by Diane Spicer
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 so you can find sports bras for the trail hat 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.
And you know how much bouncing you endure when doing jumping jacks or other high intensity activity.
That's a good starting point when looking for the best sports bras for hiking the types of trails you prefer:
Yes, sometimes hiking is a high impact sport, depending upon which trails you pick.
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 bras from the 2 companies named below.
Two at a time is one too many!
To zero in on the perfect bra for the trail, pay attention to these factors:
Fun colors, icing on the cake ;)
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 so above bad puns.)
Who among us hiking women has not had an ill-fitting bra that makes us want to howl in frustration?
The most egregious sports bras are spotted by bad behaviors. Let's call out a few of them.
Old, worn out elastic is the culprit here.
Maybe too many cycles through a hot dryer, creating elasticity fatigue?
FYI, if chafing becomes a perennial problem around the contact areas of your sports bra and panties, try this anti-chafing product as a lubricant:
Try one cup size larger, or a style that is not as low cut.
Smooshing your breasts together is a bad idea, because it allows grime and sweat to accumulate against your skin, setting you up for nasty skin issues.
If you can see the outline of your bra when you take it off, your straps are too tight, or the band on the bra is worn out.
The worry here is that your circulation is being impeded, and as a hiker, you need all the fresh oxygenated blood you can get coursing through your circulatory system!
Also, if there is extra padding in the cup area, is it leaving pressure marks on you? You might prefer a different style.
Your breasts are unequal in size and you should be wearing a bra with adjustable straps, allowing for custom fitting on each breast.
Keep reading for suggestions on brands to try.
Also note that certain portions of your menstrual cycle will cause your breasts to swell, as will pregnancy.
The sports bras you wear at one time of the month may not fit well on other days.
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.
Ever have to strong arm your sports bra into peeling off your sweaty back?
There are certain styles of sports bras for hiking which will help you out of this dilemma.
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. Pick your poison.
Tip: Back closures are easier to get into and out of than front closures.
Every style is different :(
Read this for some recommendations, because these types of bras are hard to find.
Or maybe it's just that good ones are hard to find.
Those tips will give you an advantage in your search for sports bras for hiking.
You want to do business with companies that really know how to build a sports bra.
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.
Now isn't that exactly the right name for hiking women!
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. Why?
|Brooks Fiona Sports Bra | REI Co-op||
Update: Moving Comfort is now Brooks.
They still have in house design and testing, and I still use their sports bras.
But I miss the name :(
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.
It might take a few tries to find exactly the bra you need, but they certainly make it easy to get to what you need!
I get far too many emails from women who are robbing themselves of successful hiking because they are not comfortable with their body shape, age or condition.
If that happens to be you, here's a bit of heartfelt tough love:
You are a strong, capable and adventurous hiker.
Your body gives you the power to get on the trail, so don't let your mind tell you nasty stories about how you look as you hike.
Wow, look at that crazy hiker lady in that weird sports bra, said no tree, ever.
So here's what you're gonna do:
Find a bra that fits, wicks away your sweat, and holds your assets up and in comfortably.
Put it on, and forget about how you look so you can focus on more important things along the trail.
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 athletic bras for your hiking plans and other outdoor activities.
Sports Bras For Hiking
About the author
Diane is the founder of Hiking For Her.
She's been on a hiking trail somewhere in the world for 5+ decades & loves to share her best hiking tips right here.
All rights reserved.
Photo credits: All photos on this website were taken by David Midkiff or Diane Spicer except where noted.
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