UNLOCK YOUR OFFERS JOIN THE LIST

Here's What I Really Think About the "Best" Sports Bras for Busty Women

I am sore. Frankly, that’s the only thing I can think about when I sit down to write about what it was like testing out the best sports bras for busty women. Because after about a month of boxing, Pilates, Spin, barre, and interval-training classes at a studio that has the word “beast” in its name, soreness is pretty much my biggest complaint. This is good news, but more on that later.

I recall being a B cup for about a week when I was 12 years old, but other than that I’ve been living a DD-and-over life ever since. And as a life-long dancer and generally active person, pinpointing a sports bra that makes me feel secure and comfortable—both physically and in my personal style—has been a challenge.

Photo:

@panachesport

Of course, since my preteen years, things have changed: The fashion industry is bit more body-positive and is doing a better job at catering to women with different shapes and, hey, I’m a fashion editor, and my shopping skills are more honed. Still, for this particular test, I turned to a familiar outlet, Nordstrom, for the “best” options. Even when I shopped there as a teenager who already sized out of most other mall-brand bra options, the department store carried a variety of labels and styles for larger busts. And now, as any online shopper knows, its customers are very vocal and honest in their e-commerce reviews about what works and what doesn’t. Here’s where my experiment started.

I went searching for a sample of the most loved sports bra styles available right on the Nordstrom site and put them to my own test—burpees, jumping jacks, planks, and all—to see if they really lived up to their reputation. I wore each style for at least two different kinds of workout classes (one low- and one high-impact). There was no doubling up on bras (something I do quite regularly otherwise), and I only wore thin tees and tanks on top. In other words: I had to have a lot of faith in these contenders. Here’s how they lived up.

Contender: Chantelle Intimates Underwire Sports Bra
Underwire Sports Bra

Available in sizes 30D to 42G.

Chantelle is an intimates brand I've been familiar with for a while, but usually more the lacy, everyday variety and not to wear when breaking a serious sweat. While I tend to find that the brand's regular bras run a bit small on me, this sports bra was the opposite. I noticed the difference in boxing class when the top of the bra began to gape just a bit. I don't think I would size down in this, but it made me think that perhaps the style is best suited for someone whose breast shape is most full at the top.

Additionally, like several of the other bras in this experiment, the straps were only half-way adjustable, which left me wishing I could tighten the straps further to accommodate my short torso. Thankfully with the racerback hook option in the back, the straps stayed more secure during my workout. Overall, I thought the bra gave me a nice shape and required minimal adjustments during the workout itself.

What Nordstrom customers say: 4.3/5 stars, based on 374 reviews

What I say: 4/5 stars

Contender: Wacoal Underwire Sports Bra
Underwire Sports Bra

Available in sizes 32C to 40G.

First impression: This bra intimated me. Its U-shaped underwire is prominent and featured on the outside of the bra instead of concealed inside. But once I got over the exoskeleton-like appearance, I appreciated its utility. 

This style is definitely ideal for the woman who wants a lift-and-separate type of breast shape. And while the wire gave great support and wrapped wide around the entirety of the breast, the cup itself was nice and soft. It probably made for a bit more bounce when I jumped around in class, but not to a distracting or uncomfortable level.

What Nordstrom customers say: 4.5/5, based on 1300 reviews

What I say: 4.2/5 stars

Contender: Panache Convertible Wireless Sports Bra
Convertible Wireless Sports Bra

Available in sizes 30E to 36 H.

Of all the bras to test, my biggest reservations were with this style, simply due to its lack of underwire. I'm so used to always wearing an underwire that I'll only wear a sports bra without one if I can wear a second underneath. Very true story.

As it turns out, not only did I love this bra, I totally forgot I was wearing it at all. When I was taking my workout classes (a Spin class and couple days later a boxing class), it didn't occur to me for a second to fix a strap or tug on the fabric. The fit was exactly true to size, it stayed put, and allowed me to focus on my workout rather than anything else. Really, that's all I'm askin' for!

What Nordstrom customers say: 4.4/5, based on 353 reviews

What I say: 4.5/5 stars

Contender: Natori 'Yogi' Convertible Bra
'Yogi' Convertible Bra

Available in sizes 32A to 40G.

Initially I liked this bra because it looks the most similar to a crop top. A lot of the sports bra I own look a bit too intimates-like that I probably wouldn't wear it sans shirt, but this seemed perfect to go a bit more au naturel

However, I'm glad I kept my top on as the style runs a bit bigger than expected. While I thought the coverage was good, I would suggest you size down in this one for the most secure fit. Additionally, the straps were once again only partially adjustable, and only via hooks that slipped into slots along the straps of the bra. In other words: You need to get the right fit before you put the bra on, otherwise it would be nearly impossible to do it yourself. I learned this one the hard way.

What Nordstrom customers say: 4.4/5, based on 252 reviews

What I say: 3.8/5 stars

No one's more surprised than I am that my personal favorite of the bunch was a wireless sports bra, but overall I was very impressed by the options. They've been voted as some of the best sports bras for busty women for good reason—it's just a matter of personal fit (and perhaps personal preference, too).

If you can, order two sizes or try on bras in person first before committing to one in a high-intensity workout. And with that, I'm scheduling a much-needed massage.

Related Stories