Whether or not you are a regular workout fanatic, a casual exerciser or just a woman that enjoys comfort a good quality sports bra is one piece of clothing you should never be without. Once you try the comfort of a sports bra you will want to wear them for more than just working out.
Deciding on a sports bra
When purchasing a sports bra there are several things to keep in mind. While they may seem obvious it is important to consider each factor before determining what type of sports bra will suit you the best. The following are points to consider:
- Correct size
- Fabric blend
- Moisture wicking vs. regular fabric
Once you have determined what options suit you best, the only thing left to do is to head on out to the gym and get ready to work out in comfort.
If you find that your sports bra is not comfortable, it may be that you are not getting the correct size. When shopping for a sports bra start with the size that you wear in a traditional bra. Put it on and move around. Don’t just move your arms or jog on the spot, really put it to the test. Jump up and down, bend over and jump up, generally really move about. If you feel like your breasts are not supported, or if they seem to change locations in the bra as you are moving you have a bra that is too large. Try going down a size and repeating the test. A sports bra that squeezes your chest too tightly will be uncomfortable to work out in and is definitely too small.
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Try several different brands as well, as each brand will have a slightly different fit. For example, Nike sports bras come in both a size, for example, 34, and a size designation, for this example small. The same is true for Under Armour sports bras as well as other brands. The key is that the Nike sports bra small may not fit the same as the Under Armour sports bra so it is important to actually try the different brands on.
Once you have found the correct size, the next major hurdle is what color. Sports bras come in a wide variety of solid, patterned, mesh, contrasting or muted colors. Really the sky is the limit when choosing a color. It is important to consider if you will be wearing the bra on its own or simply under other t-shirts. Remember that lighter colors and whites will eventually stain from sweat and deodorant, no matter how quickly you wash them after a workout.
Most sports bras will have a blend of polyester and spandex as the base. Nike offers a sports bra with an 88% polyester and 12% spandex for the body. This combination is known as “Dri-Fit Fabric” which wicks away moisture to provide a cool and dry effect during workouts. Under Armour sports bras offer a HeatGear fabric that is designed to move moisture away from your body. HeatGear is a unique product that is designed to keep the athlete cool even in hot and humid workout conditions. Avoid sports bras that have high cotton content. Not only will they provide little support but also they will trap the moisture close to your body leading to chaffing and that uncomfortable sticky feeling during your workout.
In addition to the blend of fabric in the bra itself, check the texture and softness of the straps and the closure. Make sure that they don’t dig into you when you move or bend. The whole purpose of a sports bra is to be lightweight and comfortable, not to feel like you are wearing a chest protector to your workout.
Moisture wicking bras
If you have always worked out with a conventional or traditional sports bra you don’t know what you have been missing. A moisture or sweat wicking bra is the answer to a cool and temperature regulated workout. The fabric blend used by both Nike and Under Armour works to actually pull the moisture away from your skin. Not only does this help increase evaporation and allows the body to keep cool but it prevents chaffing and rubbing as the moisture is not allowed to build up into the fabric of the bra and your sensitive skin. Moisture wicking bras have no cotton in the fabric blend, and therefore don’t hold any moisture. The smooth and sleek fabric of both the Nike sports bra and the Under Armour sports bra is designed to provide maximum support and maximum moisture movement.
After working out in a conventional sports bra you will notice red lines and indentation where the fabric literally rubbed or cut into your skin. This happens because the bra needs to be tight to provide support. Moisture wicking bras have the support built right into the fabric and don’t rely on that band at the bottom to hold them tightly in place.
If you sweat at all during your workout, it is well worth the additional expense to invest in a moisture wicking bra like the Nike Dri-Fit fabric or the Under Armour HeatGear lines of sports bras. Once you try these lightweight, high quality and excellent support sports bras you will be hooked forever.
After making all these choices there are still a few basic do’s and don’t when purchasing sports bras. To summarize:
- o Try on the sports bra before you buy it
- o Jump around and make sure you feel supported
- o Check for any chaffing or rubbing when you are moving around
- o Watch for any hooks or zippers that seem to rub or scrape
- o Make sure that you have the correct cup size, nothing pushing up or out
- o Take a couple of deep breaths to make sure you are not too restricted
- o Make sure it is a moisture wicking bra that will keep you cool and dry during even the most intense workouts
- o Check the cut under the arms to make sure it is not rubbing your armpit area or cut too low to provide insufficient support
- o Buy a sports bra just because it is the right color or pattern, or matches your workout gear
- o Buy a size too small expecting that it will stretch. Nike and Under Armour sports bras will hold their shape and will not stretch or sag even after numerous washings.
- o Buy a sports bra that rubs or irritates you when you move
- o Is difficult to get on and off
- o Buy a sports bra that you feel uncomfortable in. Comfort is important when you are working out.
- o Get a sports bra that is not moisture or sweat wicking, especially if you sweat even lightly during your workout.