Let’s face it: As women, we have an awful lot of weight on our shoulders. One thing we shouldn’t have to feel like we’re carrying? Our boobs. The truth, however, is that back pain—whether caused by the dreaded desk slouch or the, ahem, gift of a larger chest—is a common foe for many. But it can be vanquished! With an assist from the proper undergarments, that is.
Since finding a bra that works for you (sounds like a campaign slogan, no?) can be oh so complicated, I enlisted Ra’el Cohen, chief creative officer of intimate apparel company ThirdLove, and Michelle Lam, co-founder of True&Co., to share what to look for in bras in order to quash back pain.
Cohen points to bras with snug bands and lightweight, supportive cups, which help take the burden of carrying the weight of your girls off of the shoulder straps (major ouch). “When your breasts aren’t supported, it can cause you to hunch or lean forward,” Cohen says. “This inevitably causes back pain.”
Although most of the lift should come from under the bust, the straps do still have a bit of work to do. “Thicker straps are your best friend,” Lam says. Otherwise, they can dig into your shoulders and make you curve your back a bit to cope. Of course, the cardinal rule—when it comes to any bra struggles, really—is to make sure you’ve got the right fit.
Have your checklist ready? Great. Scroll down to see 8 bras to help you say buh-bye to back pain.
1. Knix Racerback Evolution Bra, $55
This racerback design delivers back support, and can prevent slipping in a way that a bra with a single band doesn’t always manage. Ideal for both in and out of the gym, opt for this wide-strapped variety to be gentle on your shoulders and put mid-back discomfort to bed.
Call it basic or classic, but this simple design offers the right balance of stretch and support thanks to a gentle underwire that lifts breasts up.
Cohen recommends this bra (it comes in 78 sizes! Shook.) for its comfy as heck memory foam cups. You’ll get reprieve from pressure because of its double layered accordion straps that don’t dig in or fall off your shoulders. Plus, its soft micro jersey fabric won’t show, no matter what you wear on top.
4. Soma Enbliss Wireless Bra, $48
A supportive bra doesn’t always mean one with an underwire. If underwires are your kryptonite, this option has a tight wireless band that keeps boobs up from the bottom, and has lightweight contour cups that are ultra comfy. New partner in crime, anyone?
This cotton number combines a few of our key features: a racerback design, thick straps, a solid band, and an underwire to offer relief to your back and shoulders. It also has a front close, which will help take a load off.
If you want a little extra lift without an added ache, take note. This bra’s high back offers support, and its luxuriously smooth material keeps its stretch—another one of Lam’s must-haves. She notes this bra has a snug band to prop up breasts from underneath, so the weight isn’t all on your shoulders. I’m also drooling over the emerald blue color.
Let’s get that posture under control. This bra is a more utility than stunner, but it’ll give you the lift you long for and help relieve some tension in your back. It has a thick band to carry the gals, and wide straps that rest comfortably on your shoulders.
8. Liberté Bowery Mesh Plunge Bra, $110
Liberté bras run in sizes 32C to 38H, and are made to support your breasts while maintaining all-day comfort and lacy elegance. Oh, and you’ll breathe easy in this one.
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