particularly good option if you have a larger chest.

If you can cover the cost, I much preferred using this Etalon Posture Bra over a brace. It looks intense with its many straps, but it works well. It doesn't make slouching a comfortable position, but it also isn't so rigid that it's overpowering my muscles.

As you get more used to sitting with a straight back, you can adjust the straps, but the company recommends leaving them as is for your first try on—if it's comfortable, leave it that way for at least three weeks. Definitely consult the sizing chart. I normally go with a large in a sports bra, but I got a medium based on the chart, and it was the right size.

More clothing brands have started making tops and sports bras with some built-in posture correction. It doesn't feel as intense as a brace, but it might help you a little bit. If anything, they're a cut above your typical workout wear and offer more support for larger chests.

We've tried Kinflyte's bras and tops and Forme's Power Bra. In these, you'll find different layers of fabric and compression panels to keep you upright. Neither brand is going to force you into a position, and they're less intense than the Etalon bra, but they reminded me to keep good form during a workout, which is a huge pro in my book. Even while walking on the treadmill or doing yoga, I tend to be in a gargoyle position when I'm not paying attention.

Both brands make products that feel and look like luxurious athleisure wear, are supportive for a range of bust sizes, and come in different support levels. Plus, all Kinflyte's garments are made of recycled polyester knits from post-consumer plastic bottles.

★ Another alternative: Alignmed also has posture shirts for $95 that provide temporary support and are made using NeuroBand technology, which the company claims stimulates nerves to align your joints with every movement. They're a tad cheaper, look just like activewear, and are comfortable.

Prana is a wearable device that connects to your phone (the app is unfortunately iOS-only at the moment) and buzzes when you slouch. It's similar to the Upright Go with the added benefit of deep breathing training. We breathe all day without thinking about it, but deep breathing exercises can help reduce stress and anxiety and even lower your resting blood pressure.

A thin retractable belt keeps Prana positioned wherever you've placed it, like on the chest for upper back posture and rib cage breathing. Training mode can be used for breathing and posture together or separately, but I think it works best to use them together. Breathwork training walks you through exercises for specific things like relaxation or lung capacity. In tracking mode, it monitors both in the background, buzzing if you start to slouch or your breathing becomes rapid and stressful.

Like some of the other devices on this list, Prana is helpful and works well if you'll use it, but isn't necessary. If you can practice deep breathing and upright posture on your own, there's no need to spend this kind of money on a device.

If you already own a long yoga strap, you can easily make your own shoulder posture brace for temporary use—a yoga teacher recommended this to me for use during a class. If you don't have one, this is a good, affordable option, but all of them work basically the same. Renowned yoga teacher Kathryn Budig wrote a tutorial for Yoga Journal that highlights a few easy steps:

The length of the strap you'll need depends on your body, including shoulder and chest size, but we recommend at least 10 feet. Anything smaller will likely be more painful than helpful.

A lot of life's problems annoyingly seem to be remedied by exercise. Living a sedentary lifestyle may add to your posture problem, so simply getting active could be the answer. Yoga has long been touted as a means to improve posture. When I'm regularly practicing, I'm more aware of my posture outside of class. And as someone who doesn't love the gym, yoga gets my heart pumping and body moving without feeling like I'm really working out. WIRED reviewer Matt Jancer outlined some easy ways to put together a yoga space at home.

Planking, leg raises, and chest presses can also help, as can taking ballet barre classes. Before buying something from our list above, you may want to try a few of these exercises first.

A lot of us start to hunch because we're working on a laptop or looking down at our phones all day. The writers at the Natural Posture explain that poor posture—sitting with your shoulders forward—causes the soft muscles in your chest to get tight, which in turn makes it feel uncomfortable to sit up straight. If you can remind yourself to sit up without buying anything, don't waste your money, but some of us need a reminder.

Any of the devices we recommend make you aware of how you're sitting, but start slowly with all of them. The braces and the Upright Go devices recommend using them for 10 minutes a day to start. It may hurt at first to sit up—this should be because of your muscles, not because of the device—but slowly retraining your muscles will make it so that sitting upright is second nature. Regular exercise can also help. No matter what, go slowly and don't overextend your body. If you have serious injury or pain, consult a physician.

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7 Best Posture Correctors (2024): Braces, Apparel, Laptop Stands | WIRED

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