“A sports bra is just as important as running shoes,” says Jack Rabbit’s Dina Pappalardo. “And like running shoes, they should be replaced every 6 months or 300 miles.” If your breasts bounce around too much, explains Pappalardo, the Cooper’s ligaments, the breast’s connective tissue, gets stretched and, well, you know the rest of the sad, sag story.
Pappalardo, the apparel buyer for Jack Rabbit and an Equinox fitness instructor, is the ultimate athletic-apparel know-it-all. She’s responsible for the running specialty store’s full wall dedicated to sports bras, because different brands are better for different bosoms. That’s why we consulted her on this uber-important, if hidden, workout garment.
DINA’S SPORTS BRA RULES
- No cotton! A cotton sports bra holds onto moisture and will weigh you down the minute you work up a sweat, so stick with poly-lycra blends.
- You should be able to comfortably slide two fingers under the shoulder straps. It should feel snug.
- A high-performance sports bra should offer compression and encapsulation. Compression, of course, is the pushing in and holding in of the breasts. A bra that just compresses creates that bouncing log look. Encapsulation means that bra is structured so that each breast is separately supported. You want both types of support.
- Wash your sports bra on gentle cycle and in cold water. Lie flat to dry. No dryer!
DINA’S SPORTS BRA PICKS
A and B cups
The Energy Seamless bra by Saucony, $35. Perfect for petite women with a shorter torso and narrow shoulders. An open-channel knit allows heat to escape. “You could run a marathon in this or just run to yoga class,” says Pappalardo.
The Zensah bra, $36. This made-in-Italy compression bra fits more body types than the Saucony. Its anti-microbial fiber is made of silver ions, so you can wear it a few times before it needs a wash.
C to E cups
The Juno bra by Moving Comfort, $52: “We’ve been waiting a long time for this bra,” said Pappalardo, of this uber-rigged racerback, which was just released in April. It’s an upgrade of the best-selling Fiona bra, with M-frame construction, encapsulation, and power mesh to avoid upward bounce. Other bells and whistles: padded Velcro straps, no seams (so no chafing), and it’s lined with anti-microbial fabric made from recycled coffee beans.