Who has struggled to find the right sports bra?
If you’re waving your hands in the air, you aren’t alone.
The Chicks wanted to share the deets on our favorite unmentionables. Sports bras are the second most important piece of fitness equipment for women, aside from footwear.
And despite the fact, about 80 percent of women aren’t wearing the correct bra size according to Ellen Brenner of Fleet Feet Sports in Rochester. That means large- and small-breasted women alike aren’t getting the right support.
Brenner says a good sports bra must have the ability to wick moisture, breathability, correct proportions to minimize chafing, straps that don’t dig into the shoulders and a band that doesn’t shift or bind.
It’s said that best friends share everything… but I’m sure that whomever said that probably wasn’t thinking about sports bras. No, no, Vic and I don’t actually share our bras but when I told her I was looking for a new one, she recommended Moving Comfort’s Rebound Racer.
It was love at first wear! I appreciate the hold that this bra has – it’s comfortable and the girls feel well supported (and as a 36D, that’s important). Also, I don’t know if this is something that other people worry about but personally speaking, I don’t like people knowing that I’m… ahem, cold; this bra has a liner that assists with that.
Additionally, the straps adjust in the front, rather than the back, so you don’t have be a contortionist in order to get the right amount of support. And one of my most favorite things is the adjustable closure in the back. I’ve actually gotten STUCK in other sports bras, which is quite the sight. And thankfully no one was around to see it!
The only downfall is that these puppies are $50 a pop and a bit hard to track down. My local running store special ordered the one that’s pictured. But hey, I love them so much that I’ll gladly pay for good support!
I’ve literally been through dozens of sports bras in recent years — all brands, all shapes, all colors. I could not care less what color I sweat in, but I do need support — GOOD support.
To try to find a bra that worked, I used to track down a well-endowed saleswoman is a sports store and grill her about her choices. I’d jump up and down in the dressing room and jog in place. Maybe toss in a few jumping jacks. If the bra passed the test, I’d get it. And typically, I’d need a new one a few months later. Repeat process.
Then I found Moving Comfort. I walked into a local running store desperate for help and was fitted for lovely, albeit pricey, sports bras.
And alas, I met my new friend Fiona and my new bestie Maia.
Both bras have adjustable straps and a back hook closure. LOVE! And both bras are fantastic for women with C-cups or larger. I used these styles for several years, with replacement bras purchased each year. But last spring, I noticed horrible chafing even when using a newly purchased bra.
Because I’d been running regularly, my body changed. I could no longer use my beloved Maia, as I was now too small. My bra search resumed and I finally found Moving Comfort’s Rebound Racer on a sale rack at City Sports.
Meri (above) detailed this bras perks. It’s supportive and comfortable, stylish and doesn’t leave chafing marks. I have two and need more.
My favorite sports bras are these little ditties from Target. I’m not even sure which brand they are, probably Champion, but I adore them.
I’m not particularly gifted in the chesticular department so the skinny straps offer more than adequate support. I’ve had problems in the past with sports bras causing shoulder pain and neck tension but these offer just the right amount of stretch for all my athletic endeavors…yoga, boot camp, kickboxing, running, it’s comfortable in any scenario. And I’ve purchased many of these in all colors because, yes, I’m one of those chicks whose clothes match her undergarments. Even while sweating buckets.
Being a small-boobed gal, I’ve never really given much thought to sports bras. I don’t look for the best of the best; I’m not mega-concerned about support. My humble breasts (Shakira shout-out!) don’t need much.
That said, I do have a few that I rotate, all of them Nike sports bras. I love that they’re moisture-wicking and that they have the Dri Fit technology. They keep me in place and prevent me from getting sticky and sweaty, and that’s really all I can – and do – ask for in a boulder-holder.
I used to think that the only way I could get enough support without looking like I was wearing a bra, was to double up my sports bras. See, I like a snug fit. The compressed, uni-boob look? Fine with me. I don’t want anything bouncing around. I don’t like shoulder straps either; I prefer something that goes between my shoulder blades.
I feel like as a heavier (i.e. bustier) athlete, this is where I’m supposed to talk about my long standing struggle to find a great sports bra. I feel like I should have tales of mail-order nightmares and duct tape and every other ‘keep them from flying all over the place’ solution known to man. But in reality, I’ve never had too much issue finding a sports bra.
This may be due to finding out during a recent bra fitting that I’m not quite as big boobed as I thought I was. (Get fitted… it’s an eye-opener, for sure). I spent years wearing a DDD, only to find out I’m a D. Whoops.
