In Ask the Trail Sisters

I’m always struggling to find a sports bra that fits well.

Do you have any tips on fit, or what to look for when choosing a sports bra?

Photo Credit: Angela Shartel


Katie: When it comes to a supportive sports bra, most brands have realized the old “smash and squeeze” or “double bagging” methods are antiquated.  This is good, because you might find many supportive, but not all comfortable, and that will depend on your own unique body shape. In general, as a 34D, I find bras that have a racerback and a small hook and eye closure to be the best fitting, as I can customize the band width and reduce chaffing. (Pro tip: If worn under a pack, make sure the extra flap is against your skin, so as not to allow the hooks to dig in.)  I’d encourage you to try on as many as you can to make a choice on what works best for you. Here are a few suggestions to start:  New Balance Power Bra, Brooks Fiona (formerly Moving Comfort), CW-X Xtra Support Running Bra III and the hilariously named, Lululemon Ta Ta Tamer. I’ve also heard that Panache is the brand particularly endowed women (DD+) swear by.

Deserae ClarkeDes: I think sports bras, like running shoes,  can be a very individual preference. I’m small chested and I don’t need a ton of support, but even then, I’ve found some sports bras just don’t cut it.  Under Armour and New Balance both work well for me, offering enough support and with few chafing issues.



lauren-keller-trail-sister-ambassadorLauren: Great sports bras can be tricky to find, but once you land on one you love and that works for you, shopping is much easier. A few important things to remember about sports bras: 1) They should never see a birthday. We really shouldn’t be wearing our bras for more than a year. Sometimes you can get away with it if it was a really really quality bra, but ideally we’re cycling them out after a year. Just like running shoes, sports bras have a mileage life. It’s important to keep our girls nicely supported, and if we’re out on the trails in a loose, falling-apart bra, it will be more painful than it needs to be.  2) Spend some time shopping for a bra that fits your bust size appropriately. This will help prevent hot spots, chafing, and make sure they’re supportive enough for the long run. Some of my favorites include:
-for smaller-chested ladies, I like the Nike Pro Classic bra and Patagonia’s Active Mesh bra.
-for larger-chested ladies, I like Brooks Juno bra or Brooks Maia bra.
Good luck and go treat your girls to a new sports bra!
trail-sister-gina-lucreziGina: The girls deserve the best, so take some time to find the right fit for you. It’s normally not a “try one on and done,” process. I’m generally a B cup, but definitely fluctuate around my period. Thus, I enjoy a bra that is supportive, but yet has a little bit of give when the girls “perk” up. Racerback style seems to be the most supportive style for me. Besides the support factor, I also note the cut of the bra. For example, how high does the fabric rise under my armpit, and where do the material edges lay on upper part of my chest. These are usually chafe prone areas, so be aware of the fit. Finally, I also pay attention to the materials used throughout the bra. I prefer soft and smooth lines, seams and overall fabrics.  Some women favor fabrics that have “ridges” or edging that is meant to prevent sliding/movement. My go-to is the SmartWool Women’s Phd Seamless Racerback Bra. The material is soft, there are no seams, it’s a racerback, and as a bonus, wool doesn’t hold odor.
**Stay tuned for our Sports Bra Round-Up Review coming early May!

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Showing 2 comments
  • Jennifer West

    I’m a 34DD and need to double-up to prevent bouncing. It’s not uncomfortable and is even fine while wearing my Ultimate Direction Ultra Vesta. I wear a compression racerback (Champion, LL Bean, etc.) underneath Brooks’ Moving Comfort Fiona. I used to run in just the Brooks’ Moving Comfort Juno but there was just too much jiggling, so now I use them for lifting and cycling.

  • Mary

    Top Tips for Right Sports Bra

    With each sports bra you try do the bounce test by jumping up and down, swing your arms and move around. If a bra pokes, constricts your breathing, or bulges, it’s not right for you.

    It should fit on the first hook; as it loses elasticity over time, you’ll need room to tighten it.

    Although a sports bra alone should provide enough support, research shows that a crop top over the top can add another 15% more support.

    The most supportive sports bras are usually full in the cup and not pretty, but in the long term they will reduce breast sag. With a sports bra choose support, not the look.

    Don’t buy it if it’s uncomfortable, because the comfort level will remain the same when you get home.

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