Wireless vs Underwire Bra


To wear a wire or not to wear a wire, that is the question. As a woman with ample breasts, for a long time I thought this wasn’t a choice available to me. The prevailing message for a long time was that if you wanted a supportive and shapely bra, you needed to go for a wired bra.

But design technology has taken leaps and bounds and now women of all bust sizes have an array of choices. At the end of the day, this is a personal choice. And you don’t need to be all-in on one side or the other… Perhaps some days you want a wired bra and other times you don’t.

But let’s look at the differences and pros and cons of each style.

What is a Wireless Bra vs Underwire Bra

Underwire bras (or wired bras) have sturdy metal or plastic wire beneath the cup of each breast. This wire is usually sewn into the bra with extra fabric around it so that it feels more comfortable. The goal of the underwire is to lift your breasts away from the wall of your chest and give each breast a defined shape.

On the flip side, wireless bras (which can also be known as soft cup bras) feature no wire, but rely on the cut of the fabric and stitching to create shape and provide support. This may take the form of a larger band (longline bra) or an inner sling to support the bra. 

Wireless bras provide support and shape, but think of them as enhancing rather than dramatically changing your natural shape.

Features Options for Both Styles of Bra

Whether you prefer wireless or underwire bras, you have additional options for both styles, including:

  • Straps and construction: Push-up, strapless and more styles are available for both underwire bras and wireless bras.
  • Cup shape: Full cup, demi-cup or half-cup styles are available in both bra styles.
  • Padding: Both wired bras and wireless bras are available either with or without padding.
  • Design variety: Whether you like your bra frilly, sexy, practical, basic or luxurious, you’ll be able to satisfy your style with either design.

wireless bra

Pros & Cons of Wireless Bras

While the choice of underwire is ultimately a personal one, there are some objective pros and cons for each style. Let’s explore:

Pro: Just More Comfortable

Wireless bras simply win on comfort. Now, granted many women who find underwire bras uncomfortable are wearing the wrong size. But even when you’re wearing the right size, underwires are more prone to dig into your ribs and generally feel more constricting than wireless bras. Wireless is consistently considered the most comfortable choice.

Pro: Better for Sports Bras

Most sports bras are wireless. This is because when you need to move and perform physically you need maximum comfort and flexibility. This may be surprising to some, who think that an underwire is required for support (and you need a lot of support when running and jumping). But the construction of a sports bra is different from an everyday bra; the fabrics are often thicker and contain more elastic. So even without a wire, sports bras can give you that support. 

Pro: Better for Pregnancy

If you’re pregnant (especially if you’re carrying high), post-pregnancy or breastfeeding, you will likely find that a soft cup vs a wired bra is way more comfortable to wear.

Pro: Better for Sleeping or Post Surgery

If you’ve had surgery or sleep with a bra, a wireless bra should be your choice. These bras can still support you, without causing discomfort or restricting circulation.

Pro: Better for Circulation

While the idea that wearing underwires causes breast cancer has been debunked, underwire bras can still be quite constrictive and cut off circulation, especially if you’re wearing the wrong size. A wireless bra is just more flexible and allows your both to move, expand and contract without causing constriction. This way, they won’t impede lymph drainage or circulation.

Con: Silhouette

The one con of wearing a wireless bra is that it rarely gives you the shape and silhouette that an underwire bra provides. For many of us, this is a non-issue: We prefer a more natural silhouette. But if you want to greatly alter the appearance of your breasts, an underwire bra is more likely to achieve that. 

It’s also important to look at other elements of the bra construction because two different wireless bras can give you dramatically different results in terms of shape and support. Again, this always comes down to personal choice.

wireless bra

Pros & Cons of Underwire Bra

While wireless bras have a lot going for them, there are some reasons to consider keeping an underwire bra in your arsenal (and some disadvantages too)... 

Pro: Better for Shape / Silhouette

As mentioned, an underwire gives a bra extra oompfh when it comes to lifting and separating your breasts. To be clear: This doesn’t mean that every wireless bra will give you a uni-boob look, but an underwire bra is probably always going to give you next level lift and separation. There may be times you want this look, and other times when you prefer a more natural look.

Pro: Support

Underwire bras do also offer additional support. If you have a larger cup size and want support from a wireless bra, you’ll need to pay extra attention to the fabric and cut of the bra to see where that support comes from. With underwire bras, you know you’ll be getting additional support from that wire.

Con: More High Maintenance to Care for

A huge con of underwire bras is that they can be finicky to care for. While a lot of wireless bras can be machine-washed (read the care labels and follow good washing instructions), underwire bras almost always need to be hand washed and dried. 

Over time, many women find that the wire pops out of its casing. It can also start to bend if you’re too vigorous with your washing, or mishandle them when storing. So overall, underwire bras are considered too high maintenance for some women vs wireless alternatives.

Con: Allergies / Reactions

Finally (this will be a non-issue for most women) but underwires have been known to cause allergic reactions and rashes in some wearers. If metal is irritating or your skin is especially sensitive, you may find the delicate skin under your breasts is irritated by the underwire.

No Matter What, Find Your Right Size

A lot of women have a dislike for certain bra styles or brands based on their comfort. But it often turns out that the issue isn’t the bra design, it’s the size. So, whatever style you decide is “for you” make sure you find your right size.

While you can measure your bra size yourself, we really recommend getting a professional fitting. Good news! You can schedule a virtual fitting with Knix from the comfort of your own home! 

What to Expect from a Knix Virtual Fitting:

  • Book your virtual fitting here
  • We’ll connect you with one of our expert Knix team members for a 1-on-1 fitting session over video chat. 
  • For your bra fitting, we recommend you wear a bra with little or no padding and a fitted t-shirt to make sure we get an accurate measurement. You’ll also need either a) a soft measuring tape or b) a piece of string or cord and a tape measure or ruler.
  • With different styles and sizes for 30A to 42G in the world’s most comfortable and supportive wireless bras, our fit experts can help you get into something that you will love to wear every single day.