Quest for the Perfect Sports Bra

Vixen_PurpleWhile most will argue that shoes are the most important piece of equipment for running success, there’s one other critical piece of apparel for female runners.

Whether you’re a charter member of the IBTC (Itty Bitty Titty Committee) or rockin’ the other end of the spectrum, you shouldn’t overlook the importance of a good sports bra. For high impact activities, especially running, your girls need a little TLC and a lot of support.

Why Your Girls Need Support

While comfort is one benefit of a good sports bra, there are also important health benefits to properly outfitting your girls.

Regardless of your bust size, your breasts bounce in all directions, moving in a nearly figure-8 shape when you run. Because your breasts don’t contain any muscle to counterbalance the impact of bouncing, improper support can lead to soreness and pain. Over time, the tender skin and ligaments near the breast begin to break down and cause sagging.

Sports bras are designed to absorb the shock exerted on your breasts with each step you take. Studies have shown a woman’s breasts can move a vertical distance of up to eight inches during exercise. Yikes – that’s a lot of bouncing going on!

As a mom who watched her breasts change shape and size through two pregnancies and two years of nursing, I can tell you that my girls aren’t as perky as they used to be. I want to do everything in my power to further prevent the effects of gravity!

someecards.com - Congratulations on having a valid excuse for your sagging breasts and expanding hips.

Time to Go Shopping!

While I was pregnant and nursing I didn’t want to invest a lot of money in new sports bras, so I just doubled up and went on my merry way. But after weaning Monkey, I decided it was time to invest in new bras. Truth be told, my old sports bras were WAY past their expiration date and practically begging to R.I.P.

I was ready to treat my girls, but now I faced another dilemma. Which sports bra was best for my post-baby, 30-something body?

In the past I really didn’t give much thought to fit or features. I’d just pick up whatever was on the sale rack at TJ Maxx and give it a go. But I kept hearing rave reviews about Moving Comfort, the Cadillac of sports bras. Could all the chatter really be true? I decided to find out for myself.

The Fitting Process

Fleet Feet Kingsport carries Moving Comfort, so I contacted the owner, Phil Horner, to see if I could check out the selection. Phil graciously agreed to help my cause and suggested I come in for a fitting with Stephanie, the awesome store manager. I’d never been fitted for a sports bra before, so I immediately set up an appointment.

FittingWheelThe fitting itself was really quick and easy. Stephanie did two measurements: one directly under my breasts and one over the broadest part of my chest. The results: 29 under my breasts and 33 over the bust. She then used a handy little sizing wheel to tell me I was an A/B cup and size small.

Yep, in less than two weeks I went from a full C-cup to a barely B-cup. Bye bye dairy farm, hello runner’s dream!

Encapsulation Bras

After the fitting, we started looking at the selection of high impact bras for small A/B cups. If you’re a little bustier, fear not. Moving Comfort has a wide selection of high impact bras designed for C/D and larger with adjustable straps and hooks so you can find the perfect fit. Many of the A/B bras don’t have these adjustments, which was fine by me. I want as few moving parts as possible to minimize the risk of chafing!

One of Moving Comfort’s key features is built-in, soft cups. Studies have shown that encapsulation bras, with separately molded cups, provide the most support. While compression bras only limit up-and-down motion during exercise, encapsulation bras limit movement in all directions.

I’ll admit I was a little skeptical. I’ve always gone old school with smash & dash compression bras. But I’m not the young lass I once was, and I thought the cups might give my girls the extra support and lift they really need.

I immediately honed in on this beauty: Moving Comfort’s Vixen A/B bra.

Vixen_Rack

As soon as I tried on the Vixen, I was in LOVE. It was super comfortable, supportive without being too tight (a girl’s gotta breathe!), and sporting a flattering V-cut. The cups definitely give shape – no more uni-boob!

Vixen_Front&Back

I tried on a few other models, but the Vixen fit best. The real question was whether it would perform outside the dressing room on the roads and trails!

