Sports bras; storied friend for the gym and the make or break accessory to a killer workout. Fast forward to 2020. The pandemic made shopping for them a whole new adventure. Trying on bras is difficult enough, but sports bras are a whole other can of worms depending on the type of workout you’re shopping for. With the dressing room days severely interrupted, if you’ve blankly stared at the screen wondering how something’s going to fit, you’re not alone.
While our shopping habits may have changed, the quest remains the same: to find the perfect fit. When shopping for a sports bra, a general rule of thumb is to use your bra size as a guide. There’s two surefire ways to shop: the right type of sports bra for your breast type or the right type of bra for the workout. If you’re a DD+, you already know the struggle. So how do you find one that doesn’t skimp on style, offers support, really fits you, and keeps the girls in place? Read on.
Sports Bra Sizing Guide
Let’s not beat around the bush on this one; finding your bra size is hard. Straps that dig into your side. Unsightly bulges. A boob bounce rate that blazes past calories burned per minute. We’ve all been there; you’re in a newly minted workout outfit, with an emboldened sense of kicking butt, but when it comes to functionality, your sports bra falls short.
Well, not all boobs are created equal and as women, the changes we may see in our lifetime—pregnancy, weight loss, and weight gain to name a few—can affect your cup size. And boobs that aren’t properly supported can move almost six inches. It’s estimated some 80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra. That’s a lot! What does that mean? More back pain, neck pain and ugh, chafing. A good sports bra can cut all that movement in half—for A and D cups— sparing the support structures in your boobs. Here’s three shortcuts to finding the appropriate fit:
Straps: Pinch the strap of the corresponding cup and pull. The less elasticity, the better. This means your breasts will be nestled in the cup appropriately, not bouncing around during kickboxing class.
Cups: Tug the top and bottom of each cup; the less give, the better. The more pliable your cups are, the more your breasts will move. When you try on your bra, there should be no spillage, side boob, or under boob—if there is, try going up a size. Next, reach your arms overhead; if the band creeps up, it’s too big. In both cases, pick a smaller size.
Bands: If you’re able to pull the strap more than an inch from your chest, this is a sign that the sports bra is too big. Go down a size. If you have a clasp closure, go down an eyelet and see how that feels.
Find Your Sports Bra Size – It’s Easy!
With a few simple measurements, you can find the best fitting sports bra in a few minutes. Start with a soft tape measure and ideally take these measurements while not wearing a bra or a non-padded, thin bra that does not alter the shape of your breasts in any way.
Step 1 – Rib Cage Measurement
Measure directly beneath your bust all the way around your ribcage. This will be your rib cage measurement which will be used to determine your band and cup size.
Step 2 – Find Your Band Size
Take your rib cage measurement from above and reference the chart below to get your band size.
|Rib Cage Measurement||Band Size|
|25" to 27"||30|
|27" to 29"||32|
|29" to 31"||34|
|31" to 33"||36|
|33" to 35"||38|
|35" to 37"||40|
|37" to 39"||42|
|39" to 41"||44|
Step 3 – Find Your Cup Size
For your cup size, measure around the fullest part of your bust (nipples are a good reference point) and record this as your bust size measurement. Next, subtract your ribcage measurement from step 1 with this bust measurement. Take the difference between the two (in inches) and reference the chart below.
|Bust Size Measurement Minus Rib Cage Measurement||Your Cup Size Is...|
Voilà, you have your cup size!
Find Your Fabletics Size
To figure out which Fabletics size is best for you, reference the chart below. Find your band size on the left column, your cup size across the top row and the meeting point will be the best size Fabletics bra for you.
This should help you get the perfect fit right away. Don’t worry if you don’t get it right the first time as returns and exchanges with Fabletics are free and easy!
Choosing a Sports Bra by Activity
We know you take your sweat sessions seriously; that’s why our sports bras are engineered from five different fabrics curated to elevate your workout, regardless of what activity you’re taking on.
|Support Level||Activities & Features||Our Picks|
|Low Impact Sports Bras|
Athleisure loyalists, we see you. Our low-impact line is buttery soft and pliable all the same, perfect for those deep yoga stretches and meditative states.
Low-impact bras have the least support and compression and are truly designed for those who like to do a quick transition from gym to brunch
Medium light compression, offering total range of motion.
Light in compression, lightweight and breathable.
|Medium Impact Sports Bras|
Adventure-seekers, we’ve got you. Whether it’s hiking, cycling or aerial yoga, our medium impact line is designed to mold to your body while delivering versatility.
Medium impact bras have a good amount of support and compression, while not crushing you too much. Still a great pick for workout to lunch.
Featuring mesh panels that foster breathability during workouts.
|High Impact Sports Bras|
Say goodbye to that perpetual tug on those favorite pair of cardio pants that were just that comfortable you didn’t want to ditch them.
Delivering both wicking and compression, Define is your new best friend when it comes to intense sweat sessions. And don’t forget to jog outside in style; they’re SPF 50+. Being protected never looked so good. High impact bras aren’t recommended to be worn all day, as they restrict movement, so pack a more comfortable top post-workout.
Multi-sport, moisture-wicking, max compression
Support that molds to the body while delivering versatility.
Compression vs. Encapsulation
Often mixed up, these two babies couldn’t be any more important when it comes to selecting the perfect sports bra.
If you’re on the more well-endowed side, opt for an encapsulation bra. Encapsulation bras separate the girls with individual cups, promoting ventilation and steering clear of that dreaded boob sweat. Encapsulation bras are the best bet to restrict side-to-side breast movement, which damages fragile breast tissue. Added bonus: sports bras with hook and eye closures and wide straps are your best friend for added support.
Best suited for more modest chests, a compression sports bra hugs you while minimizing movement in all directions. Compression bras restrict breast bounce too, but not as much as encapsulation does.
Sports Bra Strap Types
Adjustable – if you’re looking for a non-restrictive way to customize comfort and minimize chafing, opt for adjustable straps. Tighten them to deliver a more precise lift or loosen to get some breathing room.
Racerback – While not adjustable, racerback sports bras can deliver an optimal amount of compression, just make sure that it truly fits to minimize chafing. Whether its pullover style or a clasp-front, racerback bras are best for medium to high impact workouts.
Crisscross – If you’re looking for a more pliable style, a crisscross sports bra is your answer. Whether its Pilates, Yoga or Zumba, this bra moves with every twist and turn while providing ample support.
Wide – typically seen on high-impact bras for optimal support, these should not move more than one inch from your chest. If they do, the sports bra is too big.
Padding & Ventilation
While compression might not sound that comfortable, don’t knock it. You can still get sleek support with padding for extra lift on select bras. What’s more, you get some nip coverage while kicking butt. If you’re doing a vigorous activity like kickboxing, choose a sports bra with wicking material like lycra to keep you cool and dry in between sets.
Sports Bra Care
Wash the bra in cold water and use mild detergent. Hot water will make it shrink faster so avoid that at all costs. Lay flat or air dry. Throwing it in the dryer, even on a low cycle, can break down the delicate fibers like spandex or Lycra.
Post workout, make sure to change out of it quickly, especially following a good sweat session. Keeping a tight sports bra on is a breeding ground for bacteria, inducing chest acne, a rash and what’s more, body odor. Learn more with our product care guide.