My sports bra is a Champion C9 from Target and I love it! It’s super soft and comfy, and they actually come in a lot of fun colors (I have a black, a hot pink and a camo). It comes with either a full racer back, which I prefer, or with thinner straps. And the price? A cool $17. All in all, you can’t beat it. And I’ve only had one incidence of visible underboob during a particularly exuberant Zumba class.
Oh, and if you’re wondering if it gives you the dreaded uniboob? The answer is ‘kind of.’ It’s not too bad, but there’s definitely a singularity going on. But since you’re wearing it while getting sweaty and fit, I say rock that tube boob action!
I used to wear the lulu lemon bras, the ta-ta tamer ones, but the straps would always fall off and it was super annoying. Now I wear their all-sport bras and loooooove them!
I’ll have to try that one! I love the look of those ombré bras from target that Cam mentioned but they’re not supportive enough for me.
I’ve always wanted to try the Ta-Ta Tamer. So no go, eh? Maybe I’ll try your recommendation next time I grab a new sports bra.
They’re good if you like bras that have straps that are like normal bra straps! I like the ones with straps that go down the back or however you describe it haha.
Love this post! I am the one who wears 2 sports bras! I can never find the right support! I think I’ll check out Meri’s suggestions. I can never really buy one “off the rack” (at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx, that is… my usual haunt for anything!) Thanks for the tips, ladies! Possible next post… tips for gals who are just starting out? Just sayin’.
Meri, I’m still pondering your offer for my 1st 5k. I haven’t forgotten! I will find one!
I honestly and truly love that one, Shan. I’ve had it for a couple of months and this is the one that is working the best for me right now. I’ve tried others and while they are okay for some things (I can wear less supportive bras during my training sessions) I need the full support of the Moving Comfort when I’m running.
We can definitely do tips on starting out; we’ve all been there at a point in our lives, some more recent than others.
Definitely think about the 5k! We can take it nice and easy. 🙂
I’m actually a Title Nine “bravangelist,” so seeing a bra post always makes me happy!
So many gals balk at prices of bras, like a really good Moving Comfort or Shock Absorber bra, but they’re so worth it, regardless of your size. No one should ever have to wear more than one bra! (Even my 40D+ friends can run in one.) As long as we all size ourselves once or twice a year and swap out our sports bras regularly (they only last 6 months to a year if they’re part of a very regular rotation, and thus should never celebrate a birthday) we as runners *and* our girls will both stay happy. I’m a 32B/C, and a rather hard fit, but I swear by Moving Comfort’s cup-band sizes JubraLee. If I want a little more oomph (read: curve in my cups) I sometimes wear the Urban X-Over, but usually that’s a boot camp bra for me; it’s not enough for running trails or soccer.
The beauty of bras today is that you can get ultimate cup separation with every day styling (ex: Title Nine Super Lace Bra) but still have performance wicking. These are often referred to as ‘work to workout’ styles. While so many women are swayed by aesthetics, it’s possible to get both the aesthetic we want with the performance we need, but yes, it can come at a cost. (That being said, Scootadoot girls, if you ever want to talk sports bras, every day bras, general fitness apparel etc, I’ll nerd out with y’all on it any day! It’s basically my job to do so.)
Thanks so much for all of your tips! I totally used to be one who balked at the price of good sports bras. Then I realized that you completely get what you pay for. I love hearing about different brands and styles too. I’ve not tried the JubraLee style. I’ll have to check that one out. thank you!
The expert in our post, Ellen, also spoke of never letting a bra seeing a birthday. She actually sends birthday cards for the bras to her customers — which offers a discount on their next bra purchase. Brilliant, right?
A good bra is so important! I sometimes really have to stop myself from pulling a girl off her run and telling her off for her lack of good-braness! I have not, as yet, actually done it but I fear the day will come.
I swear by the Shock Absorber Run Bra and cannot agree more about the need to get properly fitted. I will go so far as to say that I think you should get refitted once a year when you buy a new bra. The past four bras that I’ve had have been wildly different sizes (although, the first was immediately post-pregnancy, so that wouldn’t have helped.)
I might also go so far to say that I think it’s MORE important for a woman to have a great fitting run/sport bra than great shoes. If one needs to be sacrificed to afford the other, I’d put my money into a run bra every time.
Thank you! I so hear you! My bras are all different sizes and I completely endorse the plan of getting fitted at least once each year, after weight loss or gain or pregnancy (am quoting my expert Ellen again!)
I’ll have to check out that bra you mentioned. Thanks! What brand is it?
