A posture corrector is a type of low-impact back brace intended to counteract the effects of slouching. There are many different styles of posture corrector, but all are designed to re-establish a correct relationship between the spine and the muscles that support it.
Early posture correctors did not go by that name. Instead, they were called corsets (1). Most people think of corsets as a kind of high-fashion torture device that warped women’s midsections into unnatural shapes. And they certainly did that. But they were also intended to promote proper posture, which was seen as a necessity for any well-bred young lady.
While the corset has gone the way of the dinosaur, posture correctors are still with us. There are scores of different ones on the market today, but not all are right for every person. To make things easier for our readers we’ve sifted through dozens of well-regarded devices and composed the following list of the 10 best posture correctors for 2020.
1. Flex Guard Posture Corrector
The Flex Guard is a fine all-around posture corrector for those who are already experiencing problems. More than a mere preventative brace the Flex Guard grabs hold of your wayward back and returns it to proper alignment gently but firmly. It’s not intended to disappear under your summer clothes. It’s here to correct your posture. And it does a good job.
What we like: A serious posture correction device for people with serious posture problems. It addresses the whole back from lumbar region to the base of the neck. Provides firm but agreeable hold while alleviating back pain caused by slouching.
It covers a lot of your torso but it’s remarkably easy to put on. After just a few times wearing it you’re likely to notice a significant difference in both your posture and your pain level.
Flaws: Women may find it more constricting than men. And overweight individuals may find it doesn’t accommodate them very well.
2. FY Posture Corrector for Men & Women
The FY Posture Corrector is a minimalist device that’s a good choice for those who have basically sound posture and want to keep it that way. While it will perform some rudimentary corrective work, it’s more intended to help you stave off developing bad habits. And that can save you a lot of pain and heartache in the long run.
What we like: We like the fact that this device is both effective and small. We like that older folks can slip it on without help. It’s a good brace for anyone who sits at the computer all day. And it makes a great companion piece to your compression socks.
It adjusts easy, fits most chest sizes up to 53” in circumference and for the most part, works as advertised.
Flaws: If you adjust it too tightly you might find it cutting into your sides a bit.
3. TruWeo Posture Corrector For Men And Women
The TruWeo Posture Corrector is relatively light and quite comfortable. Like the FY we just profiled it’s designed to provide you a defense against developing bad habits. But if you’ve already begun to slouch a bit it will help get you back on the straight and narrow too. Overall it’s easy to use, durable and affordable.
What we like: Does a good job promoting proper posture. We also like that it’s fairly easy to hide under your regular work clothes. So if you’re wearing a suit for instance, no one should know. The soft touch on the skin and the overall build quality are also pluses.
The customer service is generally responsive and the device comes with a full 60 day money back guarantee.
Flaws: The device is pretty heavy. Also, it’s recommended for just an hour or two at a time. So if you wear it to work you’ll need to figure out how to take it off and stash it.
4. Marakym Posture Corrector
What struck us about the Markym Posture Corrector was its impressive adjustability. Not something you expect from such a seemingly simple device. More than that though it’s also very comfortable, even after several hours of non-stop wear. And it’s sleek enough to fit under your winter clothes.
What we like: It’s light enough to be used by just about anyone. It’s basically comfortable and easy on the skin. We like that it doesn’t get as sweaty as some other posture correctors do. And it comes with its own carrying sack.
It’s easy to customize the fit to serve your needs. It’s also affordable and the money back guarantee is a nice touch. But you probably won’t use it.
Flaws: May not be enough for people with serious posture issues. More for someone who wants to fend off developing bad posture.
5. Vibo Posture Corrector for Men and Women
This iteration of the Vibo Posture Corrector is a significant step up from what the company was offering a couple of years ago. They’ve refined the fit, refined the feel and tweaked the way it’s adjusted. The end result is a posture corrector that’s a good choice for both young and old.
What we like: The Vibo Posture Corrector is one of the more discreet posture correctors on the market. It’s also very well-made, reasonably comfortable and will serve both men and women equally well.
We like the fact that older folks can put this on without assistance. And that it’s lighter than some other posture correctors.
Flaws: The side straps can be a bit irritating after a while. This is particularly true if you’re carrying a few extra pounds.
6. Sparthos Lumbar Support Belt
There’s sometimes a fine line between posture correction and lower back support. The Sparthose Lumbar Support Belt has the distinction of providing robust lower back support while at the same time helping to promote good posture in those who sit for long hours each day.
What we like: It provides firm but gently lower back support, encourages good posture and helps to relieve pain. It’s also easy to put on, is reasonably breathable so you won’t sweat up a storm, and you can wear it doing just about anything.
For many folks lower back problems and posture issues go hand in hand. If that’s you, then you will likely benefit from the Sparthos Lumbar Support Belt.
