Monday, January 31, 2011

The Great Sports Bra Debate

What's a perfectly average 34 B/C girl to do when she's lost about 30 pounds and her favorite Nike sports bras are no longer doing their job and are no longer available ANYWHERE?

She goes shopping, of course!

Hopefully my shopping experience (which literally took weeks, people!) will help your girls be happy and contained during your workouts, and maybe help you find a new favorite.  I should say that these opinions are all my own and I was not compensated by any companies with free swag (although if you work for Nike or Under Armour and want to hook me up, let's chat!).

As I indicated in the first paragraph up there, I have perfectly average girls, although I joke I'm more a 34 long after having children and having my weight bounce up and down so much, along with my bewbs.  Anyhoo, what did I discover while trying on at least 40 or 50 different sports bras?  Us average girls get the shaft and trying on sports bras should be an aerobic activity.  I've also decided that the only way to eliminate all movement completely is with duct tape, and frankly, the removal makes me shudder.

Let's get started, shall we?

If you are more kiwis or lemons than oranges or grapefruits, I think you can pretty much wear whatever the heck you want.  If you only want to spend $10 on a strappy little compression bra at Kohl's, then you are in luck!  If you want to spend more and get a bra with some padding and shape, you can do that too.  The possibilities are endless.  Happy shopping!

Alternatively, if you are more cantaloupes, you also have a ton of options, although they are a bit pricier (the Moving Comfort line received many recommendations when I asked my friends on twitter what they liked to wear and they had some cute styles).  But, I've also discovered that some of them aren't as cute.  That's really unfortunate.  Just because your girls are larger doesn't mean you want to wear something that looks like a bra your grandmother wore in the 50s.  I also discovered, the majority of bras for you more well endowed ladies had hooks in the back.  When I was able to find a bra in my size that had a hook, I discovered I HATED it.  Couple reasons - I have a bum shoulder, so having to reach behind myself to hook a bra that was already on was actually painful.  If I did manage to get it hooked, I didn't like the feel of the hook mechanism.  Again, this is totally a personal preference of mine, but I tended to run screaming from anything with hooks.  I also found I did not like adjustable straps or bras that looked like traditional bras.  I guess I like my sports bra to look like a racer-back sports bra.

So, did I find anything that worked for me?  I'm happy to report I did!  Here were my favorites:

Nike Swift Y Back
This bra is very similar to the favorites I had been wearing for years.  I just had to go online and order it in a smaller size (for reference, I wear a small in this bra - my old ones were a medium).  I should have just done this in the first place and saved myself the hassle.  I love that this bra has nice flat seams so it doesn't chafe, is made of the Nike Dri-FIT fabric that wicks sweat away, and has some shaping to the cups so you don't end up looking all smushed down. (The uniboob look is SO unattractive on me.)  Plus, it comes in a million different color combinations.  I have this green and yellow one, plus a blue/black combo.  Very cute.  I am extremely brand-loyal and I have to admit that probably 85% of my workout gear comes from Nike.  The Nike website has some of the colors on clearance - which I highly recommend taking advantage of as these bras aren't cheap (usually around $40 but I got mine for $32 each).  ♥ Nike.

Under Armour Endure A/B
This is a new bra to me!  It has nice, padded cups, a slight v-neck (which I lurve) and did a great job at controlling bounce.  The criss-cross straps felt very supportive and were quite comfortable.  It also did a great job wicking away sweat (I wore it for my 5 mile run on Saturday!) and I had no chafing anywhere.  I was able to find a hot pink one at my running store (SQUEEE) and then a black one at Dick's.  Online, it looks like only white and black are available, but other retailers might carry different colors.  I had only planned on keeping one of these, because they were pretty pricey (around $45 each) but I was able to use my running club discount on the pink one and had a Dick's coupon for the other, bringing them down to $40 and $35.  Score!  I'm keeping them both.  For reference, I bought a medium.  The small was very tight in the band.  This one also comes in a C cup version, which was too big on me.

