The best sports bras for hiking provide support, feel comfortable against your skin, wick away your perspiration, dry quickly and don't bind, smoosh or chafe.
And you thought finding the perfect spouse was hard??
Read on for tips to find sports bras for hiking that won't make you curse or weep (all bets are off regarding the spouse).
Remember when you were 12, wondering just exactly what was going on with your chest?
By now, you've grown into your full complement of cleavage.
Which means you have an idea of what size bra you need.
That's a good starting point when looking for the best sports bras for hiking the types of trails you prefer (low impact all the way up to you've gotta be kidding!!).
But be forewarned that sports bras are a different beast altogether.
Please don't pick them solely on color or cleavage enhancement, because they need to stand up to grime and sweat without bugging you or abrading your skin - something your work-a-day bras are never asked to do for you.
And if I were you, I'd never wear underwire bras on the trail.
If you feel that you need to wear 2 sports bras simultaneously to get the support and fit you need, I would challenge you to try on the 2 companies named below.
To zero in on the best sports bra for hiking, pay attention to these factors:
Now that you have a rough idea of the type of sports bra you're seeking, it's time to get more specific about fit.
(I am tempted to write "Don't have a fit about fit, 'cuz sports bras keep you fit", but I am above bad puns.)
Who among us hiking women has not had an ill-fitting bra that makes us want to howl in frustration?
Ill-fitting sports bras are spotted by bad behaviors, such as:
Chafing: Old worn out elastic will do this to you; replace your sports bras every year or so if you use them regularly. FYI: If chafing is a perennial problem around your sports bra or thighs, try this anti-chafing product:
Cup runneth over: Try one cup size larger, or a style that is not as low cut. Smooshing your breasts together allows grime and sweat to accumulate against your skin, setting you up for nasty skin issues.
Deep pressure marks on your shoulders: Your straps are too tight, or the band on the bra is worn out. Maybe both?
Excess material in one cup: Your breasts are unequal in size and you should be wearing a bra with adjustable straps, allowing for custom fitting on each breast.
Migrating bands: Older bras lose their elasticity in the band, allowing what I call the "creep & roll". Or it could be that your straps are pulling the band up.
Consider a new bra, or play around with the amount of tension you've dialed into your straps.
Hard to get on & off: Racerback bras will let you whip them off and on quickly, even when you're sweaty and tired.
Hook and eye, or velcro, closures will slow you down a little, but also allow for band adjustments.
Plus size hiking sports bras: Read this for some recommendations, because these types of bras are hard to find.
You want to do business with companies that really know how to build a sports bra.
Tip: To get good performance out of a sports bra, avoid the cheapie versions that give little to no support and wear out after a few months of soaking up sweat.
Invest in hiking success!
There are 2 companies that I use over and over again, and have no hesitation recommending to you.
MOVING COMFORT (exactly the right name for hikers!)
Moving Comfort has lots of options, allowing you to pick a bra that accommodates your cup size along with modesty and support preferences.
The style I prefer for hiking is this one. It's easy to get in and out of, it has adequate support and full coverage, and the straps are wide enough to protect my shoulders from pack abrasion.
Update: Moving Comfort is now Brooks. They still have in house design and testing, and I still use their sports bras.
TITLE NINE (a reference to women's sports inclusive policies in the U.S.) provides great "how to buy a sports bra" tutorials.
Their clever punning (much better than mine; "bust musts", for example) is entertaining and takes the edge off what could be a struggle to find the perfect hiking sports bra.
It might take a few tries to find exactly the bra you need, but they certainly make it easy!
If you've got questions, I've got answers.
Drop me a line and I'd be happy to help you on your quest for the best sports bras for your hiking plans and other outdoor activities.
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