Flaws: If your postural problems tend to manifest in the upper portion of your back this device isn’t going to help a lot.
7. BodyRite Posture Corrector
The BodyRite Posture Corrector grabs hold of your spine in the lumbar region and holds it tight right up through the cervical vertebrae. Despite it’s somewhat intimidating profile it’s actually quite easy to put on and adjusts effectively to fit almost any body type. A good choice for those experiencing moderate to severe back pain.
What we like: We like that the BodyRite Posture Corrector addresses the entire back. We appreciate the firm, resolute hold it provides. You won’t be able to slouch if you want to. We also appreciate that, unlike most such devices, it’s available in different sizes.
The material feels comfortable against the skin and it does a good job wicking away moisture. It also does a good job alleviating lower back pain.
Flaws: The hold it provides might be too much for some people. Also, it’s not the easiest thing to clean.
8. Aroamas Posture Corrector for Men & Women
With its fairly prominent adjustment buckles on the shoulder straps the Aroamas Posture Corrector is not one you’ll be able to hide under a shirt. But what you can do with it is alleviate some of the back pain you’ve been experiencing. While at the same time retraining your spine to return to its intended alignment.
What we like: We like that women will find it just as comfortable as men. We appreciate how light it is and that it doesn’t dig into the skin. It does a good job aligning your upper back to discourage slouching. And it doesn’t make you all sweaty.
It’s also affordable and small enough that you can stash it anywhere. And it comes with a lifetime guarantee.
Flaws: While effective at promoting good posture you’ll likely need to leave it on a long time to enjoy benefits. Also, you’ll probably need help adjusting the back straps.
9. Flexi Fit Posture Corrector for Men and Women
The Flexi Fit Posture Corrector is one of the most intense upper spine correctors out there. As such it’s a good choice for those suffering from kyphosis, or who have let things get a little out of control with their back. It provides plenty of firm support. Yet it never feels punitive. And that’s quite a trick in and of itself.
What we like: A good choice for those who need a lot of upper body support. It moves your spine back into proper alignment and retrains upper back muscles. If you suffer from pain between your clavicles you’ll probably find some relief with this posture corrector.
We like how light it is, how comfortable the fabric is and the fact that they provide a carry bag. Because you’re not going to want to wear it all the time.
Flaws: There’s no way you’re concealing this under your work clothes. Cleaning the sweat out can also take some work.
10. Leo Men’s Abs Slimming Body Shaper with Back Support
The last of our best posture correctors comes to us from Leo. The company takes a somewhat different approach to posture correction. Instead of a brace-like object they provide what amounts to a compression sleeve for your entire torso. (Provided you’re a guy, that is.) It’s an interesting concept that’s well executed. From the moment you zip it up you want to sit up straight.
What we like: This body shaper garment does an outstanding job promoting good posture in a subtle way. It grabs hold of your torso and encourages it to conform to the norm.
It’s light and comfortable, easy to clean and you can wear it under anything. Even a white shirt because it comes in white, beige and black. If you’ve got the body but need some back support try this.
Flaws: Won’t work for anyone with a spare tire. And, of course, because of its design, it’s not going to work for ladies.
Who Needs a Posture Corrector?
More and more people today are spending more and more time hunched over their desks, sunken down into the sofa binge watching Netflix or slouched over playing games or chatting with friends on their smartphone. Some are doing all of the above. Many of these folks could use a good posture corrector. Either to fend off back issues or to correct posture problems that have already manifested.
What problems? Well, let’s start with reduced lung function (2). You could also be looking at a herniated disc if the slouching persists for years (3). In addition, if poor posture does persist it’s pretty much guaranteed that lower and/or upper back pain will enter your life. You could also experience pain radiating down your arms and legs, a loss of overall mobility, as well as neck pain (4) and shoulder problems.
How We Ranked
When determining which of the hundreds of posture correctors on the market are worth the investment there is no substitute for having slouchers put them to the test. Fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), we have a few slouchers right here in the office who were more than willing to pitch in and put the various devices through the ringer.
Of course, the first and most important factor we judged on was effectiveness. Did the brace cause our testers to sit up straight? Or did it simply pull back their shoulders and make them slouch in a very uncomfortable way? Any posture corrector that did not promote good posture didn’t make the cut. Period.
Once we whittled things down to only those that actually helped correct posture we then looked at comfort, both short and long term. The device had to be comfortable when first put on and it had to stay that way for the duration. Those that started to dig in or cause serious skin irritation or excessive sweating were eliminated.
Next we looked at how easy the device was to put on and take off. Could it be done by one person? What about one person with arthritis? This is crucial because not all older folks with arthritis have someone at hand all the time to help them with such things. A few of our chosen devices did require a second person. Most, however, did not.
We also considered sizing. A few manufacturers produce their braces in different sizes. But they’re the exceptions. Most rely instead on your being able to adjust the device. And since most embrace adjustability, it was important to only pick ones that were easily adjustable and which didn’t become uncomfortable or awkward when adjusted.
