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Wearing bras is not always the most pleasant experience, which most women already know. Yet we don’t think about our shoulders as much as our backs. Straps can dig into our shoulders if not adjusted properly. The band can restrict the upper back around the shoulders.
Don’t disregard shoulder pain when shopping for bras again. Let this be your guide to the best bra for shoulder pain. Be wary of the ways your shoulders can suffer from not choosing the right bra to protect it.
- Best Bra for Shoulder Pain
- Best Overall Bra for Shoulder Pain: Wacoal Awareness Underwire Bra
- Best Shoulder Pain Bra for the Money: Playtex One Smooth U Underwire Bra
- Best Cheap Bra for Shoulder Pain: DELIMIRA Comfort Full Coverage Racerback
- Best Casual Bra for Shoulder Pain: Vanity Fair Beauty Back Full Figure Bra
- Best Fashionable Bra for Shoulder Pain: Glamorise Plus Size Full Coverage Bra
- Features to Consider in Bras for Shoulder Pain
Best Bra for Shoulder Pain
How do you know if a bra won’t cause shoulder pain? Rarely do brands say when their bra is shoulder-friendly. When all the bras would just promise you no back pain or boob restriction, we have picked these five that won’t neglect to give your shoulders some relief.
If you want our final vote (without all the reading), the Wacoal Women’s Awareness Underwire Bra is our vote for Overall Best Bra for Shoulder Pain.
Best Overall Bra for Shoulder Pain: Wacoal Awareness Underwire Bra
Wacoal Women’s Awareness Underwire Bra couldn’t be more qualified for our best overall bra for shoulder pain. The ample support everywhere is earning this bra its well-deserved hype. It’s quite unusual for the straps to gain the most attention, but the thick straps on this bra are what women rave about it.
The thick straps sit right on the skin of your shoulders and go around to the back just on the outer side of your shoulder blades. They don’t stretch, but the adjuster hooks are placed at the back where it won’t poke any significant bone that might hurt more as you wear the bra for longer periods of time.
Despite being far apart, the adjustable straps don’t leave a gap between it and your skin. It doesn’t dig into it either, no matter how close it is. This is also thanks to the massive support your breasts get from the comfortable underwires encased between the two-ply cups and full coverage cups. This makes it suitable for women of any breast type.
The bra cups are seamless. They have a sling at the sides to be convenient and supportive. This works for sagging or pendulous breasts, those that are shallow at the top and full at the bottom, round boobs, and east-west type of breasts.
In addition to the wide variety of breast types it supports, this bra is also available in extra large sizes that go from 32D to 44H. The range of sizes ensures there’s something for any woman with large breasts.
When you take off your bra, you feel the greatest relief from not having anything strapped around your chest. However, with this bra, you can almost forget you’re wearing it. This is not because it’s not snug on your chest and shoulders, but because it just offers the right amount of support for everyday use. It won’t bother nor hurt you throughout the day.
- Full coverage cups 80% Nylon, 20% Spandex
- Hook and eye closure at the back
- Wide, adjustable straps for added lift
- Encased underwire for poke-free support
- Shallow, rounded back for smoothing
- Full figure, full coverage underwire bra
- Seamless, two-ply fabric cups
- Hidden side slings in DDD to I cup sizes for added support
Best Shoulder Pain Bra for the Money: Playtex One Smooth U Underwire Bra
Fashionability and comfort are two things that don’t seem to exist at the same time. Suffering in pain just to look good shouldn’t have to be the norm. You don’t have to be strapped in a painful bra just for an outfit to look flawless on the outside. The Playtex One Smooth U Underwire Bra makes sure it doesn’t happen that way.
This bra makes clothes look good on you. At the same time, it gives relief to your shoulders and breasts. For your shoulders, it has thick cushioned straps lined with cotton for the ultimate comfort and airiness that the fabric offers.
Even though it has wide-set straps that sit far near the outside of your shoulder blades, it’s equipped with small adjustable hooks. You can customize its length and make it fit snugly on your shoulders.
