Product Review/Demi-Rant

Guys, feel free to skip this one altogether. It’s about running bras.
There are no anatomically correct illustrations.

I am A Runner.
I am also a relatively well-endowed female. (No pictures. Just take my word for it.)
Buying bras has been a nightmare for me for well over thirty-five years (I’ll be forty-seven in eighteen days – do the math) and that nightmare has only got worse since taking up running.

I tell women friends who are interested in taking up running that there are two things you don’t ‘cheap out’ on: Running Shoes and Sports Bras. Doing so in either case will lead to short-term pain and long-term damage that simply can’t be undone.

I’ve gone through a progression of four different running bras since I started running. The Exercise Bras I had when I first started got me through about the first two weeks, but the minute I my run/walk intervals surpassed the “run three minutes/walk two minutes” mark they just weren’t getting it and that short-term pain thing became more than apparent. If you’re a woman and you’ve ever been pregnant or breastfed and had that swollen, glutted, thing that happens?  Yeah, THAT is the kind of pain I’m talking about! Not fun.

After months of trial and error I’ve narrowed my ‘collection’ down to three that I am willing to “endorse” (because really, isn’t the entire world waiting to see which bra I use?!) with caveats/warnings for each one.

The Enell

My First Favorite Running Bra!

My only reason for seeking a replacement for it was that I lost enough weight that it fit too loose through the shoulders and had therefore lost some of its ‘support factor’. Otherwise, I would just about wear this bra 365/24/7.
I love the wide shoulder straps.
I love the fabric.
I love the feel of the thing.

I do not love the raw spot/sore it rubbed at the bottom center where the last hook-and-eye and my skin met repeatedly once I started running more than about two miles at a stretch. I actually wore it to run a 5K and ‘fixed’ it by affixing a piece of moleskin over the bottom of the bra where it closes. I don’t think I should have to make modifications like that to a $64 bra.

Dear Enell People:
Great bra! Fix that little bit at the bottom and you have a fan for life!
Me in Memphis

The Vero

I. Love. This. Bra!

This was “Contestant Number Two” recommended by and purchased at my local running store after The Enell wore a hole in my hide.
Well constructed, good support.
Love the “encapsulation” aspect.

Two Problems:
#1 The Vero has ‘convertible straps’ which means it can function as a “regular” bra with the straight over the shoulder straps, or you can criss-cross them to work with racerback tanks, etc.
Nice feature.
In theory.
In practice that same ‘removable hook’ that makes the straps convertible works its way loose while you’re running and the next thing you know one of The Girls is … shall we say … “free to move about the cabin”. If you happen to be running with your loving spouse or a good friend you have an assistant handy to help get things back under control. If not, you have to hope you can get another runner to stop along the course – wasting precious time – and re-hook you up. That or you finish your run holding one boob in your hand like you’ve had some sort of unfortunate implant incident. Not fun.  And frankly kills your run time.

#2 The straps themselves are narrow enough that the first time I wore this bra on a run longer than a couple miles I ended up with raw spots rubbed across the tops of my shoulders that were nearly cuts. There is a relatively inexpensive solution to this: Braza Cush-eez Bra Strap Cushions with Silicone Pads. Arguably one of the best ten dollars I’ve spent in a long time. However, there is that part of me that says “I spent forty dollars on this bra and I have to buy ‘accessories’ to keep it from causing injuries?”

Neither of these keeps me from wearing this particular bra, but I reserve it for distances of three miles or less and most definitely won’t be wearing it in any road races ‘just in case’.

Last, but certainly not least . . .
The Juno

If I love the Vero, I am in love with the Juno!

Comfort: Check.
Support: Check.
Stability: Check.
Ease of Putting On/Taking Off: Could be easier, but if it were it wouldn’t doo that voodoo that it doo so well so I can totally live with the struggle. I consider it part of my pre- and post-run upper body stretch.
To date I’ve worn this bra on as long as an eight mile run with almost no complaints.

Once gain there was strap rub at the collarbone (yes, even with Glide liberally applied) that bordered on being open wounds. So my handy-dandy little $10 investment buddies up there came in both handy and dandy. I’m getting (mostly) over my whole “After spending $XX on a bra why should I have to modify/accessorize it to prevent injuries?!” outrage.

The biggest problem came from something as simple as the tag on the back. After last night’s run I am now the less-than-gracious hostess to a lovely, 1/4″ in diameter open wound in the middle of my back directly under where the manufacturer’s tag was on the bra.
Yes, I most likely “should have” thought to cut it off before wearing it. I didn’t.
Should I be injured because of an oversight? I think not.

So this morning I did what any other red-blooded, product-injured American would do. (Not “Hire an attorney”.) I contacted the manufacturer via their website:
“I recently purchased a Moving Comfort Juno exercise bra. I am a fairly large-busted woman, I am also a runner (currently training for a half-marathon). I have run the gamut of running bras and have to say I absolutely LOVE the Juno. It provides the support I need and is – as running bras go – exceptionally comfortable. Great product!

However, I have a couple design suggestions.
1) Pad the straps at the point where they cross the collarbone. I spent $52 on this bra only to have to spend an additional $10 for bra strap pads after my first run in the Juno left me with open sores rubbed on my collarbones. Yes, I applied Glide.

