If you’ve been following my blog for a long time, thank you! All of my longtime subscribers know that I used to write sports bra reviews all the time. It’s been a long time since the last time I published one of these reviews, but I have been wanting to reboot my sports bra review series for a while – and for a number of reasons.
Why Am I Reviewing Sports Bras Again?
Now, it’s time to refresh my sports bra wardrobe – you can’t stay in the same sports bras forever! – so I thought, what better way to do that than to try out a bunch of different brands and styles and share them with all of you? I’m sure there are some of you (maybe many?) out there who are also struggling to find the right sports bra. I’m here to help!
Because I practically live in sports bras these days, I get a lot of questions about which brands and styles I like, as well as complaints about sports bra brands and styles. Some common issues about sports bras that I’ve recently heard from family, friends, and students in my fitness classes:
- I have to wear two sports bras to work out.
- They only make ugly sports bras in my size.
- I always feel like I’m going to fall out of my sports bra.
- I don’t know which brands are best.
- My sports bra hurts when I wear it.
- I don’t even know what to look for in a sports bra.
- I keep flashing people at the gym. (Okay, that one was me!)
I’m really excited to answer these questions and concerns about the products I’m reviewing because I want to be able to help my fellow sports-bra-wearing readers out, and I also want to shine a spotlight on this challenge, since it seems that many brands aren’t being held accountable! What some companies say about what their sports bras do, how they feel, etc. are often at odds with reality.
- 25 Of the Best Sports Bras for Running (Runner’s World)
- What is a High Impact Sports Bra? (Fleet Feet)
- How to Choose the Right Sports Bra (Dick’s Sporting Goods)
As I review these sports bras, I’ll be using a rating system based on five major criteria:
- Cut and Style
- Sweat Factor
The score will be based on these factors, with the maximum score being a 5/5. I thought about coming up with some sort of catchy thing to use as my rating system but decided that might be a tad ridiculous, hence the standard numerical scoring.
As with everything else, there’s a lot of vanity sizing, as well as whatever the opposite of vanity size is.
Sizing is critical when it comes to getting the right sports bra. If you don’t know your bra size, or you haven’t been measured in a while, here’s how you do it.
To be completely transparent, my band size is 34”, and my cup size is about 39.5”, which puts me at a 34DD/E in number sizing. As far as letter sizing, I typically wear a medium.
One frustration I’ve had is that knowing my actual size does not mean that I end up with the right size across all of the brands. For example, I have some medium sports bras, but also some large sports bras that fit snugly. I have a couple of 36DD bras but also 34D sports bras that fit. This is something to keep in mind as you purchase your sports bras. If the item is not a final sale item, make sure you keep those tags on and try them on first! It’s the wild west out there!
If I’m out for a run, playing volleyball or another team sport, or participating in another high-impact activity, it’s so important that I do not have a lot of bounce. Over time, it becomes very painful, and it also potentially leads to some major wardrobe malfunctions. Do I think that my chest won’t move a millimeter during a workout? Absolutely not. However, that doesn’t mean that a good sports bra cannot significantly reduce the amount of bounce one might experience over the course of a workout.
The reason coverage is an important factor for my sports bra reviews is because you don’t want a nipple – or anything else popping out in the middle of your workout – that should be the last thing you’re worried about when you’re working out!
Cut and Style
Some sports bras make you look and feel like you’re going into some sort of battle, particularly those that are over-designed or super structured. Some of these sports bras make it feel like you’re wearing a weighted vest because of how heavy and stiff they are!
I’m going to be rating these sports bras on how they look, the cut, the style and color options, and more.
The Sweat Factor
Is my sports bra holding sweat if I am running a half marathon, an obstacle course race, an overnight relay, playing in a volleyball tournament? Is it going to be soaked when I’m done? Is it going to be soaked before I’m done? Am I going to have to deal with a lot of chafing because of my sports bra? Is the material breathable?
The Sweat Factor really plays into how comfortable the sports bra is, and whether it’s going to remain comfortable over a long period of time if you’re not able to change for a few hours during an activity.
Is This Just “#SponCon”?
Currently, none of my sports bra review content is sponsored! I went out and bought all of these sports bras myself. Yes, it’s expensive to buy sports bras, and I would love it if someone just sent me every single high-impact bra on the market, but I think it’s worth the investment… for science! And, of course, for all of you!
My Not-So-Super-Scientific Test Method
I have a few tests I like to run before I even leave the store or before I take the tags off and make sure that everything fits right and works.
- Jumping Jacks – Jumping is a great way to test out the bounce factor, and it’s also easy to do in a fitting room (if you’re buying sports bras in person).
- Burpees – If I come down into a plank, jump back into a squat, and jump into the air, is my sports bra staying in place?
- Downward Facing Dog – If I’m upside down with my arms overhead, am I spilling out?
- My Regular Activities – I’m going to test out each sports bra with at least two activities, which could be a run, a volleyball game, a HIIT workout, and/or any other high-impact activity. It’s important to me that I test each sports bra out with at least two different activities so that I can see how versatile they are.
Final Thoughts and Your Feedback
I’m really excited about going on this journey with all of you! If you want me to test out a certain sports bra or have any questions, please send me an email, leave a comment below, or send me a message on social media (Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter are best).