Bra Problem #10: Undependable Underwires
"Underwire that breaks and stabs me making me bleed. Not having that anymore."
February 23, 2023

Bra Problem #10: “Underwire that breaks and stabs me making me bleed. Not having that anymore.”

That sounds truly awful. ☹️ Underwire can fail in a couple of different ways and for a few different reasons. One end of the underwire may pierce through the bra and poke out, or the wire itself may actually snap.

The first occurrence is probably more common because metal is sturdier than even multiple layers of fabric. Underwires are surrounded and enclosed by a casing, a sort of fabric channel with stitched ends. When an underwire “pops,” it is breaking through one end of the casing. Sometimes this is just the result of regular wear and tear in well-worn bras, as the tip of the underwire rubs against the same bit of fabric over time. It could also be a manufacturing defect, in the event that the casing is not stitched securely or that there’s insufficient space in the channel to prevent excessive friction between the wire and surrounding materials. Much more often, though, popping underwires occur (or are hastened) by improper bra care. Delicate washing and air-drying is important for getting the most wear out of your bras, and it’s one of the only factors determining a bra’s “lifespan” that you can fully control. Excessive heat, such as from a clothes dryer, is destructive to many of your bra’s material components. In this case specifically, it can cause the metal underwire to get so hot that it actually damages and weakens the casing.

For an underwire that snaps in two, overheating the metal can also play a role. Another cause is forcible strain on the wire. The strain may come from the wearer fastening the bra across their front and then twisting it around to their back. Certain fit issues can have a similar effect. If your bra cups are too small or the U-shaped frame of the underwire is too narrow (as mentioned in a previous post, underwires can actually vary a lot in shape between styles,) your breast tissue might be forcing the wire to spread. Over time, a structural weakness may develop.

It’s possible to troubleshoot any of these scenarios, but there’s also nothing wrong with foregoing underwire altogether and embracing a wire-free style. A wireless bra can absolutely provide adequate support so long as it is well-structured. There are a ton of great options, and the choices seem to be expanding with every season. Above left in this article image is the Selma wireless spacer bra from Anita, which is made from a wonderfully light and breathable foam-molded material. The right image is Celeste from the brand Goddess, which is one of the most size-inclusive wire-free bras on the market.

Note: “Bra Problems” was originally a series of Facebooks posts written in response to follower queries during the Covid shutdown of spring 2020. Our inboxes are still open, though! If you have a Bra Problem you’d like us to troubleshoot here, email your issue to

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Bra Problem #9: Asymmetry

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“I have an 11 year old who was breastfed. That said, the goof would only eat out of the left one, and my right stayed the same. So I look heavy on my left. Does any bra accommodate for ooomph? I hate that my damn nipples are totally lopsided.”


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