As my quest for personal fitness has progressed, I have done more and more research on how to excel. I ask friends, I subscribe to Runner’s World, I read fitness blogs, I follow the fitness twitterati, and I do a lot of internet searches for things like “best jog bra.”Embed from Getty Images
Based on this extensive and, umm, totally scientific research it was clear with p-value < 0.0001 that I was running in the wrong bra. My my single stretch panel, mesh T-back bras that I had stocked up on in an array of colors at ~$30 a pop were woefully inadequate for my 34Ds, status post 26 months of breast feeding (totaled across 2 offspring).
So, when the running bra pundits led me to brands that start at more than $50 (for an undergarment, whoa!) I had a hard time. The child-of-immigrants in me just could not justify replacing them–they weren’t damaged in any way and technically they fit still fit me. They just weren’t meeting for my goal of running without bouncy boobs, which of course is a phenomenon that has been scientifically proven to cause back pain and slow running speed.
Also, I just hate trying on bras; too much work. Embed from Getty Images
Recently, however, there was a 30% off sale on bras at a local running store I happened to wander into. Being a girl who loves a sale, I took it as a sign that I had to finally try on all the high end, super support offering brands that I had been hesitant to try. So after over an hour trying on multiple styles from 3 brands (including Moving Comfort, Shock Absorber, and CW-X) I was ready to make some decisions.
I quickly ruled out underwire; I have never exercised in underwire (in fact, I don’t even take call or operate in underwire–for me underwire is strictly limited to casual days and fashionista moments) and nothing about these high end bras changed my mind. Bras without any closure mechanism were quickly booted to the discard pile as well; it turns out that the more support these bras provide the more torture it is to get them on and off (my hate of trying on bras was reproduced thus supporting the initial data). Finally, I just can’t get on board with molded cups; I get that they render a more flattering shape for the ‘girls’ but I hate how they feel and quite frankly I don’t really care if the girls are flattered while I work out because its not like the sweat and scrunched up looks of pain are flattering anyway.
I ultimately settled on the Shock Absorber Jog Bra. [NB: The US manufacturer website is totally sketchy compared to the Canadian and all of the European sites and only has black and white where as the other sites have other colors.] Given the sale and the fact that I had not seen the brand elsewhere, I bought one in black and one in white. The manufacturer’s description is below
See that, it is all about the science!
I have worn my Shock Absorber now for running indoors and out, for barre, for zumba, and for pilates. First, with the hooks and clip in the back it can be fully open and thus a breeze to put on. Not having to suffocate myself to get ready for a workout, booyah! Second, despite my admonishing effect on the breast shape as a selection criterion, this style is definitely an upgrade in that regard as there are separate, fanned out, two-ply panels for each side creating a more traditional feminine silhouette. However, despite the two layers, this is not going to provide the modesty, especially on a chilly morning with a thin run top or in a cool workout studio with a tank, that bras with molded cups provide but I don’t really care about that. Who’s looking anyway!? Finally, the bras do have some reflective seems and the marketing suggests the bra could be worn alone but I am definitely not there yet with the rest of my physique.
In terms of performance, the straps are soft, though not padded, with many levels of adjustment so there is no digging what so ever into the shoulders or the back. Also the closure on the back leaves the scapulae free to move. The 2 hook lower closure and plastic clip for the t-back promote a good posture which is super helpful during barre classes. The support is very firm, without being uncomfortable so there is no bounce whatsoever during both zumba and running. I really just feel so much more well supported without feeling restricted. Importantly, there is no chafing even after 10 mile runs. The only problem I had was that the hardware on the back was uncomfortable on the reformer when laying flat but one does not need industrial support for pilates, so shame on me!
Honestly, I am so annoyed at myself for ignoring the science and waiting so long to do this. I mean, I get evolution and global warming so I just don’t know what my mental block was with this particular facet of getting my running groove on.
I learned early on that wearing the wrong clothes (ouch the chafe!) or the wrong sneakers (back pain, jaw pain, neck pain!) could really sabotage any running aspirations I might have. But, I totally underestimated the bouncy boobs effect. I guess since I didn’t know better I just tolerated these bras that provided little support other than compression into a uniboob. I liked this one so much that a found a color not listed by the manufacturer on Amazon and got a third in fuchsia/highlighter yellow [curiously, the same photoshopped runner below appears in the Amazon third-party seller sites in a few more colors]. I highly recommend this for anyone in the mid-30s C-D range look to say goodbye to bouncy boobs.