Boob Sweat

Tame Your Ta-Tas: In Search Of the Perfect Sports Bra

You want me to go for a run in THAT? (Image via Artful Bras Project)

Boobs. Chi-chis. Hooters. Sweater stuffing. Melons. The twins. Knockers.

It doesn’t matter what you call them: When it comes to working out, how you tame your ta-tas can make the difference between enjoyment and sheer torture.

I used to have a 38 DD chest. For the longest time, that measurement alone was the sole excuse I had for not working out. Good sports bras for girls like me just didn’t exist. Even when I doubled (or tripled) up on sports bras, I’d bounce everywhere. If someone invited me to go running, I’d automatically point at the girls and say, “Sorry, but if I did that, I’d probably get punched in the eye.”

Even now, with a 34 B chest, I struggle to find something that works for me. My boobs seem to have a mind of their own sometimes – I’m trying to go forward, and those two decide to bounce up and down. It’s embarrassing, uncomfortable and awkward. Really. there’s only so many times I can remind my male training partners, “HEY. My face is UP HERE.”

Whether a girl wants to take up running, yoga, mountain biking, kickboxing or crossfit, the perfect sports bra is a key wardrobe piece. So why, I ask, does it have to be so damn hard to find one?

It’s not for lack of selection. If you walk in to a clothing store, there’s almost always a selection of sports bras available. Even Victoria’s Secret is getting in on the action! I was shopping there the other day when a clerk offered to assist me with finding items. I told her I was shopping for a good sports bra, and she automatically pulled one off the rack and and squealed:

“I love this one! Isn’t it just so adorable?”

Adorable? When I’m sweating and cursing and trying not to die halfway through a marathon, looking cute is the last thing I ever, EVER worry about.

A good sports bra should keep the breasts close to the rest of the body to minimize bounce. It should have elastic around the ribcage that doesn’t chafe, and straps that don’t dig in to the shoulders. If it has an underwire, it shouldn’t poke. It should be made of a material that dries quickly and lasts through many workouts and laundry cycles.

If it’s “cute,” that’s a nice bonus. If it does all those things and makes you look like a Victoria’s Secret Angel, please let me know so I can buy a dozen in every color.

So many readers have asked me for suggestions on buying the perfect sports bra, and quite frankly, I’m starting to get embarrassed that I don’t have an answer for y’all. I can spit out a couple of brands that have kind of worked, but I’ve never been able to say anything with absolute confidence, especially for the beautiful variety existing from one female to the next.

So, for the sake of HelloGiggles readers everywhere, I’ve made a decision. For the next month, I will dedicate myself (and my mammaries) to scientific inquiry. I’ll be testing out sports bras in a variety of activities. I’ve also recruited girlfriends of different shapes and sizes to try out various brands of sports bras – real girls, just like you. Our bevy of boobs will run, jump, dive, twist, shimmy and bounce, all for you. In a month, I’ll report our findings in this column in hopes we can put this sports bra calamity to rest once and for all.

In the meantime, a note to my male training partners:

No, you can’t be an observer during the testing process, and…hey. HEY! My face is still UP HERE.

Sigh. This is going to be a long month.

  • Katy Pearce

    Patagonia sports bras are amazing.

  • Natalie Simonis

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  • Natalie Simonis

    I’m a 32 G natural. And have found the Natori Sports bras to be AMAZING!!! You can get them at Nordstrom, and have convertible straps so you can make them cris-cross for even more support. I wear it for spin class and it works wonderfully.

  • Karo Richter

    i know what you are talking about. my two 36 dd-girls keep on torturing me for almost 20 years of playing volleyball now. i never found the right sports bra til now. nowhere around the world….either it is too loose ore it keeps them where they should be, but i can’t breathe…what works best for me is a really good fitting victorias secret bra and a sports bra (triumph) over that. it’s just not very comfortably in summer on the beach :( besides, where do you get a really good fitting bikini for not just for lying in the sun? i’m really fed up wearing my adidas one-piece the whole summer just because i like to move…

  • Zelina Garza

    thank you for this. I can relate and look forward to the results of your research. Also find one that absorbs sweat and one that keeps the twins separate I often sweat inbetween from having a uniboob and get small iratations from it. I know you can relate. thanks again!

  • Rachel Sibson

    I feel your pain…literally! My 28Gs are a nightmare to house whatever the bra but sports bras seem to be a whole ‘nother matter! Please, if you find anyone, try out some sports bras for those of us out there (un)blessed with a tiny frame and massive bazongas!

  • Sara Fullerton Strickland

    The Fiona bra by Moving Comfort has never failed me.

  • Heidi Palmer

    I agree with Katy P. Patagonia’s are great! I have 38 D’s and since I started wearing Patagonia’s sports bra’s I haven’t had any problems. They have plain black, white ones, but they also carry ones in cute colors with designs on them. :)

  • Karissa Garcia

    Really enjoying the suggestions in the comments. I’ve been going back to my parents’ house to work out because I don’t like my 38Fs bouncing around like mad at a gym or a park.

  • Chelsea Oscarson
  • Hayley Bergan

    I have an added problem (along with my 36DDD’s) I’m 6’3” and while I’m not necessarily a big girl my proportions are different than a 5’6” lady. This translates to straps fitting horribly and sports bras riding halfway up my chest. I have to get the ones with adjustable straps and sacrifice the support. Absolute nightmare!

  • Becky Phelan

    “They” have tested bras and found that no one actually makes the best one. That’s the problem right there! I hope you all find what works, even if it isn’t perfection. Also, if anyone is in the clothing industry: there is clearly an untapped market here! :) Grateful for my A-cups every morning on my run!

  • Amanda Lyle

    Thank the lord. This 34 DDD needs some advice because I hate/love working out and part of the hate is all in the boobage. Can’t wait to see the results.

  • Elisabeth Miller

    I’m a 34/36 B. But I was a 32A until I hit 30 two years ago. I barely even NEEDED sports bras! Now, I don’t know what to do with these jiggling things, so I’m looking forward to the results!

  • Beth Kemnitz has a good selection of sports bras for reigning in the girls! Their rating system includes Impact Level.

  • Nicole Heckley

    Have any of you tried the “Ta-Ta-Tamer” from lululemon? I have six 36D’s and I swear my boobs never move. It is honestly the BEST sports bra I’ve EVER had. The thick straps stay in place and can even be crisscrossed in the back! It has removable padding and doesn’t make you boobs look all smooshed! You will not be dissapointed.

  • Elise McCarthy

    I like the Nike compression fit sports bra! My boobs literally do not move in that thing!

  • Erin Miuccio

    Some of the new Victoria Secret sports bras are really nice! I waited for a coupon to come in the mail, and now I have two new ones. :)

  • Katie Katinka

    I’m super happy with my shock absorber run sports bra! It is made for runners and provides very good support while also being really comfy. Also, i always buy my sports bras one size smaller than usual, cause they’re all gonna wear out eventually and i like a really tight fit while running.

  • Jenny Schulz

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