6 Things You Need To Remember When Buying A New Sports Bra
Life is too short for jiggling and boob chafe. Seriously.
Buying a sports bra is one of those tasks that transforms shopping from a recreational activity into a full-on mission.
While purchasing new dresses or earrings is fun, other items such as jeans and swimwear can be a minefield, and sports bras definitely rank among the trickier items to get right.
Get a sweat on with this simple four-move workout...
After all, put one foot wrong and you end up contending with all manner of discomforts, from lack to support to excessive boob sweat. And no one wants that.
We spoke to bra fitting experts to find out exactly what you should consider when sports bra shopping, so you never have to make a costly mistake again…
1. No matter what your size, you need support
Got smaller boobs and think you can just get away with wearing a standard bra for sport? Think again.
Every size of breast needs support, according to Suzanne Peatland, bra fit specialist for Freya.
“The breasts are composed mostly of fatty tissue and supported by skin and fragile ligaments” she explains. “Because these ligaments are not elastic, during repetitive or high impact sport the breasts bounce and pull on the ligaments, forcing them to stretch. This can result in breast pain, upper back and shoulder problems, as well as sagging breasts. Although large breasts require more support, all bust sizes need good support and comfort.”
2. ...And that counts for low impact sport too
While those with smaller busts can get away with soft crop tops or thin straps for low impact exercises like yoga, Suzanne recommends larger-breasted women still opt for maximum support, whatever the intensity of exercise.
“Whatever the workout, DD+ breasts require a high impact sports bra to reduce movement” she advises.
3. Choose breathable fabrics
Boob sweat is no fun for anyone, which is why it’s important to think about more than just appearance when it comes to the fabric of a sports bra.
While it can be tempting to go for a cheap and cheerful option, slightly pricier sports bras often involve more technologically advanced fabrics.
“Opt for mesh designs and materials with moisture-wicking fabrics to keep you cool” says Laura Sutherland, brand manager at Curvissa. Most good sports bras will list the fabric’s properties on the packaging.
4. Avoid a back fastening for floor work
For sports that involve lying on the floor, such as yoga and pilates, avoid a back-fastening bra, says Victoria Shelton, garment technologist at Figleaves.com.
“For floor work a flat back is often more comfortable” she says. For smaller boobs, a crop top style is an option, while bigger-busted women can consider front fastening designs.
“Racer backs are a good option as they anchor the bra closer to the body, providing more support” says Victoria.
5. The band should feel tighter than your everyday bra
Fit is everything when it comes to choosing the right sports bra, so make sure you try before you buy.
When you’re in the changing room, the bra should fit well on the loosest hook, says Suzanne.
“The bra will loosen over time and the extra hooks can be used to make sure the bra remains a tight fit” she says.
Also check the amount of movement when trying a bra, says Victoria.
“Once you’ve got a bra on, stand in front of the mirror and move your arms around” she says. “Your bra shouldn’t move or lift.”
“Next, try jogging and jumping on the spot. Your breasts should be fully encased with no movement. If they are spilling out the neckline or underarm try a bigger cup size. Sports bras are designed to fit snugly and to provide firm support so will feel tighter than a normal bra, but they shouldn’t feel restrictive or rub.”
Look for bras that encapsulate the breast if you’re a D-cup or bigger
A lot of sports bras work simply by squashing down your chest, but while these crop top styles are ok for A to C-cup women, Suzanne recommends looking instead for bras that cocoon each breast, particularly if you have a large bust.
“For those with fuller busts, you should opt for sports bras that shape and support your breasts by encapsulating rather than compressing them” she says. “Look for wider straps that sit comfortably on the shoulders and a wide band underneath your breasts, as this provides the majority of the support.”
6. Don’t expect your sports bra to last forever
Much like a well-used pair of running trainers, sports bras need to be replaced fairly frequently to do their job properly.
“If you’re exercising regularly (a minimum of three times a week) it’s best to replace your sports bra every six months” says Laura.
So if you find a style you adore, it’s worth buying a couple, if only to save you the slog of sports bra shopping for another year…
Words by Sophie Hines