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How to Choose the Right Sports Bra

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Dear Fun and Fit: How do I go about finding the right sports bra for me and my activities?  Lynn, Santa Barbara CA

Disclosure: We received compensation for this post, which worked out well as we can then refer you to a good sports bra site. The reader question is real and legit; the advice we offer is also legit and fit and full of wit.

Betty and Veronica

The girls want to work out while staying in.

Alexandra: Poor ol’ Betty and Veronica, sagging and dragging from so much work. Somebody please stop me from singing that awful junior high song.

Kymberly: In short, (or is that “in sport?”) you have two bra types to choose from:

1. Compression

The compression choice is best for A and B cup sizes and pretty much built on the concept of holding those babies in by smooshing them cuz’ there is not that much to spill out or squash down. You will know a compression bra by the fact that you usually put it on by pulling it overhead.

2. Encapsulation

The encapsulation sports bra type is more appropriate for C cups and bigger. You will recognize these bras by their hooks and adjustable straps. The goal here is to hold your breasts up and in, not just in as is the case with compression bras.

Alexandra: I was just part of a tweetchat last night that discussed this very issue. The participants were split 50/50 on whether we preferred wire or wireless. I don’t know your activities, but the 3 F’s should be considered: Function, Fashion, Feel. Look at the three choices and give them a ranking in order of preference. For example, I am fairly average in the chest, so I like Feel and Fashion. I don’t worry as much about Function.

Enell sports bra

This Enell sports bra is an example of the encapsulating style

I’m going to mention the HerRoom site, which has loads of sports bras. Plus, if you scroll down the page, you’ll see a link to a video about a Sports Bra Bounce Test,  as well as detailed info about the various features of the leading sports bra brands.

Retro bra

Cross my heart and hope to exercise!

Kymberly: Once you determine which bra type is right for you, then narrow down your choice further using these three criteria:

  1. Comfort – Part of my midlife mantra is that I am more interested in being comfortable when choosing my workout gear rather than caring about the color, lacy factor, or designer label. Price factors into my choice as well, which I will put in the comfort category as I am super comfy with a great price!
  2. Bounce factor – ‘Nuff said there. Nothing says “the sport for this sports bra is poker or golf” like too little support and too much bouncing as if doing a Tigger impression “Bouncy Flouncy Fun Fun Fun.” Without the fun.
  3. Look/ Style – Again, I am not so caught up in how the bra looks in and of itself. More significant to me is how I look in the completed exercise ensemble. Does the bra support my outfit in a slimming, youthening, life enhancing way? Oh wait, that’s the wonderyears bra, not a sports bra. And for the record, I am in that generation that believes a bra is underwear and should be under the other clothes, out of sight, doing its job quietly and effectively. Just like my sister. Mwah ha ha hahhh

Alexandra: You are saying I should be under your clothes? That’s creepy.

Kymberly: Anyway, take a peek at this titillating post we wrote awhile back: What NOT to wear to your work out.

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Photo credits: vintage bra: x-ray delta one

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