5 Tips For Shopping For the Right Sports Bra

Confession: If you look through my closet, I would say a good 90 to 95 percent of the clothing in it consists of workout tights, leggings, tops, and sports bras. Shopping for workout clothes is one of my biggest vices. I can confidently walk into a store and buy them without having to try them on. However, I make an exception when it comes to buying sports bras.

Sports bras, much like regular bras, should be carefully selected because after all, you want your girls to be snug and secure during your workout session. I quickly learned my lesson (the hard way) after almost falling out of my shirt in aerial yoga class, all because I wore the wrong sports bra.

Nancy Flanagan, a Fit Expert at Fleet Feet Sports Sarasota, shared some tips that shoppers should keep in mind when searching for the perfect sports bra.“Selecting a sports bra should be done with the specific activity or activities that it will be used for in mind,” she says. Different activities call for different support and the right bra will make your experience better as well as protect your breasts.

 If you’re in the market to purchase some new sports bras, below are some tips to keep in mind when making your selections. Trust us, you’ll thank us when you’re doing those squat jumps in bootcamp and you've got all-star support going on.

1. Get measured

Flanagan says, “They [women] just select the same size bra as a lingerie bra — and since 80% of women are already in the wrong size bra, that becomes an issue.” You can try to measure yourself at home, but it may not be as accurate as when it’s done by a professional. Flanagan suggests it’s best to get measured by a bra specialist to determine the size and support your body requires.

2. Invest in quality

With stores selling sports bras in different price ranges, it can be difficult to decide whether to skimp on price or comfort. “If a woman knows that she is getting value in the purchase of a quality sports bra that will wear and wash well over time, then she will spend the money on the right bra,” Flanagan says. So if that Nike sports bra feels like the best thing your breasts have snuggled against, don’t be afraid to splurge once in awhile (especially if it comes in a cute print!). 

3. Always try them on

When making your sports bra selection, Flanagan suggests asking yourself if you feel fully supported in the bra, if it passes the “bounce test” (where you vertically jump to check for support). Other factors to consider: Is it made from fabric that wicks away moisture and is breathable? Comfort-wise, do the straps adjust? Are they wide enough? Do they distribute the breast weight correctly? Will you be doing high or low impact exercises? Is coverage important to you? These are the things that can only be answered once the bra is tried on.

4. Consider your bust size

Whether you’re busty or not, there are different things to consider when picking a sports bra. “A larger busted woman will want to focus most on the level of support and comfort as the most important factors in selection,” says Flanagan. “Once the Coopers ligament (ligaments that help maintain shape of breasts) of the breast is stretched and compromised, it cannot be repaired so full support for a larger busted woman is paramount,” she adds. Meanwhile, women with smaller busts can get away with worrying less about support and focus on the style or other features of the bras they want.

5. Keep weight changes in mind

Naturally, women’s bodies fluctuate throughout their lives due in part to pregnancy, post-pregnancy, significant weight loss (or gain), or breast augmentation (or reduction) to name a few. Flanagan strongly urges that women get measured once a year because of these changes our bodies go through. Another reason to get measured? “Bra manufacturers are all different and all 36B bras, for instance, are not built the same and do not fit the same,“ she says.


This article originally ran in Vivala.

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