Sports Bra Fitting Essentials – Part 3: The Cups

11/03/2021

sports-bra-fitting-the-cup-landscape

So, where has that three weeks gone? Can you believe we are already up to the final part of my three part ‘Sports Bra Fitting Essentials’ series? Last week we looked at Sports Bra Fitting Essentials – Part 2: The Band. That’s now straps, and band done and dusted. Leaving only the cups to examine to finish our trilogy. Thus ensuring you have the perfect fitting sports bra.

This final pillar is just as important as the other two. And as we know, successfully accomplish all three pillars and you have reached sports bra fitting nirvana!

Read on to discover how to get perfect fitting sports bra cups.

Types of Sports Bra Cups

Before we dive straight into how to perfectly fit your cup it is important to understand the three sports bra cup types. Each type will fit you slightly differently and feel different when on.

The three types of sports bra cups are.

  1. Compression

As the name suggests, these cups ‘compress’ your breasts against your chest. Holding them against your body to limit movement.

These sports bras do not have individual cups to separate and hold your breasts but rather simply ‘squash’ (not the nicest word!) the girls. This can lead to the dreaded mono-boob. Especially for those of us with a bit more up top.

Most compression style sports bras do not offer a high level of support. They are nearly always wirefree. And they are often only suitable for A-D cups. With some brands making specific DD-E cup styles.

  1. Encapsulation

These sports bra cups are designed to ‘encapsulate’ or enclose each breast individually. Much like your everyday bra.

Given that each breast is enclosed individually they give a much more natural shape to the breasts as compared to compression styles. This natural look is preferred by many women for its aesthetics. No more mono-boob!

As each breast is held individually, the support offered by encapsulation bras can be much greater. They come in both underwired and wirefree designs. And many styles support a much greater cup range – A to K cups.

  1. Compression and Encapsulation

This style is simple to understand. It is a combination of the two other styles and offers the benefits of both. Each breast is ‘encapsulated’ separately with the added support benefit of also ‘compressing’ your breasts against your body.

This combination of ‘compression’ and ‘encapsulation’ often gives you the highest support combination. Very often you will find the highest support bras have this cup type.

Once again, they come in wirefree and underwired designs. And accommodate a wide range of cup sizes.

How Your Sports Bra Cups Should Fit

The simple answer is your cups should be perfectly full. Every part of your cups should contain your breasts fully.

There should not be any ‘empty’ spots. Or any areas of bagginess or loose material. This indicates your cup is too big.

Furthermore, your cups should not ‘overflow’. All you breast tissue should be contained, not spilling out the top, bottom or side. If it does your cups may be too small.

Adjusting Your Sports Bra Cups

Unlike your shoulder straps and band, you cannot physically tighten or loosen your cups. Tightening your shoulder straps will pull your cups up. But you shouldn’t do this just to adjust your cups as it may cause fitting problems elsewhere.

The best you can do is to position your breasts correctly inside your cups. How you ask? Simple, after you have put your sports bra on lean forward. Then using your right-hand,  place it inside the left cup, towards the side and back. Next gently adjust your breast tissue forward and up. This should get all your breast tissue inside the cup and ensure the best possible fit. Do the opposite breast and repeat if necessary.

Common Signs of a Poor Fitting Sports Bra Cups

Let us look at the common signs and solutions to a poor fitting cup.

  1. Your Cups Feel Too Roomy. Your breasts should not be able to move around inside your cups. All your breast tissue should be supported. If they feel too roomy go down a cup size.
  2. Your Breast Tissue Spills Over the Top. Your cup runeth over! Breast spillage is a sure indication your cups are too small. Go up a cup size. If that still doesn’t contain everything consider a style that offers fuller coverage across the top of your breasts.
  3. Your Underwired is Sitting on top of Your Breast Tissue. If you wear an underwire style the underwire should follow the shape of your breasts. It should lay against your rib cage not on top of your breast tissue. Increasing your cup size will usually solve this problem. If not try a different style.
  4. Your Bra Does Not Lie Flat Between Your Breasts. Another underwire problem. If the cup is too big the underwire will be too wide for your torso. Go down a cup size. If your cup is too small the underwire will not lay flat against your chest (see above). Go up a cup size. If you are still having problems, try a different style or go wirefree!
  5. Your Cups Don’t Fit Anymore. They once fit perfectly but now they no longer do. Time will always take its toll. On you and your sports bra! Over time your cup material will inevitably stretch. And when it does you will no longer get the support you need. And you know what that means, a new sports bra!

My Final Thoughts

So, there you have it. Everything you need to know about correctly fitting your sport bra cups. The final pillar is now in place ensuring you have the perfect fitting sports bra.

Phew, that was a lot to get through but well worth it. Many a workout has been cut short or ruined because of a poor fitting sports bra. Take the time to get the correct fit and your breasts will thank you.

Yours in Support.

Amy x


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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