For active woman, a good activity bra is much like a good pair of shoes: you shouldn’t compromise, or there are repercussions. Much as none of us would think we’re doing anything but harm if we ran in ill-fitting or simply poorly designed shoes, so too is a correctly fitted, supportive bra essential for female athleticism.
Various materials are incorporated into sports or simply strong, supportive bras, and although of course comfort is important, specialists point out that there are two principal determinants of a good active bra. Comfort is essential for continued wearing, but when looking at bras that can complement your active lifestyle – specifically exercise or gym time moments – comfort should play second fiddle to a supportively snug fit, based on the bra covering your breasts fully, and also having a tight band-line at the back.
Sports Bras Defined
A bra suitable for athletic activity has two essential attributes. Firstly, it covers the whole of your bosom, shedding any”sexy” considerations and focusing on enveloping the whole of your breast within the cup. Anything less is likely to result in pretty immediate chaffing, especially for bigger-breasted active women, and it’s unlikely to go away with continued use either. Sporty bras seldom “get better” with time. They need to meet the initial demand of an adequate, full covering of your breasts. Being a wholly interwoven or tied-in construct, a compromise in one area of a bra leads to issues in other areas. As opposed to the straps being too tight or the material being too coarse, chaffing in unwelcome places can very often be the result of the fact that the bra’s front material simply doesn’t cover your breasts fully.
Secondly, the band-line has to be convincingly snug. Of course none of us want a restrictive sensation anywhere when exercising, but it doesn’t have to feel like a plank on your back. An activity bra must, however, have a tight band-line as, unlike the frequent misconception of a bra’s support being all in the shoulder straps, it’s really the back strap that provides carriage and firmness.
The Bra Doctor
Although for many it’s indulgent – and for many more probably intimidating – seeing a bra fitment specialist is a pretty inescapable eventually for any regularly active woman. Although chafing might be the most common symptom of an incorrectly fitting bra, there are longer term repercussions. You might very well be working against your current fitness aims without realising it, simply by wearing a poorly-equipped bra.
It’s a shame that seeing a bra fitment studio is often seen as indulgent, as it’s really essential for the vast majority of active women. Unless you have a career in sports clothing design and manufacture, you should probably get a first and second opinion on an active-wear bra from a fitment house. Very much like few of us can really say whether we’re wearing the right shoes for a sporting purpose without professional opinion and input, so too is a sports bra something that takes an expert opinion to get right, and that’s OK. It might be a minor financial investment, but it will not only ensure you’re fully able to be as athletic as you wish, it will also give you a great baseline understanding that you can carry with you for the rest of your life.
Seeing a bra fitment person is on a par with seeing a dental specialist or physiotherapist when targeting specific injury and healing. Sometimes it has to happen, and a far better approach is to realise that it’s all to your benefit. It’s the kind of personal investment any smart person can justify, no matter that bra fitters like to charge a bit! Shop around, as the whole bra-fitting boutique experience has softened into a broader, often less costly exercise nowadays. Fiddle and faff and ask every single question that comes to mind – take your time when fitting a sports bra – and you’ll join the ranks of quietly smiling women in the gym who made the investment, and have felt pretty good about it ever since.
In a nutshell, a good activity bra has complete coverage of your bosom, and a snug, strong band-line at the back. Shoulder straps should be loose enough to slip two fingers through, as yanking on shoulder straps does more harm over the long term, while doing nothing to compensate for absent stability in an ill-suited bra. Common symptoms of an ill-fitting activity bra are mild or more severe injuries to the neck and back, while the body will also compensate with translocated aches and pain over time. Especially for running women, years of bad bra wearing can eventually bring up some hard to get rid of, persistent injuries.
As Above, So Below
We can’t mention correct bras without mentioning correct shoes, as these two items – bras and shoes – are probably the two defining snippets of kit that make for sorted, enjoyable female exercise. And just like a bra, a pair of training shoes needs some professional evaluation nowadays.
Although it might seem hard to view sports equipment retailers as anything other than for-profit entities offering a dizzying array of sports goods to the modern consumer, there is a rising level of expertise among assistants at major sports equipment retailers. That means you can, nowadays, indeed expect to have all your questions answered. In discussion, it’s not unusual to outline what you’ll be doing, what you want from the shoe and also to ask about its design and manufacture. Will the shoes be suitable for what you want to do, and why? Not only that, but a jacked sports shop assistant will know some stats in that comparison, a few stories about when Nike used that material or Reebok substituted this material, and so on. You need to talk to someone in the sports shoe industry, someone that has more than a passing interest in their occupation, when buying sports shoes.
If you don’t encounter someone suitable at the first venue, move on! Keep shopping. Keep asking questions until you have formed a comprehensive opinion in your own mind as to which pair of shoes – or how many – you need to complement your activity.
A house, a car, a mattress, a sports bra and sports shoes are all purchases that shouldn’t be rushed. They’re seriously impactful in our lives, so take the time and investigate sports shoes with the same determination that you investigate, fit and buy a sports bra. And with both the top and bottom thus suitably attired, you’ll find that you’re good to go, anywhere, as fast as you like!