Here’s How 1 (Clueless) Editor Found the Perfect, Most-Comfortable Sports Bra
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The quest to finding the most comfortable, most flattering sports bra for your body — similar to hunting down the best-fitting pair of jeans or the perfect shade of red lipstick — is no walk in the park (or in this case, jog in the gym). That's why one (not fitness) editor set out to try as many as possible and work out (get it) exactly how to find a sports bra or two that supports you through every single workout.
I like to think I've always been somewhat fit. As a dancer, I had nifty leotards with built-in bras that worked fine for my size, so I never really had to consider the extra bra in my kit. When I gave up dancing and got into yoga, I similarly didn't need much support when it came to a bra. I'd essentially grab any cheap, cute looking bra I could get my hands on. I'm also not someone who spends a ton on gym gear for it to sit in my wardrobe (there are far too many eye-shadow palettes to buy instead). But when I started doing high-intensity circuit and boxing classes, it was safe to say I was no longer supported enough. When I set out to buy some new sports gear, I was finding myself in fitness stores surrounded by bras that cost a lot of money with no clue what I required or what to look for. I knew I needed further investigation before investing in any new workout gear.
The simple fact is, boobs need to be very supported, especially for high-intensity workouts or running. According to the NHS, boobs can move anywhere from 4cm to 15cm when exercising, if not supported correctly. Emphasising the importance of finding the correct sports kit, a 2015 study by the University of Portsmouth found that 17 percent of women were put off exercising due to not being able to find the correct sports bra and embarrassment of "excessive breast movement".
When finding a sports bra, the first thing to consider is what you need it for? If you do Pilates, you might want something made for lower impact sports and might not require underwiring or clasps. For higher intensity workouts such as circuits, you will probably need a bra that is moulded or has a little padding and thick adjustable straps. For runners, shock-absorbing bras are best. Designed to reduce movement, these will keep you totally strapped and supported and ideally have hook-and-eye fastenings. With all of this to consider, it's important to wear the correct bra for the correct exercise. Of course this doesn't mean you need a new bra for each exercise, but having a few to choose from will ensure confidence and hopefully eliminate pain and discomfort while working out.
My cup size is a 32DD, meaning I needed a fair amount of support but not as much as people with larger breasts might need. I have a routine of four workouts a week (on a good week!) including boxing, circuits, and yoga. With this new knowledge in tow, I began a hunt of the best bras for my size. Read on to see which bras (including all of my awkward mirror selfies) I'll buy in every colour (so I never have to live without them) and which others make great options if you're a runner, or if your bra size is smaller or larger than mine.