How to treat sports bra chafing

If you run, then you have most likely experienced the pain of sports bra chafing. It is an affliction many active women have resigned to live with in their physical pursuits.

For many the chafing affliction if uncomfortable. For others it is painful. For a few it can become so severe it literally stops them in their tracks.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

To stop your sports bra from chafing you need to answer a definitive ‘yes’ to the following 6 questions.

  1. Are you wearing the correct size sports bra?
  2. Is your sports bra a good fit?
  3. Does it offer adequate support?
  4. Does the style suit your activity?
  5. Do you wear ultra-packs and other accessories correctly?
  6. Have you tried anti-chafe products?

Read on and learn how to get back in the game chafe free!

What Causes Sports Bra Chafe?

To stop sports bra chafe we need to understand what it is and what causes it.

Firstly, let’s answer the question of what sports bra chafe is. Quite simply it is any rubbing on the skin caused by your sports bra during activity.

Common chafe locations are between your breasts, along the band line and under the back clasp. That said, chafing can occur at any location where your sports bra touches your skin.

Now for what causes it. Wow, that is a tough question to answer. The causes can be single or a combination of things.

Most chafing is caused by your sports bra rubbing on your skin. So, it stands to reason that anything that causes your sports bra to move can cause rubbing. Incorrect size, poor fit and unsuitable style can all cause a sports bra to move and thus potentially rub.

Add to these things sweat, ultra-packs and other running accessories and you multiply any potential chafing problem.

6 Questions You Need to Answer ‘Yes’ Too.

What causes sports bra chafing

As with most problems an ounce of prevention is always worth more than a pound of cure. Anyone who has experienced chafing firsthand will almost certainly agree.

There is no simple fix to stopping sports bra chafe. But do not despair. Work through my questions and get back on the road without the worry of chafing hanging over you run.

1. Are you wearing the correct size sports bra?

Did you know that up to 80% of women wear the wrong size bra? If this, is you then it is game over before you even start!

Why you ask? Quite simply because the job of your sports bra is to hold everything in place. If it is the wrong size it will struggle to do that, and the resulting movement can cause rub.

The fix? You guessed it. Get the right size sports bra. One that snugly fits around your chest and hold your breasts fully and securely.

Do this and answer ‘yes’.

2. Is your sports bra a good fit?

Finding the right size sports bra is step one in the ‘no chafe’ puzzle. Step two is fit. How can this be you ask? Surely if it is the right size, it will be a good fit?

Unfortunately, not. As strange as it may seem you can have the correct size sports bra, but it just doesn’t fit well.

This is because we are all different. And so too is every sports bra. Put this combination together and it is easy to see why one bra is the correct size and fits well yet another doesn’t.

The solution here is to try on a number of sports bras in your size. You will quickly feel which one fits well and which one doesn’t.

My suggestion, go with the good fitting one and answer ‘yes’.

3. Does it offer adequate support?

The final piece of the sports bra puzzle is support. And it is an important one. Not just to stop your breasts from painful bounce but also painful rub!

I shed a little tear when I see a woman running in a strappy crop. All that bounce can not only lead to long term breast damage but also to short term (or maybe not!) breast chafe.

Bounce = movement. And movement = chafe. Stop the movement and you can help stop the chafe.

Wearing a high support sports bra will help keep the bouncing under control. Another ‘yes’.

4. Does the style suit your activity?

There is a huge array of sports bra styles out there. Crop tops, front zips, t-backs, underwired, the list goes on. And just as many different activities’ we women participate in.

To stop chafe you need to match the style of the bra to your intended activity. There is no point wearing a strappy crop to a half marathon. Your boobs will bounce all over the place and all that movement is a magnet for chafe.

Why is my sports bra chafing me

If you have answered ‘yes’ so far but still get chafe, then you could be wearing the wrong style. Try the following.

  • Underwire can cause chafe. Try a wire-free style.
  • The band is another common chafe point. Go for a firm, wide, seam-free under band.
  • The clasp back can rub. Look for a padded back clasp.
  • It is common to get run between the breasts. Try an encapsulation style to keep the breasts separated.
  • If you cups rub then look for soft, seam-free cups.
  • Straps can sometimes rub. Check your strap fit before every use.
  • If this doesn’t solve strap rub, try a Racerback style.
  • Sweat can exacerbate chafe. Go for a lightweight style.

Add all of these recommendations together and get a style ‘yes’!

5. Do you wear ultra-packs and other accessories correctly?

They have become the must-have accessory of the modern runner. And with good reason. With added distance comes added hydration and sustenance requirements. Enter the ultra-pack or hydration pack.

These packs can ‘smoosh’ your breasts together, put added pressure on you back and cause excess sweating. As such, they raise the chafing bar to another level.

To counter this, make sure your pack is the correct size and is fitted correctly (sound familiar?) It should not put any undue pressure on your body.

Get the right pack size and fit and answer ‘yes’ number five.

6. Have you tried anti-chafe products?

If you answered ‘yes’ to all the above questions but you still experience the dreaded chafe. Then it is time to turn to creams, balms and butters.

There are many anti-chafe products on the market. All of them promoting an end to rub. I cannot personally recommend any as each of us is different and where we may rub can differ too.

A quick chat to a friend or internet search should point you in the right direction and give you your final ‘yes’.

Closing Thoughts

Sports bra chafe is rarely caused by one problem but is often a combination of multiple factors. And as such the solution if also often multi-pronged.

If you suffer chafe, then work through my questions. Answering ‘yes’ to each one in turn until you stop the dreaded rub in its tracks. Woo hoo!

If your personal anti-chafe solution means a new sports bra then what better place to get one than Sports Bras Direct ( Not only do they have a great range of high-quality sports bras. But there is also a wealth of knowledge on everything ‘sports bra’ to help you solve any sports bra problem you may have.

Yours in support.