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Why Wear a Sports Bra?

Failing to wear a supportive and properly fitting sports bra during exercise can lead to permanent breast damage whether you have experienced pain or not.  This applies to very small breasts too.

Prevent Permanent Damage and Sagging

Breasts are made of mostly mammary glands and soft tissue with limited support structures called Coopers Ligaments.  A supportive and well fitting sports bra will protect your breasts and minimise damage to the soft tissue and Coopers Ligaments.

Coopers Ligaments supports the breast tissue and “keeps the girls up”.   Think of a simple rubber band…if continually stretched and stretched it will become longer and will not bounce back .  This same principle applies to the Coopers Ligaments and skin when your breasts are not properly supported during exercise.  It means that breast support that comes from your bra is extremely important especially during exercise. Even the smallest sizes can experience permanent tissue damage over time if you neglect to give them the right support.

When you participate in even mild exercise your breasts will bounce and it is this action that can damage soft tissue and stretch the delicate Coopers Ligaments in your breasts.  This can cause sagging and permanent breast damage.  This applies to small breasts too.


Breasts move in three dimensions during physical activity

– up and down

– side to side

– in and out

So finding a sports bra that limits motion in all directions will provide the most protection from sagging and pain.

The only time your breasts are not moving is when you’re standing or lying down.  You should wear a sports bra when you’re doing any kind of activity including walking and yoga.

Reduce Pain and Discomfort during exercise

Research has shown that wearing a supportive and good fitting sports bra will increase your efficiency and enjoyment of your workout.

A good sports bra will reduce breast movement which means less pain and discomfort. Sports bras are also made from ‘sweat wicking’ fabrics which keeps you more comfortable while exercising and help prevent chafing problems that may develop during prolonged activity with a wet bra.

However it is important to remember that wearing a worn out sports bra can lead to breast pain and ligament damage as it will no longer have the same level of support.  To help you stay comfortable and supported while you exercise, replace your sports bra every 6-8 months.  A sports bra should never have a birthday!

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To measure your size it is best to wear an everyday well-fitting non-padded bra and use a fabric / flexible tape to measure in centimetres.

To help you further, brand specific size guidelines have been added to the product images of some of our sports bras.  Please also check these before ordering.

Back Size – Underbust measurement

Your bra back size is determined by your under bust measurement.  Place tape
measure around your body, underneath the bust, in line with the bottom of your bra’s hook & eye.  The tape should be taught but not uncomfortable.

Cup Size – Overbust measurement

Place the tape measure loosely over the fullest part of your breasts (usually over the nipple). This is best done when wearing a bra.  Ensure the tape measure is at the same height across your back as across your bust.

Your back size can be different to your clothing size as it relates to the width of your back and diaphragm.  A lady may wear size 12 clothes and a size 14C bra.

Now look at the Bra Fitting Chart below.  First find your underbust measurement (Back Size) in the left hand column, round up to the nearest cm if required.  Then find the corresponding Australian/NZ size in the grey column.  This determines your back size.

Once you have your back size, follow the row along until you find your cupsize measurement, again round up to the nearest cm if required.  This will determine your cup size.

Crop Tops

Crop tops can fit differently to cupped bras.  Generally speaking they are more similar to women’s clothing sizes.

XS = 8    S = 10   M = 12   L = 14   XL = 16    XXL = 18

However the correct size can be more accurately determined using your under bust and over bust measurements in the table below.  To understand how to take these measurements please see the explanation above.

Sports Bras Direct recommends crop tops for cup sizes A-D only. You must also check the specific style of crop top suits the level of impact you require.  Breasts that are bigger than a D cup require more specific support from a cup size sports bra.

Each Brand has a slight variation in their actual measurement guidelines for crop tops, so we have summarised the individual Brand’s advice in the table below.

If you are still unsure we would love to help you, please get in touch with our support team via live chat.