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Our Complicated History with Sports Bras

Finding a sports bra that fits you like a glove can be a yearslong journey—and some women haven’t even started down the long road yet. What makes a good sports bra that you’ll reach for again and again? We sat down with five Outside staffers, who told us their stories. Read the full article here.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] CLAIRE HYMAN: I feel like I've had a pretty long history with sports bras. But for the majority of that, I just settled for the bras that it really suffocated you and didn't really necessarily fit right. But they were doing their job, so then I just stuck with them.

My favorite sports bra I found is this Champion Sports Bra from Target. It's not super fancy, and it doesn't have a crazy pattern or anything. But I love it because it's super adjustable. It's not too tight or constricting, and it doesn't cut into me at all. But it basically just moves how I move.

There's this one pose in yoga called Eagle Pose, and you have your arms like this. And any other bra, it just goes crazy and loses control. But I trust this bra to support me no matter what pose I'm in. I love it. And I think it was $15. I will not get another one for a long time.

HANNAH CHILDRESS: My history of sports bras has been a little-- I don't know. I would say probably abnormal from most women. I don't really take a lot of time to investigate what bra I want. I usually just go to Ross or Marshall's, and get something that looks like it'll work. And if it fits, then I buy it.

It's hard to really tell if it's comfortable until you throw it on and actually put it to use. So I have about four sports bras right now that I've had for a really long time. And most of them are really uncomfortable, so I don't wear them. And yeah, but I think I found one that I really do like.

So this is my favorite sports bra, mainly because it doesn't have the padded cups that slide into the bra, so I'm not constantly having to worry about those things when I wash it, and trying to find them, and then make sure they're not all bunched up.

And the other reason why I really like it is I can wear this every day like casual wear, or I can wear it mountain biking, which I really love. Because my other sports bras kind of push my boobs down really flat. And I'm already wearing pretty masculine-looking mountain bike apparel because it's the Baddies. So having this bra makes me feel a little bit more girly, and I like that.

So my history with sports bras is definitely a little bit fraught. I used to play field hockey, and soccer, and I did track in high school, which are all high-impact sports. And I had a larger cup size at that time. So what I would do is I would have a regular bra, and then put a normal sports bra over it, and sweat through both of them, and it was super uncomfortable. And I couldn't find any sort of bra that fit me right until probably, I don't know, a year ago.

My favorite sports bra right now is this sports bra. It's the Lululemon Enlite Bra. I feel like for women with larger chests, we never get cute high-impact bras. I'm kind of sick of it. This one comes in cute colorways. It has this awesome cross strap in the back. And it also has this adjustable clasp system.

So while it doesn't have adjustable straps up top, which is usually what you kind of want for larger chests, I really like the clasp system to help size it a little bit better. The other thing that I really like about this bra is that it has these sort of molded cups that are already in the bra, so your boobs don't actually have to make the shape. They just fall into the shape.

But it's not the dreaded uni-boob, you know? So there's separate cups for each breast. And that actually really helps with comfort, and sweat, and all the gross stuff that women with larger chests have to deal with when they're running.

The material itself also is super lightweight. It's laser-cut, so it's not making lines in your shirt. And it dries super fast. And that's been really nice so that I don't have to sit in my sweat after a run on the way back home.

NICOLE BARKER: My history with sports bras started at a young age, playing soccer, having to double up on rather thin, unsupportive bras. And I actually have never until recently went out and purchased the bra that I wanted, which is sad. But now I found it.

So I chose the Ice Breaker Meld Zone Bra, which is a Merino wool bra. And I wanted to try it to stay warm when [? skinny ?] and sweating up the hill, and then having an icy transition and heading downhill can keep the more fattier parts of your upper body cold for long periods of time. So I tried the wool. I love it. It's super warm, comfy, and I can wear it for a couple of days and even sleep in it without a problem.

ALETA BURCHYSKI: My history with sports bras is pretty bleak. I started wearing them in the mid-'90s. Back then, I feel like it was just really hardcore compression. Squish them down. Get it done. Not super breathable, comfortable, didn't really like it.

My favorite sports bra is the prAna Itzel. It's just a really sleek high-cut longline bra. It's got this really nice sewn-in cups, so you don't get that weird, creased, bunched up situation when you wash it. I love this knotting design in the back. It never bugs my lats.

I love that it's got this big firm waistline that sits really nice on my ribs. It doesn't pinch, doesn't ride up. I like to call it my space boobs bra. It's really nicely high-cut, kind of has Blade Runner vibes. And when I wear it, I just feel super happy and super confident.

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