Worn With Pride

12 Of The Best Chest Binders You Can Buy, According To A Trans Person

These are the most comfortable, effective styles on the market.

by James Hale
Originally Published: 
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Like many transgender people, when I first Googled “being transgender,” plenty of the links were about how to bind your chest. I’m assigned female at birth (AFAB) and have so far been unable to pursue any kind of medical transition, like hormones or surgery. That makes binding my chest the number one way I shift my body to a more traditionally masculine shape — and I’m just one of many trans people who do so.

A 2016 study — the very first on chest binding — done by a five-person team at The Binding Health Project found that half of the 1,800 respondents bind their chests seven days a week.

“Based on our preliminary analysis, for most participants, binding was a positive experience and led to improvements in mood and self-esteem, minimized gender dysphoria, anxiety, and depression, and helped them to feel in control of their bodies,” a report from the study revealed.

However, researchers also cautioned folks that binding can cause health problems, including “pain in different parts of your body, to shortness of breath, to bruising or other skin changes.” That’s why it’s so important to find a binder that fits you well and has high costumer ratings.

Of all the binders I’ve tried, these are the most comfortable, versatile, and well-made binders on the market.

With over 6k five-star reviews on Amazon, this $23 binder is well worth the price. It has adjustable hook and eye closures down the side for easy dressing, while the soft, stretchy fabric in the shoulders allows for a much better range of motion, compared to a typical binder.

Most binders are made as a “one-size-fits-all” garment, but this top gives flexibility in sizing to fit those with small, average-size, and large chests. As someone with a larger cup size, this is one of the most comfortable binders I have worn that still creates a flat chest effect.

GC2B sent me a binder for review and it quickly became my everyday go-to. This half binder is made of sleek, soft material, and its shape and size make it ideal for plus-size folks.

For me, this one takes a little bit of working with: It has some slippage problems, which can be solved by wearing a tank top underneath it, and the length can make it difficult to figure out how to position larger breasts so you look flat (again, a tank underneath will help).

Despite its drawbacks, this is my favorite binder. I’ve never felt any discomfort while wearing it, and it’s one of the easiest to take off and put on. GC2B also offers customized sizing options if you need them, which is an incredible feature that few companies offer. It’s a great starter binder — and for less than $50.

FLAVNT first caught my eye with their skintone-matching swim binder and is now available in four skintones. The Bareskin Binder is water-friendly, and is meant to give trans folks a more shirtless look on beach days. The stretchy Nylon-Spandex combo is a comfy one, and sizes go up to 4XL.

The top portion of this binder has “double reinforced powernet panels” made of Spandex and Nylon, but has a relaxed stomach, which means you won’t get the unfortunate shelf look that comes with some other long binders. It’s also great for folks with larger stomachs or sensitive stomachs, who don’t want any tummy compression.

This binder comes in sizes up to 3X, and is just one of Underworks’ Extreme Compression series, which offers about 15 extra-powerful options. It’s rated 3.8-stars.

This style from Venus Envy is snug, so it offers a flatter look. It has a longer hem, so it feels even less like a bra and more like a tank top. That being said, it also has a high neckline and wide shoulder straps, which makes it hard to hide under clothes.

The material is sweat wicking and comfortable, as well as durable, and it’s great for everyday wear. However, I was sent the largest size, and it is just shy of too tight and cuts in under my arms. I would mostly recommend it to folks who are smaller than I am (less than a 52-inch bust).

I'm so happy nude binders are becoming more common. GC2B offers tanks in white and black, but also in various skintones. All the brand’s skintone binders are offered in half binders and tanks, like this one.

If you’re looking for some stomach compression, I suggest the tank. You’ll find this binder offers a very flat look. Like the half-binder, you may need to wear a regular tank top underneath to prevent slipping and help hold your breasts in place.

With 364 5-star ratings, this minimizer sports bra is built for activity. While it won’t give you a completely flat chest, it does have anti-bouncing support. This design allows you to bind while you exercise, which is something that should never be done in a binder that isn’t specifically made for physical activity.

Meant to be a more comfortable alternative to the traditional binder, this compression top from TomboyX comes down a bit longer, offering full chest coverage. The low neckline allows wearers to layer different shirt variations over it without revealing what’s underneath. There’s mesh in the front and back to aid support and compression, as well as ventilation.

If you’re looking for a top that’s both chest binder and offers overall compression, consider this tank option from Yummie. It’s got a higher neckline and sleeveless design. This particular design boasts an inner double panel that can be worn at the front or back, depending on where you’d like the most compression.

This 4-star chest binder has a more structured side. Hook-and-eye closures ensure it won’t bust open, even when on the tightest measurement. This closure style also allows wearers to adjust sizing to their leisure. It’s made of moisture-wicking, breathable material to ensure comfortable all-day wear.

This chest binder fits more like a top than a bra. The good thing about this: you can bind without fear of a wardrobe malfunction. Because of this, it’s also a bit more comfortable than most binders, as it flattens your torso as a whole — not just your upper chest. The top is made of Nylon spandex, which gives it a slick effect that sits seamlessly under clothing.

This TomboyX compression top is incredibly comfortable and breathable. As a compression top, it doesn’t flatten your chest as much as a binder. There is plenty of stretch room at the waist and in the shoulders, however, buyers should size up. The actual top fits tighter than advertised in the size chart. (Read my full review here.)

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