Finding the right sports bra — the one that stays put, doesn’t chafe and protects your “girls” — isn’t easy. In fact, it’s downright hard. Here are some things to consider when shopping for your next one.
What kind of activity are you planning to do? According to athletic clothing brand Champion, going for a hike or lifting weights is less strenuous on your chest than aerobics, such as Zumba or step. Running is especially “bounce-inducing." You may be able to wear a sports bra with less compression if your activity is light. But for more arduous activity, find a bra that holds your breasts down against your chest wall.
From the straps digging into your shoulders to the band riding up and chafing, the wrong fit can cause all manner of problems. The rule of thumb is that a sports bra should fit a bit tighter than your everyday bra, according to outdoor gear brand REI.
If you are smaller-chested, you may get away with a tank-top-style bra, whereas a racer-back may be more supportive. Larger-chested women may find that sports bras with individual cups — or encapsulation styles — work better for them, REI says, as opposed to the singular band that encompasses both breasts.
Some sports bras include underwire for added support, but this may be uncomfortable as you move. If you choose a sports bra with underwire, be sure it is pliable enough to allow you to move. Moisture-wicking material is a great option to help keep you drier, which could also stop rubbing or chafing.
Whatever you do, don’t buy a sports bra without first moving around in it. In the dressing room, try to mimic the movement you do most often when working out. Run in place, do jumping jacks, drop down and do 10 pushups. Put that sports bra to the test before you make a purchase and you’ll most likely be happy with it at the gym.