Thursday, November 14, 2013

Boobs

(This is a pre-written post but it is not filler because boobs are important, guyssss)

Running with boobs.  A lot of us do it.

It requires one extra piece of gear, and these days if you are doing it "right", that extra piece of gear is $50 or more.  That's practically a pair of running shoes.  Or one running shoe.

My boobs have been fine settling for Champion brand seamless reversible spandex bras that I typically buy in a 2-pack at Costco for $20, making them $10 each.  I wear one for a run, then I throw it in the hamper.  Move on to the next bra.




Since I run almost every day (occasionally but rarely twice/day), and I don't have a laundry machine....this means I go through 12-16 sport bras in between visiting the laundromat.

This means I need 12-16 sport bras.

This means I only buy cheap sport bras.

Cheap sport bras means I have a chafing problem.

A few weeks ago I sat down at the See Jane Run store and listened to a representative from Moving Comfort "educate" me about sports bras. She was pitching her product, so can't say for sure whether I was being educated about sports bras, or educated about her specific brand.

The specific reason I went is because I have been wanting to deal with this chafing problem for several years now.  For several years, if I went on a long run on Saturday or Sunday (which was/is the case more than 50% of the time), I had to actively wear something not low cut afterwards, or deal with having a scary looking chest.

2012 -- look closely and AHA - a ring of evidence on my mid chest that I ran long that morning

In the month leading up to our wedding this past August, I had "get a really nice sports bra" on my list of things to-do.  My dress was lower-cut and I wanted a plan to avoid any chafing lines. I had read other bloggers rave about the Moving Comfort bras and I intended to pick one up.

Since I'm a real go-getter kind of girl, I never made it to a running store to buy the new sports bra before the wedding.  And I had chafe lines to compliment the wedding dress.  (What actually happened was I got a spray-tan to tame my running tan lines, then ran twice in between the spray tan and the wedding, and my sports bra rubbed away the fake tanner, leaving something that looked similar to a chafe line.)

Back to the Moving Comfort sales pitch -- before the full hour of hearing about how to take care of "the girls" (NO. nono.  Do not call your boobs "girls."  I almost boycotted Moving Comfort forever just because this annoyed me so hard) I already knew that I wanted to buy one. I didn't show up for the sales pitch; I showed up to buy one. I'm an instant decision maker.  I don't care to investigate details before making a choice; I saw the bras, I'd heard the reviews.  More than anything the hour pitch disinclined me (see: "the girls," -- and the pitch focused on serious technology for large boob support, something I don't have to worry about until I get my Courtney Stodden implants).

I'm on the smaller side (32C) and wanted to stay in my comfort zone of simple seamless bras. My friend Karina at See Jane Run (she leaves Thursday so this statement is still currently true!) recommended the Rebound Racer Sport.  She knew avoiding chafing was my number one goal, and said a friend wore this for a trail 50k without a single chafe.



The straps have velcro adjustment, and there is a clasp in the back with 4 adjustment levels.

View of the back clasps and the velcro straps

The most mind blowing epiphany moment of this new-sports-bra endeavor was when I told the sales rep that I would never be able to convert to Moving Comfort because I need 16 sports bras, and hers are too expensive to buy in bulk.

She told me to wear the bra several times before throwing it in the hamper.

what!?

This had never occurred to me.  When I run -- even if I barely break a sweat -- I throw it ALL in the hamper.  The only time I break this rule is for shorts, because I only have about 4 pairs I really like, and I wear underwear with them. Everything else is not touched again until it smells like cotton breeze or lavender fields.

I bought the Rebound Racer (see picture above) which was $49.99, I received no discount from Moving Comfort, but I do get a medium sized discount from the See Jane Run store (phew. I honestly don't think I can ever mentally handle a $50 sports bra.)

The first thing I did with the bra was run in it 4 times before washing it.

Not washing it was....not so bad! It never smelled, and it was quick to dry when I hung it on a doorknob.  Above all, I have not yet chafed in it.  I wore it to a half-marathon, and some longer runs -- no chafing.

