As a female runner, let alone an ultra-runner what sports bra I wears can make or break any training, social running or racing. This year I have worked with She Science in Kew, Melbourne to learn about try different brands and find the best fit for me regarding a sports bra.
“8/10 women don’t wear the right size bra. It is also suggested that 73 per cent of women who exercise regularly don’t do so in a Sports Bra.”
For me when I think of what I want out of a sports bra I think of these aspects:
- Correct sizing and fitting
- No chaffing
- Fit in relation to running pack
I run a lot without a top on when the sun is shining and I get a lot of comments from women asking which sports bra is best and what they should be looking for in a running specific sports bra. The answer is limited to the individual, we are all unique and all different but having said that I spoke to the ladies at She Science and the first thing that I have realised is that I was never wearing the right size sports bra for me, I never touched all the adjusting areas and I never actually really thought of the impacts of this item on your ability to move, breath and ultimately race.
Here are She Science’s top tips to finding your best Sports Bra:
- Hook and Eye clasps are essential.
If you’re able to stretch your Sports Bra over your head without the use of any clasps then the chances you are only getting a mild amount of support from your bra. The stretch in the fabrics will not restrict bounce as you move during activity. The lifespan of your bra will improve significantly with this small feature.
- Firm materials offer the best support
Most technical Sports Bras use firm, non-stretch materials in their cups. This helps reduce movement by stabilising breast tissue. It also leaves a firm secure feeling of support. We will sometimes see these firm materials represented as moulded cups. Women of all shapes and sizes can explore moulded cup bras. They can be the most flattering, particularly for larger busted ladies!
- Coverage is key
‘Push up’ and ‘Sports Bra’ should never be used in the same sentence. It’s simple really, a Sports Bra that leaves cleavage will not block the vertical escape route of breast tissue and has no chance of reducing breast displacement. This can be particularly evident during low impact activities like Yoga and Pilates where we are often found bending or leaning over.
- Underwire V Non-underwire
I believe the decision for underwire or non-underwire really is up to the wearer. But it should be noted that underwire is there to enhance shape, not to offer support. With so many advances in the design and construction of technical Sports Bras in the last 10 years you can now get a great shape out of some non-underwire bras that offer top support too.
- It’s all about the fit
Getting the fit right is crucial as most of the support is generated by the bra band around your back. The biggest mistake made is wearing the bra band too loose. If this doesn’t sit firmly around you the bra band will ride up and down, and following the see-saw effect, so will your bust. A loose bra band is also the biggest cause of bra chafing.
Understand how sports bras fit has changed my knowledge but also my pride in being a female ultra runner and whilst it can. For some be seen as an excuse to be inactive as you are “not built for running” it’s really just another bow to your arrow of challenges that you overcome to stand on that start line ready to run and become a better version of you.
Feature image: Copyright Lucy Bartholomew. Picture taken by: www.peignee-verticale.com