Sports bra fit is something that few women really think about. Most women understand the importance of matching your sports bra’s support level with the activity you’re doing, but few women think about whether it’s comfortable, how it fits and how it works. Understanding your sports bra can help you find the perfect sports bra for your bust size and body type. Activity does play a role in what sports bra you should use, but other important factors include bust size, bra type and even bra fabric. What should you know about sports bras to get the best-fitted sports bra for you?
Compression-Style Sports Bra
The Two Types of Sports Bras
Sports bras come in two main types: compression and encapsulation. Compression sports bras are just like they sound; the work by holding the bust down against the chest. Compression sports bras “squish” your bust to hold it in place. When you go into a department store that has flat-looking sports bras in small, medium and large – those are typically compression sports bras. Bras like the Leading Lady Cotton and Spandex Seamless Softcup Bra, or the Champion Action Tech Sports Bra, are compression bras.
Encapsulation-Style Sports Bra
Encapsulation sports bras, on the other hand, have separate cups for the breasts and are typically sized by band and cup size, like a normal bra. Encapsulation sports bras work under the principal that it’s easier to control two small masses than one large mass, and their bounce control and support is designed for each individual breast. Encapsulation sports bras include things like the Elomi Energise Underwire Sports Bra, and the Glamorise the Ultimate Full Figure Sports Bra.
Generally speaking, compression sports bras are fine for smaller bust sizes, such as A, B, C and even sometimes D, but encapsulation sports bras are better at controlling larger bust sizes beyond a D cup. However, this is only a generalization; some compression-style bras have great support features built into the bra design and work well for larger busts too.
Tips for Trying on a New Sports Bra
When you try on a new sports bra for the first time, you’re going to want to try a few motions to see how the sports bra holds up. First, try jumping up and down. See how much bounce control the bra provides. If your bust bounces around a lot, you may need a smaller size, or you may need a different sports bra.
Second, try stretching like you would in an aerobics class. Stretch your left arm out ahead of you to your right. Do the same with your right arm. Twist from the waist to each side. Bend forward at the waist and touch your toes. See if the bra offers the range of motion you want. Make sure it’s not constraining, and holds your bust comfortably in place. If your bust moves too much, or the bra can’t support you, you might want to try a different size or a different style altogether.
Finally, check for comfort. Because of their nature, sports bras should fit tighter than other bras. You may need to order a size down in a band size on a sports bra to get the right fit, and adjust the cup size accordingly. But a well-fitted sports bra shouldn’t chafe, dig into the skin or cause discomfort. If it does, try a different model.