2) Get RID of the tag on the back where the hooks are!! After last night’s five mile run I now have a fairly significant open sore rubbed in the middle of my back where the tag was. I’ve removed it, but honestly after spending $52 on a single bra I don’t believe I ought to be forced to make modifications.
Thank you for your time and consideration of my requests. I am a Moving Comfort Girl where my running bras are concerned, I recommend them to everyone I know that works out. But I do warn them about these two problem areas.
Julianne T”

And within a couple hours received a very courteous reply from an actual person (my new friend Tegan at Moving Comfort) indicating that they had received my feedback and would be getting it to the ‘appropriate party’. In this day and age when I get obviously automated responses from my Congressman and Senator, I was pretty impressed by that.

So there you have it.
My low down on the up top of women’s running equipment.
Hope it was helpful!

19 thoughts on “Product Review/Demi-Rant

  1. Don’t worry I will hire a lawyer for a CAL on your behalf.
    Well put entry. I have no useful feedback, but attire/outdoor recreation companies consider articles like this to be gold.

  2. Thank you!! Found you from RLAM on fb. I have the SAME problem with my Enell bras. I chalked it up to the fact I only have 2 in rotation and they get old (and wore out) quick. I never put them in the dryer and try to wash them very little….I know, they stink. Lol. But I was cut so bad in the middle under the boob I actually started wearing a very thin sports bra underneath to act a barrier.
    If its not too personal, what size Enell are you? I started as a 2 (when I was DDD and nursing) but am now down to a 1 at 180lbs and DD girls, and also training for my second half marathon.
    If you are close to my size, I will go try out the Juno. I have been dying to try another one.

    • Allison,
      I started as a 3 and owing to the weight loss in my shoulders am now in a 2. I’ve had my first Enell since April 2009, and like you baby it to no end (mine doesn’t even know I own a dryer!) so it’s actually still in perfect condition.

      Try the Juno. But I’ll tell you it requires ‘disassembling’ the straps, putting on backwards to hook, then flipping the straps back over your shoulders to ‘reassemble’. They’re the kind that are front-adjustable with the velcro attachment built into the strap. Good luck with it and let me know how the Juno works out for you.

      So glad this was helpful!

  3. Great post on our wall at ISFP..getting fitted for a new sports bra/undergarments was also an idea that I posted for last Sexy Friday so today was the perfect time to hear your suggestions! LOVE IT! 😉 I am also well endowed and have a Moving Comfort Juno sports is in my top 4 with my LuLu TaTa Tamer II as number one now. Two 1/2 marathons down and the “girls”stay put, no chafing, not hard to! The fact that you wrote to the companies to let them know about some issues we have is awesome. The fact that they took the time and a real person to get back to you..priceless! There’s a company that I want to buy from.
    Have a great weekend’s to great and safe running! Keep us posted on your training and races!
    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for your post! Rachelle (R) from ISFP.

    • Rachelle, thank YOU for your comment and allowing me to post the link to my blog on ISFP’s Facebook! I love your page and take SO much inspiration from your posts!!

  4. I like the Juno and had that same problem with the tag in the back. What really drives me nuts about it is that the hooks always warm around the garment bag and create laundry chaos. It ties everything else in a knot. Sigh. It’s tough to be a girl sometimes.

    I am going to try the TaTa Tamer, thanks to the recommendations in the comments. 🙂

    • I’m likin’ the TaTa Tamer myself. When the time comes to get a replacement I’m going to get my local running store to order one for me to try on. They’re great about doing things like that.

      Thanks for your encouragement. You’re one of those people I consider a REAL Runner so that means a lot to me!

  5. I came across from RLAM as well and enjoyed your writing style that I kept reading the older posts and have now added you to my blog feed. Love that you can run with your hubby, my hubby would laugh if I ever suggested that. Love that every few posts you are writing that “i have never run 4 miles”, I have never run 8 miles, etc. I am totally like that at the moment, but haven’t yet done my first 5k. Progression indeed, so I’ll keep following. I’ve added you to my blog roll!

    • Thank you so much Annet! I’ll be adding your blog to my list and look forward to getting to know you too!
      This whole running journey has been one “I’ve never done that before” thing after another in more ways than just putting one foot in front of the other.

  6. I’m not well-endowed – no pics, take my word for it 😉 but still have had issues with rubbing and sores from seams, tags, etc. Oddly, bra makers seem to make the outside of the bra softer and smoother than the inside…so now I wear mine inside-out.

  7. I actually looked up this post after you mentioned it in your most recent writing! I am also well-endowed (and according to my mum, probably going to get more so) so I may check out these bras. Currently I use a Shock Absorber running bra for my long runs (very comfortable, very supportive and no sores) and have a couple other of their basic sports bras in rotation as well. The running bra is by far my favourite, though. I suspect Shock Absorber is a UK-only company, but if you do manage to find somewhere in the States that stocks them, they’re very much worth a go. Also pricey, of course, but then I’ve not found a good sports bra that wasn’t.

    • So glad this post was helpful to you!
      I’m going to look into the Shock Absorber line and see if they’re available here in the States. Always open to good suggestions! Thanks!!

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