What Sports Bra Should I Wear?
Updated: Aug 20, 2018
I never thought I'd be someone recommending bras to people. Flat chested me? What do I know? Then I got pregnant and now have a whole new appreciation for reigning in the tatas...
As a 32 A, and someone who didn't need much support while exercising (or ever), I never gave bras much thought. Nor did I understand what other women were going through when I saw them trying to find the right bra.
What was the big deal? Do different kinds of support really make that big of a difference?
Yes. They. Do.
Then I became pregnant and one of my first symptoms was sore boobs. And I mean sore! Hugs were painful, let alone running! I had an active pregnancy and was training for the Boston Marathon when I found out I was pregnant. I planned to do the marathon still but learned very quickly that I was going to need more support from my sports bra, and a or two size up!
Anyone who's been pregnant knows your boobs get bigger, but the soreness is a real challenge. I bought a couple bigger sports bras (sized up from S to M) to try out in anticipation of needing them, and used them immediately. One I bought from New Balance, and it's similar to the Champion ones I usually get from Target. I bought another (cheap) one from TJ Maxx that had some extra padding. It's certainly cute, but never fit right and definitely doesn't give enough support.
Fast forward a few months, and add breastfeeding to the mix. The initial soreness from pregnancy dissipated, but now breast size fluctuates by the hour depending on how full of milk your boobs are. It's the most comfortable to exercise right after a feeding or pumping session, or essentially just go as empty as you can. However, this can be challenging if you only feed on one side at a time. Plus, anyone with kids knows that actually getting out the door right away after feeding or pumping is rarely smooth.
If you're training runs are longer, or you you're cycling, or even driving to and from the gym to take a class, total "exercise" time can be multiple hours total = potentially full of milk and sore during and by the end of your exercise session. That means you need more comfort and support than ever!
Now, there are clearly plenty of non-pregnant and non-breastfeeding women who need a supportive bra for exercising too. The goal of this blog post is to compile a list of the best sports bras at different price ranges recommended by YOU! I've polled friends and followers via social media and came up with this list below.
Recommendations came from runners, mothers, and pregnant women. Feel free to add your favorite bra by emailing me here and I will continue to update the list!!!
Every woman's body is different, so not every bra is going to work for every woman.
You will see the selection below includes a wide range of styles and prices!
Let's face, we need more compression, but TOO much compression can be painful! We also want a bra that fits snug and gives us enough coverage but doesn't dig in or chaff! There really truly are a lot of great options out there these days, and I wanted to keep this list short so it's not overwhelming. I'm also not paid or endorsed by any of these companies, they are actually based on what other women are wearing.
Here's what YOU recommended:
Features: has a high neckline (but doesn't feel like it's choking you)
What you said: "No chaffing even when wet during 70.3 triathlon"
retails between $44.95-49.95 (2 styles)
retails for $52
Compression level 2
Features: Thick adjustable straps, and full coverage front
retails at $56 (currently ON SALE for $38)
Features: has adjustable chest band, higher front coverage, padded wide straps (to avoid digging in to your poor shoulders!)
A lot of women recommended doubling up your sports bra (I've done this and also recommend it!). In a pinch this works great and you can use whatever bras you already have usually. The downside is that you can end up with a lot of "straps," and while doubling up generally improves support, it's not always comfortable.
C9 Champion MAX Support Power Core
retails for 24.99
Features: V back, Lightly lined cup, Wireless, Thick adjustable straps
retails for $24.99
Features: Racerback with back hook and loop fastener, Lightly lined cup, Wireless
retails for $78
Features: High support for C/D cup
(made for runners!)
Sweat and Milk:
Chloe Running Nursing Sports Bra
retails for $62 (10% your first order!)
Features: Easy one-hand nursing, Medium/High coverage, Medium/High impact, removable pads, no wires
retails for $65
Features: Real bra sizing A-F cup, adjustable chest and shoulder straps, U-back or racer back, seamless inside with sweat wicking material, made for high-impact!
From Target - C9 Champion brand
retails for $16.99 (can't beat that price!)
I've used this bra for running during and post pregnancy (and sometimes double this one up since it doesn't have any hooks and has minimal seams). I also used this during my recent 70.3 Half Ironman, where my tri top had a built in bra too. Despite the discomfort from fullness, I felt supported throughout the 5.5 hrs of racing!
New Balance Intensity Crop Bra Top
From New Balance
retails for $65
I like this zip up bra when I run with my daughter and need to stop and nurse. It makes access really easy and is still comfortable. I also feel like I can run without a shirt on in hot weather with this one because it's a crop top but still makes me feel like I'm covered and supported.
Things to Avoid!
Thin fabrics that won't give you enough compression
Too many seams
"Extras" that might look good but cause chaffing
Thin straps that dig in to your shoulders
Be flexible! Remember, there are a lot of low impact activities that improve your strength and endurance without being uncomfortable!