How to Pick the Right Sports Bra

As we’re rolling out of party season and into reality, exercise is the topic du jour (to rid ourselves of our sins, obviously). So it’s a good time to start with the undergarments—once you have those right, you can get into the working out part. The most important item is your bra. Did you know that your breasts don’t actually contain any muscle mass? They rely solely on the skin’s elasticity to maintain their lift and shape and if they aren’t properly supported, the breast tissue begins to break down.

In light of this terrifying fact, we caught up with Intimo Lingerie’s Active Specialist, Georgina Powell to discover exactly what to consider when buying a sports bra. Keep scrolling for her top five tips.

Exercises that involve hopping, skipping or jumping cause vertical displacement or bounce. Horizontal displacement—the side-to-side swing—typically comes from racquet sports like tennis. It’s important to remember that the higher your exercise intensity, the better support you need.

A compression bra, does exactly as its name suggests; compresses the breasts to hold them in place and restrict movement. If you’re any larger than a D-cup, you should opt for more support, which comes from an encapsulation bra. These bras have separate molded cups, which gently lift and separate the breasts. When you separate the breasts, you effectively halve the weight, which reduces movement and eases the pull on your shoulders and back.

Light, breezy and sweat-wicking fabrics are the best for exercise. They pull the sweat away from your body so you stay cool and comfortable from start to finish. Features like netting and extra lining for sweat absorption are perfect.

Although many women prefer the comfort of a non-wire sports bra, it’s the underwire that provides the most support, particularly for high-impact exercise and those with cup sizes larger than a D cup. When choosing between underwire and non-underwire, keep in mind your cup size and exercise intensity. Non-underwire bras are suitable for sports like yoga or boxing but when you take on the treadmill or the tennis court, invest in an underwire.

Things to know:

1) Straight back: standard adjustable straps and a hook and eye to fasten the band.

2) Racerback: Fixed straps that join together in-between the shoulder blades.

When compared to the conventional straps and hook and eye, a racerback allows greater freedom of movement through the shoulders and provides additional support. Pulling the straps inward and together at the back evens the weight distribution and lessens the strain on your shoulders.