Choosing the Right Women's Full Figure Sports Bra

Allison Cooper
Full figured woman running on beach

No matter what size you are, it's important to find a sports bra that fits properly, if you want both comfort and support. For women of size, this may seem to be a bit more challenging, but a well-fitted sports bra needs to be an essential part of the full figured woman's workout 'equipment'.

Finding the Right Sports Bra Fit

When full figure sports bra fits right, it provides comfortable support that protects against back strain and damage that leads to irreversible breast sag. The key to a right fit is to make sure that you have the correct measurements to determine the bra size you need. Most full figured sports bras are sized the same as regular bras, so your measurements make it possible to find the right fit for your body.

Band

The band for your sports bra should fit a little snugger than that of your regular bra. With that said, it is also important that the band is not too tight. Choose a wide band that stretches with your body.

When trying on sports bras, take in a deep breath with the bra fastened to be sure you can easily breathe. Move around, stretch up and down to make sure the band doesn't climb to an uncomfortable position.

The band should stay in place when you move your arms over your head. If it does ride up, the band may be too loose or the straps may need to be adjusted. Adjust the straps and try again. If it still doesn't stay in place, try another size.

Sports Bra Cups

While full figured women look great showing plenty of curvaceous cleavage, when it comes to sports bras, it is important that your breasts fit completely and comfortably into the cups. Whether the cups have padding or not, no spillage should occur into other areas of the bra.

The fit should be smooth without puckers or wrinkles. If you choose an underwire style, the wire should rest below the breasts on your ribcage.

Straps

Poorly chosen bra straps can cause agony for the full-figured woman. You don't want to cut your workout short because straps are digging into your shoulders. To reduce this risk, find a bra with adjustable wide straps that stretch with you. Wider straps help to distribute weight to keep you comfortable and an adjustable fit allows for customization. Be sure the straps aren't too stretchy, so they will provide more motion control.

Sports Bra Options for Full Figures

Gone are the days of one style of sports bra! Now, designers have created many different styles, fit, and silhouettes for the many different shapes of women. Great options for full figured women include:

Compression Style

The compression style in sports bras highly resembles a shelf bra. It is great if you will be doing lower impact workouts and prefer a silhouette with maximum comfort.

  • Champion Mesh Vented Compression Sports Bra - This sports bra features a Silky Double Dry™ fabric that wicks sweat, keeping the wearer dry and comfortable. It comes in sizes 1X-4X and is priced around $30.
  • Sports by Cacique Convertible underwire Sports Bra - This is a great compression style bra for women who love underwire. Another great feature is that is comes in sizes 14-48DD, so the sizing is a bit more specific to your actual cup size. It is lightly padded and is highlighted with a tiny pop of color, falling into the $44-$54 price range depending on your size.

Encapsulation Style

The encapsulation style sports bra features individual cups for extra breast support. These are great for larger-breasted women and high impact workouts.

  • Elomi Energize underwire Sports Bra- This bra features a non-compression design that is super comfortable, breathable and perfect for working out and beyond. It comes in the colors black and nude and size 44DD-38HH. When purchasing this bra, be mindful of the very specific Elomi size conversion, as it is a bit different than your regular bras sizes. It can be purchased for just under $65.
  • Glamorise Sport Wirefree Bra - This bra is made specifically for full figured women. It is an especially great option for women who don't like an underwire. It features two cups made of breathable fabric and straps that adjust in the back for extra support. It comes in sizes 38B-48F and can be purchased for $45.

racerback Style

The racerback style is perfect is you hate messing with straps falling off of your shoulders, as the design anchors the straps in place with its t-strap shape in the back. This design provides extra support because it hugs the body very closely.

  • Sport by Cacique Racer Back Sports Bra (pictured) - One of this bra's great features is that the sides are adjustable, giving the wearer an even more personalized fit. Again, the sizing is more specific, coming in the 36C-46DDD range. It can be purchased for under $45.
  • Leading Lady Full Figure Sports Bra - Coming in black, white, gray, and a print pattern, this a great bra for optimum support. It is double-lined for extra modesty and is made from a comfortable cotton spandex. The sizes for Leading Lady are similar to regular bra sizing. This style is available in 36B-56G and is priced under $30.

Wide Strap Style

The wide strap style is helps to distribute weight evenly on your shoulders, a particularly important feature for women with larger breasts. This can improve comfort and minimize back strain.

  • Glamorise Double Layer Custom Control Sport Bra - This bra is such a wonderful option for the woman who loves a wide strap! The straps are adjustable and are made from a non-slip fabric. The support level of the motion control front panel can also be adjusted. It comes in sizes 34B-46G with a few neutral color options, and can be purchased for under $55.
  • Wacoal Sport underwire Bra - This bra is perfect for the gym and beyond, and designed for medium to high impact workouts. The straps are convertible, providing the ability to wear them crisscrossed or straight. This bra will help maintain lift and shape in your bust area while you are working out. It is available in sizes 32C-40H for $65.

Sports Bra Fabric Options

Another factor to consider when buying your sports bra is the fabric it's made from. Workouts and sports activities generate body moisture which can cause chaffing. Today, sports bras are available in a number of stay-dry fabrics, which are especially great for big breasted women since there will be more sweat gathering in the bust area. These absorbent fabrics keep you dry and comfortable as they wick away perspiration.

Some of the most popular fabrics include:

  • Supplex® Nylon/Lycra® Spandex
  • Cotton/Lycra® Spandex
  • CoolMax® Polyester/Lycra® Spandex
  • Polyester/Cotton/Lycra® Spandex
  • Polyester/Cotton

To retain the moisture-wicking properties of these special fabrics, don't dry your sports bra in the dryer but hang dry it. If by chance you must throw your bra into the dryer to dry, don't use a fabric softener sheet.

Colorful Sports Bra Trends

Because the fabrics sports bras are made from come in a wide array of colors, it is possible for sports bras to be made in beautiful colors and styles for full figured women, unlike the basic black fabric trend of the past. Don't be afraid to let your brightly colored sports bra strap peak out from your t-shirt at the gym. It just adds a fun pop of color to your workout gear!

Choosing the Right Women's Full Figure Sports Bra