Ask The Binding Coach

Answers to your questions about healthy chest binding and trans health from Frances Reed, author of Healthy Chest Binding for Trans & Non-Binary People.

How long can I wear my binder?

Ask The Binding Coach: How long can I wear my binder?

Q: How many hours can I wear my binder?

A: Common sense and my clinical experience lead me to recommend binding for as few hours as possible each day. (For this section, “binding” means wearing your full-compression binder.)

Prioritizing the hours that you are in public for binding and switching to looser, less compressive options at home are best practices. So, let’s frame the discussion differently: it’s not about a “magic number,” it’s about balance, with as much off-time as possible and a commitment to self-care routines.

If you’ve done your research on binding practices, you have probably heard the recommended guideline is to bind for no more than eight hours per day. I have never found the origin of this recommendation and I suspect it was a common sense recommendation that caught on and now appears all around the internet. The research shows that the number of hours binding is less predictive of pain than the number of consecutive days of binding which means that taking days off from binding is more important than limiting the hours in a single day. The only binding method that is ever safe for 24 hour binding is kinetic tape binding because it does not compress the ribcage at all.

The occasional longer-than-usual day in a binder will most likely cause soreness, but it is rare that it causes a client ongoing pain. This soreness should be addressed with stretching and self-massage daily.

Being realistic is key to sustainable healthy binding and limiting yourself to 8 hours can be a serious challenge if you work 12-hour shifts, have a long commute, or have 10-hour school days. It is of paramount importance to keep yourself safe physically and emotionally, and it’s your job to get creative in structuring and planning your days to give your body the rest it deserves.

If your life requires long stretches of binding, here are some suggestions:

  • Plan to take a 15+ minute break after four to five hours of binding to rest, breathe, and stretch
  • Wear the lowest compression binder that alleviates your dysphoria
  • Try kinetic tape binding which can be worn for 3-4 days at a time without harming the body
  • Wear a binder with a zipper, velcro, or clasps so that you can discreetly release the binder during a long day if you need a short break
  • Change out of your binder for your commute home or as soon as you are in a situation that no longer requires you to bind.

Find the right binder

To find companies that offer low compression binders, kinetic tape binding, and binders with quick release closures, visit our Binder Finder tool which catalogs 52 characteristics of binders and reputable companies that sell each style.

Headshot of Frances Reed, a white, non-binary person with a bright purple and blue mohawk. They are wearing glasses and a patterned blue and white shirt and smiling into the camera.

Frances Reed, The Binding Coach

About The Binding Coach

I’m Frances Reed (they/them). I’m the author of Healthy Chest Binding for Trans & Non-Binary People: A Practical Guide, and the creator of

I’ve been a licensed massage therapist since 2011, and I support people at all stages of gender transition. I’m here to answer your questions about binding, no matter how big, small, silly, or serious.

Frequent topics include healthy chest binding, finding or wearing a chest binder, self-massage for people who bind, self-care for trans folks, or other topics on trans health.

More Healthy Binding Resources

Buy The Book

Buy The Book

The book Healthy Chest Binding for Trans and Non-Binary People: A Practical Guide contains best practices for binding and 23 exercises that you can do on your own to reduce and prevent pain.

Binder Finder Tool

Find The Perfect Binder

Our Binder Finder search tool helps trans and non-binary people discover the ideal chest binder to fit their unique body and budget. Explore diverse styles, prioritize safety, and express your authentic self with this essential search tool.

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