I had a teammate once who had an obsession with sports bras. Without fail, whenever we wound up in a sports outlet store she would end up buying a new one. I don’t really blame her because she trained twice a day daily, so she really needed to beef up her arsenal of good sports bras.
As a working fitness professional between 2010 and 2014, I’d also managed to accumulate my own collection, some of which are still with me to this day. Being someone who requires more than just token support (thanks for the genes, Grandma), the top two things I need when running are a good pair of shoes AND a good sports bra.
I’m featured in a GMA News Lifestyle article about how to find the right sports bra alongside other running enthusiasts Jaymie “The Bull Runner” Pizarro and Dr. Ian Banzon, and the article does a great job of summarizing why you need to find the right sports bra for your activity, and how you can do so.
For me personally, there are four things I consider when I buy a new sports bra.
- Reduced bounce. Whenever I try on a sports bra, I jump around in the fitting room while wearing them. Some bras simply compress the breasts to reduce bounce, while other bras encapsulate each breast in a cup.
- Wide straps. Bra straps transfer the weight of my chest to my shoulders. Wider straps distribute this weight more evenly, so they’re less likely to cut into my skin. I also like racerback styles or straps that cross in the back because they give shoulder blades freedom to move, and they don’t slip off my shoulders.
- Band comfort. Sports bras should fit snugly under my breasts, but not too tightly because that’ll hamper breathing and cause chafing. The wider the elastic band, the better.
- Sweat-wicking material. When doing triathlon, I usually go for compression-style bras that don’t have shaped cups because they absorb a lot of water from the swim. These are also easy to pack when traveling and dry very quickly (so I don’t need to bring soggy clothes home).
With the boom of brands offering active wear, there’s no shortage of where you can find sports bras if you’re of average size, although I’ve seen some bigger cups available as well. Decathlon’s Kalenji line has some pretty good ones that wick moisture away, stay lightweight, and offer high support. As my older bras wear out, I may start switching to those exclusively.