(But, you can see in the photo of me above, I still chafed a little bit from my t-shirt lining.  Can't win 'em all.)

The rebound racer is more difficult to get into than my normal sports bras. And I have noticed a little disturbance to my back where the bra clasp is, when I hit around 10 miles.  Not full-out chafing, but some redness from the rubbing.

So what's your boob story? Are you loyal to one brand? Do you invest in good sports bras? Do you wash yours after every wear?  Do you chafe?  Are you a man and completely bored by this unless there are more pictures of boobs?

60 comments:

  1. I enjoy boob talk. I, unfortunately, can't get away with most of the cheap-o versions, so I've been dry-heaving over bra prices for a while now. *saddest face* The very first "real" sports bra I had was also a MC bra, but that was back when things were mostly cotton because the wheel had just been invented, so to speak. Needless to say, I actually can't wear MC bras. I've tried. They still chafe for me (my hot spot is along the bra band). The velcro straps also started to bug me after awhile and/or un-velcro themselves, which made for one really awkward adjustment at a stoplight once.

    The only bra I've been able to consistently rock with only the occasional chafing episode is the UnderArmour Armour bra. I don't know if it's anti-microbial, or maybe just magic, but I have two that I essentially wear exclusively, which means multiple wears before washes without much (if any) stank. Also, I've started just rinsing them out in the shower after particularly sweaty sessions to cut down on the times I necessarily *have* to wash them, as the more washes, the faster the wear and tear.

    TL;DR - boobs!

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    1. Yes- someone else mentioned the shower trick! I'll try that if there's ever a smell issue but so far I have been surprised to learn that the sweat that lands on sport bras simply doesn't smell

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  2. I don't have much boob to speak of (A cup) so I can get away with the cheap-o bra brands. I've tried on Moving Comfort at the store, but didn't really like them because there's too much bra for me. I don't need the support and I like my sports bras thin and simple.

    Also, have you tried hand washing your bras in between going to the luandromat? I do that sometimes when I'm running low and don't want to do an entire load of laundry.

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    1. I haven't tried--once something hits the hamper, I don't have the courage to dig back in. Maybe I'll start a separate sport bra pile?

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  3. I guess it's too late now, but my worst chaffing ever is from a Juno bra by Moving Comfort, created by the fabric around the bra clasp. This is the only place where it chaffed, but it left me with marks that I don't think will go away in this lifetime. Since then, I've found better bras, but I've never been lucky with zero chaffing. The best for me so far is a Shock Absorber brand. Generally I get underboob chafe, but I use some reusable bandaid-like thingies to reduce the friction when I go for longer runs. C cup is not always a gift. I can't wait to start training for the Ironman to see them disappear.

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    1. the bra clasp is my problem spot too, but it's been manageable on short-ish runs. Good luck with Ironman training!

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  4. I am a cheapo and I have always worn my sports bras (I like Moving Comfort too) several times before I wash them and have never had a problem with smell. If you use decent detergent and let them hang dry after each run, they actually always just smell like the detergent. Plus it will extend the life of them by not washing them every single time you wear them.

    I used to chafe on my boobs and flabby arms but not anymore since I lather myself in Skin Sake before any long run. Seriously, that stuff is amazing!! I ran two marathons in two days and had not one single chafe mark. Not even any type of hot spot. Try it. Body Glide is no match for Skin Sake!

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  5. I never had any chafing problems until this past marathon training cycle. I don't know if it was the warmer weather, or if my cheapo sports bras finally had enough (some were almost 10 years old), but I got SOdesperate for a solution. I ordered the Lesko bra from Oiselle, which gave me awful chafing where the band of fabric is in the middle. (Sidenote: They very graciously let me return the bras -- even after wearing, sweating, and possibly bleeding on one-- and paid for return shipping.) I got a tip that the looser the sports bra, the more it might chafe, and that seams are your enemy. I also heard that Nike Pro bras were good for the small-chested (guilty as charged). I went to the Nike outlet in San Leandro and bought 2 bras for $30. They worked great for long runs and on marathon day, so I'm very happy!

