Sports Bras for Large Busts: My Current Search

I work out almost every weekday morning, and with a 36 F chest, I can't do it with any old sports bra.  I'm always on the hunt for sports bras for large busts. While I don't regularly participate in high-impact exercise, I am 45 and gravity has visited this body and I need something that keeps things in place relatively well.  I did a large bust sports bra review earlier this year, but after writing this post about the highest rated bras for plus size women I wanted to try some new-to-me brands that you all really love.  I made an order at Bare Necessities of bras from brands I am not as familiar with.  I think it's more important than ever for us to stay strong physically and mentally so a sports bra may be a necessary purchase right now.  

Spoiler alert, I didn't keep any of the bras below.  But that doesn't mean they aren't good bras.  The more brands I try the more I realize that just like denim brands, bras are designed for a certain shape of breast and/or body frame.  Just as we all don't have the same shape of rear or hip to waist ratio, we all don't have the same shape of breasts.  I'm sharing views from a variety of angles in hopes it will help you compare your shape to mine and what was a miss for me may be a hit for your fabulous figure!

Sports Bras for Large Busts: Hits and Misses

Anita Momentum High Impact Underwire Sports Bra – 36F

Alison wearing a silvery gray sports bra

I swore by Anita bras when I was nursing.  Once I got back to work, I wanted bras that worked like traditional bras, lifting and separating, but also making it easy to not just nurse but pump. Anita offered that, while also having profiles that hid even under fitted knits.  I tried one Anita sports bra before and it was a miss, but thought maybe it was the style not the brand that didn't work for me.  This bra has over 100 reviews with a 4.5/5 star rating so I felt it was a good one to try. 

This is a great bra… but not for high-impact workouts.  In fact, I think this would be a great everyday bra.  However, it did nothing for me, I found I had more jiggle in this than my favorite everyday bras.  I also like a sports bra that looks enough like a traditional sports bra that I can wear a top that shows some of it under the arms or in back, or that I could even remove my top and not look half-naked.  While this fabric is space-agey with the metallic dots, it looks very much like a traditional bra. That being said, I seem to be in the minority.  Many LOVE this bra, finding it very supportive.  So it's a miss for me, but if you have firmer or slightly smaller breasts or are looking for a comfy everyday bra that is moisture-wicking and breathable, this could be the right bra for you! 

Pour Moi Energy Convertible High Impact Underwire Sports Bra – 36E

This bra looked super cool on the Bare Necessities site. While only seven reviews, almost all of them are five-star discussing how it keeps everything in place. The size chart suggested that I should order an E since this is a UK brand so I did.  It comes in several colors, I liked the black/lime combo, and felt it looked like a bra I could wear on its own and not look half-dressed.

I often write about how bras don't just have to be the right size, but the right style for your current body.  And my 30-year old body would have LOVED this bra.  But since then, I have gained 15 years in life, had a baby, nursed it for over two years, went up to a 16/18, down to a 10/12 and have hovered in between since and my breasts are just not as firm as they used to be. So the bra looks good in the photos, but it's not terribly practical for my current breasts.  If I did push-ups I think I may slip out a bit because it's not structured enough.  The underwires are floating in space between my breasts, accomplishing little. The straps are too stretchy to prevent bounce.  It's a bra that looks great but doesn't really perform great for my breasts.  Sadly, a miss.

Elomi Energise High Impact Underwire Sports Bra – 36F

This was the first bra from the mix that made me realize that it's not me, it's the shape of the bra.  And I am in no way shaped like the fit model for Elomi.  I had tried Elomi before and it was a fail, but not until I put this Elomi bra on did I realize it was the shape and location of the cups, not that it is necessarily a bad bra or bra brand. 

The way the cups are structured and are located on the bra, it squishes the top of my breasts and pushes them down. I think this bra is designed for someone with a longer torso and lower breasts, and breasts that are more… bullet-like while mine start all the way in my armpits and higher on my chest. That being said, this is a comfortable bra similar to a traditional day bra but from moisture-wicking fabric that is rigid enough for support during cardio and a clip in the back to convert it to racerback.  So it's a miss for me, but the bra itself is not a miss.

Glamorise High Impact Underwire Sports Bra – 36DD

To be honest, I don't recall why I bought a 36DD.  I wear a 36F in Fantasie and Bare Necessities suggested I get a 36G.  Maybe I clicked the wrong thing?  I don't know but I do know that a 36G would have been too big.

For the previous bra, a reviewer stated that bra, “…was a little too projected for me, with some emptiness in the apex of the cup.” I read it and thought they were writing about this bra from Glamorise.  It's not a bad bra at all, but clearly my bust isn't shaped the same as the fit model.  If it seemed the same shape as me I'd exchange for a different size because it's supportive without being constricting, looks sports bra-y enough for it to peek out from a tank top, and designed to really support and hold a large bust, even one that has been affected by life and gravity.  So a miss for me, but worth checking out!

