When it comes to sports bras, not all are created equal. And for the bigger busted woman, finding a comfortable, supportive bra to ‘tame the bounce” is something of a Holy Grail quest.
So our Fitness Journal team decide to tackle the problem and set out to find our favourite sports bras. We put the bras through a rigorous range of activities from running and squash to yoga and weight-lifting. Our ‘test drivers’ range in size from a C to a G cup and tried out the sports bras in a variety of conditions.
We’ve chosen our favourites, which we whole-heartedly recommend.
1) Shock Absorber Active Shaped Support
Size tested: 12C
Test conditions: 5 km run and various ‘mum’ activities playing with three energetic children
What it promised: Active shaped support for attractive and feminine enhanced shape, combined with maximum support; fixed, breathable padded cups for flattering shape enhancement; adjustable straps for customised fit; fully back opening for easy on and off
What it delivered: Definitely easy on/off, very comfortable and no chaffing which was a bonus. Even though it was a support level1, I felt very secure within the bra with very little bounce
Previous sports bra problems: I always tend to suffer chaffing issues and sometimes wear two bras to get the support I need. That’s never a comfortable solution.
Likes: Support, comfort, shape and colours
One sentence sum up: Easy peasy. Easy to put on, very supportive and comfortable
2) Ta Ta Tamer III by Lululemon
Size tested: 14D
Test conditions: Wore it all day in my active job, practised a low impact sport with it and then went for a run.
What it promised: Lift and high support, sweat-wicking, mesh panel to keep bounce at bay, crossable adjustable straps
What it delivered: Shoulder straps seemed to be in just the right angle and place so they didn’t dig in. During my run felt supportive without being constricting; I mean, there will always be bounce when you run right, but it didn’t feel like I was going end up with gravity winning over the support of the bra. Halfway through my run a thunderstorm broke out and I got soaked and I expected chafing and discomfort but it never happened.
Previous sports bra problems: Chafing, narrow shoulder straps, too many hooks and clasps that bite in.
Likes: colour, comfort, support, no visible lines through shirt
One sentence sum up: Super comfy to wear all day, supportive and no obvious bra lines through my shirt, looks really stylish for a D cup bra.
3) Champion All-Out Support Wireless
Size tested: 18E
Test conditions: Running, skipping and cycling
What it promised: The support of two bras with the comfort of one. Double layer cups for double support, moisture wicking technology, adjustable wide cushioned straps, mesh panels for ventilation, straps convert to criss-cross, max support.
What it delivered: I’ll admit to being sceptical about this one, as I’ve found that wire is a crucial component for the demands of large breasts. Amazingly this was one of the most supportive bras I have ever worn. Everything was firmly supported and extremely stable. I had worried about it feeling too bulky when I first saw it, but it was fantastic to wear. No unecessary movement and really comfy.
Likes: Breathed really well, breasts felt super supported and this is the only wireless bra I have ever tried which offered enough support.
Dislikes: Honestly nothing about it niggled – I tried to find something!
One sentence sum up: Twice the power, twice the support. Great to take a break from underwire.
4) Triumph Triaction Performance
Size tested: 20E
How you tested it: Walking, jogging, gym workout
What it promised: Reduced bounce, moisture management, padded shoulder straps for comfort, adjustable to crossover straps, strong double layered back panel
What it delivered: Comfort. Having big boobs is most usually a discomfort, particularly when it comes to playing any sport or activity. They wiggle, jiggle, bounce and try to escape their restraints. Loved this bra; it held them firmly in place without feeling like I was encased in a steel trap. At long last, a well fitting, super supportive and comfortable solution.
Previous sports bra problems: Underwire digging in, narrow agonising shoulder straps, boobs bursting out over the top of lower cut sports bras.
Likes: Everything about it. Extra high at the front so no cleavage fighting its way out, super comfy back and shoulder straps and cool colours.
Dislikes: Nothing. Nada. Zip.
One sentence sum up: Please sir, can I have some more.
