Are you wearing the right size sports bra? Are you sure? I thought I was, turns out I was wrong. These tips from a professional bra fitter will show you how to check.
We all know how important it is to wear a decent sports bra to prevent back and shoulder pain, stretched ligaments, rubbing and saggy boobs. But have you ever had one fitted? I hadn’t. Despite wearing a sports bra nearly every day of the week, I’d never even thought about it. Then Shock Absorber invited me along to the Bravissimo store near Oxford Circus to get professionally fitted. If, as stats suggest, 80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra, then it follows that a lot of us probably have the wrong size sports bra too. Turns out I was one of the many.
I usually pick up my normal bra size in sports bras. Apparently this is a common error. Oh, and I was wearing the wrong size everyday bra too. I went in to Bravissimo for my fitting a 32D, came out a 30E for normal bras and a 32DD in sports bras! Both are much more comfortable, even if they sound like the measurements of someone off Love Island.
Follow these professional tips I picked up from my fitter to ensure your sports bra is doing the job. And if you want to be fitted (Bravissimo is for women with D cup boobs and above, no measuring tapes are involved and it’s an embarrassment-free experience) you can find your nearest store here.
1. Don’t just go for your normal bra size
Don’t just assume your bra size will be the same in normal bras and sports bras. Different styles and brands of sports bra come up differently (bit like when you’re an 8 in Gap jeans and a 14 in Zara). Some may be true to your bra size, but some can be smaller in the back for added support. Try on a few different options. If you do have to go up in the back, you’ll usually need to go down in the cup. So if you’re a 32D you’d go to a 34C. Up a back, down a cup.
2. Do the two finger test
‘Your back should be the primary source of support. If your boobs aren’t supported from the back then it puts strain on your shoulders, which can be uncomfortable. The back band on a sports bra should be nice and firm, slightly firmer than your usual bra. With a well-fitting back you should be able to get two fingers underneath the band at the side. If you can fit more fingers in, you probably need to move onto the next set of hooks or look at getting a smaller back size.
3. Scoop your boob tissue in
‘Make sure all your boob tissue is in the fullest part of the cup – even if this means putting your hand down your bra and scooping it into place. Boob tissue is delicate and if it’s trapped anywhere you’ll probably get rubbing or bruising, especially if you’re sweating – like when you’re wearing wet shoes you’re more likely to get blisters. If there’s bulging, you need a cup up, any gaping at the top of the cup, a size down.
4. The bra should fit on the biggest hook
If you get a bra that’s fits on the biggest hook then you can go to the next one if it gets looser over time or your weight fluctuates (period boob gain anyone?), meaning you can maintain the firmess and your bra should last you a bit longer.
5. Get a new bra every six months
Although it depends how often you wear it, a good rule of thumb is to change your sports bra every six months, especially when you’re doing high-impact movements as you’re putting a lot of stress on it. If it’s going stretchy or baggy and the elastic is starting to fray, then it’s time to change. Also, if your weight changes your boobs probably will too so you might need a different size.
6. Make sure your bra is designed for the activity you’re doing
This sounds obvious but you need to ensure your bra provides enough support – a yoga bra is soft and flexible but won’t provide enough support for running or HIIT for example. I’ve been wearing the Shock Absorber Ultimate Run bra since I started marathon training around five years ago. It’s pretty sturdy looking but it’s comfortable and supportive on long runs when these things really matter. After my fitting I now wear it in the correct size too!
The bra I was fitted with, though, is the Shock Absorber Active Multi Bra. It’s a good one to have in your arsenal because you can use it for nigh on any high-impact sport – including running. It has the look of a crop top and comes in loads of jazzy colourways, so you can wear it solo if you so wish, but cleverly disguised underneath that fashionable exterior is the workings of a serious sports bra. As opposed to other more ‘fashion’ crop tops, this one has a double clasp racer back so it won’t budge, proper cup support, and ventilation so you don’t get those minging cleavage sweat puddles.
Emma’s also been trying out the new Shock Absorber Ultimate Fly bra. The support is provided by laser-cut moulded cups, which looks futuristic but feels really light. (it’s about 16% lighter than the run bra). It’s suitable for high-impact activities (medium-impact if you’re over a D cup) and has the advantage of looking good enough to wear on its own if you’re brave enough. It’s also got the double back clip to make sure nothing is budging!
This post was produced in collaboration with Shock Absorber, however all opinions are our own and we only work with brands we truly love.