It might seem odd to get a sports bra with underwire, but they are actually one of the best options if you have larger breasts and are looking for a good amount of support when running, or doing other high impact sport. Sports bras tend to get most of their support from compression which isn’t always the most comfortable or best option for larger cup sizes. This is where underwire can be a great alternative. Not only can it provide support but it can also help avoid the dreaded sports bra uni-boob that is common with sports bras and give you a nice rounded shape.
We have rounded up some of the best underwire sports that are comfortable, supportive and can handle a great workout.
Wacoal Women’s Underwire Sport Bra
This is isn’t the most attractive looking sports bra, but it is by far one of the most popular. As with many sports bra designs (with underwire), the underwire is on the outside of the bra. This design is what helps to give it such great support and makes it so comfortable to wear when exercising. There is very little chance of the wires poking into your skin and it really helps to contain the breast, so there is very little movement when you are exercising. Women with larger breasts love this design because of the amount of support that it gives. It also helps to separate the breast so you don’t have to worry about uni-boob. The other things to note about this design are that it is triple hook-and-eye closure at the back, and the material of the body of the bra is a moisture wicking blend of 80% Nylon/ 20% Spandex/Elastane to help absorb sweat. It also has two-ply fabric cups and with a floating underwire frame. The biggest cups sizes G and H have an inner sling to help provide extra support.
Available from Macy’s
Panache Women’s Underwire Sports Bra
This is a very popular, heavy duty sports bra that has been designed for full busted women who are doing high-impact sports. If you are worried about bounce, it can reduce it by around 83% which is pretty impressive. It is a little on the pricey side, but it is very high quality and should last quite a while. It has 2 layers, both using a wicking material to help with sweating. The underwire is metal, not plastic like some of the other options and is wrapped in silicone and sewn between fabric layers for comfort. You can switch it to a racerback option, to get more support for running or high impact activities. The body of the bra is made of a lightweight microfiber fabric blend of 48% Polyamide/38% Polyester/14% Elastane, with mesh panels to help the skin breathe. This Panache design comes in a good range of sizes, as well as lots of different colors options to choose from. This bra doesn’t compress the breasts like a lot of sports bras, but rather encapsulates them to lift and help give them better support. The seams are flat and the shape of the bra is very smooth, so it won’t show through your clothes.
Available from BareNecessities.com
Natori Women’s Cotton Underwire Sports Bra
This bra has been around for a while and has quite a loyal following. This Natori design isn’t lined but it is made of slightly heavier 2-ply cotton blend (55% Cotton, 35% Polyester,10% Spandex), so it doesn’t need the lining. It also has small extra support panels on the sides and underwire. This bra is generally regarded as being comfortable and supportive while doing moderate impact sports, so it’s probably not the best option for high impact. The straps are nice and thick, so they won’t cut into your shoulders. One small issue with this bra is that the straps may fall out of the back hooks, so some users end up sewing them into place.
Available from Amazon
Champion Women’s Double Dry Distance Underwire Sports Bra
This is another great option if you are looking for good support, but without compression for high impact activities. This design has molded 3 layer cups for lift and separation. The molded cup also means no show-through. This bra is designed to stop bounce and help minimize sweating since it uses a limited moisture wicking stretch fabric.
Playtex Women’s Play Outgoer Underwire Lightly Lined Sports Bra
This is a full coverage, low impact, very comfortable sports bra. This isn’t a great choice for anything high impact. The straps are nice and wide to help prevent them from digging into your shoulders. The cups are made with soft, breathable, wicking fabric that help add to the overall comfort of the bra. The cups also have a bit of padding so it is unlikely you will get much show-through with this Playtex bra.
Available from Amazon
Glamorise Women’s Plus Size High Impact Underwire Sport Bra
Glamorise is a brand that specializes in bras for full figured women. They have a couple of styles that have an underwire, this one being the more popular one. This is a very supportive bra that gives a nice shape, especially for large busts. It has regular comfortable straps that adjust with no option to switch to racerback. It also has a 5 row hook and eye closure, which is a great feature for large sizes. The cups are not padded, although they do offer a good amount of coverage. If you are prone to showing through bras, you may want to avoid this one. The fabric is a blend of 47% Nylon, 39% Polyester, 14% Elastane, this fabric blend has moisture wicking properties to help keep you cool and dry when you are working out.
Available from Amazon
Elomi Women’s Plus-Size Energise Underwire Sport Bra
This sports bra from Elomi is another great option for larger cup sizes. Elomi is a brand that is owned by Wacoal that is designed for fuller figured women. This sports bra design is made from 94% Polyamide, 6% Elastane, so it has a sturdy and kind of tight feel to it, but is still able to wick moisture from the skin. The cup is divided into three sections to give a nice shape as well as support and separation without the feeling of compression. The straps can be converted into a racerback, if you prefer that strap style. One thing to note about this design is the coverage goes quite high so if you are wearing a lower cut/V-neck shirt the bra may be visible.
