If you’ve ever worn an unsupportive or unflattering sports bra, then this one’s for you.
Sports bras are in a category all on their own as far as fit and comfort go. Some feel great but offer little to no support, while others feel as if your chest is being strangled.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way! Sports bras have come a long way since their debut in the 70s. With a little bit of know-how, you can find a sports bra that gives you just the right amount of support for any activity and helps you look good at the same time.
What kind of sports bra should you get?
Different types of activity call for different levels of support. If you’re taking a leisurely walk around the neighborhood you probably don’t need as much support as you would for say, cardio kickboxing.
Of course, there’s no reason that you can’t wear a high impact bra for low impact activities. What’s important is that you make sure that you have enough support.
Extra support is always better than too little support.
Here's a quick breakdown:
- Light support is good for activities like yoga, Pilates, walking, and strength training involving slow and controlled movement.
- Medium support is good for activities like hiking, jogging, or light cycling.
- High support is for more intense activities like cross-training, HIIT workouts, and anything else that will have you running or jumping.
How do you know what size sports bra to buy?
Sports bra shopping can be a bit daunting but it’s so important to find the right fit! Wearing the wrong bra size can cause pain and even soft tissue damage during high impact activities.
If you’re unsure about your bra size or haven’t measured yourself recently, that should be the first thing that you do.
Once you have your bra size (check out our fit guide for tips) figure out what level of support you need. You may want to get different styles for different activities. Fuller busted women may feel more comfortable going with a higher level of support than called for.
After you figure out your size it’s important to try and few on to see what feels best. The right sports bra will feel a bit tighter than your normal bra but still allow you to breathe and move comfortably.
Make sure that the straps are tight enough and that the armholes don’t chafe when you move your arms. It may feel silly but it’s helpful to jump up and down a few times and make sure that you’re not getting more bounce than you want.
If you are, try to adjust the straps a bit tighter or go for a higher level of support. You don’t want the straps so tight that they dig into your shoulders.
What sports bra is good for heavy breasts?
First, it’s important to know the different types of sports bras. Like regular bras, they come in several different styles.
- Compression bras are typically low-impact pullover bras without clasps. They work by compressing the breast tissue against the chest. For full-figured women, they can sometimes create the dreaded “uni-boob” look. If that’s something that you’d like to avoid, look for a sports bra with molded cups.
- Encapsulated sports bras are medium to high support and have separate padded cups that support each breast individually. This can make things much more comfortable for women with heavy breasts. They can have underwire and hook closures and often have adjustable straps.
- Compression and encapsulated bras offer the best of both worlds. They are ideal for high impact activities, especially for fuller breasted women.
The heavier your breasts are the more support you’ll likely need. Your breasts can weigh a few pounds on their own, so make sure that you look for straps that aren’t too stretchy and are wide enough to comfortably support you.
Also, look for underwire bras for additional support. You want to be as comfortable as possible when you’re working out.
What's a high impact sports bra?
A high impact sports bra offers a high level of bounce control for activities such as running, cross-training, and other intense workouts. A compression/encapsulation bra will give the most support for high impact activities.
They not only support the breasts from going up and down but side to side as well. Studies have shown that during activities like jogging breasts don’t just move in one direction but in a sort of figure 8 motion. That’s why it’s important to have support all around.
What is the best plus-size sports bra?
The best plus-size sports bra is one that not only looks good but works well for your most strenuous activities. Medium support or high support compression/encapsulation sports bras do both.
In addition to limiting bounce, the most optimal plus-size sports bra will also offer adjustability and comfortable moisture-wicking material.
Adjustability in the form of shoulder straps and hook and eye closures help to ensure that you’re getting the best fit possible.
Make sure that the straps are thick enough to hold you up without putting a strain on your shoulders. Moisture-wicking, the quick-dry fabric, is also essential to help keep you cool and prevent chafing.