Posture correctors are great if you work at a desk all day. They help you stay alert, help you breathe more effectively so that you are more mentally engaged and they send a message to the boss. What message? That you are determined not to become a drain on the company health insurance policy. Most people get a posture corrector because they found themselves slouching on the job and don’t want that curved back to become permanent.
Posture correctors can help improve your mental outlook. It’s true. Try it. If you are a chronic sloucher try sitting up straight right now. Hold that upright posture for a minute. Don’t you feel more vibrant and in charge? Studies have demonstrated (5) that sitting up straight actually has a quantifiable effect on a person’s attitude and outlook. Part of it is just that you feel healthier when you sit up straight. And part of it is that you breathe better when you sit up straight. Which brings us to our next benefit.
Posture correctors can help improve breathing. Sitting up straight will help you breathe better. This is not some old wives tale. It’s a fact. The ancient Romans knew only too well how slouching inhibits breathing. Most of the hundreds of thousands of people who were crucified at the hands of the Romans died from suffocation (6). After a while a person’s body would slouch to such a degree that the pressure on their lungs would inhibit breathing and they would suffocate.
Posture correctors can improve a person’s image. Everyone notices when someone slouches. Conversely, they also notice when someone sits or stands straight. Good posture says something about the person. It says they care about their health and they care about their appearance. Sitting or standing straight makes clothes fit better, enhances confidence and makes a person seem smarter, regardless of their actual IQ. Slouching too, sends discrete messages regarding our emotional state (7). Though not the type of message most people would prefer to send.
Posture correctors can help you recover from an injury faster. Consequently, they can help you return to work faster. And they will help ensure that you don’t re-injure yourself. If you have suffered a back or neck injury it will be crucial that you assume good posture in the aftermath (8). The posture corrector will help you do just that.
Posture correctors can slip discreetly under your clothes. Not all of them of course. But there are a number of posture correctors on the market that will effectively disappear under your business suit, work clothes, dress or other outfits. This is especially true when it comes to cold weather clothing that tends to be heavy and layered. Being able to wear your posture corrector at work will help you do a better job and also enhance your image. But you can also wear your posture corrector to the supermarket, the kids’ soccer game or to the big holiday get together and no one will be the wiser.
Posture correctors fend off all kinds of problems that might otherwise develop as you age. Digestive issues, depression, pinched nerves, chronic pain and more can all result from a lifetime of bad posture (9). The best way to prevent those and other conditions from fouling your dotage is to get a posture corrector and relearn how to sit and stand correctly. Good posture will pay myriad dividends in the long run. Bad posture will generate just as many negative consequences.
Posture correctors can save you money. That probably sounds like a pretty wacky idea but hear us out. Back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor. It is estimated that Americans alone spend something in the neighborhood of $90 billion on back pain diagnosis and treatment every year (10). If you suffer chronic back pain from bad posture some of that $90 billion is yours. Or at least it was yours before you spent it on doctor visits and treatments. Those with bad posture also tend to be less productive. This can interfere with their ability to obtain promotions or otherwise optimize their earning potential. So yeah, posture correctors can not only save you money, they’ll likely help you make more money.
Posture correctors can help you have a more active life. It’s hard to play with the kids if your back hurts all the time. If you’re athletically inclined but exhibit poor posture chances are your on-the-field performance will suffer too (11). At the same time, older folks often turn down offers to do things because their back is bothering them. Wearing a posture corrector can help alleviate back pain, improve your attitude and outlook and make it possible to enjoy a more active lifestyle.
Posture correctors can help you be a better student or employee. Studies have recently concluded that there is a connection between good body posture and the ability of children to learn (12). The same studies concluded that posture affects memory as well. If the findings of these studies can be extrapolated to include adults in learning situations such as school or work, then it’s no exaggeration to say that good posture can make you a better student or employee.
Q: Can anyone wear a posture corrector?
A: In theory anyone with an otherwise healthy back who is interested in improving their posture could wear a posture corrector. However, it’s never advisable to wear a medical assistive device simply because you can. There should be some compelling reason for wearing the posture corrector. If there isn’t then thank your lucky stars that you have a straight, healthy back and get on with your life.
Q: How does a posture corrector work?
A: Posture correctors work by preventing a person from being able to comfortably assume their accustomed slouch. They’re not so extreme that they make it impossible. But when a good posture corrector is in place you have to actively work to be able to slouch. Most also allow you to adjust the device in order to accommodate your particular physiology.
What you want the corrector to do is reset the relationship between your musculature and your skeletal system so that both return to their natural and optimal positions. It’s important that you select a posture corrector that will fit comfortably around your torso. If you are a bit overweight, you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t have hard edged straps that will dig into your skin.
Q: How long should you wear a posture corrector?