    Good to know that I don't need to wash the bra after every use -- I don't know why I never thought of that!

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    1. I haven't had a Nike sport bra since I was 15 or something. I'll give them another try!

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    2. Yeah, I know - me too. When someone suggested it to me, I was like, "Really?!" I think I had bought into the "Oh, Nike isn't for serious runners, which I am now, *obviously*." But I'm glad I got over myself and tried them.

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  6. The Shock Absorber 'Run' bra is amazing, I have four (and probably wear each four times before they go in the laundry). Not washing so often also makes them last longer I think. I never buy them full price if I can help it, last season's colour tends to go on sale every so often.

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  7. I have some great bras from lululemon that I have never had a problem with. The All Sport Bra. It is easy to put I and take off. No clasp! Were they pricey? Yeah but I have had them all for at least 2 years and they are still holding strong. I generally pitch everything in the hamper but take the bra in the shower with me and wash it in there for another use or two before I actually wash it. I hate to actually recommend lulu to you since I am disgusted by the latest comments from their former CEO, but I will not say a bad thing about the All Sport Bra. I have never even put on a MC bra but I would never buy a sports bra with a clasp or Velcro solely because of the chances of chafe.

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    1. I had the same reservations about a clasp and velcro - like, obviously these must chafe more than a seamless bra? The lady had some explanation as to why it wouldn't, and for the most part, it doesn't for me. Those areas have some fabric protection between it and your skin.

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  8. I'm also a 32C and have braline chafing really bad on long runs, even in moving comfort bras. They've discontinued the only bra that didn't chafe so I don't know where to go next. The last few months have been all about trying every sports bra I come across in the store. In the meantime, I've taken to using bandages on that spot that chafes and it usually works.

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    1. The number one tip that I would pass on is that if you're chafing, it probably means the bra is too loose. Whatever you buy next, make sure it is SNUG!

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  9. I have that same bra (rebound racer) and it chafes like a motherfucker. It is resistant to Body Glide and vaseline. I still wear it because $49.99 but I refuse to be impressed.

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    1. Booo! Since the very first wear? Is it possible you should have bought one size smaller? I tried 2 sizes and the larger size was more comfortable and the one I WOULD have bought, but the sales rep convinced me to buy the one that was way snug. Really snug. No chafing.

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  10. For years I wore awesome fruit of the loom cotton, 3 for $9.99, but the discontinued the 32!!!!! I'm currently in limbo. I bought some clearance moving comfort; not wildly in love but like them. Still hoping a walmart cheapie will fall in my lap and be perfect.

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  11. I wish more people would talk about boobs. I am a long-distance runner who has had big boobs her whole life. I am a 34 DD, and Enell Sports Bras are the only ones for me ($60). It took me many marathons and years of horrible, cutting and scarring to figure that out. All totally worth it, of course.

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    1. You're already saving others' boobs Becca (see Sarah below). Try Enell for big boobs!

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  12. I also wish more people would talk about this stuff; I immediately scrolled down to read the comments in case anyone had suggestions for good bras. I wear an MC Juno bra and an MC Vixen but I don't love them - I just don't want to waste the money I spent on them (if that makes sense). I have huge boobs and it is so hard to find anything that works. MC was highly recommended but just isn't supportive enough for me. Off to try to Enell - thanks, Becca!

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    1. It does make sense, I'll be wearing the life outta this MC bra to get my $ worth.

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    2. Jumping in because I'm a 34D and searching for a sports bra that didn't tear me apart while training and racing Ironman was my holy grail this last year. My issue was chafing at the band level across my back where the hooks are on most adjustable bras, a horrifying experience when you are racing for 12+ hours (and starting your day soaking wet from the swim). I found Sturdy Girl brand (HATE the name, but love the bras) - no clasp, fitted, covered seams, they are the unicorn of bras for high-impact training/racing for big boobs. They're hard to get on and off, but they are the best ones I've ever found and I think I've tried just about every option out there (including MC).

