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5 Ways to Prevent Sports Bra Chafing

I was recently tagged in an Insta post focusing on sports bra chafing (the poor girl!) The list of women commenting proved what I already knew; many women suffer sports bra chafe and are desperate for a solution!

Anyone who has suffered sports bra chafe will know it is uncomfortable at best and painful at worst. With severe cases stopping you in your tracks. Not good!

The following list will hopefully give you the solution you have been looking for.

Ways to prevent sports bra chafe.

  • Wear the correct sports bra size and fit.
  • Wear the right impact sports bra.
  • Wear the correct style sports bra.
  • Ultra-packs and other accessories.
  • Try anti-chafe products.

Let’s take a closer look at each if these in turn.

Read on!

Ways to Prevent Sports Bra Chafe.

It is said that an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. And for sports bra chafing this is certainly true.

Preventing sports bra chafe is no easy task. And with the advent of ultra-sports the problem for many women may seem as something that goes with the territory.

This is not the case. Work though my list and get yourself best prepared to kick sports bra chafing to the kerb once and for all.

Wear the correct sports bra size and fit.

These are the two most important elements to get right. If you are wearing the wrong size or your sports bra doesn’t fit, then it is game over before you begin.

The best sports bra in the world won’t stop chafe if you and it are moving around all over the place. All that movement = a whole lot of rub!

Finding the right size is a task in itself. Luckily for you I have made it easy. Simply go to my Determine Your Size page and enter a couple of quick measurements. My bra size calculator will do the rest.

Fit is another tricky one. We are all different and as such sports bras fit us all differently. If you have the right size sports bra you are halfway there. Check out my article ‘10 Common Fitting Problems & How to Solve Them’ to complete the other half.

Wear the right impact sports bra.

This is an important piece of the no-chafe puzzle. It brings a tear to my eye when I see a woman running in a strappy crop 😥 All that bounce can not only cause chafe but also possible long term breast damage.

To keep chafing under control you need to keep the girls under control. Wearing a high impact sports bra will help keep the girls locked in place.

Minimal movement reduces the chance of rub. Keep the girls under control and your chafing too.

Wear the correct style sports bra.

Just like impact level the style of your sports bra can affect your chance of chafing. When selecting a style of sports bra, you should consider the following.

Underwired or wirefree?

Many women get chafing from their underwire. This can be solved by correct fitting cups (see size advice above). If this does not solve the issue, then try wire free cups. Take the underwire away and fingers crossed you take the problem away.

Modern designs put wire free on par (or slightly above!) with underwired in terms of support. So, give wire free a go, your breasts will thank you.

Band size and structure.

Look for a sports bra with a firm, wide, seam free under band. It is common for sports bras to chafe around the band. This is most commonly due to the band being too loose (and thus moving) but can also be caused by unnecessary seams or an unpadded clasp at the back.

Look for a style with a wide, seam free band that has adequate padding under the back clasp. It should fit comfortably tight to prevent it moving. And yes, you need a clasp back as it allows you to adjust the band as it stretches over time. Again, no crops people!

Cup size and structure.

Just like the band, incorrect cup sizing can also cause chafe. Cups too small and your breasts can spill out or even worse squash together (and rub!). Cups too big and we are back to breast movement causing rub. Refer to my size advice above and make sure you are wearing the correct cup size.

Another common rub area is between the breasts. Many crop style bras compress or ‘squash’ the breasts together. A prime cause of breast chafe!

Look for a sports bra with structured cups that ‘encapsulate’ each breast individually. This separation of the breasts will reduce the chance of the breasts rubbing against each other.

Beyond this, look for soft, seam free cups.

Shoulder straps.

 Shoulder straps are another (less common) chafe point. Once again due to unnecessary movement.

Make sure they are correctly adjusted before every wear. If you still find they rub, then try a different back style. Racerback sports bras hold the straps closer to the shoulders which can reduce strap movement.

Go for a lightweight style.

Sweat and rub often go hand in hand and Australia is a hot place. As such, consider a lightweight, moisture wicking style.

Many modern sports bras are made from technical fabrics that help wick moisture away from the skin. Helping to keep you dry. You may pay a little more, but the extra investment is worth the money if it helps keep chafe at bay.

Ultra-packs and other accessories.

The rise and rise of ultra-running has created another sports bra chafe problem. With longer running comes accessories. Many women now where ultra-backpacks, hydration packs or race vests. Running the distances involved is enough to create a chafe problem without adding the packs on top!

These packs can put pressure on your back, squash your breasts together and create excess sweat (the nemesis of chafe). If you do wear a pack, make sure it fits you correctly. It shouldn’t put any undue pressure on your body.

Most issues I have seen in relation to packs are caused by the sports bra and not the pack. If you follow all my point above, you will greatly reduce the chance of chafe caused by your pack. If not, then see the next point.

Try anti-chafe products.

If all fails. And yes, occasionally it will. Then it is time to turn to anti-chafe products. There is an extensive range of anti-chafe products on the market. From balms to butters and everything in between there is a product that should help you.

I can’t personally make any recommendations but a chat with friends or a quick search should point you in the right direction.

My Final Thoughts.

As you can see there is rarely one single solution to prevent sports bra chafe (if there is for you, lucky you!). A combination of solutions is commonly needed.

Take the time to work through my list one point at a time. It may be tedious, but your breasts will thank you.

If you decide you need a new sports bra then use my Sports Bra Finder to find the perfect sports bra for you. If you need help or advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Yours in support.

Amy x

Amy Jaffers

Amy is the face behind Sports Bras Direct, Australia’s largest sports bra website. She's a mother of two, outdoors lover and sports bra expert. Her life mission is to help active women get the support they need as well as assisting women in need through her charitable donations.

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