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How To Find A Sports Bra With The Proper Fit

Courtesy of Handful
Courtesy of Handful

You know a well-fitting sports bra is important—but just how important is it? What will actually happen if your sports bra doesn’t fit right? We talked to Jennifer Ferguson, CEO and founder of Handful, to find out.

Finding The Proper Fit

The fit is key when it comes to buying a sports bra—which can sometimes be difficult as many come in Small, Medium, Large, X-Large and so on, versus your actual cup size. If possible, find a guide online or ask an associate for proper sizing guidelines, to make sure you are getting the right fit.

“When you are trying a sports bra, a taut fit through the rib cage is key—the majority of support should come from the band—but without restriction to your ability to breathe easily,” explains Ferguson. “When viewed from the side, the band that runs around the body should be horizontal and should not ride up at the back.”

Additionally, you want to make sure that if the bra has straps that are at your collarbone or there are seams under the arm, that they aren’t rubbing or chaffing.

The Material

When it comes to the material and construction, that definitely plays a vital role, as well. You want something that is made for support and not visual appeal. There are a lot of cute sports bras out there full of thin straps and color blocking, but that doesn’t mean they will provide proper support.

You want to look for moisture-wicking fabrics and check the stitching and quality of construction,” adds Ferguson. “This will ensure a longer-lasting garment.”

Ferguson also notes that the heavier your breasts, the tighter the weave of the fabric needed to offer optimal support.

Proper Care Procedures

Definitely check the tag and do some research on the best way to clean your sports bra. Handful bras can be washed and dried, but not all may follow those care guidelines. Additionally, make sure you have enough sports bras and that you are replacing them as needed so they aren’t worn out.

“You should have enough bras so that you only need to wash them once a week,” stresses Ferguson. “For example, if you wear them four times a week, you should have four fully functioning sports bras. Fully functioning means there are no holes, missing elastic or fabric that is stretched out and no longer offers support. As a rule of thumb, you should replace your sports bra every year.”

Ferguson also adds that, contrary to popular belief, when your everyday bra gets old and tired you cannot transition it into an athletic bra. You need total support. Think of it in terms of running shoes—when you wear and old and worn-out pair, you don’t receive proper support—the same goes for your sports bra.

Ashley Lauretta

Ashley Lauretta

Ashley Lauretta is the freelance web editor for Women's Running. A freelance journalist, she is the assistant editor at LAVA Magazine and has written for espnW, ELLE, Men's Journal, VICE Sports, Health and more. Find her online at ashleylauretta.com and on Twitter at @ashley_lauretta.