The Sports Bra

Sports Bra

When I got my first sports bra, I had a few days where I just gave up and took a nap before I got the darn thing off. I even considered using an Ace bandage instead — and felt lucky I was small enough to get away with that. Happily times have changed immensely. If you take a smaller cup size, there are tons of good options in camisoles with shelf bras and other fairly light-construction garments. It’s just a question of taking some time to figure out which options feel best for your activities.

Today’s heavier sports bras feature more bra-like closures, including some that zip up the front. Shaped cups (“encapsulation”) are also available, and the fabrics have better wicking properties than the old-school cotton-spandex deals. Some even have adjustable straps and bands, and wide, comfortable straps show up regularly for larger cup sizes — a welcome change from having to live with a binding garment just to get some control. Modern sports bras may promise “no jiggling,” but I think we all realize that’s not very reasonable; still, they are offering better — more comfortable — options to minimize jerky movement and keep things down to a dull jostle.

REI offers this guide to choosing a bra for different activities and sizes, and Runner’s World got women together to give bras the classic test. As always, you have to try a lot of bras to find a comfortable one, but for something you’ll move and sweat in, it’s well worth the time.

Image by Vera Bee.

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