I’m curious- do they size the same way for sports bras that they do for actual bras? I have been fitted for actual bras, so I know my size that way, but I’ve never been fitted at an athletic store. This might be a dumb question, haha.
I’m not sure on all brands, but I do know Moving Comfort and Lulu and Title 9 all have sizes like regular bras. (Female) Employees at my local running store DO fit you for a bra and will look once you have it on to let you know if its too big or small, which is really nice.
OMG! There is a woman who runs near my house and I’ve often thought about stopping her to recommend a different bra. I’m sure that breaches all kinds of etiquette rules, but she’d appreciate it eventually, right?
I’ve tried so many different ones but the ones I love are the compression sport bras by Old Navy. It holds the girls in place without the bounce, and I believe I paid under $20!
I like the compression style. I’ll check these out, thanks!
Oh man. A subject near and dear to my heart!
I cannot say enough good things about the people at Title Nine. I drove 50 miles one way to get to a store, and bought the only two bras in the store that fit my 40E chest, and it was worth every penny. The salespeople were helpful and knowledgeable and, unlike my local sporting goods and running stores, did not make me feel like a freak of nature for not fitting in to the normal S/M/L sizing structure.
So now I’m rocking a Moving Comfort that looks pretty similar to Meri and Vic’s (it may just be an older style) and the aptly named “Last Resort.” I’m not going to win any style awards wearing them, but the bounce is under control, the sweat wicks away, and the monoboob is fairly minimal.
One of my besties wears a larger cup size and has a terrible time finding bras of all kinds. Last resort, indeed. Ha. I’ll tell her about that one. Thanks, Anne!
If she’s a larger cup, but not so large a band size, Title Nine has a TON more options. The one warning I have with the Last Resort (aside from the fact that it is truly the ugliest bra I have ever worn) is that it’s hot. It doesn’t really wick, and it is not what I would call breathable, but by God, the girls do not move.
Hey! I happen to work for T9 (has nothing to do with this post or Scootadoot, I love them and nerd out on product on a personal level) and am thrilled to hear you had a great experience. Just to clarify, the Fiona is what Title Nine calls the 3 Reasons, the Maia is the 2 in 1, and the Last Resort is the classic Enell bra, which is also made in a “lite” version now. If you ever want to know who makes something or what they call it to match what you see to what you know, the girls in Customer Service have that info. (They get it from me, ha.) Happy running!
(And while a bit tricky, did you try the Trade Up? It wicks. Maybe you can find a 38F if your sister size works for you; it’s the aforementioned Shock Absorber Run Bra.)
Oh man, I wish the sister size thing worked for me. Well, it does work, it’s just that my normal size is a 42DDD (And wow. You’re a stranger. Hi. Nice to meet you! I don’t always talk about my boobs, but when I do, I get really specific.) I don’t know that I can go down to a 38 and still breathe, but trust me, I LONG for the day that I can get my band size down to something more manageable.
The info about vendors is really helpful though, because in a lot of cases, I think the bras come in more sizes than T9 offers, and as a girl on the far end of the scale, it’s just near impossible to find anything above a 40 inch band. If T9 ever needs a 42 inch band size, E cup girl to test their stuff, I am all over it!
But since you’re here, and you’re so helpful, what are your thoughts on using those band extenders in conjunction? I worry that it would mess with the structural integrity of the whole setup, but I’m starting to think that it’s the only way I’m going to wedge myself into a decent sports bra.
I love that you nerd out on the products, and that you’re offering up your expertise. Hardly anyone wants to go into a store all “Well, I have this wonky boob thing…” so it’s nice to have the anonymity of the internet to find help!
And helloooo Enell light. You shall be mine, oh yes you shall.
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Moving Comfort Juno all the way. $56 was tough to get over at first, but it couldn’t have been a better purchase. No back pain, no bounce, no shoulder pain, and no more doubling up for support. Worth every penny.
I love it! Those Moving Comfort bras are pretty fantastic, aren’t they? I agree. worth every penny! How long into your running was it before you tracked those down?
I usually wear Moving Comfort (Luna), but I haven’t been too happy with these lately. I was inspired by this post, so I ordered a bunch of different styles from Title Nine to fit test on my own. Finger crossed that I find something better!
Please Let me know how you fare. I need to get a backup style. My fave sports bra is nearing its birthday, which is a big no-no!
Will do Vic! I ordered 2 Shock Absorbers and 2 different Moving Comfort (Rebound Racer and Juno). I think I’m also going to try a Moving Comfort Endurance Racer.
awesome! I love the rebound racer (as you know already!) but have heard good things about Juno