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Are You Wearing the Right Sports Bra?

A Guide for Women of All Shapes and Sizes


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  • Interesting - now I am confused again. Was reading the SparkPeople article 12 Sports Bras for All Shapes & Sizes Available on Amazon and when I clicked on the link to one of the bras there was a link for measuring yourself for a bra and their information is completely different on how to properly measure yourself for a bra
  • Thanks So Very Much for this wonderful and extremely informative article. I greatly appreciate it. Finally a way to measure and figure out what size to start looking for. I remember when I got my first "training bra" a woman came and measured me and then brought in the size of bra that would fit and we went from there. That was so many years ago and by the time I was out of "training bras" nobody did that anymore. Going to print out this article and keep it for future reference too!
  • Adore my running bra. I'm a DD cup. I currently am using a Moving Comfot Maia as my bra of choice. I actually bought it at my running shoe store as I could actually try it on.

    I don't like buying clothes that have to fit right online even if online is cheaper usually. My time isn't free and shipping it back is usually not free either. The nice part is that I can go to a store where there are people who can actually help me, too. That's priceless. The running store also put up signs for how to tell if the bra fits well.

    Yes, these are a pricy item yet they will last longer than an every day bra since it's worn for shorter lengths of time. Keeping the girls comfortable matters to me.

    Great article.
  • I really enjoyed this article. However I do not completely agree with the instructions for measuring for bra band size. Only use these tips if you are set on buying an American made sports bra. There are many companies internationally that make bras (including sports bras) that are made to fit women with small rib cages and large breasts - no need to add inches after rounding to an even number. An excellent source on helping you find a bra that fits is an ebook by Liz Kuba titled "How to Find a Bra That Fits". A website that I find very helpful is My band size is 30 inches (nothing added), but my bust size measures around 39 inches (it can go up or down slightly depending on time of month, weight gain, etc.). My bra size is a 30G in the bra style that I wear but may be smaller or larger depending on the brand or style of the bra. Personally (for exercising), I wear an Enell sports bra ( which happens to be an American company. However, they have a unique sizing system that differs from the typical number followed by a letter or letters. I own 3 Enell sports bras so that I can rotate bras between workouts to increase the lifespan of the bra. I am able to run, walk, as well as dance ballet in my bras with the right amount of support and compression without discomfort. Just a note, I am not associated personally or financially with any of the 3 resources that I referenced. They are simply ones that I use. Thanks for reading.
  • As a member of the IBT club, I too find it difficult at times to find a decent sports bra. Depending on the maker, I am either a small or medium. I have found the best fitted bras from Old Navy but again have had a hit or miss because sometimes I need a small but on a few occasions have had to go down to an extra small. What I take away from this is that this is no different than buying clothing and none of us are a one size fit all type. Thank you for this article.
  • HEIDIE1981
    So I'm a 28K and can't find a decent sports bra. I've found they do exist, however the small choices available just aren't any good. I would love to go for a run to get fit, but unless I opt for an expensive surgery, it's just not happening.
  • Champion is the only brand I have found with a "sports" bra that works for actually playing sports (I play softball). Not many options/colors, but provides the necessary support for 44D/DD size, separation, padded straps and back closure.
  • I just wanted to add that you should never use fabric softener on sports bras, or really any sports clothing. Fabric softener can ruin the sweat-wicking properties.
    I live in Florida, so sweating is a constant issue with any bra. My doctor recommended i try a sports bra to decrease the under breast moistness and itching, That is why I read this article. I'm sure this is good information for people like the writer, who is a runner and probably not overweight and is in good physical shape. Spark People is for overweight folks - so we need something written by someone like ourselves who understands our issues and what we are going through now on our road to better physical fitness. I can't afford these luxury bras that are 70 and more dollars. I don't even pay full price for my regular everyday bras, but wait until they are on sale. Apparently in the America of today comfortable bras are only for the rich.
  • Not a fan of sports bras, yet I sure appreciate the need to wear one when working out. The "girls" need the support...and I have finally come to understand the work a sports bra does during high impact! Fit is key, I am a fan of Old Navy's high impact line...I purchased one a few months ago. It has quickly become my favorite!
  • My sports bra is a 34F. Why does the article refer to DD as if that is the largest size. What type of bra should large booked women get? Why should small, bosomed women be the only ones who need that information?
  • I'm with MRSFERGU, I can't stand all bras in general... Yet, I usually wear them when I go out. As one person told me in an extremely AC office, she stated that my ASSETS were showing through my shirt (blush)
    Sorry..I just don't like sports bra's.
  • I've measured by this method as well as others and every department store has their own way. Once they get the size "they" think I fit, and pull out different brands with those size numbers, what they claim is the right size, the bras do not fit and are uncomfortable. Farther more I've discovered that I will have GERD as soon as I have on a bra, even if I haven't eaten. I take the bra off, no GERD, can eat a huge meal, and still no GERD or similar heart burn effects.