Aerie Fit High Impact
There is no link to this one because I think I found the very last one ever made.  I bought it on clearance from the Aerie store at my mall for a whopping $15!  The small fit me well and was tight but not restricting.  I did notice after my run that the seams on the side left some indents, but I didn't have any chaffing.  For a bra that was originally only around $25, this was a major score.  Aerie had a huge selection of bras with the hooks in the back (which as you recall I couldn't stand), plus a ton of other medium and low-impact styles, all on clearance.  Right now, all their clearance bras are $15 and if you buy 2 or more bras (clearance included) you get an extra 25% off the entire order!  I bought my daughter one of these and a different sports bra that isn't available online.  Super cute and she loved the strappy one.  It even has a little pocket inside the cup that fits her Nano.  She is already requesting another one, but I got the last 2 extra smalls on clearance, so I told her she needed to wait until we'd earned our free bra before I'd buy her another (Aerie has a bra club-free to join-and you can earn points at American Eagle also).

I picked up a couple of these tops on sale (I won't really say bra because I need to wear them with another bra underneath). I found one at my running store on sale for $30 and another at Dick's on clearance for $20 (this one might actually be the Airborne 2 which is a little more basic).  They are cut very similar to the Swift Y Back and combined with another bra, do a fantastic job of supporting the girls.  These Nike long bras range from $35-$45 depending on the features, but Nike's website has some colors on clearance for $27.  I don't feel they are supportive enough by themselves, though.  The fabrics and colors vary but pretty much all of Nike's tops are Dri-FIT and have cute little details like a loop to string your headphone cord thru.  The more expensive Airborne has the little pockets in the back to hold gu or maybe even your ipod.  Very cute.

So there you have it.  How I spent a small fortune trying to keep the girls in place.  If you've been shopping around for a new sports bra, hopefully my pain and suffering will help prevent some headaches for you. 

Some take-aways:
  • Get fitted at a running store if you can.  Especially if you've recently lost weight, you may be surprised what size you actually are.  (This goes for your everyday bras too.  The girls deserve your love and support, so make sure they are wearing the right size.)
  • I really do encourage you to try on everything in the store.  I honestly didn't think the Under Armour bra would work for me, but it turned out to be probably the best one.  I also went in thinking I would get a bra from Moving Comfort, and while they were fantastic bras, they didn't really work for me.
  • Be prepared to spend some money.  I work out nearly every day but don't want to do laundry every day, so having multiple bras is important to me.  Maybe you can get away with 1 or 2 really good bras and use lower impact/less expensive options for lifting, yoga, etc.
  • I also am very spoiled by performance fabrics.  Seriously, once you go wicking, you will never go back to cotton again. 
  • Have fun and be crazy in the dressing room.  For realz.  Jump, bend, and shake what your momma gave you.  Make sure the bra does what you want it to.
  • Buy workout gear that makes you feel good.  You deserve it.
Happy Shopping!

8 comments:

  1. well well well quite the research!!! thank you so much! yes, i am also a 34 LONG, HAHAHAH! that made me laugh. (never knew a cups could sag. but yes, yes they can.) since losing weight i've become an A CUP! WAHHHHH! but i did recently find a target sports bra for 16 bucks that is working quite nicely, so i'm pretty happy about that, however, it does give the uniboob. not a problem for me, however, since i barely even have two boobies. ("bewbs" also made me laugh.) i did notice under armour is small in pretty much everything (I am wearing a medium under armour hoodie right now because their smalls were like skin tight and so is everything else under armour.) but thanks for the workup, i really wanna try that first nike bra up top! it looks fantastic!!

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  2. "If you only want to spend $10 on a strappy little compression bra at Kohl's, then you are in luck!" <<<< that is me. and they are actually $10 for a 3 pack. at walmart at least.

    I <3 my lemons!

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  3. You are so cute. Loved all the research you put into this. :)

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  4. Thanks for doing all the research work for me. :) Lol.... I seriously miss the days I could buy and get away with the cheap bras...

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  5. Great review!! This is something I need to start shopping for....why is it that when you start losing weight you gotta lose most of your weight in the "bewbs"?!! I have shrunk considerably and I wasn't huge to begin with!! Thanks for all the tips!!

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  6. I like the black one. (Yes, I said it.)

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  7. Great post girl, and research well done! I would like to try one of the Under Armor ones for sure. Love that cross back and I'm about the same size as you so this is really great info! Thanks!!

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  8. Wow, you put a lot of time into this! Very impressive!

    I couldn't agree with you more about the hook kind. I have one and I hate it! But, it's my tri bra so I keep it.

    I think my favorite bras are Nike and UnderArmour, too! I think we're bewby sisters!

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