I love my sports tops, I have about four matching Lonsdale sets that are always ready for an impromptu workout. I don’t tend to wear sports bras, especially those with underwire, because they tend to compress my chest. Instead I wear tight sports tops, usually two at once, to make running comfortable. Even with the crop tops I find that I can only wear them for a few hours at a time, which uses the compression method of lowering breast movement. Compression is exactly what it sounds like, with my breasts being smooshed down and flattened as much as possible against my body. Having gained a bit of weight, they are now creating a noticeable “bust” over the top of the crop tops I wear. So I started looking into different kinds of sports bras and I was stunned by what I found.
The University of Portsmouth has a breast research group that does comparative studies into breast support and motion. They offer guidance to brands that might want to improve their products and also offer product testing to see if an item has the support to compete with other brands. This kind of influence has already been seen in two big names in sports clothing. Sweatshop released a video that uses the research group’s equipment to demonstrate the huge differences between breast movement when running in an everyday bra and when in a supportive sports bra.
Freya is a producer of women’s plus sized lingerie and they have a whole selection of sports bras called their Freya Active Sports range. They went to the Portsmouth team with their sports bras and had them compared and tested. The results showed that they fared well against other competitors, though I’m relieved to find out that they’re better than running without a bra at all (I appreciate that they needed a control but seriously! Ow!).
And the more I looked into the sports bra, the more amazing facts there were to find!
- The first sports bra designed especially for general exercise was released in 1977 and was called the Jogbra. It was initially named the Jockbra in association with another protective piece of kit: the jockstrap!
- The sports bra industry is worth more than £3billion in the UK alone.
- It used to be a common belief that women who exercised would grow a moustache or other additional hair. It was also assumed that women couldn’t run marathons.
- Bras either work via compressing the breasts or through encapsulation, which pads both breasts to reduce movement.
- When sports bras were first developed, they were only aimed at women with smaller cup sizes but over time better development has created supportive sports bras for larger sizes.
Although I’m getting some spillage with my current sports top, I still prefer using it to sports bras. I don’t know if I’d find an encapsulation style bra helpful, considering I’m of a smaller size and I’m almost certain I don’t want one with an underwire. Disregarding my personal feelings on the matter, if I try on different bras then it will be my chest that gets the deciding vote. Along with whatever pain I experience.