Alternatively, the wide straps are actually set far apart to hide them better inside your clothes. They won’t peek out from a wide neckline. The cushioning, on the other hand, is responsible for preventing them from sliding down the arms and showing outside your sleeves.
The other elements of the bra are also made with the intention to be discreet inside clothes. The balconette style cups hide the bra well underneath revealing v-neck tops while the seamless edges are sure not to make a bulge on tight-fitting clothes.
To provide even more support, the underwires are well-hidden inside the foam cups. They secretly make it easier on the straps to keep the bra up while it lifts the breasts.
Like the Wacoal Awareness bra, this Playtex Body Revelation bra is available in extremely big sizes in both band cup aspects for plus size women and women with big breasts. If you happen to like giving your shoulders and breasts ultimate support while still considering the fashionable aspect of a bra, this Playtex bra won’t be a waste of your money.
- Full coverage balconette bra
- Synthetic material
- Hook and eye closure at the back
- Contoured seamless foam cups for comfort and shaping
- Cushioned adjustable straps for all day wear
- U-shaped back for smoothing
- Comfort: A Dream Come True. Cotton-lined adjustable, Comfort Strap(R) designed to help relieve...
- Support: 4 Reasons to Celebrate. 4-Way TruSupport. Taller back for extra back support. Higher sides...
- Smoothing: The Ultimate Disappearing Act. Smooth, lined foam cups designed for a smooth look under...
Best Cheap Bra for Shoulder Pain: DELIMIRA Comfort Full Coverage Racerback
Delimira Comfort Underwire Racerback Front Closure Bra satisfies a lot of features you should look for in a bra that targets shoulder pain: front closure, underwires, thick padded straps, and a racerback style. Other than the straps, it may seem like the others are irrelevant to preventing shoulder pain. However, all these contribute to give your shoulders some much-needed pampering.
The racerback style of this bra is a bit different so the straps can be adjustable. They only meet near the band at the back, avoiding your shoulder blades by an inch or two. This also means the adjustment hooks are nowhere near them and will be unable to poke the bone.
This may not be the traditional racerback. The support it gives your back still has some bearing on the ease of the straps on your shoulders.
Where there’s usually some padding on the cups, there’s none and the padding is seemingly transferred to the straps. This bra doesn’t come without band support though. Its underwires are built into the dual-layered cups.
For a cheap option like this Delimira bra, convenience is not out of the question. You’ll be delighted to not have to exert too much effort wearing this because it comes with a quick front closure. The racerback fabric at the back is also made of mesh for breathability.
- Full coverage cups with racerback
- 82% Polyamide, 18% Spandex
- Front snap clasp for easy access
- Thick, heavy duty adjustable shoulder straps
- Racerback design for more support
- Mesh panel back for breathability and comfort
- Front close for convenient wear
- Wire and elastic back edges design offer great support
- Lightly dual layered cups and sheer back give excellent soft and breathable
Best Casual Bra for Shoulder Pain: Vanity Fair Beauty Back Full Figure Bra
Vanity Fair Beauty Back Full Figure Underwire Bra is our best pick for a casual daywear bra. It’s a back smoothing bra that has features to provide a comfortable experience for your shoulders, even if you wear this all throughout the day.
Its name Beauty Back comes from its ultimate function of smoothening your back of bumps and bulges that other kinds of bras usually create. However, this feature also allows the straps to feel less harsh on your shoulders.
The straps are made of Vanity Fair’s signature honeycomb straps. Its shiny exterior is not only for appearances. The material actually feels silky on your shoulders. The thickness of the straps also prevents them from digging into your skin.
The same four-way stretch fabric used for the smoothing band at the back is also used for the straps. This makes the bra itself flexible enough to accommodate your size. Even more so, the straps come with an adjustable hook at the back that won’t hurt your shoulders, girdle, and blades.
For casual daily wear, this bra offers comfort from the straps. It doesn’t sacrifice coverage and support from the lightly lined padded cups.
You may not be able to do extraneous activities in this bra, but you can run errands in it all day without feeling the need to adjust it constantly.