A: This depends almost entirely on why you are wearing the device to begin with. If you already manifest problems associated with poor posture, such as back pain, digestive issues or impaired breathing, you may want to wear the posture corrector during most of your waking hours. At least until such time that you have retrained your back to stand up straight.
On the other hand, some folks wear the posture corrector for no other reason than to fend off potential problems. They can probably get away with wearing it for no more than an hour or two per day. Just as a reminder to sit and stand up straight. The bottom line is that the posture corrector is not intended to be a permanent part of a person’s life. It’s intended to help people correct bad posture habits. Some people just need a little more help doing that than others.
Q: Should I wear a posture corrector to bed?
A: A posture corrector is a type of back brace. And, just like a standard back brace, you should not wear it to bed unless you have been specifically instructed to do so by your doctor. When will a doctor advise someone to sleep in a back brace? If they have scoliosis (13). But scoliosis braces are much more involved than a posture corrector. Older people suffering from kyphosis (14) are also sometimes directed to wear some type of back brace while sleeping.
Finally, in the wake of back surgery a patient may also be advised to wear a back brace to bed. This will help ensure the back stays aligned so that it can heal properly. If you are going to wear your posture corrector or other back support device to bed make sure you do so in a safe and effective way (15).
Q: When should I avoid wearing a posture corrector?
A: It is never advisable to wear a posture corrector while swimming. Being submerged in water may undermine the integrity of the device. In addition, a wet posture corrector can cause serious skin irritation. And wearing a corrector while swimming will significantly impair your freedom of movement. This could lead to a dangerous situation. Also, it’s not advisable to wear one while dancing or jogging. Doing so could lead to significant irritation.
Q: Should I wear a posture corrector at work?
A: You should if poor posture at work is an issue. There are some very thin, lightweight posture correctors that will slip discreetly beneath your work clothes. Most employers won’t mind if someone is making an effort to stay healthy. But, should your employer balk at the posture corrector, a simple doctor’s note prescribing its use should provide you legal cover under the ADA (16).
Q: How fast will my posture be fixed?
A: This is the $64,000 question. Unfortunately, there is no one answer. It depends entirely on the condition of your back when you first start wearing the posture corrector. If you have been slouching for decades and only decided to do something about it now that you’re about to turn 50, it’s going to take some time to correct your posture. It may never, in fact, return entirely to what it was in your youth.
It’s a different story if you’re 24 and decided to wear one because you caught yourself slouching at work last week. In that case it likely won’t take more than a couple of hours a day for a couple of months to correct the problem. In either case you should discuss the matter with your doctor before you start wearing a posture corrector or any type of back brace.
Q: Are posture correctors painful to wear?
A: If you get the right size and adjust it properly a posture corrector should not hurt. You will likely feel some discomfort in your back muscles as they try to assume your customary slouch and meet resistance from the corrector. But the device itself should not cause you pain just by wearing it. But again, if you bought a corrector that’s the wrong size, or you adjust it too tight, then it may generate some pain. But that’s not the fault of the corrector.
Q: How tight should I make my posture corrector?
A: You should adjust the posture corrector until you feel it pushing back against you when you try and slouch. So put it on and try to slouch. If the corrector doesn’t put up a fight you need to tighten it. Adjust it a bit and test it again. Keep adjusting it until you find that, in a relaxed state, it holds your back in a proper position and makes it physically difficult for your back to actually slouch.
Q: Can seniors wear a posture corrector?
A: Seniors not only can, many of them should wear posture correctors. As we age we face a non-stop battle against gravity. Over the years it pulls us down, causing us to slouch and, in some cases, causing our backs to take on a distinct curve. This process, known as age-related kyphosis (17), can often be effectively addressed with a good posture corrector.
There are a few things to consider when choosing a posture corrector for a senior, however. It should not have an abrasive surface. It should be light and comfortable. And the person who is going to wear it should be able to put it on themselves with no problem. So, if the individual in question has arthritis for instance, that needs to be taken into consideration when choosing the posture corrector.
Posture correctors are a less intense cousin to the back brace. They are typically lighter, easier to use and focus less on the lumbar region of the back than back braces. But the job they do is every bit as important. In fact, judicious use of a posture corrector at an early age can negate the need for a back brace later in life.
Posture influences any number of health metrics. Poor posture can interfere with breathing, cause or aggravate a herniated disc, interfere with proper digestion and cause nerve damage in the back, neck and extremities. A good posture corrector worn properly can help prevent these problems.
The best posture correctors on our list run the gamut from t-shirt-like body sleeves, to modest sized braces designed to encourage proper alignment of the shoulders and upper back, to intense torso-length devices that hold the entire spine in proper alignment. Whatever your particular needs one of these devices is bound to provide the help you’re looking for.
For cpoe.org’s #1 recommended posture corrector, click here.