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  13. I managed to get away with a nice, supportive non-sports bra (from the Gap) for a few years, but then it killed me in my 2nd half marathon. So I started to try out sports bras. I haven't found any that I completely love, but Nike's fairly basic pull-on bras (like the Nike Pro) work pretty well for me, with no chafing. I don't like the big logo on the front, but I do like the range of colours. I try to stock up when I'm near an outlet mall (regular price is about $30; at the outlet mall they're often about $20).

    One thing I hate is bras with removable pads because they're so hard to stuff back into the bra without wrinkles and othe problems.

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    1. how curious -- you ran in normal bras? That never would have occurred to me. I think my mom bought me my first sport bra when I was 12 or 13 for soccer and I never looked back.

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    2. Yeah, I did for a while. I'm only an A cup, so there's not a lot of bounce. I only got into running (well, run-walking) a couple of years ago and up until that point I wore regular bras for workouts. This particular bra (from the Gap) was a very structured/supportive and yet comfortable bra (wide shoulder straps, wide band, etc), so it seemed to work for my purposes. Until it didn't :(

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  14. I'm a 32DD (not what I'd describe as an ideal running physique from a comfort perspective) and I own a bunch of MC Fiona which have been the only thing I've found that work for me. On longer distances I chafe along the bottom band if I don't use Body Glide but with it I'm just fine. I buy whatever color is available at Road Runner in their clearance center so I usually get them for less than $30.

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    1. ahhhh, THAT'S where you get them on sale. good to know.

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  15. Moving Comfort Alexis and Urban X-Over. No chafing ever, sufficiently supportive for me (32B). I look out for a few things in sports bras: 1) chafing 2) support 3) solid enough to prevent headlights but no padding.

    When I was younger and perkier I could get away with running and doing ballet (there's a lot of jumping in ballet, in case you haven't noticed) in flimsy strappy Nike things that weren't supportive in the least and that I'd probably wear to Pilates now, if I did Pilates. But I'm the world's soggiest runner running in the world's soggiest climate, so there is NO WAY I could get away without washing my sports bra after a single use. I mean, this morning I began to be able to smell myself within five minutes of walking into the house. Ick.

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  16. I'll bet you get a million reads on this. Everybody loves boobs. My boobs rant was the all time box office champ till it was dethroned by some spambots hitting on my blog.

    I'd never really thought about the who sports bra thing till I started running, as an overweight guy. I hope I'm not grossing anyone out, but for a while I was wearing a tight race vest under a looser shirt, just to keep the jiggle under control. Gut, saddle bags, man-boobs. Bleah. So to some extent, I feel your pain.

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    1. thanks for dropping in on the convo. What's a tight race vest? Is this like spanx? I bet some people run in something spanx-like to manage allover jiggle.

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  17. I like that you pointed out that you might not necessarily have been educated about sports bras, but MC ones instead. Thats the only issue with going to things like that, you aren't going to get an unbiased education/information. Is what it is though, If I worked for them I would obviously educate on our brand only. But yeah.

    I have quite the mix of sports bras. A few pricier ones that I love, and don't give me issues- but I also have some less expensive ones from Target (champion brand as well) and a few other places that I can use just fine for the most part. I'm not as picky about it I guess because I'm on the tinier end of the spectrum and rarely have issues.

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    1. It was definitely a biased presentation, but I did gain some valuable advice (chafing usually means the bra is too big; the whole not-washing idea). Hopefully you continue not having issues!

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  18. All the hype on other blogs about MC has turned me off slightly. I am partial to lulu's ta ta tamer because its adjustable and supportive but mostly because it doesn't smoosh my boobs into a uni-boob. Sometimes you can find it on sale for <$40 on their website.

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    1. oh geez, is it really called a ta ta tamer?

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  19. Anything with a C is not "small". Just so you know. And I see you've now taken to copying my topless photos for the sake of pumping pageviews. NICE. Do YOU wear triangle top bikinis?

    When I run, I wear the MC Juno bra. I'm a 32DD. I have 6 of them. But I don't run anymore so I'm stuck with $300 worth of useless bras :(

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    1. 32DD reminds me that a C is small(ish).

