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athletic breasts

Whether you measured yourself at home or had an in-store fitting, once you’ve found your bra size you might think that that’s it – if you always buy that size, the bras will always fit. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

For one thing, bra sizing can vary between brands. But even if you have a favorite brand that you stick to, you can expect some of their pieces to fit you better than others. That’s because bra size is only half the equation; you also need to choose bra styles to suit your breast shape. Remember, two sets of 34Ds can look very different!

Today’s article is all about athletic breasts – what they are, and which bra styles will work best on them.

What are athletic breasts?

Athletic breasts are so called because they’re more common on people with an athletic build – but you don’t need to be super sporty to have them! Essentially, athletic breasts have a higher muscle to fat content ratio than average, which makes them feel firmer. It also means they tend to be on the smaller side. Together, these two factors mean that athletic breasts don’t usually need a lot of support.

Athletic breasts also tend to have their volume spread out over a wider base, making them flatter and less rounded. They are a type of shallow breast.

Fit problems of athletic breasts

Just like other types of shallow breast, this shape is likely to experience cup gaping or wrinkling. The breast doesn’t always stick out far enough to fill out the cups, especially on the upper half.

People with athletic breasts may also complain that their underwires always dig in. That’s because the root of this breast (the area where is attaches to the chest) is quite wide, and the curve of the underwire is very often shaped for a narrower breast. It might sit on top of or press into the breast issue at the side.

Finally, although it’s not a fit issue as such, some people with this breast shape may feel like they appear ‘flat chested’ and crave a rounder, fuller look.

Related: The Complete Guide To Breast Shapes

bras for athletic breasts

Charlotte Padded Bra | Charlotte Highwaist Brief in Blossom Print

Ideal bra styles for athletic breasts

Demi bras

Demi bras cover the lower half of the breast only, so they’re less likely to gape at the top (unlike a full-cup bra which is taller). Balconette bras are a specific style of demi with a horizontal neckline, so look out for that style name too.

Push-up and vertical-seamed bras

Push-up bras are also low cut, but heavily padded at the base (and sometimes sides) of the cup. The breast tissue sits on top of the padding and so gets lifted higher. They’re the perfect way to create the illusion of a fuller bust!

Vertical seams on a bra boost lift too, so they’re something you might want to look out for as a push-up alternative if you prefer to wear unlined bras.

Bras without horizontal seams

However, avoid horizontal seams. These don’t add lift; instead, they’re there to make the cups deeper. On shallow, athletic breasts, that will only make the bra much more likely to wrinkle and gape.


Not bothered about making your breasts look bigger? If you just want a great fit and total comfort, a wireless bralette could be your perfect lingerie match. No digging underwires, and the stretchy fabric means it will lie flush against your skin. They’re less supportive than wired bras, but then athletic breasts tend to be quite perky anyway.

Plunge bras

Plunge bras have much shorter wires than demi and full cup bras, so they’re less likely to be incompatible with your breast shape. Look for plunges that are cut low-ish even on the outer side of the cup and/or are made of stretch fabric, to avoid problems with gaping.

If you have athletic breasts, what’s the biggest fit problem that you have? Do you have a favorite bra style that fixes it?

Related: How Should A Bralette Fit?

athletic breast shape

Emma Plunge Molded Bra | Emma Hipster in Black

We Highly Recommend

Whether you’re shopping for new everyday bras or lingerie for a special occasion, it’s always a good idea to seek out a second opinion. We know how hard it is to find bras that fit well and feel good, especially when you’re doing it on your own. If you’ve ever felt unsure about your bra size or you just don’t know where to go to find good bras, it’s time to let a bra fitter help.

Many specialty lingerie boutiques offer bra fittings. Their expert bra fitters will take the pain and frustration out of bra shopping and do all the work for you. Even better, their product knowledge can save you time and money. Plus, they know where all of the best bras are hiding.

If you’ve struggled with finding bras in the right size, it’s time to make a change. Visit our specialty store locator to find a store near you and schedule an appointment.

Happy bra shopping!

Featured image lingerie:
Adriana Lace Bralette | Adriana Bikini in Raspberry
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Published by

Estelle Puleston

Estelle Puleston is the founder of, a blog dedicated to her love of lingerie. She works full-time as a copywriter and digital marketer for the lingerie and swimwear industry, and when she’s not doing that, she’s probably sewing or enjoying a good cup of tea.

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