A 9-time Comrades runner, a Soweto Marathon participant, and other fitness enthusiasts share how they shop for the perfect sports bra
In a 2019 W24 article, I investigated how our sentiments around bra comfort would change if brands actually took the customer's feedback and suggestions into consideration.
This was after I had come across an InStyle article about a U.S. brand, Knixteen, that surveyed teens about what they "most want in a bra", and "used the survey results and the input of trusted teen influencers to design the said bra. Ask for your customers' demands, and then create the supply to meet them."
The results revealed that people who wear bras "don’t want or need bras that change their shape, but they do overwhelmingly expect comfort, support, inclusiveness and body-positivity from their undergarments".
In this same article, I then recommended Adidas' Don't Rest Primeknit LUX Bra not only because it was a first-of-its-kind sports bra created with "Adidas’ revolutionary knitting technology", but because it was created using the same approach Knixteen did.
This sports bra was co-created with Adidas' global network of women athletes, including LA dancer Mette Towley, who took the bra for a spin.
I too, took the bra for a spin. My back is about two decades older than I am, so I often experience back pain from either sitting at my desk for too long or after working out despite my itty-bitty size 32A chest, so I got the Adidas Don't Rest Primeknit Lux in an extra-small to see how I would feel after physical activity when I wore it.
I first went for a run in this new hi-tech item of fitness gear, but as someone whose girls hardly bounce anyway, I can't really speak on the gravity control of this sports bra. However, I can say that I felt lighter and not as though I would need to toss it off the second I got home.
I also tried yoga in this sports bra, and because my A-cups felt somewhat ironed onto my sternum, I did feel more limber, yet secure (this would also explain why it was approved by a dancer).
Yes, it's a pretty snug fit as it's described as a high compression bra, so I would also suggest buying it in one size up from your usual size.
You can get yours for R649 at Adidas online.
Many more women have struggled to find 'the one' when it comes to sports bras, especially those who are a C-cup onwards, and I spoke to a few, including Sarah Swainson, a long distance runner who was a G-cup when she started out.
But before we get into that, let's do a quick explainer of what the purpose of a sports bra is.
What is the main aim of a sports bra?
A sports bra’s main objective is to reduce movement of breast tissue. By doing this, you reduce the impact on your breasts and thereby protect the tissues and ligaments from permanently stretching due to the impact of exercise and sport. In theory, it’s simple – reducing the movement leads to less strain on your breast tissue and you avoid pain and discomfort when exercising.
Sarah Swainson shares her experience
In Sarah's own words.
Firstly, I am a woman and a long distance runner. I have run countless marathons and nine Comrades Marathons, and can really identify with any woman who has had to put on two bras in order to feel supported enough to go and run. I am also the owner of a bra business and have fitted many, many women over the years in sports bras. Actually, they are my favourite bras to fit, as I love seeing women running with support and without discomfort.
When I started running, I was a G cup and finding something that fitted was virtually impossible. I used to wear two sports bras and a fitted running tank top to try and limit breast movement and reduce pain.
The day I discovered the right sports bra revolutionised my life, and I am not exaggerating. For many women, participating in sports and exercise is not an option because they feel so inhibited and self-conscious of their breasts. For me, my sports bra is so much more than just a bra, it gives me the freedom to go out and do what I want to do. Whether that is running, climbing a mountain or riding a horse. I determine what I can or can’t do, not my breasts.
Sarah continues to say on her website that "finding the right sports bra is far from simple and the struggle continues, as we try and find something that helps us feel supported and confident. I have run in many sports bras and so here are my top [two] choices, their features, benefits and reasons why I would recommend them."
The moulded cups offer outstanding support and a defined shape. Most importantly, this bra SIGNIFICANTLY reduces bounce and movement – research shows 83% less bounce. The Panache Sports bra uses an encapsulation design, which means that each breast has a distinct cup and the breasts are totally separated. This bra is a brilliant choice for high impact exercise like running. Breathable fabric helps keep the wearer dry and comfortable (boob sweat is not an issue). It also comes in a non-wired version, which I absolutely LOVE. The thicker band on the new non-wired Panache Sports Bra is fantastic and this is a dream to run in.
This bra offers high performance support with full coverage for ladies looking for comfort while exercising. High-tech COOLMAX fabric pulls the moisture away from the skin with a fast drying action.
Plus, more women share their experiences with trying to find the perfect boob security for physical activity
Purpose: Daily comfort
Purpose: Gym, boxing
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