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Why Your Sports Bra Should Never Have a Birthday

When we are young, we look forward excitedly to our birthdays. As we get older our excitement wanes somewhat. We still like to celebrate but the excitement of getting older diminishes.

One birthday we should never see is that of our sports bras. Why you ask? In this article I will take you through the reasons why our favourite training partner should never turn one.

Read on…

Sports Bras Are Different to Everyday Bras

They make look similar, but your sports bra is actually quite different to your everyday bra. For one they are designed to do different things.

Your everyday bra is designed to be comfortable all day. It does offer some support but generally not too much. It is more about simply keeping the girls in check as you go about your day.

As such it is made of simpler fabrics and are of designs less containing. They are more about comfort and style rather than support.

Sports bra design follows a different path. The number one goal of sports bra design is support. With comfort a close second.

As such sports bras are made of much more technical fabrics with designs to match. They contain you more. And although style is important it is secondary to support.

How This Affects Bra Performance

If you are anything like me, you hang onto your everyday bras way longer than you should. I can dig through my undies drawer and pull out bras that are well past their use by date.

You can get away with this with your everyday bras. They might look a bit old and tired, but they still hold me in place, right? Yes, but the same is not true for your sports bras.

Sports bras are made from much more technical materials. As we already know these materials make the bra what it is. A technical piece of exercise equipment designed to keep the girls under control as you exercise.

But what happens as these materials and your beloved sports bra starts to age?

The Life Cycle of a Sports Bra

Just like everything a sports bra has a life cycle. When it is young it is taught, wrinkle free and supportive and as it ages it stretches, goes out of shape and is less supportive. Hmm, something similar seems to have happened to me as I have aged!

This process is gradual to the point that you may not even be aware it is happening. But rest assured it is, even the best sports bras cannot fight father time (and gravity!).

Why a Sports Bra Should Never Have a Birthday

So, what causes this?

Firstly, activity. We put our sports bras through a whole lot every time we exercise. Think about how many steps you take during a run, 8,000? With every step your breasts bounce. Yes, 8000 times! And it’s your sports bra that is arresting this bounce. All that work is going to take its toll, even on the very best sports bra.

Secondly, sweat. Nearly all activities we do cause sweating (if not, you’re not working hard enough!). Sports bras are often made from moisture wicking materials, but this doesn’t stop your bra getting sweaty during your workout.

Over time this sweat can break down the bra fabric causing it to thin and stretch. You will notice as your sports bra ages you need to tighten the straps and will do the clasp up on a tighter setting. This is a sign the materials have stretched.

Thirdly, washing (and drying). Every time you wash your sports bra you expose it to slight distress. Even if you follow the instructions and hand wash then dry flat in the shade it undergoes slight distress. With every wash this can add up. The chemicals in washing powder can aid in the breakdown of the fabric and the wet / dry cycle can cause the materials to stretch.

What Can We Do About It?

It’s pretty simple really, look after it the best you can! Treat it with the love any true deserves. Wear it only for the activity it is suitable for. If it is a medium impact sports bra, wear it only for medium impact activities such as gym.

If you plan to run, get a high impact sports bra. Not only will it last longer your breasts will thank you for it!

I have already mentioned looking after it. Follow the care instructions, never tumble dry it, and store it flat, don’t hang it. Check out my article ‘Sports Bra Care – Looking After Your Investment’ for more info.

Another thing to consider is having numerous sports bras on rotation. You may exercise three times a week so get yourself three matching sports bras. It will take the pressure off any one bra allowing all to last longer.

A Final Thought

We already know a sports bra should never have a birthday. That said you may find it doesn’t get halfway there. A lot of factors come into play that affect the lifespan of a sports bra. If you are not sure if your present sports bra is still up to the task my article ‘Is it Time to Replace Your Sports Bra?’ will help you test and decide.

If the decision is yes, then you are at already in the best place to get yourself a new sports bra; Sports Bras Direct (the name says it all!)

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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