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Three great sports bras for D-cup and larger

Anita DynamiXstar

Ta-ta! I mean, Ta-da! I have managed to find three amazing bras for those of you who sometimes consider your large chest to be a curse and not a blessing. All of these bras provide the right amount of support and compression for women with cup sizes D or larger (While testing these I went from a G-cup to an E/DD, thanks to baby #2 still nursing); they will work for you when running, walking, cycling, and the like. However, even though they are great as sports bras, I would like to point out that if you are nursing, you should only wear a sports bra when working out, because too much compression over time can cause clogged ducts and mastitis.

Brooks Fiona

The three bras I recommend for my big-breasted friends are, in alphabetical order by company: 1. Anita DynamiXstar Racerback Sports Bra - $69.99 2. Brooks Fiona Sports Bra - $50.00 (goes up to size 40DD) 3. She-Fit Ultimate Sports Bra - $59.99 I recommend that you try them on in-store if possible, somewhere that you can be properly fitted, because it may be that you need to go up in band size and down in cup size than what you thought to get the proper fit for the high-impact support demanded for runners.

She-Fit

The Anita bras can be found at most lingerie stores; Nordstrom carries the brand but they may have to order this bra for you. The Brooks Fiona can be found at nearly all specialty running and walking stores and I think I have seen them at REI as well. For the She-Fit bra, you will probably have to order them online, but if you follow their online measurement guide you should be fine because of the bra's adjustable features. She-Fit also has excellent customer service, and they offer easy and quick exchanges. Here's a short review on each of them, which all have a slightly different fit. Also, read the reviews on the company's website and their social media pages - just try to filter out the ones that are likely issues from not being properly fit. It's worth it to pay more for a good sports bra, I promise!

1. Anita DynamiXstar Racerback Sports Bra – This sports bra is made of very soft, supple materials but doesn’t have any sort of padding in the cups, so you may have issues with headlights. If that bothers you, you can always get a modesty pad or cup liner at a lingerie store such as Just Like a Woman in Portland. That’s where I bought my Anita sports bras; they do personal fitting and are a great locally-owned business that I love.

The bra goes on over your head (X-style racerback) and then you also need to fasten the hook-and-eye closures. This two-step process wasn’t as difficult to do on my own compared to other similar style bras I’ve owned. There are three rows of three hooks, so it’s easy to adjust the size around your ribcage. The racerback straps  attach not to the back of the strap, but on the sides just where the breast starts. This provides additional support from up-and-down bouncing in addition to the compression from the around-the-body strap. There is also vertical compression from the over-the-shoulder part of the X-style strap, which can be adjusted with three different slide hooks. The hook on the shoulders is a flat hook that slides in and is completely protected so it won’t chafe or scratch your skin. These hooks can be a little tedious to move, but once you have it fit properly you won’t need to move them unless you lose or gain weight (or, say, start or stop nursing).

The ribcage elastic band fits flat against the body, which I really like. This prevents the band from moving around and causing chafing. This is also a feature that makes it suitable for nursing moms when fit correctly – the bottom band doesn’t compress the breast tissue itself. The bra looks natural under a t-shirt and the combination of X-strap and back closure do a good job of holding in any bulging you may have if you wear a too-tight bra. The racerback style also allows you to wear it with a racerback tank without showing a ton of bra strap, which is something I always think looks funny.

The bra is well-made and after wearing it at least twice a week for at least nine months, mine show no signs of wear and the material is still comfortable. When I just got back to running after having my baby last March, I would add the Brooks Fiona on top of the Anita DynamiXstar for extra compression, but no longer need to do this as my breasts are less sensitive.

2. Brooks Fiona Sports Bra – While this bra only goes up to size 40DD, I felt that it fit the way I think a compression bra should fit when I was an E-cup. This bra was recently redesigned, and I have owned at least eight of the previous edition; this new design is slightly lighter and the material is smoother. This is my go-to for short runs and speed workouts and I think works wonderfully with the Būband if you want a little more bounce control. I prefer that NOTHING move in that region when I run, so the combination of the Brooks Fiona Sports Bra + Būband is always the first tech clothes to hit the dirty clothes bin and usually the motivation to wash said dirty clothes.

There are three rows of three hook-and-eye closures on the back, and the shoulder straps are adjustable on the front of the bra where they are threaded through the breast cup material. The straps are slightly padded and have a softer material on the inside. This allows the wearer to fine-tune both the ribcage band and the compression. The band that goes around your ribs is lower profile in this redesign and when fit properly, fits snugly under the breasts against your body to prevent chafing.