      You'll use those Juno's again soon. In the meantime you can wear them for fast cane walking?

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  20. I LOVE the Handful bras and will happily pay the price!!!! I wear mine all the time - the most comfortable and supportive bras I have ever owned!!!!!! Plus they come in really cute colors with awesome names like Freshly Squeezed Orange!!https://www.handful.com/

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    1. Never heard of them, but strong endorsement! thanks for the tip

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  21. This is funny to me because I re-wear all of my running clothes except socks unless it's REALLY hot outside AND I have a washing machine in my house. I guess I'm gross. I figure I'm just running outdoors...who cares if I smell! LOL Like you I tend to wear only cheap bras, but I haven't had chafing so I guess I'm lucky!

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    1. Re-wearing shirts is something I don't think I could get past....the pits, man. I'm actually okay with re-wearing socks. Is that gross?

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  22. When I started running I had more boob, yet wore a less supportive bra (turns out running 2 miles at a time I didn't think about it too much). When I started running more, I invested in a Moving Comfort Juno for my then 34Ds and it was fantastic. God, I was a fatty. More and more running and I dropped a cup size and band size. Now I'm bra size twinsies with you, and I have 3 of the Rebound Racer. Have had them for 2 years. I didn't pay full price for any of them, I bought them when on sale from Running Warehouse. They're my favorite. It's my go-to bra and I've done runs up to a trail 30k. Wish they had a little more nip coverage for the cold, but I deal. I recently picked up the Urban X-Over C/D which has a little bit more of a molded cup (read: nip coverage). I hate calling boobs "the girls" too.

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    1. Relieved to hear the Rebound Racer lasts! Nice. It's a good one for our bra size, pretty simple, no molded cups and such

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  23. I just bought my first MC bra and it's okay - but I do feel like my boons are not flouncing around like they were in my target ones. Also I found it at REI on clearance for $30 - not cheap but not $50 either.

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    1. Fair price. And I noticed for sure that my boobs are more "stable" in the MC than the normal little bit of bounce I have in my Champion bras

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  24. I have yet to find a bra that doesn't chafe horribly at the front on anything longer than about 10 miles (fyi I am size 32 C/D). I've owned a large number of brands and sizes over the years, just trying to get my hands on something that won't make me cry. I actually have a scar in the front at the bra line from all the chafing over time. Moving Comfort has caused the same issues as every other brand I have tried. Vaseline, Body Glide, Band-Aids are of no use (the Band-Aids just fall off). Now I use medical tape, which works like a charm. The good news is the tape won't come off without a good yank. The bad news is when you do peel the tape off it leaves a nasty, angry, red patch. To counteract this, I walk around for days with the same strip of tape on. I figure it gets clean enough in the shower. My poor husband thinks it looks AWESOME. I would love a better solution. Sigh.

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    1. yowch! You poor thing. This sounds like my situation times 10 -- I only get the crying kind of chafing from marathons (a wet marathon -- like last year's CIM -- basically did scar me.) Read above for some good tips - there's a different kind of body glide recommendation up there that I want to try

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  25. I use Berlei High Performance - I think they are Australian so may be hard to find. They are specially tested.

    I avoided exercise for years because nothing seemed to stop the bounce. I tried running with a padded normal bra and a crop top on top. It was the best I could do. Then I found this bra. Life-changing.

    There is also one called Ultimate Performance but I do get chafing on half-marathons.

    But the High Performance? I don't know why but I NEVER chafe. It's weird. I even ran a marathon and did. not. chafe.

    I love it. I have about 5 or 6, replace them fairly often, I always buy on special, they are still expensive, but WORTH IT. I have a large chest so nothing cheap works at all. Usually wash every run but sometimes two if it's short and I don't sweat much. I'm trying to wash less often as it is recommended to keep the bra lasting.

    I think it's individual though. This is the bra that works for me. Other people need to find their equivalent - not necessarily buy this bra.

