When it comes to sports bras, "cute" won't cut it.
Did You Know
With each stride, breasts move up and down and side to side and in and out in a butterfly pattern. A "D" cup bounces 2"-3" in each direction, and an "A" cup travels about 1 1/2" without proper support. And, any size can experience stretching of the Cooper’s ligaments which hold breasts to the chest wall and prevent sagging and pain.
Breast displacement can happen at any speed, not just during speed workouts or competition. A good sports bra can cut movement in half and reduce physical and physiological discomfort, unlike a fashion bra.
There are generally 2 types of sports bra - compression and encapsulation.
A compression bra has no cups. It hugs your breasts to your chest to limit bounce, minimizes breast projection and can create a single-breast or “uniboob” look because each breast is not supported separately. There may be some sweating and chafing because the breasts are touching each other. On the flip side, there is no hardware to chafe or dig into your skin.
An encapsulation bra looks more like a regular bra. It separates and supports each breast from beneath and creates a more natural breast shape. It also provides more reduction in breast movement than a compression bra, but it does not limit the in-and-out movement as much.
Look for added features like material that wicks away sweat and control moisture buildup, and mesh ventilation for cooling.
Now that you know the importance and types of sports bra, let's talk about the right fit - band, straps and cups.
The band should be parallel to the floor and not ride up, and should be snug to prevent chafing. If the band has hooks and eyes, it should be snug on the largest hook so you can adjust it as you break in your bra.
Straps should lie comfortably on your shoulders - snug but not too tight. If you have to adjust the straps so tight to be supported, try a smaller band size. If straps are slipping off your shoulders, try adjusting; if you're still having trouble, try a racerback style.
Cups should be smooth. If you're spilling out of the tops and sides of your bra, your cup size is too small. If the bra cup is wrinkling, your cup size is too large.
And there you have it.
Good sports bras are just as important as spikes, blocks and implements. When fitted properly, they prevent sagging and pain, cool and wick away sweat; they also boost confidence. You should invest in at least one compression bra and, for high intensity activities like drills, sprints, throwing and jumping, invest in a few encapsulation bras.
(Tip: If you're having trouble finding the right fit for your body, check out the Wacoal brand.)