It is pretty shocking to learn that as of 2022, the Sports Bra is only 45 years old. It was invented in 1977 by three women, Lisa Lindahl, Polly Palmer Smith, Hinda Schreiber Miller. While they were at UVM, Lisa had taken to jogging and found it painful due to the lack of a bra to help support and minimize bouncing. She asked Polly, a custom designer, and Hinda to help her with her idea of creating a sportive bra for jogging. They created the first prototype by sewing two jockstraps together.
Sports bras have been engineered to provide support and minimize bounce during exercise. They differ from bralettes and crop tops in their ability to make sure that the breasts stay where they need to be and do not interfere with your range of motion etc. Some sports bras might offer less support than others in order to provide more range of motion or to provide a not-even-there feel during low impact exercises like pilates or yoga. In fact, sports bras are considered such a healthy choice that they are recommended for women after an injury or cosmetic surgery.
Benefits of a Sports Bra
The sports bra is arguably the most important piece of an activewear outfit, as it has more health benefits than leggings or any other piece of athleisure wear. As a woman’s body moves through a workout (or even something low-impact like a walk), her breasts will naturally move up and down with each step taken or movement made. If a woman chooses not to wear a sports bra or opts to wear a regular bra for her workout, she may experience breast pain and soreness, and even back and neck pain. Regular bras were not made for active movement, and don’t have the technology to hold breasts where they should to prevent pain.
Sports bras were created to provide physical support to your body, to make sure everything is held in place, and to reduce the amount of breast movement during exercise. With that being said, a proper sports bra will protect women against uncomfortable breast, back, or neck pain they may experience from the up and down movement of their breasts. Sports bras also help to ensure women maintain the natural shape of their breasts by preventing the development of sagging breasts. When breasts bounce, there is gravitational force pulling the breast down that’s applied to the skin, which can cause the skin to stretch and hang lower as time goes on. Sports bras are able to prematurely prevent this from happening later in life by keeping breasts in their place. Our Raya Rib Bra and Ribbon Bra are perfect examples of classic sports bras that are on-trend and support you during all your medium-impact activities. Additionally, sports bras also distribute a healthy amount of blood circulation. This is why many professionals suggest sports bras over traditional bras. The moisture-wicking fabrics absorb the sweat from our body, increasing airflow to the skin which keeps your skin cool and dry for the whole day.
Investing in a high quality sports bra can really enhance your performance in your physical health. Why? Because they’ll last longer! High quality sports bras, while more expensive, are made from the best of fabrics, which means better stitching and more give than wear and tear. In addition to this, you’re more likely to get more use out of them because of its price. As humans, we are prone to giving more attention to things we invest more money in than we would cheaper pieces. Rather than buying a cheaper quality sports bra that may cause wear and tear, save yourself the hassle by investing in high quality bras that will fit you the way they should while staying comfortable for a longer period of time.
Sports bras also provide great comfort to women. Since most are made from lightweight fabric, they are breathable for all-day wear. Working from home has become the new normal for most women in our current world, and they’re continuing to choose comfort while working from home. Although women may not be wearing high-impact bras for work, they may opt for a lower-impact bralette like the Barre Bra, Barre Cami Bra, or the Essential Seamless Bra. Low-impact sports bras provide comfortable support during long working hours and can be worn underneath tees, tanks, sweatshirts, and even blouses during the work day. Women can also attend a low-impact workout like Pilates after work without having to change their underlayer, as the moisture-wicking materials can take a bra or bralette from work to workout without needing to change.
Sports bra come in so many different colors, patterns and styles that it can actually help you kick up your motivation. Moving your body, whether working out or taking a walk can be very intimidating, so wearing a cute sports bra can keep you motivated to continue to stay focused to get to your goal. You look forward to heading to your gym class more when there is a functional and funky sports bra to go along with your look! With athleisure being such a popular trend right now, it’s become normal to see people wearing the same thing they wore to the gym while running their errands or grabbing a bite to eat. Basically, the boundary between casual and athletic clothing has intersected, which means that we can all showcase our comfy, but cute looks. Don’t be afraid to rock some color this season with our Tied Bow Bra and Blocked Eclipse Bra!
Sports bras can also boost a woman’s confidence. If a woman happens to be insecure about her top size, a sports bra can help keep everything in place, while also acting as a binder to flatten her chest. This boost in confidence can improve performance during her favorite high intensity workout or even as she runs errands. With the insecurity out of her mind, a woman is able to focus on her performance while working out.
