So, you need a new sports bra. How should you go about choosing such an important piece of your running kit?
By far the most important thing to do before you start thinking about which sports bra you should choose is to measure yourself! Over 80% of women wear the wrong bra size and it is essential that you have a well-fitting bra, particularly if you partake in higher impact exercise like running.
It’s so important to measure yourself whenever you purchase a new bra as so many factors can affect breast size and shape, such as childbirth, breast-feeding, the menstrual cycle and weight fluctuations.
Do you really need a sports bra? Won’t a normal bra suffice?
Your normal bra will be supportive enough for gentle walking, but if you do any sort of exercise, you will need a sports bra to give you additional support, no matter what your cup size. A well-fitted, supportive sports bra is imperative for the long-term health of breast tissue and helps prevent irreversible damage.
Breast tissue is attached to the chest by Coopers Ligaments; during exercise, the weight of the tissue combined with movement can stretch the ligaments causing damage.
During exercise, breasts move on average 15cm in a figure of eight. Average breast size in the UK is 34/36D and at this size, each breast will weigh 500g, meaning that the average women will have the challenge of coping with 1kg of breast tissue movement! Obviously, women with larger breasts will face an increasing challenge and the pain factor alone associated with breast movement puts many women off exercise.
In fact, Runderwear found that in their sample of 100 women, 25% of those women chose not to run or participate in high impact exercise due to concerns about breast bounce, a trend that Runderwear are determined to help overcome.
Assuming the bra fits, what features should you look out for when choosing between different brands and types of sports bras?
When choosing a sports bra, women should firstly look for things that they might naturally look for when choosing performance sportswear and underwear such as breathable, moisture-wicking fabric and a label-free concealed-seam design to prevent rubbing and chafing.
Women should also look for features that allow customisation of fit for their particular body shape such as adjustable padded straps and adjustable hook and eye closure at the back.
Another key feature you should look for in a great sports bra is the underband as this is where most of the support comes from in the bra; it needs to be as soft, comfortable and as well-fitting as possible to maximise support and to prevent chafing.
Are there any particular features you should look for in a sports bra if you have a larger bust size and want to run?
For high impact activity, such as running, the support aspect of the bra is even more important, particularly if you have larger breasts. Look for:
The brand new Easy-On Support Runderbra, designed by Runderwear for example (available to buy 04 November 2019), has all the afore-mentioned features as well as a fully opening back feature with double adjustable hook and eye closures, making it easy to get on and off.
So, is it all about making sure that you have a bra that fits really well and is supportive and comfortable rather than the aesthetics of what it looks like?
I think it’s always better to prioritise the functional aspects of a sports bra for all the reasons we’ve discussed.
That said, having great looking underwear can often make you feel good and who knows, on a hot day you may well want to run in your bra!
Runderwear’s bras look good as well as being supportive and comfortable and you can even match them to their comprehensive underwear range; there’s a choice of six underwear styles from the barely-there g-string to the brief to the hot pant or thigh-covering long short.