Glamorise Elite Custom Control Underwire Sports Bra – 36F

I really wanted to order this just to comprehend the front support aspect of this bra.  I couldn't fully figure it out from the images on the Bare Necessities website, and the reviews didn't really explain it well enough for me either. It looked like a nursing bra with the clips in front for access which didn't make sense.  But when I got it, I got it. See below.

Like sports bras and swimsuits that have little tubes on the straps to adjust the length, this has the tubes in front to adjust the support and compression.  The higher up, the more compression and support.  And with it right up in front, it's easy to access while wearing the bra.  This would also be a great bra for those with different breast sizes because you can better customize. 

Glamorise Elite Custom Control Underwire Sports Bra

This is a really effective sports bra!  The only reason I didn't keep it?  There are five hooks on the back.  I get the need for five hooks, but I truly could not get it closed.  I tried three different days and I just could not get all five without pulling a muscle.  Karl had to put my bra on for me to do this shoot.  It's easier if you disconnect the whole front before you put it on, but my arms are too short or I am just not flexible for this bra.  If it had four straps, somehow I am able to manage that and would have kept it.  It's well made, well designed, innovative, looks good (comes in a variety of prints and colors) and otherwise a hit.  But unfortunately, as stated at the top, this like the rest were a miss and returned.

Sports Bras for Large Busts That I Own and Like

I'm not going to leave this with a bunch of fails.  There are some sports bras I own and really enjoy:

  • My current sports bra I wear more than any other is the “Sonic” by Freya.  While my original activewear post from this year featured it at Nordstrom, it's no longer available at that retailer.  However, I found plenty of sizes and color choices at Bare Necessities, HerRoom, and Figleaves.
  • I also love the “Epic” from Freya which is sold out in many places but I found a few at HerRoom
  • I have the High Impact from Wacoal and like it for activities that are less bouncy (good for elliptical, not as good for running).  It's not a molded cup so you will have “headlights” if that bothers you.  I have occasionally dealt with the straps disconnecting in back, but that may just be because it's time to replace it, I don't recall it being such an issue when it was new.
  • I also have the High Impact Convertible from Wacoal and it's similar to the High Impact in bounciness and headlights, but has never loosened on the straps for me and looks more traditional if you do take off your top or wear a string tank.
  • I've tried a few from Cacique, you can read my Cacique sports bras review. I haven't mastered my sizing yet with Cacique, once I do I will likely enjoy their sports bras more.  They are well made and a good pricepoint but I've found I may want to size down in the cup. I was thinking of trying this one next.

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23 Comments

  1. Paula Spizziri
    April 9, 2020 / 8:17 am

    Have you heard of or tried Shefit? I bought one of their bras at a running expo and get their emails. I like the company’s culture. Would be interested to see what you think about the bra. I like it but don’t wear it a lot b/c it seems overkill most of the time.

    • April 9, 2020 / 8:46 am

      I did get one. I didn’t like it. Like you said, it’s overkill and I don’t think it supports any better than easier bras that are more comfortable and less bulky.

  2. JC
    March 27, 2020 / 10:06 am

    I’ve had success with Champion sports bras. They are comfortable, support me and do not hurt my shoulders. My only criticism, by the time I need another bra they’ve stopped offering the model I purchased. I don’t know why they stop selling particular styles so quickly. So I do own a few.

    Prices range from 35 to 68 USD.

    I don’t know the policy for links, but Champion has its own website and is sold at lots of retailers (e.g. Macys, Kohls, etc.)

    • March 29, 2020 / 10:45 am

      Thank you for this suggestion, I haven’t tried Champion in a while!

  3. Lisa
    March 26, 2020 / 2:02 pm

    Sounds like you and I are similarly shape up top. I swear by Lynx for running. It’s a women-owned company. The cross-back is easy to get on, pretty easy to fasten (one hook). And I
    unfastened, it is still enough support for medium impact. Finally, it lifts the girls up! http://www.lynxsportswear.com/mobile/Product.aspx?ProductCode=60001

    • March 29, 2020 / 10:44 am

      Thank you for this suggestion, Lisa!

  4. Kate
    March 26, 2020 / 12:08 pm

    Not sure how easily available it is in the US (but their website references US distributors and has a US press enquiry email address): Panache is a UK brand that is available in other countries e.g. France, Canada, Australia, NZ etc where it can be purchased from specialty lingerie stores. Their bras go up to a J or sometimes K cup and their sports bras are the best I have ever worn – from when I was an H cup post partum to my current E/F cup. I swear by this bra which is sometimes known as the Panache Superbra https://www.panache-lingerie.com/us/shop/product/sports-full-cup/colour-black — added bonus I have discovered is that the plain black version can be worn as a crop under more revealing or plunging necklines – because the outer layer looks like matte black jersey it functions like a tank but without the bulk of an extra layer.

    • spacegeek
      March 26, 2020 / 1:05 pm

      The Panache underwire sports bra is MY FAVORITE. I have 4 of them. The J hook is great for running or other high impact sports. BareNecessities and Figleaves carries them.

