Padded VS Unpadded Sports Bra for Exercise

Padded VS Unpadded Sports Bras

The main purpose of a sports bra is to hold your bust in place as you exercise. But the story doesn’t end there. You also need comfort and sufficient nipple coverage. And there comes the dilemma of whether you should go for padded or unpadded sports bra.

Which workout bra is more supportive; padded or unpadded? There is no clear answer! It all depends on the overall construction, the fit, fabric etc.

This article highlights the pros and cons of each type of these sports bras:

Wearing Unpadded Sports Bras

Unpadded sports bra
Unpadded sports bra

An unpadded sports bra is difficult to wear in public places. In worst case scenarios, a single layer athletic bra can be disastrous.

Imagine yourself getting ready to hit the road for a run, or the gym. You wear your unpadded bra and everything looks okay even n front of the mirror.

Later on as you carry on with your activities, you realize that your headlights have come on at full blast, in front of people. There is no way you can rush home to change. And supposing you can’t find a quick way of covering up?

Some women prefer unlined and unpadded sports bras are used to wearing tanks or camis over the bra. But sometimes, layering over a thin bra does not hide the nipples.

Padded Sports Bras

Padded Push Up Sports Bra
Padded Push Up Sports Bra

Most ladies who opt for padded sports bras adore them because they not only have good support. But they also offer shaping and good enough nipple coverage.

Girls with small breasts can use extra padded bras to create a fuller bust. Women who are busty can buy ones with thin pads which hardly increase the bust size.

But these bras come with their own challenges:

  • Pads tend to increase your bust size
  • They might make you feel hot
  • Finding pads that fit perfectly is a challenge
  • Pads might become soggy
  • Your breasts might move around in the pads leading to chaffing
  • Pads may obstruct proper compression from the outer fabric
  • The pads may sometimes shift within the cup

Despite these disadvantages, padded workout bras are not bad at all. If you buy a high quality padded bra from a reputable maker, you will find that the pads are breathable and fit perfectly. The bra will not make you hot or become waterlogged. Some of them even come with sewn-in, non-removable pads.

Check out these High Quality Padded Sports Bras from Amazon

Sports Bras That Are Neither Padded nor Unpadded

Some athletic bras cannot be categorized directly as padded or unpadded. This is because they do not have the qualities of either of these categories.

Bra manufacturers create these types so as to bridge the gap between becoming hot and soggy on the one hand, and showing your headlights on the other. Here are some of those types:

Molded cups: They are made of a synthetic material which is cast into the shape of the breast. The molding cannot be easily deformed by the breast shape or movement unless the cup is not properly held in place. This makes these bras ideal for hiding the nipples. The mold is also aerated during the casting process so that it can allow for moisture to escape.

Molded sports bra
Molded sports bra

Sewn-in foam cups: This type is virtually a padded bra but the pads are not removable. They are built-in and are mostly made of materials like rubber form. The padding may be thin or thick. But mostly, it is thin. Either way, foam cups are lightweight. They are also super breathable because the material is porous.

Foam padded sports bra
Foam sports bra

Double layer cups: A double-layer sports bra is virtually a 2-in-1 bra at the cup level. There are two usually independent cups. The inside one may be a shelf bra, while the outer one is made of a more sturdy fabric. Although the bra has more layers, it is not as bulky as you can think.

Double layer sports bra
Double layer sports bra

Lined cups: A lined sports bra consists of a softer material inside the cups. The outer fabric is similar to the ones that are normally used in other types of workout bras. In some cases, the lining may be thicker than the cup. Unlike some double-layer sports bras, both fabrics are sewn together all around the edges. In other words, it’s a 2-ply cup sports bra.

Lined sports bra
Lined sports bra

Reinforced/Seamed cups: The cups of reinforced bras are made different pieces of fabric which are joined together with flat-lock seams. Where 2 pieces of material are used, the seam will pass over the nipples. If the pieces are more than two, the intersection is positioned on top of the nipple. Each piece of fabric may have a lining underneath. In most cases, sports bras that are made in this way will hide the nipples in a satisfactory way.

Reinforced sports bra
Reinforced sports bra

The bottomline in choosing a good sports bra is to get support, coverage, and comfort. Your best choice is not in any type of bra. It is rather in the bra that has the best combination of these qualities.

If you still feel that you must wear unpadded bras, consider using breast petals or breast tape. If you opt for other types, consider the challenges involved and aim at tackling them.

Wearing breast petals under a sheer bra
Wearing breast petals under a sheer bra

When buying a sports bra online, don’t be fooled by the model photos. Make a point of looking at the rating and user feedback of verified buyers. Also be on the lookout for bras that are made using new technologies. Ultimately, you will find your best choice and you’ll be sure which is best for you between padded or unpadded sports bras.

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