Risks of Sports Bras
Sports bras provide us a laundry list of benefits, there are some risks associated with the functional piece of clothing. It’s important to make sure that you aren’t choosing a bra that may fit a little too snug. Lymphatic vessels are thin and are known for being compressed, and wearing sports bras that are tight can prevent your body from releasing toxins, press on our lymphatic system, and all that extra pressure could be linked to cancer. In extreme cases, bras that are unsuitable for one’s chest size can bring damage to the nervous system. Our bra straps usually crisscross over our brachial plexus, a nerve that’s bundled together to send movements to our arms, creating aches and pains. With that being said, it’s vital we choose the right size sports bras so that we don’t experience potential health risks.
A lot of times, we tend to choose sports bras that are too tight, because we can confuse compression as the equivalent of more support. About 80% of women choose the incorrect bra size. Choosing a tight fitting sports bra can actually dig into your body and weaken back muscles, causes neck and shoulder pain and can even ruin your posture. All of these are examples of Costoclavicular syndrome, also known as “Bra Strap Syndrome”, which stems from the pinch and dig on your shoulders from tight bra straps. Bra Strap Syndrome was introduced from the chronic pain soldiers experienced from carrying around heavy equipment similarly to how women experience stiffness and pain due to tight bra straps and the weight of their breast tissue. The tighter the strap, the more and more it can dig into your shoulders and pull onto your collarbone area. Perhaps the best prevention or ‘treatment’ of this would be to change sports bras! Alala’s bra straps are designed to sit comfortably on your shoulders without digging into your skin! The Cross Back Bra and Surf Bras are great picks for comfortable straps that won’t leave your skin irritated or in pain. Although this may come at a pricey cost, you must be properly measured in order to determine the portions that will be holding the sports bra on your shoulders. Make sure you are getting measured by a professional- they are well-equipped to help you find the best cup size, band size and strap size for your personal needs to ensure that you are comfortable during your workouts. Once you find your correct sizing, the perfect sports bra can be right at your fingertips by shopping online!
Sports bras are made to keep your breasts close together to center yourself when exercising. We don’t consider the importance of sports bras as much as we should, and it’s not noticed until we’re at our workout, experiencing pain in both our chests and back. Exercising creates exertion on our breasts, allowing the pain to increase and suffocate yourself. You want to make sure you’re able to breathe and move comfortably, no matter the workout. Examples of how to check this can be jogging in place and if your chest feels supportive, good to go! If you’re having trouble moving around as you normally would, keep searching for your perfect fit!
Many of us may have a tendency to wear sports bras during our everyday activities, but doing this can produce skin issues. Being that sports bras are compressive garments, wearing them for a long period of time can cause us skin irritation. As we work out, the accumulated perspiration becomes damp and can foster bacteria growth, which can lead to irritations such as breakouts or rashes to our skin. In most cases, this could be easily treated with creams or homemade remedies, but if the rash becomes severe and doesn’t react well to remedies or creams, see your doctor or dermatologist.
For mothers with infants, do not wear a sports bra to bed! The best bra to get the best night’s sleep would be a nursing bra. Sports bras have bands and straps that can put pressure on your breasts. This pressure can cause mothers who breastfeed to have clogged/plugged milk ducts or mastitis, found primarily in nursing mothers, an inflammation of breast tissue that may result in breast pain or fever and chills. Sports bra/bra choices can play a big role in nursing mothers as it can leave an imprint on the childs’ milk supply. Sports bras are compressed, so if you are lactating this can block your milk flow and make your body feel as if you must have to decrease your supply. Because there are a variety of sports bras to choose from, it’s beneficial to choose a sports bra that accommodates to lactating breasts. Our Washable Cashmere Bra is great for nursing mothers as it’s a breathable fabric, supports your breasts without constricting them and allows milk to flow seamlessly.
How sports bras work/support
Let's be real here, a sports bra can truly make or break your workout. Most of us will just throw on a sports bra and think it’s completely acceptable when it very well might not be. You can either feel aided and do your best, or restricted, chafing and keeping you distracted from what you’re meant to be working on. Many women become turned off from exercising because they were embarrassed by the way their breasts were moving. Your breasts need ample support because of their lack of muscle, causing premature sagging and the way they can tear ligaments. When finding a sports bra, think about your personal attributes, most importantly the type of exercise you do along with your bra size.
There are three styles of sports bras: encapsulation, compression and the two of them combined. Encapsulation sports bras use individual cups to protect each breast on its own. It does not leave you with a compressed feeling, which is why they're considered most similar to an everyday bra. This allows the sports bra to leave you with a more natural shape that you can wear for lower-impact exercises like walking, hiking or yoga. Compression sports bras, like the Surf Bra are made to compact against your chest and constrict your movements. They pull over your head like a t-shirt would and have wide straps and a band thick enough to support your breasts. These are most beneficial for higher impact workouts like HIIT or boxing. Finally, there’s the combination of encapsulation/compression sports bra. This style of sports bra gives you the best of both worlds with the support and natural shaping of your breasts. While it supports each breast individually, it also compresses them into your chest wall. Most have adjustable straps and are perfect for all low, medium and high impact workouts.
