As a Big Fit Girl, there are some things about my body that I need to carefully consider before engaging in any kind of exercise. For example, my breasts. They’re larger than average, so finding a cute sports bra—that’s actually comfortable and supportive enough to get me through a workout—isn’t always easy.
A well-fitting sports bra really is one of the most essential pieces to a comfortable, active experience. Let’s be real, there’s nothing worse than your breasts bouncing out of control when you’re trying to work out. It’s uncomfortable, distracting, and painful.
I often go through rounds of skeptical examination, time-consuming research, and significant trial and error before I can feel confident in making anything a “go-to” bra. And it seems I am not alone in this pursuit. The most commonly asked question I get is, “What are the best sports bras for plus-size women?”
To help you find the best bras that work for you, I want to share some of the things I’ve learned—plus some insight from other women in my Big Fit Girl community—that are important to consider when you’re shopping around. Here are my top tips and recommendations for finding a great plus-size sports bra.
1. Focus on finding a style that has good shoulder support.
Look for a bra that has wide shoulder straps, and ones that are cushioned if possible. Having a wide shoulder strap can alleviate unwanted digging and discomfort, and just overall helps keep the garment (and your breasts) in place.
Goddess Sports Bra comes highly recommended from the Big Fit Girl community. For example, Sarah says, “I’ve had a lot of issues with shoulder straps digging in, this one doesn’t, I love it!” The bra comes in sizes up to 48I.
2. Look for bras that are made specifically by activewear companies.
It seems these days many clothing companies are adding activewear lines to their existing apparel. In some cases, these lines are more fashion-forward than functional for physical performance. I have owned many sports bras and have found that unless a sports apparel company has designed them, they often don’t provide enough support for my high-impact needs.
The Shock Absorber High Impact bra is high on the list of recommendations from the Big Fit Girl community—equestrian rider Louisa says she has “literally spent thousands on sports bras” in her career and she finally found “the one” in Shock Absorber. It’s available in sizes up to 38G.
3. Find a closure style that works for you.
When I polled my Big Fit Girl community, many of them said that having a front closure makes getting the bra on and off much easier than a back closure. I tend to agree but this does come down to personal preference.
Enell repeatedly came up as the best bra for front closure and overall support. Erynn says she thought it was impossible to work out or run without breast pain until she found these bras. I can personally back this up as one of the best sports bras I’ve worn, especially for running. Sizes runs large and there is also the option to get a custom-fit bra.
4. Look for bras that have adjustable parts.
Some bras come with the ability to customize fit in different ways, with everything from adjustable shoulder straps and back straps to an adjustable front panel that lets you control the level of support you need for a particular workout.
Glamorise does the latter. It’s another favorite that comes up repeatedly when I talk to women about their favorite bras for bigger chests, and is another bra I own and have worn for a variety of activities without incident. I love this bra and it comes in sizes up to 50J.
5. Consider underwire for extra support.
Although this comes down to personal preference, underwire in a sports bra can give the added support many of us are looking for. When considering an underwire bra, it’s essential to have the right fit to avoid unwanted rubbing and chafing.
Elomi Energizer Sports Bra is another highly recommended bra for larger breasts and extra support—Kelly says she can run, bike, and swim in it, and it “lasts forever.” This bra is available sizes up to 44GG.
One last thing: Finding the right bra is really essential to a comfortable fitness experience. I can’t stress that enough.
Lots of people wear bras that aren’t optimally sized and fitted. Until I had a professional bra fitting, I was one of them. I highly recommend getting a professional fitting to find your right fit, especially if you don’t feel supported enough with what you’re currently wearing. Getting fitted is one really simple way to potentially change your fitness experience for the better.
Louise Green is a plus-size trainer, founder of the fitness program Body Exchange, and author of Big Fit Girl: Embrace the Body You Have. Follow: Instagram @LouiseGreen_BigFitGirl, Twitter @Bigfitgirl, Facebook @louisegreen.bigfitgirl