By Rachel Rumsey
Attention, my well-endowed friends. In honor of soccer’s World Cup, and all that running back and forth, I’d like to help you in your quest to find a sports bra. If you’re like most curvy girls, you probably struggle to balance your desire for a good work out with your wish to avoid injuring your boobs in the process. All too often, the scales of decision tip in favor of boob protection, limiting our workouts and frustrating our weight goals. And, of course, the larger you are, the weightier these competing concerns become. Stories of gals cradling their boobs while running are unfortunately all too common. Go ahead, admit it. You’ve done that before, even if only while running around your house.
Not to worry. A great variety of sports bras exists today that will allow you to pursue your workout goals while enjoying proper supportive comfort. Here are some simple guidelines for finding sports bras that combine the fit, function, and comfort that will work for you.
- Wearing a “cute” shelf sports bra in the interests of fashion, and hurting yourself (and possibly others) in the process, will ultimately make you unhappy. Don’t sacrifice function for style. Remember, you can don a supportive sports bra and wear a cute top over it. That being said, many supportive sports bras are not unattractive. Don’t assume otherwise. Just keep in mind that looks should be the icing on the cake, not the goal.
- Make sure to look for comfortable, adjustable straps.
- Only look for styles that come in standard band and cup sizes. Those made as smalls, mediums, and larges just won’t cut it.
- Pay close attention to fit.
- The band should be snug and lie straight across your back. It should also lie flatly under your bust.
- The cups shouldn’t pucker. Puckering means your cups are too big.
- Make sure your cups don’t runneth over. If you’re spilling out over the edges, the cups are too small.
- The straps shouldn’t dig into, or slide off of, your shoulders.
- When you try on a sports bra, make sure to perform your own bounce test. Don’t be afraid to jog in place or do some jumping jacks. See how your bosom feels. And, if you raise your arms and the band shifts upward, you’ll know the band’s too big. Try moving down one size.
- Sports bras are made to accommodate varying amounts of impact, based on the activities with which they’re to be worn.
- Low Impact – these styles are great for walking or doing yoga.
- Medium impact – these styles are needed if your routine includes activities like skiing, hiking, or power walking.
- High impact – make sure to wear these styles if you run, participate in step aerobics classes, or like to use elliptical machines (these styles really hold you in place).
- When in doubt, always choose the higher level of impact for greater comfort and breast protection. No one needs or wants saggy boobs!
- “Encapsulation” means that a sports bra’s individual cups hold each boob separately. This really helps limit up-and-down movement.
- “Compression” helps prevent side-to-side movement. Basic shelf sports bras employ compression without encapsulation.
- “Wicking” draws moisture away from the skin. This keeps the body cooler and more comfortable over the course of a workout.
- “Breathability” of fabric ensures that you won’t feel like you’re working out in a plastic bag.
- “Cushioned Hook-and-Eyes” are a must if your exercise routine includes lying on the ground. No one wants to be poked in the back.
- Online, you’ll be able to read reviews, and compare features, of different brands and styles.
- And remember, if you’re going to spend the money anyway, it’s better to buy one good sports bra instead of several bad ones that you won’t like in the end.
1. Look for Function First
2. View Your Sports Bra Like a Bra
3. Pay Close Attention to the Impact Level
4. Look for Science-y Terms and Features
Many gals find that sports bras employing both encapsulation and compression work well for them. But anyone who wears a C cup or larger shouldn’t rely solely on compression. It simply won’t allow the bra to do the job expected of it.
5. Scan the Wonderful World Wide Web
I hope this discussion has helped demystify the field of sports bras, and gives you hope that there’s indeed a future in which no woman needs to hold her boobs while jogging – unless, of course, she likes to do so.