Let’s face it buying a sports bra can be daunting at the best of times. There are so many things to consider. Will it fit? What size am I? What style is best for me? Add to this how little help you often get when you finally decide to take the plunge to buy a new sports bra. Aaaargh!!!
It is no wonder up to 8 in 10 women wear the wrong bra size. Buying a bra simply gets put in the ‘too hard’ basket and we just make do. This is not good for our breasts or our workout regimes!
Do not fear as finding the perfect sports bra for you is not as daunting as you might think. Follow my simple steps below and find sports bra nirvana!
Step 1: Size Does Matter
Sounds like something a man would say, but in this case, it is correct! You need to find the right size to ensure a good fit for if it doesn’t fit well you won’t perform well. Up to 1/3 of women have experienced poor performance because of a poorly fitting sports bra and you do not want to be one of them.
It all starts with taking your underbust and overbust measurements. Ideally whilst not wearing a bra carefully measure around your ribcage, directly under your breasts. This is your underbust. For you overbust measure around the fullest part of your breasts, usually just above your nipples.
Armed with these two measurements you can find your bra size by plugging them into an online Australian bra size calculator. A simple Google will point you in the right direction.
Step 2: It’s All About Fit
If you thought simply finding your size and heading to the nearest shop would put you on the road to sports bra success, you would be wrong. Size is one piece of the puzzle, fit is another.
There is only one way to test fit and that is to try your new sports bra on. Check the band fits snuggly but is not too tight. You should be able to slide two fingers under the band.
Check your breasts completely fill the cups. You don’t want your cups overflowing. You also don’t want your cups half full.
Check the straps sit comfortably on your shoulders. They should not be too tight. They also should not feel like they are going to slip off.
Finally, how does your sports bra feel? If it fits well and feels good, then success!
Step 3: Support Me
Ok, you’ve got a sports bra that fits. Yay! The next thing is support. It must support you during your intended activity. No point wearing that fashion crop to a netball match.
Sports bra support is measured as an impact level. From ‘low impact’ for activities that create minimal breast bounce such as Yoga and Walking. To ‘high Impact’ for those bouncier activities like running and aerobics. Some companies have introduced ‘extreme impact’ for bras that offer the absolute best in support.
You want to match your sports bras impact level to the level of activity you will be doing. If in doubt go up an impact level, your girls will thank you!
Step 4: Comfort is Queen
If support is king, then comfort is its queen. Nail these two and you are almost there. It fits a treat, offers great support but takes it for a test run and OMG!
If it fits why isn’t it comfortable you ask? A lot goes into making a sports bra and any one of these things may cause you discomfort even though the fit is perfect.
Check the following in your pursuit of sports bra heaven.
Do a bounce test: Run on the spot and see if the impact level stands the test? If you are bouncing all over the place you won’t be comfortable and will need to up the impact level.
Check the band: Does it fit snugly against your rib cage? Raise your hands above your head, does the band move?
Check the cups: The cups should fully contain your breasts. No spillage. Cups come in different shapes and cuts and the one you chose should comfortably hold your breasts.
Check the straps: Do the two-finger test again. Can you slide two fingers between the straps and your shoulders? It is important that the straps are secure but also comfortable. Not too tight and not to lose, just right.
Check for possible chafe points: Move around, can you feel any point where you may chafe? Can you feel any uncomfortable seams that might rub over time?
Quite simply your bra should not cause you any pain or discomfort. The whole point of this exercise is to eliminate this!
Step 5: Features
So, you’ve gotten this far. Well done. Time for the fun stuff, features. We all know what we want in a bra. Some like racerback. Others must have underwired.
Make a list of all the features you’d like to have in your new sports bra. It may look something like this; high impact, underwired, racerback, and white (you’re a competitive tennis player). Armed with this list and your size it’s time to go shopping.
Just remember that as in any good relationship you must be willing to compromise. You tick most of the boxes but just cannot find a suitable bra that is underwired. No problem; go wire-free!
Step 6: Do Not Settle for Second Best
Follow this step and you are pretty much-ensured sports bra success. You will find in your search that many stores stock a limited range of styles and sizes. They have limited floor space and sports bras come in a huge range of styles and sizes. From a 6D to a 28F and everything in between. Wow!
Find a store that has the largest range possible to give yourself the best chance of success. If there isn’t one nearby turn your attention to the online space. There are many websites that have reasonable ranges and a couple of specialist sites that have genuinely great ranges.
Sports Bras Direct is one such site. They are an Australian based site and are the true specialists in the space (the name says it all!) The site is full of information, blogs, and reviews and the selection is second to none.
So, there you have it. My steps to sports bra success. Everything you need to know to find your perfect sports bra.