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Are You Wearing the Right Sports Bra?

A Guide for Women of All Shapes and Sizes


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Do not currently have a sports bra, but know I need one. I am a 40DD and ran/walked a 10k last year in a regular bra. I am signed up again this May, and figured I had best get one. Just ordered the Enell maximum coverage bra. $65. But, hey, my everyday bras are Wacoals and they cost that much too. You get what you pay for with bras. When you need the support, you have to pay for it. Report
This didn't work for me. My band size is larger than my breast size so how do I figure that out? I end up with a negative number. Like PIFFLED mentioned above.

38 Bust.. 39" band +3+1=43 38-43 = -5

I normally wear a 40B bra but this formula doesn't work for me. Any comments? Report
ok this chart thing doesnt work for everyone. i wear a 42 DD in a regular bra and i have to wear at least a D size in sports bra or my boobs are flying out. this chart says i have to wear a 46 B for sports bras. huh?? a B cup size would cover my nipple and support about that much too. so how does this math work?? Report
First, I have a hard time finding good sports bras that I don't need to take out a mortgage for. I am rather amply endowed, and practice judo, where occasionally, the guy throwing me gets a handful of bra. I cannot have one snapping at that moment! I also love the racerback style, but am apparently too stupid/not talented enough to figure out how to get into the sports bra version without getting trapped in the bra with one arm up in the air, pinned against the side of my head. So, I usually go for a scoopneck, with hooks in back. If you are a very large size, I would reccommend Cacique bras, this is the lingerie store that is part of Lane Bryant. I have never seen them sell a sports bra, but the regular ones I buy for myself are engineered better than suspension bridges. I have in the past made do with a heavy duty underwire full coverage Cacique bra. Go in & try everything on in your size (I always find that their band sizes are too small, so go up a band size or two), in full coverage. You might find something that works until you can fit in the smaller sports bra manufacturer's offerings. Also, twice a year they do a buy 2 get 2 free sale, which puts their prices within reason. Report
For those in the UK or who can order from the UK, I use a company that specifically caters for larger-breasted women (cup size D-K), in both clothing and (sports) bras. They are called Bravissimo and their clothing brand is called Pepperberry. They supply some of their own bras and also stock other brands that cater for large busts. I use an underwired, non 'compression' bra from a brand called Freya. It keeps my breasts in place without feeling too tight, even for high-impact sports, and they last a long time too.

It is definitely worth the investment to get a good bra. I see so many women at the gym with bulges coming out of their bras, or their breasts juggling about - it must be painful.

Bravissimo don't go by standard sizes, or measure you with a measuring tape. They go by look (and if you don't mind, feel) and recommend bras that way. I am not sure if the measurements supplied in the article work; my advice would be to just try out lots of brands/styles/sizes and find one that you feel comfortable in... Good luck Report
This all sounds easy enough but when it actually comes down to finding the right fit, it's not. Especially when you are large like I am it's almost impossible to find the right size bra.

Here are some helpful sites.
For a "normal" size woman -,
901,30.html -
(*Please Note: This bra measuring method becomes very unreliable at bra sizes 38D and larger. ) then go to:

For plus size women go to -

I found the best New Balance sports bras at Marshals!! Half the retail price, tried them on in store, did some jump jacks in all of them. Didn't measure myself before hand, just used common sense and ended up purchasing 3 and couldn't be happier. Report
TBABY - I have the same problem. I've never found a sports bra really. I may have seen a couple online but the price & the likelihood they would not even fit after ordering & waiting for them to be shipped discouraged me from ordering.

I wear a 42H bra from Cacique; I say "wear" because by measurements I'd actually be about an O cup, which does not exist anywhere I have ever seen including online. The bras I have are the best I could find, in ones I could try on in person.

That said, here's what I do for exercise: I wear a comfortable, non-chafing underwire bra (42H). Over top of it I wear a soft cup/no underwire bra that is a couple of sizes too small, I think 40 F? I can't remember. It's I think one band size and one or two cup sizes smaller than my "correct" bra I wear daily. This basically creates an encapsulation/compression situation out of 2 bras.