    So my best bet these past few years is to either wear like a snug ribknit tank top under my blouses or a cami top in like a 2x or 3x (again, depends on brand - some brands I have to size up, some I have to size down. ).

    I've looked at the website for Decent Exposures where they will make them for you and adjust whatever you want. I have also figured out that my trunk must be a "petite" in terms of the distance from the front of the breast over my shoulder to the back band. Every bra I've purchased the straps are always too long. The adjustable ones always slide out from their buckle. And I don't want to stop and sew up all my straps. So I have no incentive to buy a bra just to go back and stitch it to fit. I might as well be making my own from scratch. I had the same probably with strap proportions years ago when I lost 30 pounds and had to get smaller bras around the band - straps were too long. So that's my guess is that my boobs are closer to my armpits then most women my height? (My hip to waist ratio in pants is also different for the "Misses" sizing and is more in line with Junior Misses sizing - but junior misses plus usually stops at size 17 or 19, and I'd probably need a 23 or 25.)....

    I guess we all have different sizes!!

    I've also been told by bridal shops that women's breasts tend to enlarge once they go on the Pill and never go back. I never went on the pill, partly for that reason and partly for other reasons. So that might be a factor in some who need a smaller band but much larger cup sizes? Just a thought.

    So for now, I'm generally braless and wearing a tanktop underneath, or I am wearing camisole with the built in bra. One of these day
  • I'd say to all those ladies who are finding the sizing hard/doesn't work out right, even if you go to a store & get measured, I had a revalation some years ago that has completely changed my understanding of bra fit & sizing.

    I *thought* I was a 36D, till I realised I needed a DD. Went to that, it was 'ok' but not great. Then the boobs expanded again, and I needed an E. And the back was riding up at the back, and the support wasn't great. I assumed it was because, well, an E is huge, right?


    My back size was too big.

    But I can't get a 34E done up, I wailed (I tried).

    Well. I abandoned all ideas of what size I thought I was. I went and got several band sizes up AND down from what I had been wearing. Yep, I got 34, 32, 30's. And I got different cup sizes up and down too (mostly up, since I was tending to spill out of the bra I'd been wearing).

    Ladies, I discovered that if you get the cup size bigger than you think you need, the bands appear looser around your torso. And this means you size down in the band size.

    I am now wearing the right bra size for me (I've a small ribcage but plenty of padding right now) - it is a 32H.

    Yes, you hear that right, A 32 H.

    The band is snug, it doesn't ride up. The H cup contains the boobs perfectly, no overspill, no loose wrinkled fabric.

    I can wear a 34 GG, but the band rides up. I can wear a 36 G or F, but the band rides up loads.

    As soon as that band starts riding up, it's a sign the band is too big for you. ALWAYS go up a cup size - at least one - if you are dropping a band size down.

    Fit the band first and err on the side of cups being too big, THEN size the cups down till you fit perfectly.

    Chances are, you'll be in a smaller band and a much larger cup size than you expect, and while it will likely feel weird after wearing a too large band size with too small cup size for so long, it is amazing once you've tried it for a couple of days. Support is so much better. The girls point forwards, and they're not squashed flat, or trying to escape around any of the edges.

    And a word to the wise - I've been measured in shops a few times, and they have ALL got it wrong. They ALL over-estimate the back size, and ALL under estimate the true cup size.

    There's a lot of videos and blog posts out there now that cover bra fitting and illustrate the good/bad fits with 'if this happens then this is the cause' which are just brilliant to help understand how all this works.

    Don't give up - it took me almost two decades before I realised how ALL these stupid 'measure under bust and then over fullest bust subtract one from other' sizing charts to find your size are actually completely useless if you're anything over a D cup or carrying more than a few mm of padding around the torso.

    Good luck!

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