What to consider when buying a sports bra for cycling
The right sports bra for cyclists can be a minefield…boobs, breasts, lady lumps whatever you choose to call them, breasts can be quite cumbersome for cyclists. A well-fitting sports bra can revolutionise your ride by offering adequate support, comfort and confidence. Whereas an ill-fitting bra can lead to all sorts of problems, including tenderness and back pain. But with online shopping and lingerie departments littered with various sizes, models, support and shock absorbing features, it can be tricky to navigate your way through all the numbers, cups and clasps!
Through much trial and error, and many miles of cycling, we’ve put together a handy buying guide to help keep your ‘chesticles’ in place, secure and comfortable.
First things first, it’s time to get measured. A floating statistic in the media states that around 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size, and if you only go for a refit once a year or less than that, then the chances are you’re wearing the wrong size. Bra fitters recommend getting a refit every six months, but more if you’re pregnant, or if you’ve experienced a significant change in weight. However, it’s not just pregnancy and weight that affects our size, but our hormone levels also play a vital role in our breast size.
So, before you go shopping for some chest support, make sure you get your bra size measured first!
Now you know your correct bra size, it’s time to consider what level of support you’re after as not all sports bras offer the same level of support or coverage.
Road cycling is a reasonably low impact sport on our breasts, but to be more comfortable, you may want to consider a sports bra with medium support. If you’re more of a mountain biker who hurtles down rough and rugged terrain, then you may be better off with a high-impact support bra. However, it isn’t just about the type of cycling you do, but the size of your breasts will also be a factor in choosing the right level of support.
If you have larger breasts, then you may be more comfortable with a high-impact sports bra, even if you’re primarily a road cyclist. Similarly, those with smaller breasts may be more comfortable with light to medium support, even for mountain biking.
Just like your everyday bras, sports bras also come in many different styles with the two most common being compression and encapsulation.
A compression sports bra is more typically a single piece which is pulled on over your head. Suited for small to medium breast sizes, compression sports bras do exactly that… compress! By squishing your breasts against your body until they resemble a uni-boob, the bounce movement is significantly reduced. However, unlike regular bras, you won’t fit bust and cup sizes for measurements, but rather a more simple sizing system of small, medium, large, and so on.
If you would prefer a dedicated cup for each boob, then an encapsulation style sports bra is what you’re after. This style is best suited for larger breasts and for those who prefer extra support.
Bras, sports or otherwise, are a very personal garment. Sizes and styles will vary between brands, and because you’re not shopping for a ‘normal’ bra, it’s essential to try-before-you-buy whenever possible.
In the changing room, away from judging eyes, it’s a great idea to test the comfort, support and flexibility by giving your boobs a bounce with little jumps on the spot. Also, try to lean forward into your riding position to see how the bra works for you. It’s at this point you’ll notice the armholes and straps, do they rub at the front of your armpits?
When it comes to the straps of a sports bra, the racer-back style is becoming increasingly popular as it offers a great range of movement. If you’re looking for a racer-back bra, consider where the clip is positioned behind your neck as they can cause discomfort after a few hours in the saddle.
Once you’ve found your perfect match that offers all the support of a quality sports bra, be sure to wash and care for it as per the instructions so you can get as many miles of out of it as possible!