I’m constantly looking for solid sports bras that can support larger breasts for running. My perfect sports bra will be comfortable, minimize bounce, prevent chafing, and not bring any unnecessary attention to that part of my body. My size has ranged from 34C to 34F (thanks, kids) and I’m currently rocking a 34D. Since May I’ve lost nearly 30 pounds, so bras that are adjustable on the shoulders as well as in the back are best. If that sounds like you, here are two bras worth the investment.
My absolute favorite running bra has been the Brooks Fiona since the time it was still the Moving Comfort Fiona. It’s a compression bra that has adjustable shoulder straps, making it well-suited for women who sometimes need a little support from time to time. My only recurring complaint about the older model is that after so many washes, when the rest of the bra is still in great shape, the soft stretchy band that goes around the rib cage and fastens in the back would start to get a little stiff and then cause chafing. It was nothing some BodyGlide couldn’t handle, but once a bra starts chafing it’s about time to switch it to the “only when nothing else is clean” pile.
So when I found myself sans suitcase on a trip this summer – a suitcase that contained my running clothes, one of my first stops was at a local running store that fortuitously had my size in the upgraded Fiona. Everything I loved about my favorite sports bra, with one noticeable change: the soft stretchy band had been replaced!
The old one – the one with what reliable sources call “the caterpillar” band – used to have ridges in the material, set about 5 millimeters apart (the white band shown on the bottom at left). It helped keep the band breathable, but it was the sole reason I had to retire sports bras. The new one, however, has a new band that is smooth but still breathable (the green band shown on the top at left). It’s super soft, and I’ve washed it at least weekly since early July, with no sign of any stiffness and thankfully, no chafing from that bra.
It’s my go-to long-run sports bra, and I love that it comes in a variety of colors, including two-tone designs. The Fiona has straps that go over the shoulder and straight down the back to the band, with a wide scoop in both front and back. The back clasp has three hook-and-eye closures, in three rows so you can pick the one that gives you the best fit. The new edition retained the adjustable shoulder straps, which can be shortened or lengthened with some soft velcro.
Another bra that I’ve gravitated towards recently is the Brooks Juno. The Juno is a different style than the Fiona; it has to be put on over the head and has an X-back plus three clasps, with three rows of those clasps to get the right fit. I have a Juno from the previous generation and just got the brand-new one, which, like the Fiona, maintains the good elements of the bra and includes a few minor improvements.
The most important thing to know about the Juno is that if you aren’t good at clasping the hook-and-eyes behind your back, you may need someone around to help you get in this bra. I actually learned a little trick from someone, though, that has made it possible for me to get dressed all by myself when I run immediately after work: The side of the bra that has the three rows of eye clasps can be folded back, so the row of clasps you’re aiming for is right on the fold and easier to grab with the hooks. I don’t want to tell you this is super-easy to do if you have a hard time reaching behind you, but I’ve never had to get help since I’ve learned this trick. Just remember to smooth the material back under the hooks to avoid any run from the hooks as you run.
That being said, the Juno is a combination compression/encapsulation bra. Each breast has it’s own assigned seat, but it’s not a “lift and separate” situation. I have found that it’s easiest to slide it on, pull the around-the-rib band into place, adjust the breast fit in the bra, and then do the hooks. Fortunately, once you’ve set the adjustable shoulder straps to the best length, they’ll stay put in the wash.
The best improvements the Juno are in the construction and material. The new Juno is slightly lighter and more streamlined than it’s predecessor, and the material is more breathable. The cups are lined with a material that has tiny dimples in it, so there’s less material sitting directly on the skin, keeping you cooler and more comfortable. These upgrades didn’t seem to require any sacrifice of support, and this bra has become my go to for tempo runs and what I consider speedwork. There is zero bounce when you’re wearing a properly-fit Juno.
For me, the Juno is not quite as comfortable as the Fiona to wear for more than a few hours, whereas there are days I wear the Fiona all day at work when I’m running a few miles at a park on my way home from work. If you want to try these bras out, I highly recommend you visit a local running store and try them on. If you are not as comfortable talking to complete strangers about your boobs (the way I apparently am), you can actually call the store and find out when their women’s buyer or a female sports bra specialist will be working. That’s the nice thing about locally-owned stores: they want you to be in the right gear. You’ll be able to try one on and go for a run around their building or down the block to see how it fits, so wear running gear when shopping for a sports bra.
If you are thinking your bra isn’t cutting it, I highly encourage you to try these out. Having a supportive, comfortable bra can make a huge difference in your training, your posture, and make even the hardest runs more enjoyable.