Wired vs Wire-Free Bras: Which is Better for Big Boobs

Bra by Sugar Candy - December 23, 2023
woman wearing wirefree bra for big boobs

If you’ve got big boobs, the chances are you’ve been told the only way you can support them is by wearing an underwire bra. Now if you’ve found your way to our website, we’re assuming you’ve either broken up with your underwire bras, or are at least considering opening up your relationship.

In this blog post we’re going to break down all the differences between wired and wire-free bras, and answer the age old question once and for all — which is better for big boobs?

So, what IS the difference between a wired bra and a wire-free bra?

Starting off with an easy one, a wired bra is any bra that contains underwire, while a wire-free bra is one without. Neither is intrinsically more supportive or comfortable than the other.

Not all wired bras are uncomfortable.

Not all wired bras are supportive.

Not all wire-free bras are comfortable.

Not all wire-free bras are unsupportive.

Pros & Cons of Wired Bras

Pros:

  • A wired bra can have a much lower centre front than a wire-free bra without compromising on support.
  • A wired bra doesn’t need as much additional structure as the support comes from the wire, this means narrower straps, fewer hooks and eyes and thinner material.

Cons:

  • They may not last as long as a well-made wire-free bra since they’re not as reliant on having strong fabrics.
  • They can be uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.
  • You have to be very careful when washing them to ensure the wires don’t poke through the fabric.
crush wirefree bra - charcoal

Pros & Cons of Wire-Free Bras

Pros:

  • Having no wires ensures the bra is more comfortable for long term wear.
  • There’s no risk of being stabbed by your bra.
  • You can be harder on your bra when washing it.

Cons:

  • To compete with the support of wired bras, they usually need more fabric, wider straps and stronger elastics.
  • There’s a lot of poor quality options out there which won’t give fuller busts the support they require, or may not even come in larger cup sizes.

Why are wires so rigid in bras for larger busts?

It’s essentially physics. The larger the bust, the longer the wire needs to be, and the longer something is, the more prone it is to breaking.

When on the body, an underwire is under a lot of strain and pressure, while having to move and flex with the body. It has to be strong to ensure it serves its purpose of supporting the bust without snapping.

There’s a new class of metals and plastics out there that allow flexibility within the wire to accommodate movement without snapping. Some say that the more flexible the wire, the less supportive it is. This was why they were so rigid in the past, but now they are strong, yet pliable.

Can a wire-free bra support me? What should I look for?

Not all underwires are created equal, and the same rule applies to wire-free bras. A well made wire-free bra can absolutely support a fuller bust, but there’s some criteria you should look for if support is what you’re after.

Look for:

  • Cups that are at least double layered. A single layer of fabric is never going to give you the support, coverage or shape you desire.
  • Shoulder straps that are wire, adjustable and have short-stretch. This ensures they won’t stretch out and will be able to carry the weight of your bust.
  • A rigid front frame or channel which mimics the shape of an underwire.
  • Internal structures such as platform and side slings, which provide shape and additional support and project your bust forward.
  • A supportive lower bust and stretchy upper cup to accommodate size fluctuations.
  • At minimum three rows of hooks and eyes to help keep your underband firm, as this is where 80% of a bra’s support comes from, wired or not.

Which bra is better for my big boobs?

This all depends on the bra itself. If a wired bra is too tight and digging into your breast tissue, or too loose and not sitting flat against your sternum, a well-fitting wire-free bra is a better option. Similarly though, if a wire-free bra isn’t providing you any support, there’s no point in wearing it.

When should I wear a wired or wire-free bra?

This is entirely up to the wearer. Some people wouldn’t be caught dead leaving the house without their wired bra and will switch to a comfier option when they get home, whereas others may be comfort cravers 24/7 and exclusively wear wire-free bras. The choice is yours and there’s no right or wrong answer.

basic wirefree bra - pink

How many bras should I own?

This depends on how much washing you do, but at a very minimum we recommend having three — one in the wash, one in the drawer and one on your body. Chances are though, you’ll have different bras for different occasions, outfits, or times of the month.

How often should I replace my bras?

You should ditch your bras once they no longer offer you support, have no stretch or simply don’t fit you any longer. The first area you’ll notice this is around the back band, as it’s under the most amount of strain on a daily basis.

That’s why we equip our bras with 6 columns of hook and eye adjustments, so you can tighten the underband as it naturally loosens with wear overtime. 

How do I care for my bras to ensure they last longer?

The fibre you want to take the most care of is elastane, as strong detergents and heat make it deteriorate more rapidly. This is why it’s strongly recommended to wash bras in a cool wash and hang to dry in the shade, as the heat of the sun can also have an impact.

To protect a bra’s structural integrity, always do up the hooks and eyes and wash in a lingerie bag to protect it from other articles of clothing that may have zippers, Velcro or get entwined with it  and cause damage from twisting.

So, with all that being said and done — are wired or wire-free bras better for big boobs? We’re sorry to disappoint, but neither is intrinsically better or worse than the other. It all comes down to whether a bra is properly fitted and correctly adjusted. Wire-free bras can be just as supportive as wired bras, and wired bras can be just as comfortable as wire-free bras. As long as you do your research, choose reputable brands and are sure you’re wearing the correct size, you’ll be comfortable and supported.

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