    ^^ Hi RunningOnCoffee. I'm a 34DD. Does that make me a fatty? How many band sizes and cup sizes do I need to drop before it's acceptable to you? Thanks.

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    1. Hey Anon. I can't respond to you directly since you didn't link to a profile. I didn't call anyone a fatty except myself. And in my case, I weighed almost 20lbs more when I started running which is significant on a 5'2" frame, so I stand by my Sunday night Mangria-influenced self-deprecating comment.

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    2. I dig your 34DD. Also very interested in the Berlei high performance now...some internet sleuthing hopefully turns one up. How much do you typically pay for one?

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    3. You can grab them on eBay but I think shipping is pretty bad to the US. I normally pay between $28 and $50 per bra. Yeah, I know, but it's worth it. They retail for $70 or so in Australia!

      http://www.ausport.gov.au/sportscoachmag/sports_sciences/berlei_sports_bras_-_first_round_of_tests_released

      Like I said, can't promise they won't chafe for anyone - I think this is just the one that works for me. But if you (or anyone reading this) is passionate and has money to burn, it's definitely worth a try. Even if it chafes over long runs, it's so supportive so the money won't be wasted.

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  26. Ugh. I hate the sales pitch. This is why I only buy sports bras online. But I guess that only works once you already know what works for you. I get the Moving Comfort Alexis which runs $36 full price but there are lots of online sites that sell them at a nice discount (I think they usually end up running ~$24ish?), so you might be able to find yours for less.

    Also, I suspect I must just be a particular smelly & disgusting person post-workout...There is no way I could re-wear a sports bra after a run, even a short one. That shit is rank. (Seriously, on the drive home after a 4 hour hike recently, my boyfriend was like, "What's that homeless smell?")

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    1. I thought my sports bra would be smelly but...you really don't have smelly glands there I swear. Try it?

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  27. I'm so glad you are taking care of the girls!! (Sorry, had to) I have never suffered from sports bra chafing, since I never exercise for more than 15 min spurts at a time, ha! But I do know that sports bras generally suck, and I have never found one that really works. I too balk at spending more than a Target brand amount on them, and maybe that is my problem. I know women that buy sports bras around the $70-$80 mark, and I'm in the same boat, so how many do I have to buy to make that work? Because I don't want to be running a load of laundry every day either. Anywhoo. Just thought I would vent my woes as well. But I am glad that you found one that helps the chafing!!

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  28. I am currently sporting (again) a horrible chafe mark across the front of my chest (below my breasts, where the band of my sports bra hits). WTF? I think it's because I'm wearing the same sports bras that I was wearing 50 pounds ago (lost, thank you very much, not gained). I tightened up the hooks, but I'm getting really bad chaffing all the time with my MC bras, which I used to love.

    Now, I'm liking the cheap sports bras from Old Navy. I'm a D-cup, so I want something that keeps my breasts from bouncing at all. I don't care at all about a uniboob - I'm happy to have one if it stays put and doesn't rip the skin off my chest. The bras are like $10-15 and seem to wear really well. I'm overall satisfied with them, but I'm still searching for the unicorn. Erin G.

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    1. They are definitely chafing because they are too big! The more snug, the less chafe. That's one thing I've learned. These bras really don't last all that long before they lose elasticity and grip.

      I'll check out Old Navy bras next time I'm around them. In the meantime, try a good bra mixed with Skin Sake. That stuff works way better than sports glide.

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  29. My system is Champion bras from Target (the soft ones, not the ones made of a fabric I can only describe as 'sandpapery') worn inside out (this is important!) with a little bit of body glide at the top seam (where you show chafing). I buy about 5 a year and cycle through the new ones and old ones (workouts/easy runs/cross training/don't want to put on a real bra to go to the grocery store) as they stretch out.

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    1. Yes - I dig those Champion bras. And I totally do the inside out thing too. The body glide still never seemed to help....but I tend to hold onto them longer than a year, which surely wasn't helping.

      If you like the Target Champion bras, I swear the Costco ones are even better. They have a little more squeeze.

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