These days, the choices facing female runners run from crop tops to tanks, camis to shimmels. Then come the options of pockets, zippers, seamless construction and antimicrobial fabrics. Whichever bra you choose, it needs to provide optimal support and a perfect fit, so when shopping for your next sports bra keep the following tips in mind.
Go for impact
Runners need bras designed for high-impact activity. That yoga bra may be adorable, but it probably won’t provide the support you need. Look for a bra’s activity level on its label or the maker’s website.
Send sweat packing
Select a jog bra made from technical materials touted to wick moisture away from the skin. Seams with rolled edges and off-centre stitching (to minimise chafing) are preferable.
Make it last
Wash the bra in cold water with powder detergent, since liquids clog fabric pores, which inhibits moisture-wicking. Tumble dry on low or let it air dry to prolong the life of the elastic. After about 72 washes-when the elastic starts to lose resilience – or if your weight changes – you should replace the bra.
Get the Right Fit
A typical question we hear here at Runner’s World is: “I like to wear my running bras tight to reduce bouncing, but one of my friends told me that a tight bra might hurt my running performance. Is there any truth to this?”
Yes there is. A tight sports bra can hinder your ability to breathe deeply, which can slow your running. It can also inflict nasty chafing marks. You want a sports bra that feels snug, but not tight.
A good test: Put your running bra on, and clap your hands over your head. If the band of the bra slides up your torso, it’s too tight.
To reduce bouncing:
Look for a bra that encapsulates each breast into a distinct cup. Also, heavier fabric and construction provide better support than lighter fabric. Test the bra by jumping up and down in front of the dressing room mirror. Select the one that allows your breasts to move the least, but still feels comfortable.
Remember that one brand’s 36C can fit completely differently from another brand’s 36C, so bring three bras into the dressing room with you – the cup size you normally wear, plus a smaller and a larger one. If the material wrinkles or bunches, the bra is too big. And if there’s skin bulging out in spots or if the seams are cutting into you, then it’s too small.
You should be able to fit two fingers under the straps. When you find a bra that feels good, run in place for 10 to 15 seconds. The bra should minimise breast movement and not twist while you move.
For more information on sports bras, clicks here.