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The GO Outdoors Guide To Sports Bras

Why Choose A Sports Bra

Wearing a sports bra is essential for every woman who is active. Because breasts can move as much as 4 inches up and down as you run, depending on your size, you need all the support you can get to stay comfortable, and prevent wear and tear to the delicate skin near your chest.

Even if your muscles near your chest are well defined, your breasts have no muscles, so one the skin is damaged, there is no return!

Even if you have little to support, too much stretching on a regular basis, caused by bouncing or movement can result in sagging and shape loss. Sports bras are essentials for all sports, from low impact yoga, to high impact running.

Fitting a sports bra is a lot simpler than choosing a daily bra, because sports bras lack the under wiring you find in most bras and are based around your usual cup size.

It is always a good idea to try on a bra, and even to jump around in it if you get the chance.

The design of a sports bra is based around stretch fabrics that sit on the chest, restricting movement like a bandage or taping via compression.

For yoga and similar low impact sports you can choose a bra that offers more of a compressive design, like a cropped top with added stretch, and for running you could choose a more supportive bra that uses both cups for separation, as well as the stretch, cropped compression design for hold and comfort.

Dependent on your personal preferences, you may need more than one sports bra.

What to look for:

A support system

  • Underwiring should not be used because when you move the wiring causes more abrasion.
  • The support should come from an elasticated lower area that sits beneath your breasts, along side the body of the bra which should be slightly cup shaped.
  • The idea of the sports bra is to compress you slightly, allowing you to move, jump and run without bouncing.
  • Sizes are the same as your standard bra, but the fit needs to be a lot more close fitting
  • You should just about be able to get a finger under the supportive lower cuff of the bra, and it should be tight without cutting into your skin.
  • The stretch will actually increase as the bra is used, so go tighter if in doubt.

Rear Protection

  • Straps vary, from standard bra straps to racer back designs. Racer backs offer more support over the back, so they feel tighter and really secure.
  • Standard bra designs will accommodate larger than usual straps, around an inch thick. The more support the better.


  • Fabrics in sports bras are nearly always made form a synthetic such as polyester mesh or lycra.
  • Cotton would provide not moisture resistance and synthetics are capable of wicking away sweat.
  • Mesh provides breathability and ventilation, which is ideal for circulating air.
  • Other fabrics typically include:
  • Polyester
  • Spandex
  • Elastane
  • Lycra


  • Look for separation that can provide a more flattering look, as well as features that allow adjustability.
  • Many sports bras are adjustable over the back area and straps, but new designs are also adjustable on the front fastening between cups.
  • The other option is to choose a sports bra that is designed without seams in order to avoid chaffing or irritation. This is particularly important for high impact sports such as running and cycling.