- Full coverage cups
- 78% Polyester, 22% Spandex
- Hook and eye closure at the back
- Thick adjustable shoulder straps for support
- 4-way stretch fabric with u-shaped back for smoothing
- Banded frame for additional lift
- Vanity Fair style number 76380
- America's #1 Smoothing Underwire Bra
- Soft, 4-way stretch fabric provides smoothing across the back
Best Fashionable Bra for Shoulder Pain: Glamorise Plus Size Full Coverage Bra
Glamorise as a brand is not one to neglect the fashion aspect even of underthings like a bra. It’s also mindful of little details that make up the most special aspects of their products. The Glamorise Plus Size Full Coverage Bra is a reflection of that.
For shoulder relief and protection, it has thick straps that refer not only to their width but also their chunkiness. This bra boasts of having cushioned straps. What’s more impressive is that even the fabric material itself is thick enough to feel extremely comfortable.
In terms of appearance, the straps look close to that of the straps in the Wacoal Awareness Bra. It also has adjustment hooks in the silky straps at the back that don’t poke or dig into the skin.
This is only enabled to work because the rest of the bra is given much attention to detail. The band support is incredible for having invisible underwires. This means they’re hidden inside the padded cups, with a promise not to even touch your skin. Glamorise calls it a Wonderwire design, which is a classic from the brand that they’ve already mastered.
The other areas that the bra covers are all well-supported. The cups have smoothing capabilities so they look seamless and almost invisible underneath clothes. On the sides, they’re also equipped with shape enhancers to support any breast shape and type.
If the other bras in this list can’t be taken out to sweaty and sporty activities, this bra is perfectly capable of being used for that. With moisture-wicking fabrics, it won’t feel icky even after sweating on it for hours. That’s one thing that differentiates this bra, and for that, it makes this versatile bra all the more worth it.
- Full coverage bra
- 67% Polyamide, 26% Polyester, 7% Elastane
- Front snap clasp for easy access
- Wide, cushioned adjustable straps for customized support
- Wonderwire cushioned comfort band
- Side smoothing panels for a flattering silhouette
- WONDERWIRE TECHNOLOGY: A padded underwire adds an extra layer of cushion to prevent wire poke.
- SUPPORT: Lace-topped cups feature side-bust control to shape and support.
- FRONT CLOSURE: Easy on and off secure front closure.
Features to Consider in Bras for Shoulder Pain
You’d think the straps are the main culprit in giving you shoulder pain when wearing a bra. To some extent, it is. However, there are so many other features to look out for that can help alleviate the pain in that area, even if they’re not necessarily close to it. Whether you want to assess your current bras or just want to be in-the-know for your next purchase, these are what you need to check for. They will offer little to no shoulder pain.
You’ve probably already expected it. Of course, the first one to check in a bra for shoulder pain prevention is the straps. They’re the ones that actually go on and around your shoulders. If there’s pain there, it must be these little silent killers.
You’re not wrong. Several qualities of your bra straps may not be up to par with the level of protection and comfort your shoulders require. When you’re wishing for more comfortable bra straps, you’re not asking for too much. Your bra may just be ill-equipped to give you that satisfaction. When evaluating bra straps, there are four major factors to consider: its width, adjustability, padding or cushioning, and its placement on your shoulders and beyond.
The thickness of bra straps are usually associated with alleviating back pain because of how it helps the band lift up your breast, commonly seen in bras with great support. However, there are more kinds of pain the thick width of the straps are capable of preventing. That one is shoulder pain.
Notice how the thin rope handles of shopping bags dig into the skin when you dangle them around your arms, but the thicker fabric handles aren’t as harsh? The same concept applies to bra straps. The thinner they are, the more they’re capable of digging deep into the skin on your shoulders. The thicker bra straps may not be completely painless, but they’re the lesser evil of the two.
Adjustability plays a big part in how your straps are going to fit around your shoulders. The length of the straps is not proportional to the cup or band size. So, no matter the kind or size of bra, the straps should be able to adjust according to the user’s torso length.
Too short bra straps run the risk of digging into the shoulders. Long ones may not hurt, but they just slide down to the arms, transferring the pain towards other parts like your back. You’ll want adjustable bra straps. They should fit exactly around your shoulders and have the flexibility of changing their length if you need to.
