What’s Best for Your Chest

The New York Times posted in their Well blog today that a bunch of Australian scientists have made huge strides in sports bra technology, concluding that the ideal support would both lift and compress. Their final solution had foam pads to do the lifting, which you don’t see on sports bras very often (although I don’t see why you couldn’t add them yourself). The bra isn’t going to be available for sale anytime soon, but it’s a new idea that I will definitely try out once they hit the market.

But I thought I’d throw in some plugs for a couple of my favorite bras and bra-makers while we’re on the subject.

My favorite sports bra in the history of ever is the Everlast seamless bra. It’s basically the most comfortable bra I’ve ever owned, sports or otherwise, and it supports like a champ. Not that I am, uh, prodigiously gifted, but if you, like me, can buy your bras off the rack at department stores and you don’t have to go to one of those specialty retailers where everything costs a hundred bucks, you will probably like these just as much as I do. I’ve paid twice as much money for bras that I like about 25% as much as I like this one.

Breathability is a key feature for me – when I work out, I sweat like nobody I’ve ever seen. I am not a sweaty person out in the world, and I never got particularly sweaty from working out before I started boxing, but these days it is not unusual for me to finish a workout looking like I’ve just gone for a swim in my clothes. Gross, right? But it’s just something I have to live with. At least nobody can accuse me of slacking off. Anyway, having a bra that doesn’t hold in extra sweat is a very, very good thing, and I’ve never had anything else that breathes half as well, not even the stuff that claims to have special wicking powers.

You can buy this bra online from Everlast, but they turn up in a lot of chain department stores and outlets, too, so you don’t have to pay the ridiculously overinflated shipping charges that all the major boxing retailers seem to like to do. (In fact, they’re $12.99 at Sears right now.) I got mine at the Loehmann’s on 17th and 7th, but I’m pretty sure they don’t have them there anymore because I went back and bought everything they had in stock once I realized what an awesome bra it was. (By the way, do not confuse them with the Racerback bra – this model is okay, and it’s the one that’s approved by USA Boxing, but it is nowhere near as durable or comfortable as the seamless ones.) Note that this bra looks small on the hanger but they are very stretchy, so stick to the sports bra size you’d normally get and if it varies for you, err small.

I’ve actually had incredible luck with Everlast products, to the point where the other day I found myself in head-to-toe Everlast apart from my t-shirt and socks, right down to my handwraps and brand-new sparring gloves, and I felt like Garth shilling for Reebok:

It's like people only do stuff because they get paid. (Note: I did not get paid.)

It's like people only do stuff because they get paid. (Note: I did not get paid.)

I’ve also got a couple of Champion reversible bras that are pretty excellent. They don’t breathe as well as the Everlast ones, but they compress a little bit better. They’re also cute, if you care about cute. (Personally, since nobody ever sees mine outside of the locker room, and I mostly don’t care what I look like at the gym anyway, the cuteness is really only something I appreciate for about 10 seconds at a time when I’m putting it on in the morning or folding it up after I’ve done laundry, but the makers of this bra should know that it did not go unnoticed.)

For those of you with more generous assets than I have, there’s one word in sports bra technology, which you probably already know but I’m telling you anyway: Enell. The company’s founder is from my hometown, so I’ve been hearing about their products since the company was founded back in the early 90s. I’ve never been bigger than a D cup, even when I was 50 pounds heavier (and I’m a B or C now), so it’s not something I’ve ever tried myself, but numerous friends of mine swear by Enell – including a whole lot of people who’ve never even HEARD of my hometown. If you’re looking to start working out seriously but you’re well-endowed and afraid chestal discomfort is going to be an issue, invest in one of these bras.

Have you got a favorite sports bra, or a specific need you’d like an ideal bra to address? Get it off your chest (ha! You see what I did there?) in the comments.

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One Response to What’s Best for Your Chest

  1. Liza T says:

    Thanks for this! I’ve been wearing a few crappy Gap “sports bras” for years now. Talk about uni-boob (not that I really care when I’m being active, but it gets seriously uncomfortable after a while). I’m always terrified about buying bras, so this advice is greatly appreciated.

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