What I Learnt Lab Testing Sports Bras for Other Brands
If you have ready some of my other blog posts you might know a bit about me by now. My name is Mari and I am the founder of a women's sports performance apparel, MAAREE. The reason I started this brand was to create a brand new sports bra design with superior performance as I felt like my ideal solution was not out there.
So, What Makes a Good Sports Bra?
I am a sports product tester by profession and after I left university I spent some time in Loughborough University lab testing sports bras for a number of the top sports brands in the world. I wanted to write a blog post to give a brief overview of what I learnt during this time and realising how important sports bras are as a piece of sporting equipment.
1. A good sports bra for one person isn't necessarily a good sports bra for another.
When I first started out I assumed that what I believed to be a good sports bra would be thought by others too. Not the case. I spoke to every person who came to my trials and as I asked to describe their perfect sports bra I realised that the answers varied a lot. To my surprise, bras I considered to be low-performing would sometimes be someone else's preferred choice for other reasons. Occasionally,
shape of breasts.
2. Most people wear the wrong size bra for them.
I tested women of all shapes and sizes. From women with small chests, to those much curvier. When conducting a specific trial I normally had a handful of sizes of a particular sports bra on me and was testing a specific range of size. Therefore, I would send a request out to the public which went something like this...
"Looking for women to help test out the performance of the latest sports bras. Please get in in contact if you are interested and are a size 34DD to 38G."
Of course, before the trials we would measure each person who volunteers and I was shocked by the amount of women who were clearly not the size the thought they were and that it was clear to see this from the bra they came in wearing. So I would often have to politely decline they're services as they were not the required size.
3. Shoulder straps are very important.
Not only do women not adjust them often enough. "My strap keep falling off my shoulder"... sound familiar? Sometimes this isn't down to the design of the bra, but us forgetting to tighten the straps. After time they can become loose and women just assume that it no longer fits or it has become ill-fitting. Take the time to adjust your bra to fit your properly before you put it on in the morning.
Additionally, I found that women with larger boobs required more from their straps. They paid more attention to them when choosing their bra. They need to be thicker, padded and comfort becomes a big factor as the weight they need to hold is heavier and the dreaded shoulder dents become a big problem.
There's been a long-standing concept in the industry that if you want a good performing from then unfortunately it's going to have to be an ugly one.
4. Overheating is a problem.
Manufactures often add more material to a sports bra to make it perform better. Of course, this makes sense, right? But add too much and the user becomes overheated during their workout. We need to find either a happy medium or find a new and innovative solution. Which we rarely see. (A'hem, cheeky MAAREE plug. This is where we come in.)
5. Some smaller busted women feel they didn't need a bra!
Smaller-chested women are more likely to prioritise style (and maybe comfort) over performance.
This could be as they are more likely to want to dress in only a sports bra (and bottoms, of course) to the gym. So they are after quite a stylish, fashionable or statement piece. This will then come down to style preference then, whether they tend to go for a crop-top style, a crazy pattern or something which matches their bottoms. Unfortunately, the larger-chested women feels that they don't have this same luxury. They are also after stylish and fashionable pieces, but their first priority is performance.
There is a flip-side to this. I fear that smaller-chested women are not ensuring that they are getting the necessary support that they need for their activities. Their boobs will still move when you've active and pull at the cooper's ligament. It's important to look after your bodies just as much. Our boobs will change in size over time, for example, when getting pregnant. You want to get the right support throughout your adult life to ensure that your ligament is strong for when you reach this stage to ensure that it can handle the new, heavier weight.
6. Our breasts make a 3D figure-of-eight when we run.
We often assume that our boobs only travel down, and that's it. NO.
Our boobs will travel up, down, right, left, in and out. It's important that we tackle them all to reduce overall motion.
The figure of eight will reduce in size the more support that we receive. Our bras are designed to also flatten the figure of eight.
MAAREE's long terms mission is to reduce breast motion in all directions so that it is no longer a hindrance to any women out there and does not stand in the way of performing any exercise confidently, efficiently and pain free.