Your everyday bra is not going to cut it for intense cardio, high-movement workouts. “Sports bras have been around for 30 years yet are still a mystery to most women,” says bra guru Jené Luciani. “But proper fit and support is just as, if not more, important in a sports bra as in the everyday model.” It’s been proven than an un-supported breast moves up and down about six centimeters when working out; this stretches out the skin and speeds up the inevitable sagging process – not a good look for the “girls.” It’s time to get fit in your best fit and find the right sports bra for you. We want you to know the A-B-C and Double-D’s of finding your best bra!
The Scoop on Sports Bras
Sports bras come in two basic designs: compression and encapsulation.
Compression styles are the more common type of bra where the breasts are pressed together against your chest, or compressed, to reduce motion. Best-suited for: Smaller chested women, up to a C-cup, and come in extra-small (A), small (32-B/C), medium (34 B/C) and large sizes (36B/C).
Encapsulation styles are sized like regular bras. With both a band and cup size, and often an underwire, breasts are separated into two cups that surround each breast. These types are more often than not combined with a compression bra to keep your gals in place when working out. Let’s face it; nothing is worse than running without support when you have a larger chest. Best-suited for: Larger chested ladies, D-cups and beyond.
The “Fashion Formula”
- When shopping for a sports bra, use the “Fashion Formula” from Luciani’s The Bra Book:
- The elastic band on the bottom should fit snugly around your rib cage (but not so snugly that it takes your breath away).
- Try it on and jump up and down a few times in the dressing room—you may look a little crazy but you’ll accurately determine if the bra gives you the necessary support needed for physical activity! Obviously, the less “bounce,” the better. The sports bra, more than any other bra, is all about range of motion and comfort level.
- Look for wider shoulder straps for more support.
- Note that those with built-in “shock absorbers” are designed to minimize bounce and impact.
Fabric is a huge part of finding the right sports bra. You need a material that is designed to wick moisture away from the body, one that prevents chafing and discomfort.
- Polyester/Cotton – Classic blend provides gentle softness and powerful moisture management for all your workouts.
- Cotton/Lycra® Spandex – Soft, moisture-managing cotton combines with shape-retaining Lycra® to create a very comfortable fabric with just the right amount of stretch and support.
- CoolMax® Polyester/Lycra® Spandex – This high-performance fabric blend delivers you all the moisture-wicking benefits of CoolMax® plus the comfort, stretch and shape retention of Lycra®.
- Polyester/Cotton/Lycra® Spandex – This 3-fiber blend offers polyester and cotton for softness and moisture management while Lycra® provides optimal fit and support.
- Supplex® Nylon/Lycra® Spandex – Offers soft, luxurious feel and incredible fit, support and shape retention.
You lucky ladies get your pick of the litter! You can choose from every style and color imaginable. Check out lululemon for an in-your-face neon pick that’s guaranteed to make you want to get your sweat on! The Free To Be Bra is made out of lululemon’s super soft Luxtreme fabric. Its open front and exposed back design was created with hot yoga in mind. The bust is lined with Circle Mesh to wick sweat away, the removable cups add a little boost to your bust while allowing for extra coverage and the flat seams are chafe-resistant. Free To Be Bra; $42
While you B-cup gals still have a wide selection available to you, you need a bit more support. Choose a fun, flirty and functional style! One we love is the Victoria’s Secret VS Knockout™ Sports Bra. Made with Victoria’s Secret BODY-WICK® technology, this sexy sports bra moves moisture away from the body to keep skin dry. The zip-front closure bra has special padding for lightness and breathability, while also offering a medium level of support. Look great and feel great while you work out. Victoria’s Secret VS Knockout™ Sports Bra; $56.50
For all of our readers with C-cups, it’s key to find a bra with good support. We recommend the Zohba Infinity Bra. It has a sleek full-coverage design without the matronly look typical of many full-coverage bras. Designed for high-performance workouts, the Infinity Bra offers stability and support for larger chests, while allowing you the freedom of movement. Made with 88% Supplex, this bra is incredibly soft and even has removable bra cups so you can avoid the dreaded high-beam look. Zohba Infinity Bra; $62
D-Cups & Up
For my fellow D-Cup and beyond sisters, there is a very limited selection of cute, comfortable and capable sports bras. The ones that keep us in place are usually not the sexiest look, and the ones that are cute have us ready to give up that mile run after the first few bouncy strides. But fret not! Thanks to brands like Panache we now have pretty picks of our own! Panache’s Maximum Control Ultimate Underwire Sports Bra features a groundbreaking design, which removes movement in all directions, provides amazing support for your girls and is comfortable and cute! Best of all, it gives women with an H-cup a sexy and supportive option. The encapsulation style reduces bounce up to 83% and the light-weight microfiber wicks the sweat away. The back can be converted to a flirty razorback. Maximum Control Ultimate Underwire Sports Bra; $68