When I got home from Fleet Feet, there was a package waiting for me on the front porch. I found a great deal on a Moving Comfort Interval Tank online and thought I’d give it a try. I love tanks with built-in bras but haven’t had much luck finding one that is supportive enough for running.

IntervalTank

I was excited to test out these two purple beauties over several runs in the hot summer temps to see if they lived up to their reputation.

Check out the full review and report!

Fleet Feet Kingsport provided the Moving Comfort Vixen A/B sports bra at no cost. I was provided no other compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

FF_logo_horiz

Have you ever been fitted for a sports bra? Have you tried Moving Comfort?

46 thoughts on “Quest for the Perfect Sports Bra

  1. Over the years I have gone from a c cup to a G! Having twins definitely changed “the girls.” For years I wore a bra underneath a compression bra when I ran, but Moving Comfort has been my bra of choice for a long time. It’s the only one that keeps movement to a minimum.
    Martha recently posted…Hating On the PlaysuitMy Profile

    • Yikes, a regular bra underneath a sports bra sounds very uncomfortable! Thanks for sharing your Moving Comfort experience with us! It’s helpful to get a true perspective from a member of the BBB (Big Busted Beauties).

  2. omg i didnt know this: “Over time, the tender skin and ligaments near the breast begin to break down and cause sagging.” as a proud and longtime member of the IBTC, I’ve barely put two thoughts into my sports bras. its def time to reevaluate!! I never even thought of getting fitted. obviously, ive been doing it wrong. im going to have to check out the vixen!! and im psyched for your review of the tank, i love built in bras.
    Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness recently posted…It’s Time For Another Birthday Ode!My Profile

    • As a fellow member of the IBTC, I never gave much thought to sports bra selection either, so it was really interesting to read about the importance of proper support for ALL sizes. Smaller breasts move just as much as larger breasts during exercise, so it’s important to take care of your girls no matter what size you are!

    • If you can find a running store or other retailer that carries Moving Comfort, I recommend going in for a fitting and then trying on a bunch of different styles to see what fits your body best. While I’m definitely a member of the IBTC, I’ve heard rave reviews about Moving Comfort from members of the BBB (Big Busted Beauties).

    • I highly recommend going to the Moving Comfort store and trying on different bras to see which ones fit best. One thing I really like about Moving Comfort is that each bra is labeled with impact level for each size. For example, some bras are labeled as high impact for A/B and medium impact for C/D. They’ve really done a good job remembering that women come in all shapes and sizes. Once you find a bra you like, you can do some comparison shopping and find some good deals!

  3. I’ve been wearing moving comfort sport bras for awhile. They are hands down the best bras for a larger cup. I’m a 32DD. It’s challenging to find regular bras in that size much less a sports bra that has a band that fits and adequate compression. The encapsulated cups provide a ton of support and the band fits! My current favorite is the Juno which is a high impact bra. Hope your experience with moving comfort is great, too!

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting Rachel. It’s great to have another testimony from the BBB (Big Busted Beauties)! Spoiler alert – I’m going to talk in-depth about the encapsulated cups and band in my review on Friday. All I can say is LOVE!

    • Hi Rachel,
      I stumbled onto this blog site and when I came across your comment, I really wanted to jump in. As a 34DD bra gal, I never felt happy with the sports bras that were out there and so went on a quest to develop my own. After a few years of research and development I launched my business Sturdy Girl Sports that is focused on band/cup sized, high-impact sports bras that are beautiful and also technically advanced. My bras include encapsulation and compression with an additional emphasis on “hiding the headlights”. I sell quite a lot in 32DD and so wanted to reach out and invite you to check out my line. If you like what you see, please drop me an email and I’ll send you a discount code so you can try one. http://www.sturdygirlsports.com and you can send an email to hilary@sturdygirlsports.com. I am happy to offer a discount to any first time gal who wants to give my bras a try!

  4. This is an area in which I am admittedly lazy in life. I know I should have a better sports bra or two, but frankly, I’d rather put my time and focus elsewhere. I’ve also come to live in a nursing bra or two (which isn’t even an “official nursing bra”) and it works just fine for hiking and yoga.