Now that you have picked out your style of sports bra, it’s time to address its features. Sports bras have gotten bigger and better since their release in the 70s, and now many of us can’t see them without their many features. The first sports bra started off as two Jockstraps sewn together and it is now a woman wide phenomenon, preventing so many women’s breasts, shoulders and necks with pain. One of the most popular features that are found in most sports bras today are sweat-wicking fabrics. They are either made with polyester, which allows the moisture to move away from the skin and prevent you from becoming sticky and uncomfortable.
Another feature that is crucial would be the variety of strap styles that’ve been designed. It is common for sports bra straps to dig into a woman’s skin, and that is because they are choosing the wrong strap style for their body shape and their cup size. The straps are one of the most important factors when purchasing sports bras to prevent you from long-term pain, so make sure you research the options to see what works! The most traditional style would be the tank top style sports bra like the Mirage Cami Bra. Most similar to an everyday bra, it is the most versatile and can be styled many different ways, and a popular style is criss-crossing them. Crisscross sports bras are most beneficial for medium-impact sports. Compared to the tank top and racerback styles, the crisscross style actually provides less support than the others. It was designed to hide behind an athletic t-shirt or even showcased on its own as a sporty statement! Racerback bras have shoulder straps go in between your shoulder blades in a ‘Y’ shape. The ‘Y’ shape allows you to perform freely, perfect for high impact workouts. Our Raya Rib Bra was created to let you have a free range of motion without digging into your shoulders. Don’t forget to keep in mind that although thin straps are great for concealing in your shirts or tank tops, the thinner the strap is, the less support your body will receive than sports bras with wide straps.
All in all, shopping for sports bras can be a difficult task. With the wide variety of fabrics, shapes and supports to choose from, it can be a hit or miss purchase. No matter how many reviews you read, how many Influencers rave about and everything in between, it all comes down to what makes you feel most confident, allows you to perform your exercise seamlessly and is supportive. That is what makes the perfect sports bra for you and your lifestyle.
How to choose a sports bra/the right fit
We underestimate the significance of proper fitting bras. Sports bras are usually an afterthought when finding the ‘perfect fit’, but wearing the right size is essential, no matter what workout, what size, what shape. In addition to this, sports bras wear and tear over time. Every time you wash and wear your sports bra, the elastic stretches and the fabric may start to stray. Different sports bras are created for different activities, so it’s key to start there before you pick what’s best. First and foremost, you need to figure out the impact levels based on your activity of choice. Levels are determined by your movements, which are classified as low (ex: walking with our Barre Bra), medium (ex: elliptical with the Raya Rib Bra) and high (ex: HIIT with the Cross Back Bra) impact training. If you engage in an adequate amount of physical activity, you should plan on purchasing new sports bras every two months or so. Having the correct sized sports bra is so important, so make sure you find one that will keep you secure during all your workouts!
The process of finding a sports bra that’s the right fit for you may come with trial and error. Sports bras are known for their compression, which may leave your breasts feeling flat when working out. If the band of your sports bra does not lie flat against your chest, chances are you are wearing the incorrect cup size. A well-fitting bra should mold to the shape of your breasts and not lay on top of your breast tissue. If that doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to try a different style of sports bra. Consider styles that hug your breasts firmly rather than flattening them, but also a bra that supports each breast separately, like our Bolt Bra!
You should be able to breathe deeply without feelings of constriction from the band on your rib cage. No one wants to feel restricted when working out! You want to be able to move as you please without having to worry about your chest. If worn for too long, the pressure that is used to keep the breasts in place can cause breathing and circulation problems. This can be dangerous during exercise as your blood flows at a faster pace than when you’re doing your daily tasks. Even if you don’t have a workout routine in place, sports bras are far more comfortable than wired bras, so finding a bra that holds you without pain is helpful. A way to prevent this is by trying on a bra, like our Mirage Cami Bra where the band is supporting the majority of the weight when you’re deep breathing and keeping your heart rate up through exercises like jumping jacks or squats.
One of the best feelings in the world is taking a bra off after a long day. We notice red marks on our skin after taking them off and not think twice about it, but it is a sign that you are in need of a better fitting sports bra. The marks on your shoulders means that the straps are too tight and you’re experiencing chafing. Chafing is caused by your skin and sports bra causing friction by rubbing together, leading to irritation. Proper fitting sports bras can make a world of a difference. Your sports bra should feel snug, not tight, so make sure you calculate your bra size each time you want to purchase a new sports bra! New bras give the best support during your workouts, whether it’s running, yoga or HIIT. The straps will be significantly durable and the fabric will have more breathability, so don’t hesitate to test out new sports bras if you start to notice red marks!