      • Val
        March 29, 2020 / 10:40 am

        I have to also give a shoutout to Panache – I’m a 36G and have tried almost everything out there, but there is nothing like Panache!! I’m currently trying the Glamorise bra you tried on – I like it and basically bought it because it was lower in price – should have stuck with Panache!! I see lots of advertising for the KNIX bras, underwear, etc- wondering if you’ve tried them? Thanks for the great review Allie!

        • March 29, 2020 / 10:44 am

          I got the Knix bra and for a month I thought it was the greatest thing ever. But it stretched out big time. Like after a few weeks it had stretched about an inch in the strap length and the bust had stretched out. I had the same issue with their underwear; it just didn’t hold up long enough even if I washed gentle in a lingerie bag and line dried. Good concept and shape but the fabric just can’t survive multiple wears, getting warm, getting sweaty.

          And I’ve had fails with Panache but I think it’s size not the brand. I need to figure out my size with Panache because I always end up with a band too tight or cups too big.

  5. k-t
    March 26, 2020 / 11:25 am

    Thank you for your reviews! It is so difficult to find a supportive and presentable sports bra for larger cup sizes.

    I’m a 32G in my everyday bras. I size up to a 34 band for sports bras. I am borderline petite with a high bust line. Still searching for the holy grail of cute and supportive, but have a few to recommend.

    1 – Brooks Juno in 34F. This size is hard to find, but I can sometimes find it on Zappos or the Brooks site. Cups are adjustable in the front with velcro. The velcro actually is strong enough, surprisingly. Three hooks in the back. Traditional racerback styling. Not very many colors, sadly. What I am wearing right now, as I try to find the motivation to go for a run.

    2 – Lululemon Enlite and Enlite Weave in 34E. I have mixed feelings about these. They seem to be really inconsistent, as I’ve ordered some in the same size and couldn’t close them. The hooks and eyes are also really flush and difficult to hook. I find if I fold the eye side so that the eyes stick out, it is a little easier. But I work up a sweat getting this hooked. But once it is on, it doesn’t give me side boob and is strong enough for running. And these are incredibly expensive.

    3 – Athleta Hyperfocused D-DD (I wear the M) is good for barre class, walking, and other low-impact activities like lounging around the house. I have found that keep the pads in gives it a little more support as well as modesty.

    • March 29, 2020 / 10:45 am

      Thank you so much for these suggestions!

  6. Lee
    March 26, 2020 / 9:27 am

    I am a 36DD and have gained and lost enough weight over the years that I have a good deal of sag (I’m 54). My go-to continues to be New Balance’s Shockingly Unshocking Sports Bra. They’ve changed it a bit over the years, but it continues to fit, flatter and give me good support. Plus it’s often on-sale on amazon or other sites.

    • March 26, 2020 / 10:47 am

      I need to try both New Balance and Brooks, there have been so many positive reviews. Next post, thank you for the reminder, Lee!

  7. Amy MK
    March 26, 2020 / 9:26 am

    Thanks so much for this post, Alison. Your ‘review’ posts are always so thorough and thoughtful; I love it when a new one pops up! I so appreciate the time and effort you clearly spend on these for our benefit. I actually JUST pushed ‘complete order’ with Soma because of your past reviews!

    And now a blogger business question for you: I used your older post of $15 Bra Sale to enter their site. Is this worth doing – meaning will you still receive some sort of compensation for it? 😉

    • March 26, 2020 / 10:48 am

      Thank you Amy! And as for affiliate links, yep click on any link on my site for that retailer, even if it’s not what you’re buying and it will have a “cookie” in it where I will make a commission off what you purchase. Thank you for considering this, I really appreciate it!

  8. Bette
    March 26, 2020 / 9:19 am

    I agree with Anna. Great post, and why do large busted bras have skinny straps?!

    • March 26, 2020 / 10:49 am

      It’s so weird! Skinny stretchy straps, they make zero sense! I have to say it’s one reason why I respect Soma, though I know they’re not the right fit for all. They seem to get it and offer a lot of styles with thicker straps especially at the shoulder and they seem to use fit models in a variety of ages.

  9. Anna
    March 26, 2020 / 7:07 am

    Thanks for this useful post, Alison.

    Will someone please explain to me why most bras for large busts have skinny straps that cut into the shoulders? This is a significant design flaw. What are the designers thinking? Skinny ribbon straps are for A and B cups (maybe C, even). Full-figure bras with wide comfortable straps are pitifully rare.

    • Lainey
      March 26, 2020 / 10:33 am

      Thanks for this post! I am only a C cup (but a nursed- two-babies C cup, not a perky 25-year-old C cup :-), and I find that very few sports bras provide the support I want for running. I think a couple of these options may work for my shape. (But also, how aren’t there a greater number of supportive high-impact options that don’t totally break the bank out there for even a C cup?)

      • March 26, 2020 / 10:46 am

        Check out Cacique, Lainey, if you haven’t already. Their sports bras are under $50 and several are under $40 and they often have sales. They start at 36C https://bit.ly/3aiyl6l

    • March 26, 2020 / 10:50 am

      They’re likely using 20-something models and are picked by men, LOL. I don’t get it at all!

      • Paula Spizziri
        April 9, 2020 / 11:51 am

        Thanks!

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