I've been promising a list of sports bras for men for months and after a lot of work I'm finally pulling all my information together for you guys.
I'm not going to lie. This was a very intimidating and exhausting process. I wanted it to be right and I wanted it to be useful. There's not a lot of information online about sports bras recommended specifically for guys so I feel like a pioneer in the Bras for Guys field and there's some intimidation that comes with stepping into uncharted territories.
So, if you haven't already, please read my Sports Bra for Men Page. I talk extensively on that page about the stupid "only women should wear bras" stigma. It's ridiculous. In my opinion a bra serves a very basic purpose and that is to support and protect breast tissue. Yes, it's true that women use bras to enhance and show off the female form and bras can make women feel sexy, but a bra's primary purpose is the support, comfort, and protection of breast tissue. It doesn't matter if that breast tissue belongs to a man or a woman. I have a couple other pages dedicated to men that I think you'll find helpful:
Men, please don't feel any shame or embarrassment that you're considering a sports bra. I hear from men every month who tell me that a wearing a sports bra improved their lives considerably, especially when exercising.
When comparing the male body to the female body they are very very similar. (minus the obvious sex organs of course ;). However, there are subtle differences that could affect how a bra fit on a man compared to how it fits on a woman. For example, a man's torso is generally wider, men generally have bigger lats, and broader shoulders. All these factors could have a huge effect on how a bra fits. I was very very curious if a bra designed, modeled, sized and marketed exclusively to women would translate to a male customer.
Yeah, sure I can tell guys how to measure and what to look for when bra shopping, but if men take their measurements and plug them into a bra calculator, will the bra size it calculates be the right bra size for a man?
My model is a 37 year old man with self proclaimed 'moobs'. Also, it should be noted that he's never worn or tried on a sports bra before (but has taken off plenty ;) so this was all new to him. He went in with an open mind and was completely honest and candid with his opinions.
He was measured according to the steps on my how to measure page. I took his measurements and plugged them into the bra calculator found on herroom.com (which is where I ordered his sports bras from). It gave his measurements as 40D and this was the size we used when ordering his sports bras.
When ordering bras for this experiment my rule was that only size 40D or the equivalent could be ordered. For example, several of the bras only came in S,M,L,XL sizes. In those cases size charts were consulted and the size was ordered that correlated to 40D.
Simple, Basic, Comfortable, Functional, Low Profile
Those were the words going through my head when I was shopping for these bras.
Also, I was curious how different type clasps would look under shirts and which style the male model would prefer to wear and put on. For example, front clasps, back clasps, or pull-on. So I ordered 4 pull-on, 2 front clasps, and 1 back clasp sports bra for him to try. Also, I wondered about adjustable shoulder straps, would they make a difference in how the bra fit? I ordered a few with adjustable straps and a few with nonadjustable straps.
Last thing I wanted to compare is price. The price of these sports bras range from $15 to $77. I wanted to see how the cheap sports bras stacked up against the expensive ones. Most guys I know HATE spending money on clothes let alone a sports bra so I had my fingers crossed that a cheap bra would prove itself to be okay thereby increasing the chances that guys would give it a shot. After all, $15 is a cheap price to pay if it will stop nipple chaffage and control bounce right?
I had my model rank each bra in these categories on a scale from 1 to 10 the best he could. I also wrote down any specific remarks he made about the bra. I tried to be a quiet observer and not sway the opinion one way or the other.
If I posted all my information about each bra on this page it would be horrendously long so I'm making a separate page for each bra.
The following graphics will hopefully be a good visual comparison among the sports bras we tried.
This is a great view to judge coverage, strap thickness and placement, and the overall fit of the bras.
This is a good view to judge compression and gauge support. You can see from this perspective that #5, #6, and #7 the cups were too big. Ideally in for this model he is most likely size 42B, but since his measurements (when plugged into the bra size calculator) reported he was a 40D, this is the size we ordered. I talk more about this in the individual bra reviews.
If a bra comes up too high into the armpit it can cause chaffing and irritation. The model remarked that the Anita #5 and Glamorise #6 were especially irritating under his arms.
This view seemed to show the smoothness of the cups the best. The Great Divide (#3) and the Absolute (#4) had the smoothest cups, followed by the Infinity (#1)
This view shows how the sports bras fit from the back. I purposefully choose several different back styles to try. The first 4 bras are a razorback style. These seemed to fit the male model okay. He definitely liked the wider straps of the Infinity (#1) and Patagonia (#2) the best. The Absolute (#4) straps were too thin and cut into his shoulders. Another perk of the razorback straps is that they're not going to fall down/off the shoulder.
All 7 of these bras had nice thick bands, this is important for support, comfort and also helps with discreetness under shirts.
This was the part of the photoshoot I was most interested in. I wanted to see how discreet these sports bras were underneath a shirt because I knew that would be a huge question for potential male clients. The model is wearing a silkdry, athletic shirt. We purposefully chose this shirt because this type of material is notorious for showing every bump, roll, and muscle underneath.
Keep in mind that a thicker t-shirt material would hide the bras even more.
The first 4 bras were very smooth underneath the shirt. A faint outline of the bra could be seen, but it for the most part it looked very similar to an undershirt, maybe a tank top (thanks to the wider bra straps)
#5, #6, #7 were very noticeable. This is because the (D) cups were too big for the model so his tissue didn't fill them out properly. I talk about this issue in length in the individual reviews, but this is a great example of how wearing the wrong size bra can affect how the bra looks underneath clothing.
The back view is another interesting view. For the most part the bras were pretty discreet. You'll notice #6 is very noticeable. That's due to the adjustable, thicker straps of the bra. The rest of the bras were nonadjustable and had wider straps.
I had the model bend over and round his back to see if the outline of the bra would be obvious. Not surprisingly the front clasp bras (#5 and #7) were very smooth in the back. Followed by #1. A back clasp bra (#6) of course was more obvious due to the clasps.
So this little experiment I did was helpful for several reasons. Here's what I learned that will be useful to men looking for sports bras.
1) The bra size calculator was definitely off for a few of the bras.
It's a safe bet to for men to try a sports bra that comes in the sizes S,M,L,XL. This is completely opposite advice that I recommend to women. I always tell women to order bras in their cup size. However, for the time being, until bra manufactures start catering to men, the bra size calculator has some issues when calculating a bra size for men. For example it doesn't take into account the fact that men have a broader chest structure, or larger lat muscles. My model measured as a 40D, but he is more likely a 40-42B. His large lats threw off the cup calculations. Men are going to have to be patient and persistent in trying to find their bra size, it's going to be a trial and error process, but it's worth it.
2) Guys are much less flexible than ladies and struggle with pulling bras up and over their heads.
The pull on bras were extremely difficult for my male model to get on or off. Guys are generally less flexible than ladies and the act of grabbing onto the bra and pulling it up and over the head just wasn't happening. The model remarked during the photoshoot that if someone had a shoulder injury or had surgery, that these bras would be impossible to get on/off. There was one bra (#4) that I had to physically take it off him because he was stuck. The front or back clasp bras were much easier to get on and off for him. This is something you'll want to consider.
Do you have a couple sports bras you're interested in trying? Or do you want more detailed information about a certain sports bra? If so, check out the individual reviews I've written for each bra. Hopefully this will answer more of your questions.