Women with large breasts (DD cups and above) need a heavy-duty sports bra that separates, supports and compresses the breasts to prevent bouncing and pain. For these women, experts recommend an encapsulation bra that houses each breast in a separate cup and pushes the breasts against the body. These bras typically have wide straps and high necklines to evenly distribute the weight of the breasts, and front or back closures that make it easier to take the bra on and off.
The Enell Sports Bra (*Est. $65) is recommended more than any other bra for women with large breasts. It uses both encapsulation and compression to prevent breast movement, and features wide, no-stretch straps and a high neckline. Unlike many encapsulation bras, the Enell does not include underwire. It has a series of 10 front hook-and-eye closures, and the nylon and Spandex material includes a moisture-wicking treatment to keep sweat away from the body. The bra comes in white, black, pink and ecru. Standard sizes start at 32C and end at 50DDD/52DD, with custom sizes available for $15 plus the cost of the bra.
A number of experts recommend the Enell Sports Bra for the support it provides, including reviewers at Self magazine and Running Times. O, The Oprah Magazine, calls the bra a "perennial favorite among well-endowed women." A writer at Salon.com adds, "The Enell sports bra has allowed me to become active again without shame, pain or Ace bandages. It's not only a miracle in terms of bounce control; it's also the most durable bra I've ever owned." In a test at Running Times magazine, C-cup runners thought the bra was overkill, calling it best suited for women with D cups or larger. So perhaps it's no surprise that with shiny material and full coverage, most owners say the Enell is just plain ugly, but they're willing to forgo style points in return for the bra's excellent support.
The Enell enjoys mostly glowing reviews at user-review sites. In more than 200 posts at Amazon.com, owners give the bra 4.5 out of 5 stars, praising its performance during both high- and low-impact activities. Even those with cup sizes of DDD and E (and larger) say the Enell reduces bouncing and provides maximum support. "I'm a 38DDD and this is the best sports bra I have ever owned," raves one woman at Amazon.com. Even during high-impact exercise, users -- including a runner with G-cup breasts -- say the bra stays in place. Durability is another plus, but some owners complain at Amazon.com that it's not very breathable, especially in hot weather. Others wish for adjustable straps and some say the front clasps can be time consuming to hook.
Several other sports bras designed for women with DD-cup or larger breasts perform relatively well, although they earn far fewer recommendations. Reviewers say the CW-X Ultra Support Bra (*Est. $70) does an excellent job of comfortably minimizing bounce for large-busted women, although some users advise using it only for lower-impact exercise. Like the Enell, it represents a significant investment, but some consumers say it's worth it. "I decided to splurge on this high-tech CW-X bra and I am SO glad I did," says one 36D user. A number of reviewers with D-cup and larger breasts agree, saying this bra allows almost no bounce.
A prevailing sticking point of the CW-X Ultra Support is that it's hard to get into, despite the back closure; one reviewer had to ask her boyfriend for help. Some like the back-adjustable straps, but others complain that when worn on the loosest setting, one hook-and-eye closure is uncovered and tends to dig into the shoulders. Other users are disappointed by the "uniboob" look created by the bra; they say product images led them to expect a more separated look. The CW-X Ultra Support bra is made of CoolMax/Lycra fabric with front panels of polyester/Spandex Healtha+ mesh and is available in sizes 34B/C to 42DD.
Designed for medium-impact exercise, the Moving Comfort Grace Bra (*Est. $24) features a zip-front, racerback style in sizes from 32DD to 38DD. More than 100 users review the bra at SierraTradingPost.com, where it earns an overall rating of 4 stars out of 5. They say the Grace provides "decent" support, but some DD-sized reviewers say their breasts still bounce and move around during exercise. Others complain that the zip closure on this bra refuses to stay completely zipped. The newly released Grace II (*Est. $46) may fix some of these shortcomings.