The placement of bra straps are not always the same. Some bras are suitable for women with wide, broad shoulders while others are made for those with narrow torsos.
You wouldn’t see any label that indicates this though. You have to check how far apart the straps are. See if they won’t sit where they would only hurt your shoulders.
Most bra straps are positioned on the outer part of the shoulder blades. You may not notice its negative impact there. But, it puts tension on your shoulder girdle, pulling and rotating it downwards, and straining your neck in the process.
Placement of the Adjustment Hook
Along with the wrong placement of the strap itself, the wrong placement of the adjustment hook may have the same irritating and painful effect. You wouldn’t have much control over where the adjustment hook will be positioned. The way the bra is built will determine whether it will sit in front on your chest or your back.
The latter is more common but it risks the possibility of it landing right on your shoulder blades. This can be extra painful because it pokes your bone. If you can find a bra with the adjustment hooks placed in front, it’s all the better.
Padding or Cushioning
Padding and cushioning are quite rare and unexpected in bra straps, but it’s what will make your shoulders less susceptible to aches. Strap padding is the same as in other parts of the bra, like the cups. Other types of cushioning like gel or otherwise are less structure and can mold to the dips and curves of your shoulders more.
Padding and cushioning are common in bras for full cup sizes and plus size bras for shoulder aid and relief. If you belong in these categories, you’ll find many options for cushioning. However, separate shoulder cushions are bra accessories that can be added to your bras that don’t have any to relieve the shoulders. This also doubles the function to prevent your straps from sliding down, resolving two common bra strap issues at once.
Remember, bra straps don’t function to pull up your breasts. They’re merely an aid so that your bra won’t fall down, but the lifting work really falls on the band. Hence, the reason why strapless bras can exist on their own. It’s important to find a bra with a supportive band, especially if you have large or sagging breasts. If your bra doesn’t have a supportive band, your bra straps will likely be the one to make up for its incompetence.
In effect, it will be pulled down by your breasts and will be digging into your shoulders. When shopping bras for shoulder relief, don’t disregard the strength and effectivity of the band to lift up your breasts on its own.
The style of bras may not look too different, but some bras have design elements that have unintentional yet impactful shoulder relief benefits. Racerbacks, for example, are more common in sports bras than regular bras.
On the rare occasion that a regular bra is a racerback style, the strap material that meets at the center of your upper back helps in supporting and relieving both the shoulders and the back at the same time. This makes it extremely more comfortable for the shoulders.
One takeaway from our previous example would be that back support can also equate to shoulder relief. Two things that cause straps to dig down to the skin are lack of support in the chest and the back. That’s why bras that smooth down back fat are also great for back or shoulder support as they provide a lot of coverage and tightness. A nice posture correcting bra will also work effectively.
It’s not enough to have a supportive band if the back isn’t getting the same amount of support and does the same thing of pulling the straps down.
Naturally, the wrong size bra would not fit right on your chest, but it would also pose problems for your straps. Issues concerning the many factors about bra straps we’ve mentioned above.
Having size options will not only change the way the cups and band fit around your breasts and chest. The straps will also be built differently for your shoulders’ requirements based on the first two factors.
Or, opt for the best bra for sloping shoulders, if you think this is the root of your problem.
Front closure may have something to do about convenience than directly protecting the shoulders.
However, the ease of wearing the bra by having a front closure ultimately prevents you from straining your shoulders. Even sports bras have options like this for ease of wear and movement.
With a back closure, you usually have to rotate your arms and shoulders back, which can bring a specific ache to those areas while or after doing it. A front closure will make putting on the bra easier and pain-free, especially for plus size women who have a harder time with it.
We’re sure you’ve heard the advice not to carry heavy backpacks to avoid slumping shoulders. Even if you’ve been diligent with that, it won’t matter much if you still wear shoulder pain-inducing bras. We’ve already told you the best ones on the market, and the features that make a bra feel good on your shoulders. It’s all on you now to only have bras that are protective of your precious shoulders.