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Sports Bras: The Three Main Back Types

We all know what the front of our sports bra does; it holds our assets. Hopefully firmly in place whilst we bounce all over the place. What about the back of your sports bra? What does it do to help keep your girls in place? And what do the different  sports bra back types each do? A lot surprisingly.

So what are the different types of sports bra backs and what do they each offer in support, comfort and style.

Regular Back

As the name suggests these sports bras have the same regular back style as your everyday bras. You know the ones where the straps go straight over your shoulders and down at the back. Traditionally these are the most common type of sports bra. They offer a good level of support, comfort and adjustability depending on style.

The big advantage of these bra types is that they are easy to put on; just put them on like your normal bra, no contortion required. They are also generally pretty easy to adjust to ensure the most comfortable fit. Depending on the style they come either with a hook and eye closure or as a pullover style. Back closing with adjustable straps are generally the most supportive.

These sports bras are also a great option for everyday wear. Wear them under your work shirt with the straps slightly looser for all day comfort wear and then simply tighten the straps to get them working in the gym. No sore shoulders!

Sports Bra Back Types, Regular Back

Criss-Cross & Convertible Back

A step up from the regular strap style is the criss-cross style. As the name suggests the straps simply cross at the back offering an increased level of support and a great under tank top style.

A very common addition to the regular back sports bra is a simple little clip approximately half way up the straps to clip the straps together. The idea here is to easily convert the bra from a regular back style to a racer back style giving you the best of both worlds.

The clip can sometimes be a little difficult to lock in place but when done the ‘pulling’ of the straps together is designed to give you more support during activity as it pulls everything more towards the centre of the back. The other advantage is if you have just changed for the gym these straps can now hide nicely under a tank top.

Sports Bra Back Types, Crossed & Clipped Back

Racer Back

Then there are the raceback style sports bras, supposedly god’s gift to active women. I don’t necessarily agree with this but they are up there in terms of comfort and support. The straps anchor the bra closer to the body, providing more support. They can also reduce shoulder pressure and will stop the straps sliding off your shoulders during heavy activity. Ideal for running or those that bounce a lot (think Netballers).

One big disadvantage of these types of sports bras is often you do need to be a contortionist to get them on and off. Or at the very least have a PhD in Underwear to get certain styles on and off. Especially the ones that have clips top and bottom (think Shock Absorber Ultimate Run). Clip the top and bottom with your torso and arms through the top. Lift the bra up so you can get one arm into the arm hole, then the other. Now do your final adjustments and you are ready to go. If you are a runner the comfort and support reward in definitely worth the effort.

Sports Bra Back Types, Racer Back

So, these are the three main styles with a myriad of variations in between. The style you choose will always come down to personal preference and as always what the bra is to be used for. No point being trussed up tightly in a racerback all day just to wear it to a low impact gym session at the end of the day!

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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