What’s the use of an adjustable strap configuration on a Sports Bra?

Firstly, I should clarify that this blog is about adjusting your strap configuration, and not the strap length. I do often talk about the benefits of Sports Bras having easily adjustable straps, this is of course generally referring to the length as opposed to the configuration.

There are four main variations of strap configuration.

  • Traditional, U shaped back
  • Cross back
  • Racer back
  • Cinched back (pictured below)

More so in Sports Bras than every day bras, when it comes to the shoulder straps it’s important that the materials are firm, so they don’t give too much during motion. As we know the straps are not the major support feature of a bra, but they do provide an additional layer of stability that’s important during activity. Actually, it was just yesterday that I caught a friend going to play tennis in a strapless bra – I could not believe she was attempting this and she later admitted that her decision was a horrible one that may just have cost her the game!

The problem we often see with bras that allow for a change of strap configuration is that the strap is then largely made up of elastic. It has to be elastic to be able to drastically change length from being U shaped to a cross over style bra.

It’s this increase in amount of elastic material that generally results in a below par product. The wearer doesn’t usually get that secure feeling of firm support, and if she does, it won’t last long.

Some brands are now using a hook system that allows for the straps to be cinched together high in the back. With most options in this category that I have looked at it seems to have worked well. This technique ensures that a good amount of the strap can be made of a firmer material as pictured below. I personally like this system as I do enjoy more upper limb freedom of movement when I’m wearing a racer back, so I find you get the best of both worlds without any compromising any control or durability.

Berlei Sports Bra with cinch-hook, click the image for more info or to purchase

My advice when it comes to straps is don’t try and find one option that will do it all. If you want a bra that works optimally as a racer back and something to support you properly with a traditional U shaped back then buy two bras. That’s my best advice!


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