If your sports bra gaps in the front, that is a signifier for a poorly-fitting sports bra. When you’re wearing the right sports bra, your breasts are under control in its cups. The gapping could stem from the fact that you’re wearing the incorrect size and your breast tissue isn’t fitting into its cups the way it's supposed to. Wearing a bra that gaps can create breast pain, back pain and premature sagging. You can eliminate this issue by choosing a different style of sports bra! Our Peak Bra is great for any day mobility, leaving you feeling supported and flexible without putting any constraints to your chest and shoulders. You deserve a sports bra that feels customized to your needs. Your health is of the utmost importance, so make sure that your sports bra is performing the way that it should for you!
Reasons sports bras are used
Sports bras have evolved tremendously in the 45 years of its existence. It is a staple in many of our closets, so it’s quite difficult to conceptualize a time where there were no sports bras. Until that time, there were “tennis bras”, which were similar to underwire bras, offered little support and a lot of discomfort- women even doubled them up at times to provide more support! Changes are constantly being made to sports bras, but the three women who invented the Jockbra knew what mattered: breathable, sweat-wicking fabric, straps that would not slip off your shoulders and a supportive band that reduced bouncing and potential sagging.
Regardless of your athleticism, you should always maintain a high standard towards your personal health. It’s so easy to focus on the parts of your body that you’re working out that we lose sight of paying attention to our breasts. Breasts do not contain any muscle so if you don’t have the proper support, this can lead to the breakage of tissue which can cause major damage to them. Luckily there are a variety of sports bras to choose from, ranging from low to high impact movement, including different styles created for occasions like nursing or breast surgery, so make sure to look at the options available to see what’s best suited for your personal lifestyle.
Having an exercise regime post-mastectomy in order to promote your long-term health and your healing. Regardless if you worked out or not prior to your breast cancer treatment, there are so many benefits to keeping your body moving post-surgery that it’s never too late to start! Working out after a life-altering treatment requires additional support, so you need to make sure your sports bra has features that will adhere to a post-mastectomy workout routine. Sports bras are beneficial for this because of their ability to minimize breast movement through its band support. Without it, physical activity can weaken muscle ligaments and extend breast tissue, leading to further pain and sagging. Post-mastectomy sports bras come in two different styles: compression and encapsulation. Compression sports bras compress the breast tissue to minimize its movement, while encapsulation sports bras have soft cups that support each individual breast. During this time, try to stray away from underwire bras as they can dig into your skin from being too tight. Our Essential Seamless Bra and Bolt Bra are great options based on comfortability, activity and breast size. Both options will make you feel great post-surgery.
If you’re breastfeeding or nursing, investing in a good sports bra will allow you to function seamlessly and comfortably. Sports bras cater to those who are pregnant or are going through postpartum in order to make your life a little easier. Something to consider is that sports bras offer room to grow. Your breasts will be growing rather quickly during pregnancy and nursing, so it’s important to find a bra that will be stretchy enough to grow with your body. You should also keep in mind that even if you choose a high-impact sports bra, it should give you breathability to put less pressure on your rib cage. Lastly, look for sports bras that have supportive shoulder straps. Our Eclipse Bra is the perfect any-activity bra, allowing you to move naturally throughout this process. Whether you’re ready to hop into your workout routine or just want to take your baby out on a walk, you should be able to enjoy the benefits of a sports bra without feeling uncomfortable as your body is rapidly changing.
Because of the lifestyle shift from the Pandemic, the rise of working from home and hybrid living have converted us from traditional bras to unlined, seamless bras. Seamless bras are created for low-impact sports and lounging no matter the location. What’s great about this is that you can wear them for hours on end without any irritation and pinching sensations. They also come in a variety of sports bra styles and colors so you can have one for every occasion or feeling! Seamless bras are made to be attractive and stylish, you will never miss the feeling of unhooking a bra. Our Barre Cami Bra bra is the ultimate seamless bra, in many colors to choose from it’ll leave you feeling like its second skin, perfect for all day, everyday wear! Seamless bras have become quite the game changer in the sports bra world, so it’s time to say goodbye to uncomfortable, wired traditional bras and hello to soft and sturdy seamless bras!
Final Thoughts / Conclusion
The health and wellness lifestyle has been growing rapidly, which can also lead to a higher demand for sports bras and athletic wear. We tend to be motivated by new pieces, especially ones that are on trend while leaving you feeling supportive and comfortable. Sports bras have truly come a long way since their debut, so finding the perfect fit may be overwhelming. With the ever-changing variety out there, there is something for every woman of every size, shape and activity, so don’t be afraid to test out the waters and see what’s out there!