    When I return full time to running, for sure, a new sports bra will be in need. However, by then (say 2 years) how much will have changed? Ah, the joys of people making improvements for our “girls.”
    Wendy @ New Moms Talk recently posted…DIY Baby Wipes and Solution RevisitedMy Profile

    • I was also lazy – and quite frankly cheap – when it came to sports bras until just recently. After weaning Monkey, my breasts found their new normal, which is quite a bit smaller and definitely not as perky as before. As I started ramping up my running mileage, I noticed that my old, worn out, and now too big sports bras just weren’t cutting it. And the cheap bras were really chafing and tearing up my skin. So I decided it was time to get serious about properly outfitting the girls!

    • When I was pregnant with my first, I was totally unprepared for the BIG changes to my chest. I was even less prepared for the HUGE changes when my milk came in and during nursing. I think there is untapped market potential when it comes to quality sports bras for active & fit breastfeeding moms. I know you can find nursing sports bras at maternity stores, but for the more serious athlete, I don’t think there are a lot of options. Most of the women I know just doubled up while nursing. Let me know if you find a good Moving Comfort bra that meets all of your nursing needs too! Good luck!

  5. Great post! I always just assume that since I am a member of the IBTC I don’t have to worry about a real “support” sports bra because they’re really not going anywhere anyway. Plus – Target is my go-to spot for inexpensive sports bras. I’ll definitely give the girls a little more attention next time I’m shopping for one.
    Sara @ Fit.Fun.Femme. recently posted…Wordless WednesdayMy Profile

    • I hear ya Sara! I was definitely the same way until recently, but reading the studies out there made me realize how important proper support is for all sizes. I used to wear the Champion Compression Bras, but they started rubbing me the wrong way. Literally.

  6. Very cute styles and colors. I’ll be interested to see how you like them.

    I will admit I always just go with Champion brand from Target. I have just about nothing up top, so I always feel like that’s sufficient, but maybe not after reading this!
    misszippy recently posted…Do you have an aerobic base?My Profile

    • Stay tuned for the full report on Friday! I used to wear the Champion bras too, but then they started chafing me and leaving ugly red marks. I’m not sure if it was the fit or the polyester/spandex blend, but it no longer agreed with me!

    • Thanks Nellie! Yes, you can definitely get away with a less supportive bra for some activities. When I’m cycling or lifting, I’m not as concerned about bounce, but I still like to be comfortable. If my toosh is going to get super sore in the saddle, at least my girls are still happy!

  7. This looks like a great bra. I run in Target Sports Bras – not the best choice. I rationalize it because I’m small chested. I am due for a few good ones. Thank you for the heads up on this brand.
    Ilene recently posted…The WallMy Profile

  8. I never thought that I could actually be damaging my teeny tinys. I’m a little fuller since I’m nursing but not much. I’ve never tried Moving Comfort bras but I do have one with cups and I think it’s more comfortable. I really like the colors of the Vixen and the back is awesome!
    Marie Oliveira recently posted…My favorite thing about being a momMy Profile

    • It sounds like most members of the IBTC think the same way, but we should all do a better job of supporting our girls! I love Moving Comfort’s color combos and patterns – they have a great selection!

  9. Sounds like a great sports bra. I think we have one of those stores out here and I have never been fitted for a sports bra, love the idea of that! Although, at what point during this breastfeeding process do I begin to settle on a bra size? Thanks for the post! :)
    Rosi recently posted…Workout #15  Bridal Boot Camp SeriesMy Profile

    • Definitely give your body some time to adjust to nursing before you shop for new sports bras. You will likely get much bigger when your milk first comes in, but after your supply stabilizes and your body adjusts to nursing, you’ll settle into a less engorged state/size! Once you wean your baby, your body will change again, and then it’s time for more shopping!

  10. I don’t have too much trouble with sports bras – I’m a huge Champion from Target fan. But, I love that Vixen bra (especially the little detail in the back).
    And, I’m not sure why, but when I wear the little tanks (even with the built-ins) I still wear a sports bra.
    Kim recently posted…StrugglingMy Profile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge