Replacement for Target C9 Champion sports bras?
October 14, 2015 5:20 AM   Subscribe

Target "updated" their C9 Champion "Enthusiast" sports bras and now I'm sad. What brand is a good replacement for the old styles?

I liked the racer back one piece (with the wide straps) best and also the kind with the separate, narrow straps (both the racer and the straight straps, because the narrow straps didn't show under tees, but the straps were really too narrow). I wore a medium (34C). I want seamless, one piece! cups, wide band, no underwire!, no padding!, moderate support all the way through, medium thick fabric that feels kind of cottony, can handle some abuse (machine wash), and reasonably priced so it can be replaced regularly. Also a variety of colors was nice, but not mandatory.
posted by anaelith to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Ha, I just had exactly the same problem! (Why does Target think we need padding in our sports bras now?!) I ended up getting a couple of these Reebok sports bras and they're working well so far. They have a few different Reebok options in the same $20 price range.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 7:19 AM on October 14, 2015 [3 favorites]

The Title 9 frog bra is exactly what you're looking for. The product descriptions says 4+ barbells, but it's really a medium bra, not too suitcase. If not, browse around Title 9, they have the best selection of sports bras anywhere.
posted by Dashy at 7:39 AM on October 14, 2015

Fruit of the Loom #9012 is what I wear and it seems to be very close. The front is not padded but has an extra layer of cotton for coverage. Very comfortable, very inexpensive.
posted by raisingsand at 10:05 AM on October 14, 2015

These look a lot like knockoffs of two different Nike bras. In fact they looked more like an old maybe discontinued (?! ack they were my favorite) Nike Victory line of bras. They're expensive but they're goddamn bulletproof. I'm smaller-chested but I've had one of them for I think four years.
posted by hollyholly at 10:53 AM on October 14, 2015

ARGGGH! Totally feel you on this. I've almost asked this question several times! The comments in the product are filled with other women who are also totally miffed at the new replacements. If I'd known, I would have purchased 30 of them to last me the next few years!

I have a few decent-ish replacements that I'll dig out of my Amazon history.... but none of them are perfect :-(
posted by barnone at 11:40 AM on October 14, 2015

That reminds me I have some of the Nike bras in hollyholly's "different" link. They're very good as well. They fit the bill of medium weight, even moderate support, and I machine wash them. Pretty similar to the frog. Maybe order one of both, then see which "medium" is better for you.
posted by Dashy at 12:20 PM on October 14, 2015

I have not tried them so I can't vouch for quality, but Forever21 has tons of sports bra options and quite a few seamless options. Usually their sports bras have removable padding from what I've seen. (At the very least they're inexpensive enough to give them a try.) Here's one that looks quite similar.
posted by Crystalinne at 1:34 PM on October 14, 2015

Unless the above posters have also tried the C9 bras from Target, I don't think many of the above are very good replacements. They might be alternatives, but the material looks very different. The Reebok seamless version mentioned above looks like a decent option though and I'm definitely going to try one myself!

The C9 bras were unique in that they were stretchy - almost a knit material, but also very supportive. They were incredibly comfortable without being loose, and had no cups or padding except the material was thick enough that they offered a bit of discretion without being annoying. They weren't plain cotton (like the Fruit of the Loom sports bras) and they didn't have as much compression as the Frog Bra.

The Champion Women's Freedom Seamless Racerback is worth a try. It didn't fit me as well as the original C9 from Target but the material is very similar. Lots of colors.

The Wacoal Women's Sport Bra also has a similar material but slightly different fit.

The Under Armour Women's Seamless Essential Sports Bra might be a decent replacement for the C9 with thin straps. I have a smaller chest and it works ok for me, but make sure you read the reviews of women with larger chests to see if it works as promised.

I tried a bunch of others from Amazon but returned them because they didn't fill the same need as those C9 sports bras from Target. Thanks for asking the question and I will be watching this thread with interest. I hope we all find something that works!
posted by barnone at 3:07 PM on October 14, 2015 [3 favorites]

Have you tried pulling the pads out of the new bras? I have a super-old C9 bra from Target, and they're the same except the new ones have ruching in front, support doesn't seem much different.
posted by momus_window at 4:15 PM on October 14, 2015

I too have great love for the strappy style bra the OP is lamenting having thrown out all my regular bras in favour of sports bras.

Nthing that Reebok and Under Armour have some really good strappy lightweight bras. I have a seamless Reebok and a Reebok crossfit bra and both are unpadded, comfortable, supportive and versatile. The crossfit bras come in some cute colours albeit with some back strappage that may end up on show, I've embraced the design and have a green one that I allow the straps to show on a variety or green/navy/black tops and dresses, it looks really cute and is thick enough material to not show nips.

I've got four UA bras, one seamless/strappy style (awesome), one Gotta Have It (ok, its a little small for me - E cup) and two of the Armour Bras, one with straight straps and one with a racer back (both are superb). The Armours are among the thickest straps I have in my rotation but they stay the hell put, are super comfortable and give great shape. They have a clasp but are still really comfortable and have padding but can be removed.
posted by Ness at 1:54 AM on October 15, 2015

Response by poster: A couple of these look promising, but still trying to pick one. Who thought a cheap basic from Target would be such a rare commodity?

One problem, a lot of these look like they will be too tight in the chest when the band fits. Comments on which ones have wide, snug, supportive bands with a little more space in the cups would be good.

The other problem is that many of these are not affordable for me. The Target bra was amazingly cheap, under 20$ and usually around 15$ on sale, which it often was. I usually have 15-20 sports bras in my wardrobe and I like to replace them every few years because the band will stretch, so it adds up.

Also, I'm kind of pissed at whoever decided padding was a good idea. I'm not going to buy anything with padding in it (even removable padding) unless I can't find any other way. My ideal bra is a single layer of fabric. I don't care if my nipples show and I don't care if the shape of my breasts is the same shape that my breasts are without a bra. I just want a little support so I don't bounce around in an uncomfortable way.
posted by anaelith at 4:53 AM on October 15, 2015

Um yea, expensive. All the bras I suggested I didnt buy at full price from the manufacturer, they were from TK Maxx (UK) so were all older stock and a third/half the price of current seasons. The problem is that I have to approach shopping like thrifting in order to find them - spend a long time looking and look often.

To buy cheaper sports bras online I've found that I have to identify a brand thats likely to work and then scan the discount online sports shops for previous seasons stock. There are lots of these in Europe, not sure where you'd look in the States. I often find end of line and odd colours for lower prices on Amazon.

The other thing I do is look for used sports bras on Ebay, theres plenty of ladies with gym-gear buyers remorse (early in the year is the best time to capitalise on new year flakers). Look for those that are new with tags or worn a couple of times because nobody wants a baggy ol bra.
posted by Ness at 7:16 AM on October 15, 2015

Oh I forgot about another place to look for less expensive bras, not sure how ubiquitous they are in the US but H&M often have strappy non-padded sports bras. They're definitely not the same quality as the sports brands but are good if you want something cute at a reasonable price.
posted by Ness at 7:33 AM on October 15, 2015

By the way, it won't work to buy 30 of them to keep forever. After a few years the elastic starts to get "crunchy" and it falls apart.
posted by CathyG at 9:21 AM on October 15, 2015

Response by poster: Made it out to Dick's and the Reebok "core seamless" bras are, in fact, almost identical to the old Target bras (I'm comparing to my least worn Target bra, which still has some wear). The fabric feels the same. I think the Reebok bras might be just a hair loser in the band and tighter in the chest, but overall the fit is very similar on the medium, people who were on the edge of a size might want to try them on first. The price is reasonable, although not quite as cheap as Target (I don't know how frequently Dick's runs sales, but I guess I'll be finding out). The Reebok bra section at Dick's is even more of a disorganized hell than the bra section at Target, but I was able to find a few colors in medium.

By the way, while I was there I felt every other bra I could find in the store just in case there was a better option, and all all of them (including other Reebok bras) felt terrible, yucky "swimsuit" fabric or molded cups, sometimes both together.
posted by anaelith at 5:09 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

Awesome, thanks for the update!!!

By the way, while I was there I felt every other bra I could find in the store just in case there was a better option, and all all of them (including other Reebok bras) felt terrible, yucky "swimsuit" fabric or molded cups, sometimes both together.
UGHHHH such a good description of the weird material and shape in most sports bras. They're so horrid. Definitely ordering some Reebok core seamless alternatives now!
posted by barnone at 10:42 AM on October 19, 2015

Also: the Champion Women's Freedom Seamless Sports Bra is $10.71 with prime shipping in size medium in the Vagabond color right now, if you want a bright option to try out.
posted by barnone at 10:44 AM on October 19, 2015

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