My Eyes are Up Here: 5 Style Tips for Running Shirtless



Kyle has written 176 posts on Salty Running.

Cinnamon is a 34 year old mid-packer who works in TV and movie production; and is currently training for the 2015 New Jersey Marathon (April 26th). Her writing is an eclectic mix of reflections on sports science, reactions to the body's limitations, satirical humor pieces and more.

Taking the Salty Challenge in my Alexis Bra from Moving Comfort

I’m in love with Clove’s Salty Running Challenge!  Leaving my shirt behind when I go for a run is a real struggle, but the more I practice the more I just stop caring what others think of my tummy and start feeling great about showing off the amazing athletic machine that is my body.

Now Salty already posted about running shirtless, but I wanted to point out that when we wear our bellies on the outside for a run there are a couple things to consider in your bra.  I’m not talking about your boobs, either (at least not this time). 

1. First things First. When removing your top, please consider bounce factor

Considering that sport bras are historically just really tight half-shirts it’s no surprise that they have become more-than-acceptable to wear sans chemise, but as I’ve written before, those kinds of compression bras can really let your jubblies jiggle…a lot.  To keep larger breasts in place encapsulation bras are the best option, but be prepared…it’s gonna look like a bra, not a half-shirt.  But that’s not a bad thing!  The best way to keep yourself from being nervous about showing off your bra is to own it. Get a style or a pattern that you love, like the stripey bra I’m wearing above (a Moving Comfort Alexis).  I’m currently salivating over this hot little number:

Great support AND you can look like Wonder Woman too! click to get this beauty on


2. Let’s talk cleavage. Does it reveal more in the front than you’re comfortable with?

This “flexwire” bra from U.K. company Shock Absorber is really cute, but a little too revealing for me to want to run in it without my singlet covering the goods. I can just see it now – all the sketchy dudes in the park would be hustling to go faster than me just so they could look over their shoulders!

Hello, boys. All of you who clicked on this article to see some sexy cleavage just got what you came for! click to view/purchase on

Okay, so I’m well aware that men in the NYC park system aren’t all salivating over my exposed parts when I run. My point is, people often can’t seem to keep their mouths shut when they see a hot lady with a bare tummy, and I consider this when choosing my running apparel. When putting one’s bra out there in front of others one must acknowledge that many people will appreciate her God-given gifts more than she does herself!  If you’re comfortable with that, more power to ya, but  if, like me, you prefer to minimize commentary consider opting for something with a bit more coverage. After all, you’re wearing it as your top, not just your bra!

I’m not saying you have to dress like Saudi runner Sarah Attar or anything, but if you’re going to flaunt it, make sure you do so on your own terms…just like she does.

Damn, she looks hot in that smile! img via

3. Now look at the back. Are the hooks the only things between your nipples and full daylight?

Hook-and-eye closure has come back onto the sport bra scene with a vengeance, since clasps provide a better fit on the band than a traditional pull-on sport bra.  But you’re not trying to emulate a lingerie catalog, you’re trying to look like an athlete, so you need to consider both the aesthetic implications of a bra’s back in addition to its support when wearing it on the outside.

Take this bra, from Athleta, for instance:

The traditional hook-and-eye bra closures do just as good a job of holding your boobs up, but let’s face it, if you ran shirtless in this bra you’d look like you were just out for a jog in your everyday underwear.  See above re. commentary from others.

But never fear, ladies, there are plenty of options out there for those of us who crave the support of a fitted band and want to look a little more sporty! Check out this one instead:

The Moving Comfort “Rebound Racer” does a better job of back coverage and has a clasp-band for added support while still allowing plenty of open space to keep you cool. click to view/purchase at


4.  Dude. Seriously. Make sure it fits.

You’ve all been there.  You’re running along at a race, minding your own business when…

(cue the Jaws Theme)

Bouncing up next to you comes…


The Australian Institute of Sport actually thinks it’s okay to run in this bra without a shirt.  Clearly no one who works there has tried running with boobs attached to his chest. img via

As a bra, the above example fits that girl reeeeal nice. As a sport bra it lacks the coverage necessary to lock n’ load those boobs in for high-impact activity like running.  Note the dreaded side boob.

It’s a miracle that I couldn’t find more images representing runners with side- or under-boob, since I see it so freaking often at races.  It seems that many women aren’t aware that teeny-tiny sport bras aren’t made for running, they’re made for wearing at a gym when you want boys to stare at your chest while you box:

You think dudes don’t ogle us when we’re sweaty? Check out, where I found this image. Vom.

But seriously, before you remove your shirt ladies, please check that your bra does not expose your breast tissue from the sides, and while you’re at it, make sure that the band around the bottom fits nice and tight, or risk bouncing right out of your bra altogether…the dreaded underboob is a threat to us all!

The moral of the story? When wearing your bra without a shirt on it’s important to be sure that it fits you well and provides adequate coverage for your boobs to not go viral on sexy joggers.  For a great fit guide, check out this swell video from Sweatshop U.K.:

5. Finally–Are you wearing a white bra? No! Bad runner!

Okay, so you have a bra that fits, now it’s time to think pure aesthetics.  Think about this lady running down your street:

Vintage Ad #1,300: I Dreamed I Was Tickled Pin...

This is not your running club’s uniform for a reason. And THANK GOODNESS it’s not. She could poke some dudes eye out with that thing! img via jbcurio on flickr

Slightly terrifying, right? I bet her boobs don’t move a millimeter in that bullet-shaped vault, but nonetheless it’s not a classy look, even with the shiny pink spandex.

Since we can’t all get away with the underwear-as-outerwear look. It’s best to consider taking off your shirt only when you’re wearing a bra that doesn’t look like…well…a bra. This is one of the reasons I avoid white sport bras at all costs, opting instead for something a little more stylish. My favorite bras are my Alexis (at the top of the post), which combines compression and encapsulation, and my very first encapuslation bra, a LuLuLemon Ta-Ta Tamer.  It also features horizontal stripes in adorable grey and white.

Have fun baring your bellies, gals!

Got any other tips for runners who want to bare their bellies?  How about horror stories of runners who didn’t follow these rules?

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