Being big-chested comes with benefits, and certain challenges. Chief among them? Shopping for sports bras. My own breasts aren’t even that big—I’m a 34D—but I’ve definitely been shocked when I’m out jogging, catch sight of my reflection, and see the girls bouncing up and down with every step. (Also…ouch.) Then there’s the opposite problem: overly restrictive bras that create the dreaded pancake boob.
So I road tested high-impact bras from every brand I could get my hands on to find the best options for running, boxing, spinning, and everything in between. Here are my findings: I hope it takes some of guesswork (and discomfort) out of the whole sports-bra search for my fellow busty ladies. —Brittany Burke
“Pro Fierce” makes this bra sound hardcore, but it actually offered medium support—making it better suited for a Pilates class than a run. That said, it had the understated, simple design elements I’ve come to expect from Nike bras (I’ve definitely got a few), and it was wicking, light, and comfy.
This bra reminded me of the Champion sports bras I wore to death in high school—simple, soft, and effective. It has molded cups for shape (woo!), and a solid amount of support, without any underwires. It’s a good middle-of-the-road option.
This new Under Armour bra was more like a harness than an undergarment, but in a good way. The super tight band and some hidden underwire made it very supportive—great for high-intensity sports. But it was still kinda sexy, with a dip in the front that showed off a bit of my cleavage, cups that defined my boobs (I definitely looked like a full D in it), and a chic mesh racerback.
When I started my research, a friend with triple Ds admitted she hadn’t been too impressed with this famous model, now in its third iteration. So I was wary when I strapped it on for a run, and a bit perplexed by how the design could possibly be supportive (it looks like a normal bra—clasp and all). But I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable it was, and how secure I felt. The only downside for me? The straps showed in pretty much every workout top I own.
Moving Comfort has street cred as the OG of high-impact sports bras, and the Rebound Racer, which I spied at Athleta, did not disappoint. It’s seriously supportive without any wires, and got me through long runs, spinning, and boxing classes. It does come up quite a bit higher than most bras (so much so that it can feel tight in the armpit area), and when I was slick with sweat, it took a full two minutes to wrestle off. Build in a little extra time, or use the adjustable velcro straps for easier access.
I fell hard for the chic design of this one—the mesh, the cool pattern, and the single racerback stripe all made it so unique and pretty. But I found that it was less supportive than I’d hoped (my girls were bouncing like they were in Daytona Beach on spring break), so it’s definitely better suited for a yoga class than a run.
I tried this bra on a morning run in Las Vegas in July, and it kept me cool and dry even as the sun beat down on the strip and the temps pushed 90 degrees. I found the unique cross-straps to be supportive, but needed an extra set of hands to help me get strapped in, which means it wouldn’t be ideal for days when you’re rushing from work to make that 6:00 a.m. workout.
Someone with much bigger boobs than mine recommended this one to me, calling it “surprisingly supportive” for a bra with a deep scoop and thin straps—elements that up the chic factor, but disqualify it for super high-impact workouts. I wore it to a barre class, and while I did experience a bit of bounce, it was comfortable and, indeed, surprisingly supportive.
Lingerie companies know a thing or two about making bras, and this model from Le Mystere gave the kind of support I expect from my everyday underwire (and comes in traditional sizes, which makes it easy to find a good fit). It’s cut pretty high, has a nice, simple look, and kept everything in place. If I ever wanted to work out in just a sports bra, this would be it.