Repeatedly, the worst cases of bra abuse that I come across are related to Sports Bras (followed closely by the Strapless Bra of course). This generally comes in the form of overuse and misuse.
Like the anti-microbial nature of moisture wicking material, and the memory of foam in athletic footwear, the materials in corsetry have a lifespan or as I usually say a ‘best before’ period.
Firstly, here’s an issue I think exists in the technical Sports Bra manufacturing industry… Because the products are now built with such quality materials and superior designs it takes some time for the garment to actually show signs of ‘damage’. As it is common consumer behaviour not to replace something unless it is broken it’s not unusual to see women running their Sports Bra in to the ground blissfully unaware that it’s lost all of its functional support.
So, if it’s not falling apart at the seams how could we be expected to know when to replace our Sports Bra?
1. If you start to experience chaffing or hot spots. As the materials lose their elasticity your Sports Bra will become loose fitting which can cause friction as you move. Another side effect of a loose fitting Sports Bra is a reduction in breast support.
2. Elongated straps. If the stretch material in your straps is no longer functional there will be a compromise in your overall feeling of support, this will show through elongated bra straps.
3. Straps that dig in. This is an indication that the elastic nature of the strap material is no longer functional.
4. Hook damage. Signs of damage to the hook closure can be due to washing machine trauma, but it can also be due to overuse. If your Sports Bra is having to rely on the hook and eye closure to aid in support once the materials are damaged it’s a clear sign your bra is either being misused or overused.
5. Smell. Most technical Sports Bras use antimicrobial fabrics which aid in odour control. After too many washing cycles this becomes compromised and your Sports Bra is likely to hold the odour of sweat.
To ensure that your ‘bra abuse’ doesn’t quickly turn in to ‘breast abuse’ you should calculate exactly how long each of your Sports Bras will last, this post should help you do that.
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