What Are the Best Sports Bras for Older Women?

Updated on February 13, 2020
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Middle-aged women are forgotten about by retailers. I offer help with clothing choices, skincare, and healthy eating for the mature woman.

No matter what sport or activity you enjoy, what your body type is, and what your fitness level is, you can find a comfortable and supportive sports bra.
No matter what sport or activity you enjoy, what your body type is, and what your fitness level is, you can find a comfortable and supportive sports bra. | Source

Why Wear a Sports Bra?

At the gym, while jogging, or elsewhere, we've all met a woman who wasn't wearing the correct sports bra. Her breasts were bouncing uncontrollably and undoubtedly causing pain. When you're exercising, the appearance of a bra is secondary to its comfort. It needs to keep the breasts secure and prevent them from moving while you're making a wide range of movements.

Special Concerns for Middle-Aged and Senior Ladies

There are various types of sports bras on the market, and some are more suitable than others for mature women. For example, if you have problems with flexibility, consider a front-closing bra; these are much easier to get on and off while still providing you with needed support.

Bras for Jogging, Golf, and More

You can select the perfect bra by keeping the activity you'll be doing in mind. If you're a jogger, for example, you will need a bra designed for high-impact exercise. If golf is your sport, you'll only need a low-impact bra, but you will need to be aware of how high the sides of the bra rise. After 18 holes of golf, if your bra is chafing you every time you swing, you will soon be in pain.

I have selected a few types of sports bras for you to consider. These are popular designs for mature ladies who wish to remain active but comfortable.

An adjustable sports bra can help you get the perfect fit and prevent chafing.
An adjustable sports bra can help you get the perfect fit and prevent chafing. | Source

High-Cut Bra With Cups


  • Excellent support for large breasts
  • No squashing


  • Less flattering than other styles
  • Easy to size incorrectly

Why We Like It

This design is my top pick for women with large breasts who want a sports bra or an athletic bra. This type of bra has formed cups and a higher cut, both of which reduce breast movement when you're engaged in physical activity. The benefit of cups is that they support each breast individually rather than squashing them against your chest. Because these bras are cut so high, they're not the most flattering garment, but they provide fantastic support—and that's what matters most.

How to Wear It

To ensure correct sizing, put the bra on and then lean forward, allowing your breasts to fall into the cups. All of the breast tissue, including that on the sides, should be in the cup.

Many women are wearing the wrong-size bra because they don't pay attention to how far back their breast tissue actually extends. This is one reason why your bra may feel uncomfortable. If the seam of the cup is sitting on breast tissue (for example, in the armpit area), it will pinch you and cause irritation.

Advice for Women With Breast Augmentation

If you have had a breast enlargement procedure, then you will definitely need a sports bra to participate in any fitness activity. The extra strain on your breasts will be exaggerated because of the augmentation. Choose a bra with wide, comfortable straps to minimize the strain from the downward pull.

This diagram shows a cup-style bra on the left, with each breast individually supported, and a compression bra on the right.
This diagram shows a cup-style bra on the left, with each breast individually supported, and a compression bra on the right. | Source

Compression Bra


  • Ideal for smaller cup sizes
  • Allows almost no breast movement
  • Will not ride up


  • Feels confining
  • Not a good option for larger cup sizes
  • Harder to put on and take off, especially for those with flexibility issues

Why We Like It

A compression bra is ideal for women who have small to medium-size breasts. (If you wear a C cup, opt for a compression bra with wider straps.) The compression style pushes the breasts close to the body, allowing for very little vertical or horizontal breast movement. These bras tend to have a wide, comfortable band at the bottom to prevent them from riding up without hindering up-and-down arm movement.

Some women find this style too confining when working out, but for stability, a compression bra is a good option. However, if you have reduced flexibility in your shoulders, this might not be the bra for you as it can sometimes be difficult to put on and take off—especially after a workout when you're sweaty.

How to Wear It

These bras are suitable for high-impact sports such as jogging and aerobics. Look for bras with adjustable straps to eliminate chafing.

Younger women often wear these bras as a top layer without a t-shirt over them. Whether you choose to wear an outer covering or not is up to you. The fabric of most compression bras will wick away moisture, which is always a bonus.

A Demonstration of a Front-Closing Bra

Front-Closing Bra


  • Easy to put on and take off
  • Variety of styles available (zippers, hooks, etc.)

Why We Like It

When we were younger, we had more flexibility. As we age, it becomes more and more difficult to reach around our backs and fasten our bras, and it's almost impossible to pull something tight over our heads.

Perhaps your lack of flexibility is due to osteoporosis, arthritis, or a back problem. Whatever the reason, you can find a range of front-closing sports bras that are much easier to put on and take off than rear-closing bras and compression bras.

How to Wear It

You can find styles with front-closing zippers and hooks. After a work-out when you're hot and sweaty, it can be a real dog to remove a bra without a zip or hooks. Trust me; I've been there. There is nothing worse than having to ask for help to remove a bra! (Any woman who has experienced the same will understand your situation and likely lend a hand, though.)

Try stretching and bending to make sure that your new bra lets you move comfortably.
Try stretching and bending to make sure that your new bra lets you move comfortably. | Source

Test Your Range of Movement

Once you're wearing your new bra, you should test it with a full range of motion: jumping, bending, stretching, and twisting. There should be virtually no movement of your breasts.

Furthermore, you don't want to feel any rubbing. This would be a sign of potential irritation during your training sessions. Check under your arms and along the top edge. Also check under the cup—is there any tenderness there? Anywhere that looks slightly red now could become a problem later.

If the skin beneath the breasts becomes sweaty, this is a breeding ground for fungus. After training, wash and dry both yourself and your bra completely to avoid any potential problems.

Which Type of Sports Bra Do You Prefer?

See results
Brooks Maia Back-Adjustable Medium-Impact Sports Bra (C-E) | Moving Comfort Asphalt/Black 32C
Brooks Maia Back-Adjustable Medium-Impact Sports Bra (C-E) | Moving Comfort Asphalt/Black 32C
This is a great bra. The rear closing means it is easy to put on and take off. The formed cups hold the breasts, they don't squash them. This bra comes quite high so it isn't the most flattering but for support, it is fantastic. It is my top pick. It also comes in a range of colors. Perfect for the large breasted woman as it holds the breasts and doesn't squash them.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2011 Mary Wickison

    Thanks for looking.

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      • Blond Logic profile imageAUTHOR

        Mary Wickison 

        5 years ago from Brazil

        There are many department stores or lingerie stores which offer a fitting service. Also, she may also want to consider a vest or camisole. Many of these are so comfortable and soft.

      • profile image


        5 years ago

        My 91 yr old incredible, amazing & beautiful mother has asked me to find her a bra that fits her properly & is comfortable. She is a small woman with 34A breasts. Does anybody have a suggestion?


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