The Delicate Science of Choosing a Sports Bra

Everyone has a pair of feet, but women have an additional pair of something to worry about while exercising. And they’re every bit as tricky to fit, control and protect, which is why bras are beginning to rival shoes as the most technical of all sporting apparel.

When the Jogbra was born in 1977, two jockstraps stitched together were a revelation. These days, the science that goes into corralling women’s chests is much more extensive, with garments designed to smush in and hold up while wicking moisture, feeling comfortable and — hopefully — looking good.

The best news is for well-endowed women. More designers have jumped into the market with gravity-fighting creations, including Athleta, which launched its Signature Sports Bra line in January. The Va Va Sport Bra Top runs up to size 38DD and is the Gap Inc. brand’s No. 1 seller. And good luck trying to track down Lululemon’s newest bra, the Bust Stops Here, which promises maximum support and coverage. It’s sold out online.

Most bras address vertical movement but fail to control the breasts when they shift in other directions.

“Different types of activity really require quite different support,” says Joanna Scurr, head of the Research Group in Breast Health at the University of Portsmouth in Britain.

Scurr’s research into the effects of breast support on athletic performance has led to the sport-specific line of bras from Shock Absorber. The Run Bra zeros in on figure-8 movement, the Ball Bra has extra support at the top to control up-down bounce, and the Racket Bra is constructed in an M-shape to prevent too much lateral swing.

Just as running stores have systems for fitting shoes, similar strategies are getting more common for sports bras. Moving Comfort has made a huge push for proper sizing: last month it distributed a step-by-step guide to 600 retailers across the United States. The guide includes a DialedFit Wheel to match measurements with bra size and a list of troubleshooting suggestions.

Getting a Good Fit

Straps: If they’re digging in or falling off, something’s wrong. Keep in mind that racerback styles can’t slip.

Cup: Measure around the fullest point of the bust and then subtract the rib cage measurement to get your cup size. Many women opt for a too-large band and compensate with a too-small cup.

Band: Measure the rib cage just under the bust, then add four to get your band size. This should feel more snug than a lingerie bra and fit on the loosest hook.

Underwire: It makes the band more secure, which is especially helpful for those with larger chests.

Style: Compression bras hug the breasts to the body, while encapsulation bras support each breast separately. The best bets are combos that do both.

Shopping Smart 

1. Do your chosen activity when you’re trying on a bra: run, jump, do downward-facing dog. Lie on your back — you shouldn’t feel anything poking you.

2. Check out the side view. If your breasts are popping out, the cups are too small. If the fabric is wrinkling, they’re too big. The band should stay level.

3. Repeat this process for your bras at home. The general rule: A sports bra should never celebrate a birthday.

The Washington Post

(Visited 33 times, 1 visits today)

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

four − = 3

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>