Sports bras are so much more than just well engineered bras that absorb impact, they are the mental and physical freedom to have a choice whether you want to participate in sports and activities that can lead to friendships, careers, improved health and well-being. A saddening number of girls stop playing sports or being generally active because they don't have adequate breast support. It's simply wrong that millions of girls and women miss out on the physical and emotional benefits of being active for the sake of a well-fitting sports bra. Things have changed a great deal in the last decade and we can ensure that fewer girls feel forced out of sports simply over the size of their chests and that grown women can take back control over their physical activities in a supportive sports bra.
|Dove's billboard makes you wonder how many girls we could keep in sports with the right physical & emotional support|
We need sports bras because breasts don't have any muscle in them; they are held in place by two things, ligaments and skin. The ligaments (technical name Coopers Ligaments) stretch and contract to accommodate your movements. Your skin also stretches to allow for the force and impact of your movements. Unlike muscles, there is little you can do to alter your ligament and skin elasticity and strength, so the only thing you can do is add another layer of shock absorption that can take the impact strain your ligaments and skin alone couldn't handle.
|Left, Simona Halep is categorically in the wrong sports bra and ultimately she resorted to a breast reduction. Serena Williams' bra shows the coverage and support a well-fitting sports bra can give.|
The Two Types of Sports Bra
There are two types of sports bras; Encapsultation and Compression. There is no right or wrong for which one you should wear, however, you should know how they differ to understand which one is right for you and the activity you're doing.
|Panache Sports Bra is an encapsultation bra as it has distinct cups and comes in regular bra sizes|
|Enell Compression bras use sturdy fabric with shock absorbent elastic weave in the back to disperse the impact of movement across your whole upper torso|
Compression Bras don't have distinct cups and instead reduce the bounce not with thickness of cup but by keeping the breasts very close to the body (this also means that the breasts are often touching). They do this by dispersing the volume of your bust across your whole upper body (this can be known as the monoboob look). Compression bras for large breasts tend to come very high on your chest as the breast tissue is being flattened over a larger surface area than an encapsulation bra. This kind of support significantly reduces the impact of being active as the vertical movement of your breasts (caused when jumping up and down) is greatly reduced. I use a compression sports bra for running because it makes my 32GG bust have almost zero movement. The downside to a compression bra is that you shouldn't wear it for prolonged periods of time ( a couple of hours wear is ideal) because the fatty cells inside your breasts are under pressure and excessive pressure for long periods can aggravate your breasts (rashes, infection, bruising). Plus sweat gets trapped between your breasts which can cause chafing for some women over long periods of time.
|The Lite from Enell is designed to be more flexible, more lightweight and can be worn for longer periods|
Sports Bra Sizes
Encapsulation sports bras are sized like regular bras and manufacturers like Panache have 28 back sports bras up to a UK H cup (the same as a US J cup). At the moment there still aren't enough Sports Bra options for women over an H cup. Some manufacturers (like Royce) have some wirefree styles but I hope very much that we'll see an increase in the availability of sports bras in HH, J, JJ and K cups.
Compression sports bras don't have regular bra sizes (like 32FF, or 38H) because they don't have cups. Instead they are sized either as small, medium, large, or in the case of Enell (one of the biggest compression sports bra manufacturers) they use 00, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 etc to denote their sizes. Again, there aren't compression bras on the market for every woman (if you're a 28J it's incredibly difficult to find a sports bra). The most common solution I know some of our customers use it to purchase a cup size that works and have the band altered to fit them. I hope we see sports bras available for every woman very soon.
If you are a busty woman working out in a regular bra then it's akin to going to running in your highest heels. You wouldn't do that because you'd wreck your feet and you shouldn't do it to your breasts because you'll cause yourself pain, chafing and general injury. If you are the parent of a busty teen I urge you to seriously consider investing in a supportive and well fitting sports bra for your daughter so that she has the physical confidence to continue participating in activities that can keep her healthy and happy her whole life. xx