Research suggests that 80% of women are wearing the wrong bra size. But how do you know if your sports bra is fitted correctly? Or how do you know if it’s giving you enough support for the sports activity you are doing?
Why Do We Need to Wear the Right Sports Bra?
Research at the University of Portsmouth shows that exercising without the right support can place stress on the breasts, which could lead to fragile ligaments in the breast being stretched. Damaging the ligaments may result in sagging boobs.
It’s also important to wear the right sports bra to stop chafing, discomfort, breast pain, and irritation that can occur when wearing a poorly-fitted sports bra.
How to Choose The Best Sports Bra for You
Measuring your bust size with a tape measure is an option. However, it’s more of a starting point and not necessarily the best way to find the right fitting sports bra for you.
Here are 7 things to look out for when choosing a sports bra:
The band that clips around your back is called the underband. If you notice that the underband is rising up at the rear, then it’s too big or very old. To get the correct fit, select one or two sizes down until the underband sits comfortably and evenly around your back and front.
If your bra is rubbing against your back or under your arms it’s likely that your sports bra is too small, or it may be due to a build-up of sweat.
To avoid this, make sure to choose the correct fit across your back. If you are finding that moisture is an issue then a sports bra with moisture-wicking built into it could be your answer.
Do your breasts fall out of the bottom of the cup? If so, then the underband is too big and the cup might be too small. If this is the case, go down one or two underband sizes and up a size or two in the cup. It's important to get both measurements right.
If you have noticed that your boobs are coming over the top of your cups then the cups are too small. If this is the case, select a sports bra with a larger cup size.
If your breasts are coming out of the side of the cups then the cup sizes are too small and you’ll need to increase your cup size.
Perhaps there’s a gap between your breasts and the cup. If so, the cup size is too big. Come down a cup size or two until your boobs fill the cup. Make sure to adjust the sports bra straps to ensure there is the right amount of tension.
Is the cup fabric bunching or baggy? This could be due to your breasts not fully filling the cup. Choose a smaller cup size and, when your boobs fill the cup, the loose fabric should disappear.
5. Center Panel
Are you noticing a gap between the front panel and your sternum? If yes, then it will be due to the cup size being too small. If this is the case, try going up a cup size until you find the panel is resting comfortably against your chest.
6 Digging in
Perhaps your sports bra is pinching you in the center panel or on the sides? This is normally due to the underwiring. It may also be because the bra is of poor quality or you need to go up a cup size or two.
Research by the University of Portsmouth comments that breasts can move up and down, in and out, and side to side, up to 21 cm whilst exercising. Most sports bras concentrate on only reducing downward motion.
MAAREE bras, however, are the first sports bra to include overband technology® into their sports bras. The curved panel that runs over the top of the breasts reduces upwards motion. The MAAREE sports bra evenly distributes the pressure across the breasts and runs with the curves of your body.
Things to Remember When Sports Bra Shopping
- The size you were a few years ago may not be the size you are today. When buying a new sports bra it’s a good idea to get remeasured and apply the tips we’ve shown you today.
- Over time, washing can cause your sports bras to become loose and the material can lose its correct shape.
- The sizing of sports bras will alter depending on which shop you are buying from.
- Sports bras vary widely in their styles. It’s important to choose the sports bra that not only fits you but the activity you are doing too. It may be that you need one sports bra for yoga and another style and fit for a high-impact sport.
- If you are changing your size then be sure you are fully aware of what sister sizing is! This can clear up a lot of confusion women have around bra sizes.
It’s important to wear the right fitting sports bra to protect the Cooper's Ligament in the breast from becoming fragile, which can lead to breast sagging, pain, and discomfort.
You can find the right sports bra by checking the fit of the bra, including the fit of the underband, cup, and front panel.
By Mari Thomas and Rebecca Benfield