TRY STUFF ON to find the right combination for you! Start with a comfy bra that you could wear anyway and doesn't pinch or chafe you. Wear that to the store, and try on some softcup/non underwire bras in a range from 1 band size/1 cup size, 2 band size/1 cup size, 1 band size/2 cup size, and 2 band size/2 cup size too small. In addition to their recommendations to jump up and down and so forth, be sure that the smaller band size is not so small that it's cutting into your skin! When you try them on, take a deep deep breath. If the band cuts or you can't breathe in all the way, it's too small. It should be snug, but you want the pressure on your breasts, not your ribcage. So you might end up with say, your normal band size but 2 cup sizes smaller working best, or something like that.

I hope this helps! It's the only thing I've found to work at all. I still do have some bounce if I literally jump up and down, but I can run and do the elliptical and all that stuff without major pain or bouncing. Report
I don't mean any harm, but I guess women that are a size F, G or higher doesn't need a sports bra to work out in. I am having the hardest time finding a good one that is supportive and will hold the girls in place. I think that was one of the reasons I stopped doing zumba because I didn't have a sports bra to wear to class. I was wearing my regular underwire bra and it was becoming uncomfortable and I was breaking the underwire in them and bras can be pricey to have to replace because of that. Does anyone know of a company that caters to heavy, large busted women that need a sports bra? HELP! Report
I was hating all my sports bras until I found Glamorise bras. They were all too small, the elastic always wore out faster & they were just uncomfortable. Finding one with a fastener on the back & more supportive shoulder straps did the trick. I purchased 3 and always wear them. Super comfy & perfect of all of my cardio. Report
Here's another good method, and probably more frequently used than the first article I posted.

Jaydee16 is right. Adding the 5 inches doesn't make sense, as the measurement around the ribcage is most typically your band size.

For some women, measuring the ribcage over the breasts as opposed to under makes more sense. Either way, the size proportion is the same. Smaller band size + larger cup, or larger band size + smaller cup. (30E vs. 32C, for example). Which one you prefer is entirely up to you, depending on the comfort of the bra and how the manufacturer sizes them. Report
I am SO relieved to see I am not the only one that takes serious issue (and FRUSTRATION) with this method of measuring bra size. This whole add/subtract/multiply/find-the-square-root
-of-the-hypotenuse nonsense NEVER works for me. My rib measurement is 34 inches, my bust measurement is 38. So accordingly, my band size should be 34+3+1= 38. The difference between the band size and bust is then zero. Which means I'm what? A wooden plank?! If there's no difference between the two, why would I need a bra in the first place?? I assure you, I do!

I say, ditch the "add 3 inches, 4 inches, 5 inches, whatever." My actual rib measurement has always been equal to the best-fitting bra band size. My cup measurements have always been on par with what is mentioned in the article. 38-34=4, x, y, denominator . . carry the z . .. yep, 34D. Whaddya know, that's what I'm wearing! Weird! :)

I'm not that picky about my bras, but after I read the article I decided to get one. it was also a little reward for myself for sticking to the 8 week Diabetes Challenge and doing all my workouts. I want to feel encouraged to keep going. So, since I am a bit of a cheapskate, I bought one at Target for $18. I can't afford expensive. I chose a bra described as #3 in the article, compression and encapsulation. It seems luxurious compared to my old one and I look foward to using it. Thanks for the advice SP! Report
I just spent the past few days searching for a new sports bra. Being a 38D-DD, I need on that is very supportive for my step class and running (3 kids in 4 years and lots of nursing lead to some, well, major saggage as is did losing almost 50lbs.) I have a Moving Comfort bra from Dick's that is full coerage. It works well but it is hot. That one has an underwire. I bought a new one last night at dicks, teh Endure by Under Armour. I had to take out a small loan to buy it ($58) but went running this morning and it was really nice. I will give it the true test tomorrow at my step class. This one looks really nice and could easily be worn without a shirt (not for me).
This way of measuring is never right for me I don't add anything to band measurement and get a perfect fit that does not ride up they all have elastic in them so no need to add inches to the band size this is my grand mothers way af measuring for a bra which is very out dated. Report

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