Blog: Leonie BarrieMore support for sports bras

Leonie Barrie | 10 December 2007

Several studies looking at the problems of breast movement and discomfort during exercise have concluded what most women could have told them: bras need a design overhaul if women are to do more sport.

Researchers at the University of Wollongong in Australia have used an ‘intelligent fabric’ with in-built sensors to discover that the vertical movement of the chest can reach 70mm during vigorous exercise – and that bra straps can cause pain and nerve damage, even when the bra fits properly.

Meanwhile, at the University of Portsmouth in the UK, scientists have found that during exercise a woman’s breasts move in three dimensions, including forward and back, and that the pain caused by breast movement affects women of all cup sizes.

Bra design, however, including sports bras, does little to prevent this three-dimensional movement.

It’s only recently that bra design has turned to science, and it seems that the fabric sensors could help bra designers to measure the impact that changes in construction have on breast motion.

Until then, the traditional ‘encapsulated’ design, where each breast is held separately in a cup, is said to work better than a compression bra which flattens the breasts into the chest.

‘Intelligent fabric’ should lead to better bras


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