Finding a decent sports bra when you’ve got a large bust can be difficult – if not near impossible! For those of us who have big boobs, exercising can be really uncomfortable, and I’m starting to realise how much of a deterrent this can be for some activities, especially anything high impact, upside down or ‘bouncy’.
For most of my adult life, I’ve worn a 14C or a medium/large in sports bras which was easily manageable. Then I had baby #1, my boobs inflated to a G, and post breastfeeding deflated back to a C. So fairly understandably I thought the same would happen with baby #2. WRONG.
They did inflate to a G again, but this time they haven’t reduced in size at all. Now that my youngest has turned two, I’m still hopeful my boobs will calm down (probably not at this stage!), but am starting to acknowledge it’s time to invest in some decent sports bras that are the right size and will provide me with enough support – especially given fitness and exercise is my job so I wear them pretty much all the time!
I caught up with Alisa Higgins from sportsbra.co.nz to teach me about my new body’s requirements when it comes to sports bras and what to look for in a good bra for a bigger bust.
- What features are important to look for in a full bust sports bra?
- What should the fit of a sports bra feel like for a full bust?
- Some large-breasted women wear two sports bras to try and get enough support, is this advisable?
- What brands and ranges in sports bras do you recommend for larger busts?
- How often should you buy a new sports bra?
What features are important to look for in a full bust sports bra?
When first purchasing a sports bra, look for bras with high-support elements such as moulded cups, wide bands, padded straps and multiple hooks. Your sports bra should be comfortable and supportive – just because you have a larger bust doesn’t mean you should suffer! So look for the following:
Underwire is most women’s go to but styles like Enell, include a wide band that provides a secure fit but also moves with your body. The band is so important when choosing a sports bra as it provides around 80% of the support! Many women think it’s the straps that perform this task, which is why we end up with indents. Here’s a tip – in all new bras, you should fasten the bra on the loosest hook so, as it ages and becomes looser, you can tighten the fit.
The bigger the cup, the more hooks (at least, on a good quality sports bra). It makes sense the bigger the size, the wider the band, which also means more hook and eyes.
If you opt for an underwire style, it should sit on your ribs so it doesn’t dig into your breasts or the tissue under your armpits.
THE FRONT BAND
The centre of the bra should sit on your breastbone, squarely between your breasts.
THE SHOULDER STRAPS
Should be wide and padded – this provides better weight distribution and support so the straps will be less likely to dig into your shoulders.
To limit movement, the cups must completely cover your breasts (without leaving any creases or gaps), and if you want a high impact bra then it’s a BIG no to pull-over-the-head crop styles!
What should the fit of a sports bra feel like for a full bust?
For low impact bras used for activities such as walking, yoga and cycling, look for a style that has a softer fabric versus a sports style as you’ll probably be wearing it for a longer period of time. The band should be snug around your rib cage, but not too tight. If you can fit two fingers between your body and the band (but not more) that’s the sign of a good fit.
For high impact activities, no sports bra will eliminate bounce 100%, however, a well-fitted one will get close. A high impact sports bra might feel a bit tight when you first try one on but remember, it needs to be to provide the support you need as they are not made to be worn all day like an everyday or low impact bra. Some sports bras, like the Enell, even come with video fitting instructions!
Some large-breasted women wear two sports bras to try and get enough support, is this advisable?
Definitely not! If you’re having to wear two sports bras then you’re either in the wrong style or wrong size, and I find it’s normally the latter so make sure you measure yourself every time you buy a bra and check it against the fitting tips.
Wearing two isn’t going to damage your boobs, but it can be uncomfortable and instead of wearing out one bra at a time, you’re going through them quicker which isn’t cheap.
If you have a bra that is comfortable but starting to lose support, rather than wearing an additional sports bra you can try a compression band like the PINKCLOVER Breastband (band Sizes 8 – 28, cups A – K, RRP $49.95), a fabric band that fits over the top of your existing bra, adding compression across the top of the breasts which reduces bounce and strain.
What brands and ranges in sports bras do you recommend for larger busts?
There are specific well-tested sports bras for women with more up top and it’s a good idea to ask the retailer if none of them work for you. Some of our best-selling high impact sports bras at sportsbra.co.nz include:
- Enell SPORT High Impact Sports Bra (sizes 00-8 plus custom sizes, RRP $104.95)
- Berlei Shift Underwire Sports Bra (sizes 10D-18E, RRP $69.95)
- Berlei Pro Elite Crop Sports Bra (band sizes 10-20, cups: DD-G, RRP $89.95)
- Freya Active Sonic Underwired Sports Bra (band sizes 8-18, cups: D-H, RRP $89.95)
How often should you buy a new sports bra?
Sports bras should be replaced about every six to 12 months, depending on how much you use and wash them.
Signs that your bra needs retiring include the band riding up at the back, you find the bra difficult to put on or take off, the shoulder straps dig into your skin, your breasts hurt after exercising, your breasts are spilling out the top of the cups, the bra is made out of cotton (rather than technical fabrics), or you generally feel unsupported when wearing it.
Thanks to Alisa Higgins from Sportsbra.co.nz for answering my questions! Check out her online store for a wide range of sports bras to suit women of all shapes and sizes.