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Is it Time to Replace Your Sports Bra?

Running is a simple sport. Don a pair of shoes and the all-important sports bra and you are away. Your worries are left behind as you head off along the beach or your favourite trail.

Most of us who run regularly, be it road running, playing netball or around the track regularly check the condition of our shoes. We keenly check the tread, laces and internals for signs of wear and tear. And are quick to head to the shop if things aren’t quite right.

But what about our sports bras? Do we treat them with the same love and respect? We should as in my opinion they are ae equally as important as our shoes to achieve peak performance in comfort. Nothing is going to slow you down more than old shoes and a stretched sports bra!

Unfortunately, for too many of us we ignore the warning signs. And keep persisting with our tired and worn-out sports bra well beyond its used by date.

So, how can you tell if your sports bra is still up to the job? Read on to find out how to tell if it is time to replace your sports bras or crop tops.

When Should Your Sports Bra be Replaced?

There is a rule of thumb in the sports bra world that a sports bra should never have a birthday. This means that no matter what you should replace your sports bras at a maximum of 12-month intervals.

Why, you ask? Because sports bras, especially high impact ones, are made from technical fabrics that break down over time. Every workout and wash cause the materials to weaken.

Over time this adds up to a failing sports bra. The funny thing is you don’t notice it happening and can only appreciate your old sports bras failings when you try on a new one.

Of course, the 12-month maximum rule is only a guideline. As everyone uses their sports bras differently.

“How long your sports bra stays strong and comfortable depends on the total number of wearings” says LaJean Lawson, PhD, an exercise scientist at Oregon State University and industrial designer who specialises in designing sports bras. (you can link to her Twitter page here).

As well as frequency, the intensity of your workouts also comes into play.  For example if you’re training for a marathon you would need to replace your bras about every 3 months.

If you work out regularly but take part in lower impact activities, 6 months may be o.k.  For regular exercisers it is recommended to rotate three to four sports bras to extend their lifespan.

Check Your Sports Bra Regularly

Just like the aforementioned shoes it is a good idea to get into the habit of checking your sports bras regularly. I personally find that giving them a quick check before I put them away after washing works for me. They are clan and fresh so the perfect time to spot any wear and tear.

The sports bra’s band plays an essential role in supporting our breasts. 80% of the support offered from your sports bra comes from the band. As such, it is a good place to start your checks.

Give the band a gentle pull. Do you feel strong resistance? Yes? That is a good sign your band is still up to the task. If it stretches easily or even worse doesn’t stretch at all that is a sure sign the elastic is worn out.

The band should also lay flat against your torso without ripples or bulging. Also check for signs of any deterioration that could cause rubbing. Remember these checks are as much about support as they are about comfort.

Move onto the cups next. Give them a thorough check over, looking for any signs of wear and tear. If your bra is underwired, giving this area particular attention could prevent your next workout being painful. I for one have experienced the pain of a loose bra wire before!

Finally, the straps. Evidence of frayed elastics, broken stitching, twisting of seams or stretched straps are all signs your sports bra needs to be replaced. Needing to tighten the straps with every workout is a sure sign they are not performing like they should.

Old White Sports Bra

Still Unsure?

As we know a supportive sports bra or crop provides more support as compared to your regular everyday bra. Jump around in your regular bra and then change into your sports bra and do the same. Your breasts should feel significantly more supported in your sports bra. If not it’s time to look for a replacement.

When you lose or gain weight or have a baby your body changes, including your breasts. The sports bras that you love may now be too tight around the band, or ride up, or your breast tissue could be spilling out of the cup. All signs a replacement is needed.

That said, check out my article ‘10 Common Fitting Problems & How to Solve Them’. Work through my check list to ensure you have done everything possible before rushing online to buy new ones.

If it is time to replace your sports bra wardrobe, then you are already at the best place. Check out my fitting room to determine your size before shopping my extensive range.

Once you know your size and have a list of sports bra features you desire. You know the ones, wirefree, racerback, moulded, etc. Then the perfect place to start your search is my sports bra finder. Simply follow the easy steps and find your new sports bra in under a minute.

If your old sports bras still have some life left in them (maybe you’ve lost weight) then please box them up and post them to Sports Bras Direct, PO Box 379, Nerang, Queenland, 4211. I will donate them to Support the Girls on your behalf. Perfect!

Yours in support.

Amy x

Amy Jaffers

Amy is the face behind Sports Bras Direct, Australia’s largest sports bra website. She's a mother of two, outdoors lover and sports bra expert. Her life mission is to help active women get the support they need as well as assisting women in need through her charitable donations.

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