Available from Nordstrom
Freya Women’s Active Underwire Molded Sports Bra
Freya has a few great options for underwire sports bras. This design is comfortable and gives you the option to switch to a racerback for more support. People love it because it gives you a nice shape, good support and it lifts and separates well. The material on the cups has some stretch to it so you get a bit of a compression feel so you can avoid the bounce if you are doing high impact. The molded cups seem to stop most women from showing through. It is made from a moisture-wicking fabric in the inner part of the bra that also has antibacterial fabric technology to help stop odors.
Available from BareNecessities.com
SYROKAN Women’s High Impact Workout Running Powerback Support Underwire Sports Bra
The SYROKAN Women’s High Impact Workout Running Powerback Support Underwire Sports Bra is very similar to the much loved but now discontinued Champion Powerback bra. It is an inexpensive, but very good sports bra, especially for running. It is able to separate and holds everything in place well. Some people find it a little difficult to get on and you might get some show through with this bra, but overall it is a great underwire sports bra.
Available from Amazon
Why you should Always Wear a Sports Bra When Exercising
When you exercise and are doing high impact activities it is important to have proper breast support or you may lose firmness and possibly damage your breasts. When the connective tissue that holds the shape of your breast together moves up and down, ligaments can become elongated, causing the loss of elasticity and in some cases stretch marks. Wearing properly fitted sports bras can help reduce some of these effects
Finding the right size
Sports bra sizing can be a challenge. Most companies will have a sizing chart (with measurements) on their website that you should check out, especially if they are using international sizing and not U.S. If you aren’t sure how a bra is going to fit, look for bras that have adjustable straps and hook and eye adjustable back closures. An easy way to test if your bra is fitting well is to jump up and down or run on the spot. That will give you an indication of much bounce you will have when wearing the bra. You should also make sure the bra isn’t rubbing into your under arm area, shoulders or ribcage, since this will become especially unbearable if you are exercising.
Why have Underwire in your Sports Bra
Underwire can be beneficial in a sports bra for the same reasons it works so well in a regular bra: shape and support. Most sports bras work by compressing your breasts into your chest, this can be good to help prevent bounce for smaller cup sizes, but it doesn’t always work well for larger sizes.
Features to Look for
Fabric- For a sports bra, it is important that it is made of a fabric that will wick any moisture or sweat away from your skin and help keep you comfortable. Most bras that are marketed as ‘Sports’ bras will have wicking fabrics.
Straps- Getting a design that has adjustable straps is a good thing to have especially to help you get the right fit. Most of the wired sports bras do have adjustable straps. Adjustable straps are also great if you want to change the amount of support you need for either a high impact or low impact workout. You should look for straps that won’t dig into your skin, but that will give you a lot of support. You don’t want to have too much stretch in your straps, so you can avoid having a lot of bounce when you are moving. If you wear a large cup, wider straps will obviously be more comfortable that thin straps and will help support the weight. You can also look for crisscross, tank top or racerback style of strap if you need more support.
The Underwire – In the sports bras listed above the underwire for most of the different designs is generally thin and comfortable. When working out, you don’t want the underwire to feel too tight or to dig into your skin. Only buy an underwire sports bra if it feels comfortable and supportive. The benefit of underwire in a sports bra is that it supports each breast individually and can help to minimize movement.
Band: A lot of the support in a bra comes from the band. If you are looking for a lot of support, look for designs that have a wider band. When you are checking the fit, the band should be snug around your ribcage, but loose enough to be able to fit two fingers between the band and your ribcage.
Cup: One of the best things about having underwire in your sports bra is that it gives you a well-proportioned round shape. If you don’t like showing through, look for cups that are lined or padded. Some of the cups are made of a thick material, but are not lined so there is a decent chance they won’t give enough coverage for some people.
Support: One of the most important things about a sports bra is the amount of support that it will give. When trying out different bras, you can jump up and down or run on the spot. Look to see how much bounce or movement side to side is happening, obviously if the breasts are moving too much you need a different style.
Back closure: While most sports bras are pulled on over your head, some have a back closure with hooks. In addition to being easier to get on and off, this type of sports bra allows you to further adjust the fit.
You are supposed to hand wash most bras especially if they have an underwire, if you don’t hand wash the wires will probably pop out at some point and they won’t last as long. Hand washing is a pain, but if you want your wired bras to last it is a necessary evil especially when some of these bras cost $50 +. If you absolutely don’t want to hand wash your bras use a delicate or hand wash cycle on your machine.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully you have been able to find an underwire sports bra that suits your needs. If you don’t like any of the underwire bras listed and you have large breasts, you may want to look at the very popular Enell Sports Bra, it isn’t underwire, but a lot of people really like it.