How to Choose a Sports Bra

Giving a shout out to for fantastic customer service on Nike bras and almost anything else the headless athlete needs.

Ladies, I didn’t think I’d be going here so soon, but the more time I spend at running and kickboxing, the more I realize that there is a sports bra crisis in this country, and someone needs to say something about it. Because good lord, ladies, you just shouldn’t be bouncing around like that.

Why is a sports bra so important? Besides the obvious issues of comfort, a good bra offers support and protection for Cooper’s ligaments. Never heard of them? They’re the ligaments that hold your breasts up. Sports bras reduce the stretching and repetitive strain on the ligament, helping to preserve the breast’s natural shape.

Aside from your cup size, the most important thing to know is that not all sports bras are designed for the same activities. The shelf bra camisole that works fine for yoga class isn’t going to be enough for a run. Consider the activities that you do on a regular basis and buy bras accordingly.

Activity level is divided into three categories:

  • Low Impact: walking, road cycling, pilates, yoga and weight training
  • Medium Impact: inline skating, skiing, hiking
  • High Impact: running, mountain biking, aerobics, kickboxing

When looking for bras, do your research online before heading to the store. Many websites divide their sports bra offerings by cup size and activity level, so you’ll have a good idea of what brands and styles to try. Title Nine has the most comprehensive bra finder tool that I’ve seen, plus a huge selection of styles for women of all sizes.

Once you finally find a bra that’s right for you — and by “right” I mean “not the cheapest one that you can pick up at Target” — you need to understand that it won’t last forever. Experts say that they should replaced at least every year, and possibly even more frequently depending on how often and intensely they’re used.

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