How To Choose A Running Bra

Choosing the right sports bra can be a bit of a minefield. Think about the support you need it to give you, and you’ll realise why making sure yours is right for you is so important and is equally as important as your running shoes.

Up & Running’s female staff have attended specialist courses to ensure they are up to speed with the latest technologies of running sports bras. They learn how they should fit bras correctly, as well as the damage that can be done if it doesn’t fit well enough and share this knowledge with new members of staff and customers

Why is a good well-fitting sports bra so important?

During running breast movement averages 15cms. That is a staggering amount of bounce, with most breast movement found to be in ladies who are actually running at a slower speed.

The average breast size in the UK is 34/36D. At this size, each breast weighs approximately 500g.

There are no muscles in the breasts, which are solely supported by Cooper’s ligaments. It is understandable therefore that support from a sports bra is needed, otherwise the Cooper’s ligaments will be damaged during exercise, leading to permanent sagging and pain.

Wearing a non-sports bra, or even a sports bra that doesn’t fit correctly or offer enough support for running is likely to cause:

  • An increase in perceived exertion. The discomfort caused by an ill-fitting bra can lead to a reduction in breathing frequency and a reduction in stride length. All in all, making running seem harder than it actually is.
  • A lack of body confidence. This in turn will cause a reluctance to exercise due to embarrassment and can become a barrier to exercise.
  • Damage to the Cooper’s ligaments and irreversible breast sag. And no one wants saggy boobs!

If a bra is poorly fitting, you will notice at least one of the following issues:

  • Furrowing on the shoulders caused by the straps
  • Numbness in the fingers
  • Neck and/or back pain
  • Breast pain when exercising

The solution:

Visit your local Up & Running store, being sure to ring ahead and make sure the bra advisor is available. Fitting is discreet and if you want us to check the sports bra that you’re currently using, then wear that one for your visit.

Once you’ve got your sports bra sorted:

  • You will run more confidently.
  • Your breathing rate will improve.
  • Your stride length will increase.
  • The effort will feel less.
  • Your body confidence will improve.
  • Your overall running performance will improve.
  • You will limit breast damage.

Don’t think that a sports bra is just for running and exercise. Most will become a good, comfortable companion for every day.

What features should I look for?

Our store staff have been expertly trained in bra fitting and will take you through the process below. However, if you are not able to get into store, here’s what to look for if you need to fit the bra yourself.

Combination sports bras are made up of 4 elements, or 5 if you opt for an underwired bra, which work together. 

The band is the foundation of the bra. It should provide a firm fixing all the way round so your breasts are not reliant on the straps for support. The band will carry the majority of the breast weight and should grip the ribcage firmly. A band that is too big will not only be inefficient in support but can also cause chafing.

The cups encapsulate the breast tissue, and the upper part of the cups prevent the breast from moving upwards, thus limiting the bounce.

The underwiring. Not all bras are underwired, but if it is, eg the Panache Underwired, the underwiring works to transmit the breast weight to the band.

The centre front connects the cups and should sit flat on the rib cage without digging in or gaping.

The shoulder straps should be comfortable. They are not intended to support the breast weight as that is down to the band and or the underwiring. The straps instead distribute the pressure therefore the larger the breast, the wider the strap should be. The straps should be snug, without causing furrowing.

A sports bra should never have a birthday, so make sure you change yours regularly. If you can, we recommend you have two bras on the go – one on the body, one in the wash. Follow our care guide to make sure you get the best from your bra.

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