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Sport Bra Impact Levels – What Do They Mean?

You’ve recently reignited your running career after some time off. You dust off your shoes, slip on your faithful yoga sports bra and outfit and hit the pavement. Not long into your run and your boobs are hurting! Bounce, bounce, bounce. Ow, ow, ow. Getting home you check your bra; it’s rated ‘Low Impact’. What does this mean and what impact level do you need for your sport?

Just as not all workouts are designed to the same intensity level neither are the sports bras designed to support us and keep everything in place. So what does low, medium, high and, more recently, extreme impact mean? Which impact is best for you and what impact will support you mile after mile as you embark on your new running career?

Impact level is quite simply a measure of support your sports bra offers your breasts (not how hard you can be hit in the boobs in karate!). The higher the impact level the better the support your assets get. Simple right? In theory yes, in practice not really. In practice other factors come into play the most important of which is breast size. The bigger they are the more they bounce and the greater support they will need. Your ‘C’ cup friend won’t need as supportive a bra for her run as your ‘FF’ cup friend. So what impact level should my sports bra be?

Low Impact

These sports bras are at the ‘lower’ end of the impact scale and are specifically designed for activities such as yoga, pilates and walking. Simply they are for any activity that causes minimal ‘bounce’. Often these sports bras are unstructured crop styles designed for comfort rather than support. Even the back clasp is eliminated in favour of a slip on design allowing you to stretch on your yoga mat in comfort. If you have a bit more up top and plan on doing some inverted moves then these bras may not suit. Nothing worse than flopping out in front of the class! As a general rule low impact sports bras are best worn by A-D cups. Any larger its best to move up an impact.

Low Impact Sports Bra

Medium Impact

A step up from Low Impact they offer ‘Mid’ level support for activities such as hiking, golf and martial arts. These bras often offer a little more structure and shape to provide the extra support required. They can also be worn for low impact activities if you would like a little more support.

High Impact

Until more recently this was the highest impact level available for sports producing the most breast bounce. Tennis players, dancers and runners all benefit from the high level of support offered. This is the level of the fully structured sports bra. No crop tops here.

Companies spend a lot of time developing and testing their sports bra to ensure they are the right combination of support and comfort. No point designing a highly supportive bra that makes you wince in pain when you put it on. If you have a little more up top these bras will help keep you in control no matter the activity.

Extreme Impact Sports Bra

Extreme Impact

These are the pinnacle of support. Designed to hold you in place even through the toughest of workouts (or so the manufacturers often claim!). They certainly are the best supporting sports bras available so if you do a lot of running, jumping, cart wheeling or any activity that creates the highest levels of breast bounce then this impact level is for you. They can be worn by all cup sizes, as every breast needs support, but larger cup sizes will see the most benefit.

If you are not sure of which impact suits you always err on the side of caution. Go up an impact level rather than down, your breasts will thank you for it.

Your 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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