Sports Bras (Part 1): The B’s Have It with Moving Comfort & Athleta!
We received a request to give our thoughts on sports bras, and we are happy to oblige! This is a topic near and dear to all of us gals and our girls (sorry, I could not resist!).
Because there are 9 of us, and we have all shapes and sizes, we decided to divide our thoughts up by, well, um, cup size! As you would guess, the concerns a D cup gal has for a sports bra are far, shall we say, bustier (?!) than an A/B girl.
Before writing this, MB researched sports bra reviews. While divided by cup size (sense a theme?), most bra reviews seem distanced from the real world gals who did the testing. We hope to add something a little bit different by not only telling you our choices, but also why certain bras work, and why others did not.
One note, it is obvious we are Athleta fans. There is a reason for that, and it is readily apparent in a sports bra search. You cannot know whether any particular bra will work: Until you try it. For real. On a run. With sweat. Without tags. And many bras are expensive, so you can’t just be buying them willy nilly. That’s why Athleta’s Give It A Workout Guarantee is key – you can try it and if it doesn’t work, YOU CAN SEND IT BACK. Athleta has numerous self-branded styles plus a number of Moving Comfort bras. If you are on a bra search, that’s where we suggest you start!
Now, off we go, starting with those A/B gals in our group! For the most part, I firmly believe we are lucky: Bounce is not a huge issue and that lets us have far more options. Our primary concerns are chafing and ease of wear. You are not going to see a lot of heavy, highly constructed bras here. Instead, the keys are seam placement, fit, fabric, and shape. But, there is still little agreement. MB dislikes the Moving Comfort Fiona, but it’s Sandy’s main bra! We both do agree on a non-yoga bra, the Athleta Free to Breathe. We also agree that Champion is a good economical choice for a shorter run bra.
Perfect bra is: Seamless, has a wide, low (comes down further from the breast line, more like a bralette) chest strap, is low profile, racerback, no padding (I know some folks like padding (KB does) – I hate it. Can you say, sweat sponge?), no adjustable anything, and stretchy. (Oh, and it’s nice if it’s cute! And no boring colors!)
Current go to bra: Athleta Sprint Seamless
My biggest issue is chafing from the chest strap, front and center – take a second here and Google “Chafing running tattoo.” The results are not pretty. I’ve had bras saw lines into me after 4 miles and rub through enough layers of skin during a marathon that I’ve had to use Tegaderm to treat it afterwards. I’ve tried Body Glide, band aids . . . but I have not tried the preventative duct tape solution . . . yet!
Moving Comfort Fiona Bra – Several gals really love this one. Didn’t work for me. It has a seamed chest strap that sawed a line into my chest after a short 4 mile run. Moving Comfort was nice enough to replace it with the Aurora, a skinny strap style with a back closure, but it just did not fit my body correctly (and not cute), and I hated the back closure. I just want to pull my bra on and go.
Champion C9 Reversible (size S) – I tried this bra just for this review, and was pleasantly surprised. It was comfortable, cute, cheap ($16 on sale), and did pretty well for runs up to 4/5 miles. It rubbed a bit at both the shoulder and chest straps at that point, so I would not use it for longer runs.
Athleta Free to Breathe (size S) – This is a low profile seamless bra for low impact activities. I like using it for biking and yoga when you don’t want a full-fledged bra. I can run in this bra for up to 4-5 miles. At that point, it will start to chafe because the chest strap is not substantial (wide or low) enough.
Athleta Double Dare (size XS) – This bra was so cute, I had to try it. It is not seamless, and the chest strap is sort of narrow and high, so, yes, you guessed it, it chafes . . . even just wearing for short runs and even biking. Sigh. I loved the colors, shape, and fabric.
Athleta Sprint Seamless (size S/XS)– This is the one that has worked for me reliably, with little chafing issues other than in sopping wet rain or super-humid weather. (I don’t think that any bra can survive that though!) I think the key is that the chest strap is seamless, wide, and comes down lower on the chest than most bras. The earlier versions of this bra were substantial, with heavy fabric and clever stitched-in support. I was not crazy about the thick edges at the shoulders and under the arms, but kept the bras because they didn’t chafe. The newest versions are much lighter and far more comfortable. They are also less supportive and I have sized down (from S to XS), but overall I love the updates!
Perfect bra: Has a back clasp or thin straps.
Current go to bra: Moving Comfort Fiona
I have limited range of motion in my shoulders, so my sports bras have to be easy to put on and take off. If I am required to take the bra over my head to get it on or off, or I will not be able to wear it.
Champion C9 Cami (size S) – The best part about this bra is the price (around $10 at Target). I am able to put the bra on and take it off like a pair of pants. The straps are stretchy, which allows me to get the straps in place. It works well for runs and cross training. I have worn it in races ranging from a 5K to a marathon, boot camp classes, and spin classes. The straps became uncomfortable for me toward the end of my first marathon, so I wouldn’t recommend it for longer distances. I have not had chafing issues.
Athleta Free to Breathe Bra (size S) – This cami style bra is recommended for low impact workouts. It is unstinkable, which means it can be worn for more than one workout. It has worked well for boot camp and spin classes. The only negative is the strap has stitching or some material on it which causes it to be itchy. Once I start working out, I don’t notice it. Until then, it is annoying. I have not had chafing issues.
Moving Comfort Fiona (size 34B) – Ignoring the price, this is my favorite running bra. It has a clasp in the back, so it is very easy to put on and take off. The strap length is easily adjustable for a snug fit. I have worn it on training runs and races. The straps did not bother me during the marathon. After I had the bra for a year (+/-), I started having chafing issues. I moved the bra clasp to make it tighter and, so far, that worked. Because of the price, I want this bra to last longer than a year.
Moving Comfort Vero (size M) – This bra has a clasp in the back, so it’s easy to get on and off. The bra is slightly padded. The strap length is adjustable and can be converted to an x shape, but the fit was uncomfortable with the straps crossed over. I wanted the crossover to work for me, so I won’t purchase this bra again. I’ve worn the bra for runs and at boot camp class with no chafing issues. But since it is similar to the Fiona, I think the potential for chafing is there.
Finally, I don’t remember the brand, but I tried a front zipper bra – This bra was very easy to put on and take off. On my very first run, I realized that the bra was not going to work — I was bleeding when I returned from a very short run! Never again will I wear a bra with a zipper.
What’s your go to bra all you A/Bs out there?
How do you fight chafing?