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How should I choose a sports bra?

Dr. Vonda Wright, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
There are many different types today, and just like you do with everyday bras, you should try them on and consider several features. A sports bra must not simply smash your breasts against your body. It must support your figure. While in the store, jump up and down, jog in place, raise and lower your arms. How does it feel? Are you still inside it? Is it comfortable? Does it dig into your skin or bind you up? Finally, fabric is important. Cotton generally stays wet and cold, so I would look toward the new synthetic blends. There are many high-tech fabrics that are capable of wicking moisture away from your body so that it will evaporate.
The right sports bra must be one that fits and one that is comfortable. You do not want to have to worry about cutting off circulation but you also want to make sure everything stay in place. Dr. Vonda Wright has given some excellent information for this question and will be very beneficial in selecting the appropriate sports bra.
One thing to keep in mind is the kind of activity you do: Is it high intensity with considerable vertical and/or horizontal movement of the breasts? If so, the ligaments that keep the breasts in place could be in peril without proper support. Everyday undergarments are not suited for the type of bouncing support needed from a sports bra.

You want to find a sports bra that helps make the movements of your upper body all one; you want no "rebound effect." Another aspect to keep in mind is comfortable straps: You want to make sure they are not going to slip off the shoulder during activity or become an uncomfortable nuisance. In addition, different types of compression and support are available depending upon the size of the breasts. Women with smaller breasts do not need as much compression or support, and women with larger breasts need significantly more support. (This answer provided for NATA by the Saint Louis University Athletic Training Education Program.)
Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
Several features are vital for a successful athletic/sports bra. After the development of the Dr.LinderBra for post-surgical and pregnancy, I have recently created my newest line in fitness wear, the LinderSport bra. The three main features of this athletic bra include UFS- underwire free support, no slip-ribbing design, and double layer compression with bidirectional stretch. After 2 years of development on fitness models, NPC physique trainers, and marathon runners, and placement of over 10,000 breast implants for both cosmetic and reconstructive purposes, the LinderSport bra has been perfected to meet the most rigorous training needs. The underwire free support is a patent pending band internally that holds the breast with comfortable compression and no underwire irritation. The no-slip ribbing along the back for support along the upper back. The double lined soft compression and breathability allows support and comfort for all forms of training and running. 
You want to find one that will fit well and support your breast tissue. The bra should be snug, but not too tight. You want to limit any excess motion of your breast tissue when exercising, but you do not want to limit your ability to breathe. You may need to be professionally fit for your regular bra size and also for a sports bra.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.