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are sports bras supposed to be tight

It’s no secret that fit is the most important factor when it comes to finding the right bras. That’s especially true in regards to sports bras — and not just for comfort’s sake. Physical activity can put a lot of strain on your breasts, causing the tissue and ligaments that keep them perky to permanently stretch out over time. On top of that, an ill-fitting sports bra can impede your performance, whether you’re running, kickboxing, cycling or engaging in a different kind of sweat session altogether.

Many women assume that their sports bras are supposed to be significantly tighter than their regular bras in order to keep the breasts in check during high-impact exercises especially. The problem is that when a sports bra is too tight, it can prevent you from breathing properly during your workout, cause chafing and potentially hinder your performance. So, just how tight are sports bras supposed to be?

Here’s everything you need to know about fit when it comes to sports bras.

Signs of a too-tight sports bra

The straps should not be digging into your shoulders whatsoever. To ensure they’re not too tight, try to slip one or two fingers underneath them (but no more, or they’re likely too loose).

Take a look at the band from front to back, and observe whether or not it’s level or riding up (which indicates that it’s too small). Again, sliding one to two fingers between your skin and the underband will tell you whether it fits well.

If you can’t manage to fit them beneath the underband, you’ll know the bra is too tight, whereas having excess space to fit more fingers demonstrates that you need to size down. Keep in mind that the majority of the support in a sports bra is coming from the underband, so it should definitely feel slightly tighter than your normal bras.


Related Post: How To Choose The Right Sports Bra


Tips for finding the perfect fit

1.  Put it on properly

Slide the bra over your head or clasp the hook-and-eye closure, depending on the style. Then, scoop all of your breast tissue from the outside of the cups to the center of the bra.

2.  Check every feature

How does the elastic band feel? Is it cutting into your torso at all? Is all of your breast tissue contained inside of the cups? Or is it spilling out over the sides or the front of the sports bra? Do you feel comfortable overall, or like your movement and breathing may be restricted? Are the straps digging into your shoulders? These are just a few things to consider when assessing the fit of a sports bra.

3.  Put it to the test

There are a couple easy tests you can perform to determine whether your bra is too tight or too loose.

With your sports bra on, try clapping your hands over your head — if you notice that the band rides up on your torso, you’ll know it’s too small. Next, jump up and down in your sports bra to gauge the level of support. Your breasts shouldn’t move around excessively and should feel secure without being squashed down.

When in doubt, it’s always advisable to get professionally fitted. You may be surprised to find that you wear a different size in a sports bra than your other everyday bras. It’s also worth noting that encapsulated sports bras (with separated cups) are best for limiting movement of the breasts during exercise, thus helping to reduce the strain on the surrounding connective tissue that causes sagging.

More importantly, though, you should seek out a sports bra that is offered in the traditional band and cup sizes — in all likelihood, you won’t find a flawless fit in a style that only comes in small, medium and large sizing. The bottom line: Your sports bras should fit more snugly than your everyday bra, while still allowing you to breathe comfortably.


Related Post: Do You Wear A Bra Under Your Sports Bra?


We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!


Featured image:
Parfait Active Sports Bra P5541 in Claret Red

Published by

Rebecca Strong

Rebecca is a Boston-based freelance writer who focuses on style, fitness, food, and travel. She has contributed to such publications as HuffPost, Elite Daily and U.S. News & World Report. When she's not writing, she can be found at home or in the studio working on the songs for her upcoming album. Her favorite bra is a black demi-cup style with all-over-lace — timeless and feminine.

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