What I like best about this bra is that it makes me feel slimmer without being constrictive. I’ve worn sports bras that had to fit so tightly that it was harder to breathe; the Brooks Fiona Sports Bra doesn’t do this. Again, it comes down to getting the right fit, but it’s also such a lightweight bra that it’s easy to forget about it while running – no need to stop and adjust because of hot spots or slippage.

3. She-Fit Ultimate Sports Bra – When I first saw this bra, I thought it looked and felt like a lot to deal with. It’s heavier than most sports bras, and seems to have a lot more to fasten. But it is so soft, so supportive, and so reassuring when you have it on. The various fit points can be set and left, and because there are so many of them, the bra fits correctly in the cup, the shoulder, the back, and the band. It’s the comfy sweatshirt of bras.

What’s unique about this bra is that you order it according to your measurements and then it still offers a huge range for adjustment. This was perfect for me as I have lost at least six inches around my bust since having the baby; I could just pull it a little tighter and keep the lovely fit. If you look at the picture in this post, you can see that the back closure isn’t hook-and-eye, it’s a continuously-adjustable strap. The cups are lined for modesty, and the front zipper has two “pads” that keep the zipper from ever touching your skin. The shoulder straps are nice and wide, with a slight amount of padding, and the back straps don’t cut into your skin at all.

Even though I wear this bra running, sometimes I pack it for my post-run bra, it’s so amazing. This bra gets my vote every time I’m going on a short run followed by an activity when I won’t have the chance to change out of my running bra into a dry one; it’s that comfy.

And, bonus! I actually got a She-Fit for a friend who also just had a baby and is dealing with a G-cup. Here is Andrea H.’s reaction:

Let’s be honest – many, many moons have passed since I’ve donned a sports bra of any type. Pre-baby, I could buy the cheap 2-pack at Target and call it good once they showed wear and tear. Two rambunctious preschoolers and once baby later, those sports bras just don’t cut it.

My cup size has never really gone down since having babies and finding a sports bra that offers adequate support requires time to find the right fit and lots of money I’d rather be spending on other things. Because I am currently pretty busty, I had my doubts with the bra providing adequate support.  I found the adjustable straps gave support, limited bouncing and also helped with comfort.

My initial reaction to this bra was, “Who in their right mind would want a bra that required so much work to adjust and refit every time they put it on?” There’s the front hook and zip, the back cinch and the strap lift. Seriously?!? The good news: after one or two times of fitting and adjusting the bra to your comfort, it’s pretty slick. At some point, I’ll need to readjust the back cinch and straps, but for now it’s no more complicated than putting on a front-enclosing bra. I can get behind that. Instead of needing to buy a sports bra for every size, this bra will adjust to you as you lose weight/inches. It offers quality support and made of durable material.

 

About Kelly Barten (1114 Articles)
I started the Run Oregon blog in February 2007, because I felt like running in Oregon and SW Washington deserved more positive coverage. I also wanted to level the playing field so that small, non-profit races could compete with big events; and to support LOCAL race organizers. I'm a Creighton Bluejay (undergrad) and an Oregon Duck (Sports Marketing MBA), and I live in Tigard with my husband and two kids. My "real job" is working for an incredibly awesome math textbook company doing marketing and production.

2 Comments on Three great sports bras for D-cup and larger

  1. Kelly … you say to go to a shop to try them on…. any recommendations here in PDX? I am a 40D, or 42D… ( size changes according to manufacturer ) and am really looking for support with out that crushing feeling. I am doing three sprint Tri’s so I need a ‘quick dry’ sports bra that I can wear swim-bike run… any recommendations for locations to buy would be awesome !

  2. There are two that I can recommend: Just Like a Woman is at 6333 SW Macadam Ave #102 in Portland (John’s Landing) and Title 9 Sports at 1335 NW Kearney St, also in Portland (NW/Pearl). Quick-dry might be tricky, so go in with an open mind and ask also for materials that won’t chafe when wet. IT would also be a really good idea to have bodyglide at the ready for your exchanges! Expect to pay around $65 per bra. The good thing about these places is they will fit you. That’s a kind of weird experience if you’ve never done it – if you’re modest, just tell them youve never been fit for a bra before so you are modest. They will will generally hand you the bra (you can wear a robe during this part) and then you can turn your back to them and put it on, they will help you with the back clasps. then they will help you adjust the shoulder straps etc. If you are doing triathlons I would also look on tri message boards to see what other women might say. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

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