As with many plus size items, finding the right plus size sport bra may be partially a process of trial and error for some women. Understanding the different features that a plus size sport bra offers can help narrow a selection more quickly, however. Ideally, bras should be tried on and tested in stores, but since a good deal of plus size clothing retailers exist partly or entirely online, it is even more necessary to understand what makes a plus size sport bra different from other bras before purchasing.
Support is the most important factor when it comes to buying and wearing a plus size sport bra. Good plus size sport bras are often more expensive than plus size everyday bras, but, if effective, are worth the price. Many plus size women are accustomed to having to wear two bras during exercise to get adequate support, which can be uncomfortable, unattractive, and sometimes still ineffective.
Plus size sport bras frequently use more material to cover the entire breast. The material is usually less stretchy than normal bras, and reinforced with extra fabric and seams to keep bouncing to a minimum. A wider band at the bottom and wider panels at the back of the bra keep the bra from slipping and provide extra support by transferring some of the weight to a larger area of material. Additionally, wider shoulder straps disperse some of the weight over a greater area of the shoulder, reducing strain and discomfort during high-impact activities.
Other features not concerned with providing maximum support are also important. Special materials and mesh panels help wick away sweat and keep the wearer cooler during exercise. Bright, fun colors can make the bra more attractive for use underneath tank tops and other sleeveless exercise clothing. A durable construction ensures that the bra will not need to be replaced more often than usual, which is very important when the price of the bra is higher than that of a normal bra.
A plus size sport bra will be larger than a normal bra, often not only in the circumference of the band but also in the cup size. Many plus size brands offer bras that act as a cup reducer that makes the bust appear smaller when worn. This not only might provide a little bit of extra support, but can slim the entire figure and sometimes cause the illusion of weight loss for some women.