What makes a technical sports bra different to a crop top?
With so many mass-produced, pattern cut sports crops on the market, it's easy to see why the women of Australia are confused about what to purchase in mainstream retail. In fact, any old design can have 'high impact' or 'maximum support' splattered all over the swing tag with no consequence.
Those entrenched in the technical Sports Bra world will consider a Sports Bra to tick the following boxes:
- Produced in cup and band sizes eg 12C, 8G.
- Independently tested in a biomechanics lab, to ensure function during activity
- Use technical, moisture-wicking fabrics
- Have multiple points of adjustability
- Generally, they will be made of many different elements, using up to 32 individual pieces.
Whereas, sports crops will generally be produced in XS-XL sizing, have no lab testing to ensure functionality, be produced with fashion as the major focus, use simple fabrication and be a basic 'pattern cut' design.SHOP HIGH IMPACT SPORTS BRAS
Why does a bra need to fit you properly?
If a bra doesn't fit, it has no chance of functioning. So choosing the 'highest rated' Sports Bra online may just leave you disappointed if the size isn't spot on. This is because the bra needs to fit firmly around the ribcage in order to best stabilize breast tissue. The cups also need to be fitted appropriately in order to best control breast displacement. Here's a bra fitting guide to help you ensure your size is spot on.
Why do we need breast support?
Wouldn't it be great if we had in-built support for our breasts? Well actually, we kind of do! The problem is that it just isn't sufficient enough for our daily demands. Our skin is the major support structure of the breast, as well as the Coopers Ligaments, which form a thin structure within the breast tissue. However, both of these support systems can be easily damaged, and once damaged cannot be repaired. This is why we need a supportive bra, not just for sport, but for daily living.
What materials do Sports Bras use?
Technical Sports Bras come in many styles and varying fabrics. Each brand will have their own story behind the development of their particular technical fabrics. However, most brands are chasing the same thing: to control moisture during physical activity. Brands want to ensure that materials wick moisture from the skin and move it to the outer layer of the bra. This is a more difficult undertaking in moulded /padded bras, but with advancements in fabrication this has certainly been achievable.BRA WASHING TIPS
How does bra sizing work?
It's staggering how many women don't understand the way bra sizing works. Here's what you need to know!
An A cup or a G cup is not a set unit of measurement, a cup size will change when the band size changes. For example, an 8D cup will be about the size of an apple, but a 24D cup will be about the size of a rockmelon. As we go up a band size, the cup also goes up in size, but the letter remains the same.
Bra sizing works to allow for a system called 'sister sizing'. This means that if we go down a back size, we need to go up a cup size in order to keep the same cp volume. This means that a size 12D and a 10DD are the same in cup volume/size but just fit differently around the back. This is the reason that sometimes the 12D's will work well for that customer, and in other brands/models the 10DD works better.
What's most important is to know that bra sizes are just a guide. In most cases we fit customers that are buying multiple products into more than one size - every brand’s interpretation of sizing are different.
Are underwire Sports Bras better?
There are strong opinions from women about which is better for Sport, underwire or wire-free. We encourage customers to try both options in-store. In a well-fitted activity appropriate technical Sports Bra it should not come down to whether or not the bra is wire-free or underwire - it will simply come down to what feels and performs the best. Read our take on underwire in a sports bra.
Wire-free bras will tend to use the 'compression' method of support which suctions breasts to the chest wall, giving a feeling of unparalleled security.
Underwire bras will give a feeling of 'familiarity' that lots of busty women desire. Sometimes the feeling of no underwire just feels too 'odd'. The underwire creates a more rounded and separated shape which some women desire, and other women perceive as being supportive. Interestingly, our best selling H cup bra is wire-free. I can almost guarantee that no H cup customers walk into our store considering that they may leave in a wire-free bra - but lots are seriously impressed by it.
How does a bra support us?
The band that runs around the ribcage provides up to 90% of the total support of the bra. If this band fits loosely then it will ride up and down your back. This will result in the front, 'the bust', doing the same, due to the see-saw effect. This is a bounce or vertical breast displacement. So it's crucial to have this band around the ribcage fitted firmly, yet comfortably.
The shoulder straps are there to provide secondary support, or as we usually say, 'stability'. While we would be in a bit of trouble without them, they are not there to take the weight of the breast or stop it from front bouncing.
Most commonly, women believe it is the underwire that provides the support, however, this is not the case. The role of underwire in a bra is to shape and separate the breast tissue. It does not stop our breasts from bouncing during activity.
What is 'breast
Breast biomechanics is a technical term for the study of breast movement, typically during activity. There are now many researchers all over the world that are considered Breast Biomechanists as their study and research is focused on the mechanical laws relating to the movement of the breasts. This research helps formulate the info in our ultimate sports bra guide.
How should our breasts move during activity?
Typically, we want our breasts to move in alignment with our torso. When we walk or run our torso moves in a sideways figure of 8 pattern, like a butterfly shape. We want our breasts to follow this same pattern of movement. When our breasts move out of alignment with our torso, it's believed that potential damage to the tissues is done, pain may be caused and embarrassment may be felt.
What causes a bra to
Chaffing is friction. Friction is caused by rubbing or movement. In order to reduce or eliminate this, we need to ensure that the materials sit and stay firmly against our skin. We can eliminate chaffing by getting fitted for a high-quality technical bra. However, other factors can affect chafing, which may be outside as the bra itself: E.g. distance being run/walked and moisture content.HOW TO PREVENT CHAFING
How long will a Sports Bra last?
If we wash and wear a Sports Bra 3 times a week, we can expect a very useful life of about 9 months out of our bra. But keep in mind, those who are 'hard on their bras', or don't wash according to the manufacturer’s recommendations will certainly reduce the usable lifespan.
It's also important to understand that just because a Sports Bra may still look fine, it doesn't mean it's functioning optimally. Once the fabrics are stretched out the support will be significantly hampered. Because this happens slowly it can be hard to determine when the bra is no longer serving you.
Here’s how to know if your bra is no longer useful
What is the best way to wash a bra?
Our best recommendation is to always hand wash your bras. The torment of a washing machine will fast track damage to the materials resulting in the premature stretch.
If hand washing isn't an option then ensure that you place your bras in a bra/lingerie/wash bag with all the hooks done up. This will prevent your bras from snagging onto other garments and stretching out.
NEVER put any bras in the tumble dryer. It is a certainty that materials will break down very quickly.
It's also good to know that manufacturers can very easily determine how bras have been cared for, and will generally not be able to assist with any potential faults that the bra may have.
Read our full article on how to wash your bras to maximise lifespan.MAXIMISE BRA LIFESPAN
What is the best Sports Bra?
We thought you may ask that. The truth is, there is most definitely no one 'best Sports Bra'. With the myriad of shapes and sizes we see in active women, along with varied personal style preferences and support requirements for different activity demands, there really is no one best bra. Believe me, we've had over 10,000 conversations with women and they all start and end a bit differently.
What we can say, is in order to find your best Sports Bra, the key is to try lots of options and be fitted properly. This means seeking out a Bra Fitter for advice and ensuring you stay open-minded to trying new styles in your fitting.9 BEST SPORTS BRAS
Should young girls wear Sports Bras as their first bras?
Often teens like wearing sports bras or sports crops in their early years as a way to progress into traditional bras. This is fine, so long as the bra is fitted appropriately and the right sort of style is selected. We want a first bra to bit a bit softer than a traditional supportive high impact sports bra so that it is comfortable and doesn't restrict the growing breast tissue too much.
Here's a guide to buying your teen her first bras.SHOP HIGH IMPACT SPORTS BRAS BOOK A BRA FITTING