Beating the Bra Chafe Bummer

Embracing some bizarre things just seems to come with the running territory – ice baths, anyone? One of the things I really can’t get behind, however, is under bra chafe. For a while I thought I was an aberration, the lone victim of a string of poor athletic wear choices.  What I used to think of as a proud byproduct from my first marathon though quickly turned into a frustrating training challenge.

Every time I think it’s gone away or I’ve DEFINITELY used enough Body Glide this time, I’ll run a little bit farther to discover it’s right where I left it –  reopened in the same spot in a perfectly mocking horizontal line directly underneath the elastic of my sports bra. At my wit’s end as to how to solve this, I asked the ladies of Run Oregon about it. To my amazement and delight not only was the outpouring quick and resounding, it yielded some pretty successful, not to mention creative, results.

So ladies, if you’re among those of us dealing with skin burn via sports bra, you’re most definitely not alone. We feel you – literally – and we’ve got some answers that will hopefully help.

Product Remedies

  • 2Toms – Highly recommended by our team, I personally haven’t tried it but my order is in the mail.  They have a product called Butt-Shield, so I feel like that’s something because if there’s anything worse than under-boob rub, it’s butt rub.
  • BodyGlide – As a veteran BodyGlide user, I can claim it works pretty well for me everywhere except underneath my sports bra.  Sidebar: I eyeroll at the recent gender-ing of their products – BodyGlide for Her?! c’mon people.  I’m pretty sure it’s the same exact thing as the original BodyGlide, just in a different (pink) package at a slightly higher price.
  • Vaseline – An oldie, but a goodie, this petroleum jelly standby is usually the staple handed out via popsicle stick at marathons and distance races, and there’s a reason.  The only problem I find with it is it generally needs reapplication.
  • Monistat – This one was new to me, but I’ve heard more than a few runners swear by it.  I’m still in the process of conducting trials for its effectiveness at beating under bra chafe.
  • Mission Athletes – Also new to me, but again it comes highly recommended.  This is on my list for testing as it promises 5 hour chafing protection (which might almost be enough for my marathon time!).
  • AquaphorAn all-purpose ointment in the style of Vaseline, I’ve used this with decent results and it’s been recommended to combine Aquaphor with BodyGlide for even better protection.

Clothing Hacks

  • The Double Down –  Like it sounds, double up your sports bras using the chafiest one as the outer-most layer.
  • The Inside-Out – This never would have occurred to me, but I tried layering a seamless running tank underneath my sports bra and my skin felt pretty good after about 10 miles.
  • The Top Shelf – Title Nine (for you Portlanders, there’s one in the Pearl) will fit you and recommend the right bra with the best fit to reduce chafing etc.
  • The Fool-Proof –  I’ve tried a lot of products and adjustments over the past few weeks, and I have yet to beat the combination of KT Tape with BodyGlide.  The process goes like this: I apply Neosporin to the affected skin , place gauze over it (if you don’t have an actual open wound at the time of application, skip this step ) and stretch the KT tape on top.  Once the KT tape is in place (I run it pretty much the entire width of my chest, for good measure) I coat the tape in Body Glide and then proceed with putting on my sports bra.  While it’s not a perfect solution, (the tape can slide and shift a bit, though I haven’t yet run far enough for that to be an actual issue) I’ve found this to be the most effective way to prevent further injury and it kept me happy and pain-free for 16 miles, which I consider a huge win.

Hate the chafe as much as we do? Help a sister out and let us know your go-to fix for under-bra blister abatement in the comments so we can compile an even more exhaustive list.

Here’s to running more comfortably!

7 Comments on Beating the Bra Chafe Bummer

  1. Jennifer // April 25, 2016 at 8:43 AM //

    I’ve used a combination of band aids and medical tape to cover key spots. Then I douse everything in extra strength goldbond powder!!! Usually works awesome.

  2. I am a new runner and recently encountered this. I picked up an “arm & Hammer” anti-Chaffee stick and am testing it out. I will try the ideas above too. Thanks!

  3. I Realize this is an older thread, but I came across it in a Google search. Thank U thank U thank U. I’ve read for about three or four hours now. This is the most comprehensive, interesting and best written review an offering of information for under sports bra chafing. I feel better already knowing that I can try some of these things. The chief thing is making me miserable. It’s quite manageable until the hot weather starts. I have tried simple things that I could think of on my own. Some of them helped for sure. I found wearing a cotton tank top under the bra work best. But I’m very interested to try the taping that is written about above.

  4. NL running // May 21, 2018 at 11:12 AM //

    I have found that body glide just doesn’t work for under bra strap right in the centre. I would like to be able to just run and not have to deal with painful blisters and scars. In the summer I have resorted to KT tape but even that can irritate after awhile. I have tried band aids (they slide off), body glide doesn’t seem to work for anything over 5km, medical tape and gauze (nope slides off too) hauled in the bra so tight you can hardly take a deep breath (still chafes plus can’t breath). Best so far is the KT tape, that stays put.

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