Saturday, July 31, 2010

The most important running equipment a woman can own!

Yep, this is a post about sports bras. Gentlemen, there's really nothing for you here, so you can skip this entry. But you like to read about breasts? You might think so, but we're venturing into territory today that most men fear. Be warned.

To paraphrase my friend M, you can run barefoot on the beach, but not without a sports bra! This was in my response to my acertation that a good sports bra was as important as a good pair of running shoes. And I hear women make the following statements all of the time, that make me cringe:

"I have to wear two sports bras at once."

"I have to wear a regular bra under my sports bra."

"They don't make sports bras in my size."

Au contraire, ladies. There is a sports bra out there that will work for you, no matter how big you may be. Don't give up! But do give up looking in your local retail stores. There's nothing for you there. This is a job for the internet! Yes, I know, you can't try things on when you buy them online, and you might have to pay shipping. But for something as important as a sports bra, it's worth it. My good friend J, a big-busted lady, and I have spent some hours discussing the merits of different types of sports bras, web sites that sell them, etc. Here are some of the ideas that our combined genius has generated.

There are a lot of styles of sports bras out there, intended for a lot of differently sized breasts and different sports activities. A "minimum impact" sports bra might be great for yoga, but don't take it on your next run unless your cups are very close to the beginning of the alphabet. And buying a bra too large in the band and small in the cups (as many women do) will result in a whole lot of discomfort. So where to begin?

First, find out what your bra size is. The best way to do this is go to a specialty lingerie shop and have a proper fitting. You might be shocked that while you thought you were a 38C, you're actually a 34DD. The difference is huge. Make sure you buy a sports bra that will fit your correct bra size! The wrong size sports bra will not do for you what it should!

There are some fantastic websites for buying sports bras. My favorite is Title Nine Sports. (If you can't figure out the reference in their name, Google is your friend.) The wonderful people at Title Nine have a fantastic selection of sports bras, all of which they have reviewed and rated in a 1 through 5 barbell system. They have bras for the biggest- and smallest-breasted of athletes in a variety of styles. They aren't cheap, but aren't your boobs worth it?

Another great place to look is at specialty lingerie stores, like Bare Necessities. They carry bras in a variety of sizes for all activities. Again, you're going to pay, but if you're looking for a good quality sports bra in a tough to find size, this is another great place.

There seem to be two schools of thought when it comes to sports bras. The first group is concerned they their sports bras enhance their busts, and don't give them a mashed-down, or "uniboob" look. The other group doesn't care how flat-chested they look, they just want to eliminate bounce. I fall into the second group. Most of my sports bras flatten me out to almost nothing. And I'm ok with that. I'm running, not competing in the Miss America pagent. I tend to purchase "compression" type sports bras, not the underwire or "encapsulating" styles of bra.

Another thing to condier is underwear as outerwear. When it's hot out, it's nice to run in just shorts and a sports bra - but I won't do that with those that look like underwear. Please, do yourself a favor and only wear your sports bra as outerwear if you have a cute sports bra. The bra tops that you see everywhere are great - if you have tiny boobs. If you're a C or better, move on for high impact activities like running.

Where do you buy sports bras? Any recommendations for your favorites? Please post them below!


  1. I just tried an Under Armor bra, and frankly, its the first time I didn't have to wear two bras. So while the price tag is a bit crazy, I can definitely vouch for their ability to eliminate bounce even for larger boobs.

  2. I wear a Champion High Impact bra. My boobs are enormous from the baby and a bra is really important to keep them from hurting or ending up at my ankles.