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How to Choose the Right Sports Bra

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Updated June 13, 2014

Joggers on the street
Suedhang/Cultura/Getty Images

Wearing the right sports bra is critical to your comfort, especially during long runs. Follow these steps to make sure you get the perfect one for you.

  1. It's important that you try on sports bras for fit and comfort, so try to do your shopping in person. Go to a running specialty store because they'll have high-impact sports bras that are designed especially for runners.

  2. For chafing prevention and comfort, look for moisture-wicking fabrics such as Coolmax and Drifit. Stay away from sports bras that are made of 100% cotton because once you start sweating, they’ll stay wet.

  3. If you have a large chest and need a lot of support, look for sports bras with wide shoulder straps and racer back straps.

  4. Examine the seams of the sports bras. You'll want seamless fabrics, seams with rolled edges, or covered seams to help prevent chafing.

  5. If you like bras with under wire, check that the under wire is completely covered so it will not gouge.

  6. Make sure you try on several different size sports bras. The right size for you may not actually be the cup size that you normally wear. The bra is too big if the material wrinkles or bunches. It should fit snugly but not constrict your breathing. And if the bra is cutting into your skin, then it's too small. If you can slide two fingers under the straps, then it's a good fit.

  7. When you try on sports bras, jog in place or do jumping jacks to test their support before you buy. While you're bouncing up and down, the bra should minimize breast movement.

  8. If you want to shop online, always look into the site's exchange and return policy. Titlenine.com has a good selection of bras and an excellent return policy, so you can return sports bras if they don't fit well.

  9. After you find the perfect sports bra, don't hold onto it forever! You should replace sports bras after about 72 washes, when the elasticity is lost, or if your weight changes significantly. You can air dry sports bras to prolong the life of the moisture-wicking fabrics.
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