3 Main Reasons Why So Many Sports Bras Are Letting You Down

Do you get frustrated trying to find your ideal sports bra? Tried a million of them, but none work for you? Here are three key areas we need to keep an eye out for when we go shopping that will make you a bra shopping ninja!

1. Fit

Up to 80% of women are wearing their wrong size. Mind blown already! 70% are wearing a size that is too big for them and 10% are wearing a size that is too small.

So in a group of 5 women, 4 of them will be wearing them wrong size. It's highly likely you may be someone who's wearing their right size, so please, please check first. 

 MAAREE Bra Measure

But why is this? Why are most of us wearing the wrong size? Here's what I've discovered over the years...

A. We haven't been measured recently.

Many of us assume we've been the same size for decades. Whereas we do change more frequently than we think.

We also don't have the confidence to measure ourselves at home. It's always worth a quick check with a tape measure to see if your measurements are still the same. Most sports bra retailers will have a helpful measuring guide on their website to guide you through this to get the right size in their style.

B. We've been previously told in other shops that we are the wrong size. 

Unfortunately, some of the biggest UK biggest department stores (where most of us have been measured in our lifetime) measure your underband and will then add on an extra 2-4 inches to your measurement to give you your new size. This is an added confusion that we have removed from our sizing guidelines on MAAREE. It is an outdated and unnecessary way of measuring when bras used to me completely non-elastic a long, long time ago. This results in someone measuring as a 32 inch underband is being told to wear a size 34 or even 36 underband. 80% of our sports bra support comes from the underband. So if we are wearing a size that's too big for us, we never stand a chance of getting that all-important support we need.

Most reputable bra brands do not measure this way. So you no longer need to add any extra inches to your measured size. But do check at wherever you are shopping.

I challenge you now! Reach for your tape measure at this very moment and see if you fall into this category. You could surprise yourself and be a smaller size than you think.

The cups size is then based on this initial underband measurement. If this is wrong, your cup size is also likely to be wrong.

C. Sizes can vary from shop to shop (like with normal clothing) but we don't check the fit before we buy.

Someone who is, for example, a size 12 most of the time might find themselves better fitting a size 10 dress in some shops, or a size 14 in others. The same thing can happen with bras. You may measure as a size 32 underband but might find that a size 30 or 34 might fit better and more comfortably in with some brands. 

The important thing is that you try it before you keep it, and to try it in a variety of different sizes whilst keeping an eye out for the signs that it doesn't fit you.

2. Fabric

My golden rule I keep in mind for avoiding bad sports bras when I shop is...

If the fabric can stretch, your boobs will stretch.

Elasticated fabric is becoming more and more mainstream with the rising popularity of activewear. However, for me, non-elastic fabric still plays a vital role in sports bras.

Scissors Cut

If you're someone who's trying to find the most supportive bra for themselves to do things like running and HIIT, you are not going to get this performance wearing a sports bra that have a high level of elasticity. Especially in the front of the bra, where the breasts are.

However, as we know, it's very important that we can all still breathe properly when we're active. A completely non-elastic sports bra is not going to help with this. So what we ideally need is a bra that combines these non-elastic and elastic fabric panels well in their design. Having them placed strategically throughout the bra for the best performance.

This is exactly what I have done with my Solidarity High-Impact Sports Bra. It has a non-elastic straps and body, yet the wings are nice and elasticated so that it's easy and comfortable to wear. It provides you with all the support where it's needed and has won a number of 'Best in Test for Bigger Boobs' awards!

3. Design

Do you know the difference between an encapsulation sports bra and compression sports bra? If not, don't panic, you're not alone. Head to our helpful guide now to learn the difference and so you can really know your onions when it comes to bra shopping.

Different bra designs

You may prefer a non-underwire bra over an underwire bra, wide straps might be really important to you. What may be a great fit for one person, might not be the ideal design for you.

Women have been complaining about sports bras for yeeeears. Yet no-one has really addressed the issue or altered the design that drastically. I certainly saw this first hand while I was a sports bra tester.

Additionally, some high street retailers may not be that experienced in creating a good technical piece of sports equipment like a sports bra, which really serves a specific purpose, and is not just a fashion piece. Sports bras are not regulated and they do not need to pass any sort of performance test before going on the market of being named a 'high-impact' bra. Only very few brands actually performance test their bras. So some bras just might not be that well designed. If you're not getting any luck, or the shop staff are not that knowledgable, shop elsewhere!

Conclusion

Bra sizes can become overwhelming and complicated, and we aren't taught about bra sizes in school. So there's no surprise that so many of us aren't confident when bra shopping. 

Since my days of sports bra testing in a lab for some of the biggest brands, I've come to discover all of these issues there still are surrounding bras and sports bras. This is why I have gone on to design my own collection under MAAREE with my revolutionary Overband® Technology. Additionally, I want to make my website the basecamp for all possible sports bra questions and tips. So the once-complicated world of bras, can all become that much clearer for us all and we can all get our ideal support and fit.

"This is the sports bra of the future!"

- Claire Sanderson, Editor of Women's Health