Brooks bra experts Amber and Claire visited the store for a day of free bra fit and advice sessions.
I sat down to chat with the ladies after a packed day of appointments about how Brooks are working to develop leading technologies also break the taboo of the sports bra conversation.
For female runners who are new to Brooks Bras can you tell us a bit about what you’re striving for?
Amber: One of our main goals is education, both for the consumer and the retailer.
Most women, both those who do and who don’t wear sports bras, don’t necessarily understand why they’re so important. We want women to understand why a good sports bra is as important as finding the right pair of trainers.
Claire: Sports retail is still a male dominated industry. We want to change the mentality that choosing the right sports bra is a conversation about breasts or lingerie. It’s talking about a key technical piece of kit that can impact performance.
What makes Brooks Bras stand out from the crowd?
C: Our bras are designed by women so all of the little details have been considered. For example, the hook and eye are padded so they’re as comfortable for floor work (yoga / core etc) as they are for running. There are no hard materials to dig into your skin.
We use a variety of fabrics that do different jobs and employ them across the range in various of combinations. All women are unique so we’ve created a range with technical aspects that suit as many women as possible. The design team consider more than just body shape. For example we have bras with different back configurations for women who struggle to put clothing on over their heads.
A: In addition to making bras that are packed full of tech we’ve made a range that is colourful and flattering. Our bras have enough coverage that you could wear them alone as a crop top.
Some women may be a little nervous about attending a bra fit. How would you reassure them?
A: We fully explain the process, before and throughout the fitting. As we mentioned earlier, we’re not having a conversation about breasts or underwear.
We choose a selection of bras and leave you to change in private. We then check the fit of the band and straps and talk you through what to look for when buying a bra.
How often should we be replacing our sports bras?
A: Our motto is that a bra should never celebrate a birthday. Three bras should be plenty to have in rotation; one on you, one in the wash and one ready to go.
You could use the rule of thumb that you buy a new bra when you replace your shoes. The tech in your shoes will last between 400-500 miles, think of bra effectiveness in a similar way.
C: We hear horror stories of women who are running in bras that cause awful chafing or even cut into their skin. You wouldn’t stick with a pair of shoes or shorts that make you suffer that way and a bra should be no different. If your bra isn’t comfortable, do something about it.
Can you tell me one fact about sports bras that will blow my mind?
A: A lot of women believe that the support in a sports bra comes from the straps, when it actually comes from the band. Bra straps don’t have to be super tight, they just need to be tight enough so that the cup fabric covers the breast.
C: Most women’s breasts differ in size slightly so your straps don’t have to be even. They’re adjustable so that you can secure each side according to the individual breast. In fact wearing your bra straps too tight can cause nerve damage.
If a woman has got to the end of this article and still isn’t convinced about sports bras, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give to change their minds?
C: Damage to breast tissue is irreparable. Research has shown that breasts from A to J cup go through the same patterns of movement through physical activity and can suffer the same damage if not properly supported. Even women who think their breasts are small enough to get away with not wearing a sports bra are putting themselves at risk.
A: We understand that you’ve chosen running as your sport and you want to get on and train with no distractions. A correctly fitted sports bra will allow you the comfort and confidence to train at your peak.
When I found out the shop were hosting a bra fitting service I snapped up the opportunity. I wanted to attend for two reasons. Firstly for the actual fitting/sizing. Secondly because I have noticed if I run with a tight bra I seem to suffer with a stitch. This seemed the perfect opportunity to see what I was doing wrong. Claire was lovely; I am generally ok at taking my clothes off but she still made sure that I was ok with the situation. She measured me and then listened to my issues. I found the first bra too tight and Claire agreed. The second was a much better fit. We managed to find two bras that suited me, so I left very happy. Nichola
I already own a few Brooks bras but wanted to get refitted as I’ve lost some weight while training for a race. I absolutely hate anyone seeing me in a state of undress (even partially) but Amber put me at ease straight away, talking me through the process step by step. She advised that I could comfortably go down one band size and showed me how to secure my straps properly as I always do them up far too tight. Afterwards I had to wonder what I’d felt so nervous for beforehand! Lucy
To view the range of Brooks Bras available at The Running Works click here.