I am a curvy woman and also very active. When I first started running in 1991, I quickly understood the need for proper support. The rubbing and chafing would turn a great run with a friend into a painful, sore sometimes bloody fiasco.
Next, I started to bike and get into other activities. I quickly learned the value of having a sports bra that breathes and will help prevent soreness.
Recently, I spoke with Olivia Leroux, Marketing and Sales Manager of Anita Canada. Olivia shared with me the top tips for women of all shapes, to find the best fitting athletic bra.
How to choose the best sports bra for different activities?
Sports bras with maximum support level and regular straps are absolute all-rounders, for instance the "extreme control" or "momentum" styles. As the chest/breast is experiencing a lot of movement, such supporting styles are necessary for any kind of sports, be it running, equestrian sports, etc. It is essential, that the movement of the breast is reduced, and these styles reduce the bounce by 78 per cent!
For very athletic women, the style "air control" may be of special interest. This is a special "lightweight" bra, but with maximum support and yet an airy look.
If more freedom of movement for the arm-/shoulder area is needed, or if you like to wear a fashionable shirt over it, a bra with straps that make an X at the back is the perfect choice. The cut and design at the back and the strap are providing an efficient all round bust support.
For more soft and gentle kinds of sports, a bra with light bust support may be best, like a wellness bra.
What to look for to make sure that it fits properly?
The bra fits perfectly, if the bust is completely encompassed by the bra. Similar to a regular bra, the edging of the bra shall not cut in at the neckline. If the arms are lifted, also the lower part of the bust shall be safely covered.
Sports bras comes with higher necklines than fashion bras, as the whole breast needs to be encompassed safely, especially when moving and doing high-motion sports, and this is also the reason, why the back wings under the arm are wider than for other bras.
Also important is that the right band size is chosen. The bra must not be too loose, otherwise the back wings will rise up, and this would be against the fit and functionality of any bra.
The straps should be positioned more towards the neck, as this will help prevent them from slipping over the shoulders. This is the reason, why all sports bras have straps, which are positioned nearer to the centre.
How to care for your sports bra?
A sports bra is designed to be extra durable and shall not to change, even if the garment is washed over and over again.
One thing however must be considered: Never wash your sports bra with a fabric softener, as otherwise the very special features of a sports bra will be lost, like the high-tech sweat management function, because the fabric will not be absorbing the moistness away from the body as before.
The great thing about a sports bra is, you wash it, and right away it is ready for use again. Of course it is advisable, to have at least two or three pieces of your favorite sports bras, so you never have a situation to be left without one.
Why are some sports bras $20 and other bras more expensive?
In a long and elaborate process, high-quality sports bras are developed, the fabrics are directly designed in close collaboration with fabric suppliers. After this, the bras are tested and optimized over months, to be sure, they fulfill their purposes.
High tech materials with outstanding support and sweat management require month long testing with active athletes and women with different cup sizes who do sports in different activity levels. The workmanship of the product is continuously monitored; the pattern design is accurate to a millimeter, until all cup sizes fit perfectly like a glove.
To be obsessed with optimizing quality, functionality and fit is essential, to bring a new sports bra to the market, which can meet any needs, and which will be a reliable sports partner one would never like to miss. This explains also, why different price levels are on the market.
Top tips to notice when the sports bra is not fitting properly
Small straps may be digging in, which is especially uncomfortable for larger bust sizes. If the cups are too small, they do not encompass the whole breast, and the neckline can be too tight. Should the bra not have enough support from the side, the fit and shapely look will be missing.
It is best to choose a bra with wide enough straps, which distribute the weight of the breast evenly on the shoulders. Take a style which shapes the bust and reduced the bounce! And look for a reliable supplier, who is specialized in fit and comfort.
I will use all these tips to find the right sports bra in 2015. Keep watching my blog as I try skate skiing, winter hiking, yoga and many more.
Your suggestions are always welcome, as I continue on my journey to enjoy life to the fullest. Let's have the very best 2015!
Visit Sacha daily at SachaD.com
ALSO ON HUFFPOST: