Choosing an everyday bra is hard enough, but choosing a sports bra is a whole other ball game.
There are so many factors to consider. What level of bounce control do you need? Do you really need an underwire? Do you just get the same size as your bra? What about sports bras for large breasts?
It’s enough to make your head spin. We’ll go through all of these questions and take the mystery out of buying a sports bra.
Why do I need a sports bra?
Two words: tissue damage. Even just walking is enough to cause your breasts to bounce not only up and down but from side to side as well.
Contrary to what most people think, breasts actually move in a figure 8 pattern during activity. This bouncing causes the skin and ligaments to stretch. Not only that but it’s painful as well! When the skin and ligaments stretch, there’s no going back.
Stretching of the skin and ligaments leads to sagging and can also cause bruising. Not wearing a sports bra during activity can also cause pain in the upper torso, namely the back, shoulders, and neck.
What’s the difference between a sports bra and a regular bra?
A sports bra is technically a piece of equipment designed to reduce the movement of your breasts during physical activity. A regular bra, such a front-close bra, simply isn’t built for impact.
While it may be supportive and reduce bounce, it can’t reduce movement anywhere near what a sports bra can. You may think that you won’t be able to find a sports bra as comfortable as your normal bra but that’s not true. Sports bras have come a long way since their creation in the 1970s.
Is a sports bra good for larger busts?
Yes! Breasts weigh more than you think. When you’re standing up or sitting at your desk, gravity is constantly pulling on your chest, forcing your back, shoulders, and neck to work against gravity to keep you upright. The heavier your breasts are, the more your body has to work to counteract this force.
A sports bra keeps your breast tissue closer to your chest and does most of the work itself, instead of your back and shoulders.
How do I choose a sports bra for heavy breasts?
Choosing a sports bra is based on your cup size and your activity level. The larger your cup size the more bounce support you’ll need, regardless of the type of activity you're doing. Sports bras typically come in light, medium, and high impact or bounce control.
For activities like yoga, walking, and most strength training a light or medium impact sports bra will work well. Hiking and cycling need a medium impact bra, and running, aerobics, and HITT workouts need a high impact bra.
Remember, if you have a large bust you should go with more support than your activity calls for. More support is always better than too little.
What is the proper fit for a sports bra?
Making sure that your sports bra fits correctly is so important. An ill-fitting bra can cause chaffing, pain, and if it’s not supportive enough it can allow tissue and muscle damage.
When shopping for a sports bra look for one in the same size as your normal bra, provided that your normal bra fits properly. If you’re not 100% sure of your size it’s time to measure. Check out our Bra Fit Guide on how to do this correctly, then use our Bra Size Calculator to get your size.
Your sports bra will probably feel a bit snugger than your everyday bra. As long as it’s not uncomfortably tight, it’s ok. Make sure that the band is tight enough. You should be able to fit two fingers underneath but no more and no less.
A wider band will typically give more support than a narrow one. Adjust the straps. Check to make sure that your band isn’t riding up in the back.
Next, check the fit of the cups. Your breast tissue should be completely encapsulated in each cup. Center your breast tissue if needed. Your breasts shouldn’t be spilling out of the top or out of the sides. If this is happening go up one cup size and recheck.
What is the best material for a sports bra?
A good quality sports bra should be made of materials that will allow your skin to breathe, as well as wick moisture away. Materials like polyester, nylon, and spandex all allow your skin to breathe and keep you cool and dry.
Underwire or wire-free?
Underwire sports bras offer an extra level of support. Make sure that it’s cushioned for comfort. Wire-free is a good option for lower impact activities but search for a bra with encapsulated, non-stretch cups for enough support.
What is the best sports bra for high impact activities?
Here are our top picks for high impact sports bras.
No Limits High Support Underwire Sports Bra
Offers high impact bounce control with double-layer non-stretch cups, cushioned underwire, and moisture-wicking material.
Max Out High Support Underwire Sports Bra
Seamless cups and cushioned Wonderwire withstand your most intense workouts. Adjustable back straps help create the perfect fit.
Elite Adjustable Underwire Sports Bra
Adjustable bounce control lets you control the support, and moisture-wicking fabric keeps you dry and cool. Perfect for yoga or CrossFit and everything in between.
How about sports bra care?
To make sure that your sports bra lasts as long as possible, hand wash in cool water to preserve the elastic fibers.
Avoid fabric softeners and bleach as these can breakdown the material and shorten its lifespan. Avoid dryers. Lay flat or hang to dry to preserve the cup shape and elasticity.