5) Shock Absorber Ultimate Run
Size tested: 16E
Test conditions: Walking and playing golf
What it promised: Designed for less bounce and ultimate friction-free comfort. Infinity-8 support system counteracts the breasts’ figure-of-eight movement during running. Soft, seamless inner reduces rubbing or chafing. Non-slip, wide padded adjustable straps. Full back opening for easy on and off. Moisture-wicking, breathable fabric.
What it delivered: It was like an instant posture fix. My shoulders seemed to pull back and feel supported, making my posture so much better. It also separated my larger breasts in a more comfortable and contoured way and gave me so much more support than my previous sports bras. Felt secure and well supported.
Previous sports bra problems: Not firm enough and made me feel like my breasts were flattened and not properly supported.
Likes: Just about everything. It was so nice and supportive to wear and looked good too. I particularly liked the design and colour.
Dislikes: The upper fastening at the back rubbed a bit, actually it was more that I was aware of it as it didn’t physically rub. Maybe it’s because I have never worn that style of back fastening before.
One sentence sum up: Loved it and would definitely buy that model in the future.
6) Enell Sport High impact bra
Size tested: Size 3 (normally a 16G)
Test conditions: Gym workouts, netball, squash, tennis and soccer.
What it promised: Reduced bounce and great support. Also shoulder comfort, movement control, secure closure (front hook and eye closures), comfort control, moisture management performance fabric.
What it delivered: It’s not right to love a bra as much as I love this one. Any woman who is active and has large breasts knows that they simply knock the breath out of you when you try and bounce around anywhere. Previously I’ve worn two bras with a tight over wrap (like a boob tube) to try and stop their wayward bounce. But this bra sure does strap them down good! Woohoo
Previous sports bra problems: I do have a little damage in the ‘boobious maximus’ from wearing so much underwire; a smallish dent from underwire smooshing.
Likes: super good support, comes in some good colours
Dislikes: It isn’t the prettiest item but who cares? It’s definitely better than running around holding my boobs in an effort to keep them still.
One sentence sum up: Get your breath back with well supported bosoms.
7) Elomi Energise
Size tested: 18 E
How you tested it: Walking, squash, frisbee throwing, social touch rugby
What it promised: Minimise bounce, amazing support, four-part cups with side support panels., encapsulated cups for bust separation, shaping and superior support, underwires do not extend to centre front for non-poke wear, side support panels help prevent side spill and bring breasts to front, microfiber knit wicks moisture away, sliding coated metal J hook converts bra to an “X” back.
What it delivered: Mega support.Rather than squeezing and squashing down the boobs, this bra support was almost indecent in that it felt like someone was holding and supporting each breast. Love how it lifts and supports each breast individually rather than squeezing them both into one giant boob (speaking from previous experience with other bras)
Previous sports bra problems: Massively uncomfortable. Often sports bras for bigger breasts create one giant boob at the front which is neither natural or comfy to exercise with.
Likes: Best feeling of support ever, of any bra (have worn two bras previously to try and tame them) and gives a lovely shape. Also praise for the hot pomegranate colour with black trim. Often larger sized bras have two options; black or white.
Dislikes: That I didn’t discover this brand years ago
One sentence sum up: An uplifting experience
8) Freya Active Intense
Size tested: 14E
Test conditions: Running and netball
What it promised: High impact support and full coverage, adjustable to race back styling, odour management fabric, microfibre fabric inner wicks away moisture, shapes and supports without compression, puncture resistant wire casing
What it delivered: Definitely high impact support. As a defence netball player involving running, sudden stopping, jumping and lots of directional movement, this bra fully controlled and reduced bounce comfortably. The cushioned straps were fabulous in reducing dig in and slipping.
Previous sports bra problems: Compression resulting in back bulge and straps that dig in
Likes: Maximum support, breathable quick drying fabric, great supportive shape
Dislikes: Nothing to dislike about this bra it’s a keeper.
One sentence sum up: Highly recommend this bra for those women that require extra support and coverage especially if participating in high intensity activity.