You know those strappy sports bras that show up in, like, every other athleisure outfit post on Instagram? Or those color-blocked crop tops that look so perfectly put together when paired with their matching bottoms? They’re great... unless you're well-endowed on top. Sports bras, let alone cute ones, are few and far between for the DD-plus set. Thankfully, a few brands are working to change that. The devil is in the details—more coverage and the intelligent placement of seams in critical areas.
According to Orit Hashay, founder and CEO of online bra emporium Brayola, there are a few things to look for when shopping for a supportive sports bra. First, seek wider straps with cushioning. "That helps prevent shoulder pain and keeps the [bra] on your shoulders, too,” she says. Then, think cups. “Molded cups encapsulate and support the breasts, whereas compression bras effectively squish them down,” Hashay says. Pick the option you prefer.
Finally, keep your activity in mind. "Different bras provide different levels of support," she says, so shop for low, medium, and high impact according to your needs.
Here are 6 tried-and-true options for women who wear DD, E, and beyond.
1. Sweaty Betty Ultra Run Bra, $65
If you’re on the busty side but still want to work out underwire-free, this bra, which goes up to 38F, is for you. “The fabric and seam construction we use on our Ultra Run Bra and Victory Run Bra offer a combination of encapsulation and compression,” says Jessica Adamson, a designer at Sweaty Betty.
This combination is especially important in DD-plus bras, she notes. The inside of the bra contains panels to help support boobs so you can do the hardest HIIT class with minimal upwards/downwards/sideways movement. The SB team forgoes underwire as they’re staunch believers that the firm under band they use and that aforementioned internal paneling actually offers even better support than underwire. The result is a bra that Adamson calls “soft and supportive."
A ringing endorsement of Berlei’s offerings? They’re Serena Williams' bra of choice. Unlike other bras that compress the breast, Berlei structures its bras, which range up to 46E, to offer support without compression, in order to avoid discomfort in sweaty areas. The full-support bra was designed specifically for DD-plus breasts, and is cut to lift and cover. “The breathable mesh at the back enables the body to breathe whilst you move, and the cup sits on a stretch piece of mesh that moves around the wire when you do,” says Elise Recour, head of design at Berlei. As for Williams' endorsement, the tennis pro had already been a loyal fan of the brand for 10 years by the time an official deal was inked, Berlei notes.
With sizes up to 46G, this innovative sports bra was created because many women layer two sports bras to get the support they want. This one allows you to skip that cumbersome step and combines two layers for a precise and comfortable fit. The seamless wire-free inner bra has an adjustable outer panel that can change the support with four different levels of bounce control. Higher-intensity workouts like running require more bounce control, while low-impact activities like yoga do not. This bra can work for both.
4. Wacoal Sport Underwire Bra, $65
This bra may not look like a traditional sports bra, but in fact, it’s been designed to make working out comfortable no matter your size. (It goes up to 42DDD, FYI.) This is partly because the wire is on the outside to eliminate the problem of friction. The unique shape of the wire anchors the bra to the body, says Miryah Fantegrossi, vice president of design at Wacoal. “Our unique wire shape and placement contours your body to firmly anchor the bra to your rib cage," she says. "The full capacity cups hold the full breast and are made from a wicking fabric that holds your bust firmly in place.”
5. Parfait Active Sports Bra, $54
This just-released sports bra offers sizes up to 42FF and has been designed by a brand known for accommodating larger sizes. “After designing DD-plus bras for over a decade, we’ve accumulated unique knowledge as to what truly works for the full-bust woman,” says the brand’s head of design, Anthony Chan. “Now, we’ve been able to apply this expertise and commitment to fit and design in our first sports bra, adjusting for greater impact for use in physical activities." The resulting creation features moisture-wicking foam cups, concealed underwire, and a wide elastic underband for added support.
Freya’s best-selling sports bra (which sizes up to 42G) is a medium-impact option that has lightly molded (not padded) cups with a breathable spacer to prevent boob sweat accumulation. The padded straps add support while mesh panels and Coolmax fabric keep you dry and comfortable.
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