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I tried Lululemon’s new, groundbreaking sports bra—here’s what you need to know


Lululemon Enlite sports bra Pin It
Photos: Lululemon
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Why is it so hard to make an amazing sports bra?

It’s a question that’s plagued me for years—in fitting rooms as I struggle to get in and out of a pile of options, in locker rooms as I nearly dislocate a shoulder while peeling one off my sweat-drenched body, and in parks as runners donned in girdle-esque contraptions glide past.

Sure, we can figure out driverless cars and sending humans into space, but devising a sports bra that’s supportive without being suffocating (or hideous)? Impossible!

Sure, we can figure out driverless cars and sending humans into space, but devising a sports bra that’s supportive without being suffocating (or hideous)? Impossible!

So when I got word that Lululemon was finally rolling out the Enlite, a new sports bra that took two years of research and testing by a team of (female) engineers, I—along with my breasts—perked up.

“For us, it was really about starting from scratch and throwing out the rule book of how a bra is typically designed,” says Alexandra Plante, innovation product manager at Lululemon’s Whitespace research and development lab, who worked on it from the start. “Women feel like they have to compromise on performance, comfort, or aesthetics when they pick a sports bra for a run—that’s what we want to disrupt.” 

But is it really possible to have it all?

I spent a week working out while wearing the Lululemon Enlite sports bra—here’s what you need to know.

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Lululemon Enlite sports bra

The first thing I notice about the Enlite: It doesn’t look like your typical high-impact sports bra. The fabric is smooth, sleek, and slightly shiny, kind of like a pair of leggings. (It’s mostly made with Lululemon’s new Ultralu fabric, which they tout for its lightweight breathability.)

What I don’t see are adjusters or outwardly visible cups, and even the hook-and-eye back closure is super subtle. Also missing? Major seams. Turns out, the entire thing is free-cut. (“Anything you add to a bra—a piece of foam, a seam, an extra bonding—has the potential of creating additional discomfort,” Plante tells me. “Designing simplicity into this product was really important to us.”)

“Anything you add to a bra—a piece of foam, a seam, an extra bonding—has the potential of creating additional discomfort.”

The straps are thick, and there are four of them in the back (two straight, two criss-crossed). But while it’s not quite as sexy as some bras I’ve donned for low-key yoga sessions—the front has a semi-high, matronly cut—it still looks chic. Think VPL meets Alexander Wang.

The real shock comes when I put it on. No pulled neck muscles, no tangled straps, no twisted fabric riding up my back; instead, it just glides past my head and into place. The most acrobatic thing I have to do is connect the hook-eyes.

Once I’m in, I notice that it fits me like a glove. Granted, I had measured myself—at three different places around my rib cage, since the Enlite comes in 20 different sizes—before placing my order, but it’s just the right side of snug.

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Lululemon Enlite sports bra

But what good is a sports bra if you’re wearing it in your bedroom? (Okay, unless you sleep in yours…) So I head out to join my run group. That day we’re practicing our strides on Pier 26 in New York City, and before we start I remind myself to take mental notes about the bounce factor.

The workout is pretty intense—knee-highs, heel-kicks, sprints—with loads of movement. But suddenly it’s over, and I realize I haven’t been paying any attention to my boobs.

Think of this as the barefoot sneaker of sports bras—it keeps the jiggle factor down without turning your breasts into flattened pancakes.

And that might be the strongest selling point for the Enlite: It’s silently supportive. Think of this as the barefoot sneaker of sports bras—it keeps the jiggle factor down without turning your breasts into flattened pancakes.

When I tell Plante about my experience, she’s not at all surprised. “A really big piece [for us was] understanding how breasts move. It’s very complex,” she says. “Up and down, side to side, and in and out—and every woman has her own unique pattern of how the breast moves when she runs.” Through testing at the Whitespace (Lululemon’s research and development lab in Vancouver), the design team found that creating what Plante calls the “locked and loaded sensation in a bra” didn’t actually relieve any of the discomfort that many ladies feel. In fact, having some movement is helpful. “It’s really about having the right movement for you,” she explains.

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Lululemon Enlite sports bra

So how does the bra perform in low-impact mode? The next day, I pull on the Enlite, get dressed, head to the office, and—eight hours later—go to Pilates. I’ve worn sport bras under my work clothes before (this is, after all, Well+Good—we have yoga classes in our conference room), but this feels different. Or, should I say, it doesn’t feel like anything at all.

Sans thick seams, the straps don’t dig into my shoulders, and I’m not counting down the minutes until I can take it off (or left with red indentations when I finally do). While I don’t need a ton of support when I’m doing circles on the Reformer, I do want to be comfortable—and this bra provides zero distractions.

The truth is I hardly even think about it when I’m working out—and that’s the greatest compliment of all.

By the end of the week, I’ve worn the Enlite to just about every one of my workouts (don’t judge—it’s in my laundry bag now). And honestly, if it had thinner straps I might have worn it more in my everyday life, too.

It’s not solving world peace, and at $98 it’s certainly not accessible to everyone. But I can’t help but wonder if a sports bra that’s both comfortable and supportive could have a positive impact (no pun intended) on women who have always shied away from activities like running because of their breasts. As for me? The only reason I’d refuse to take it off isn’t because I can’t, but because it’s so comfy that I don’t want to.

Once you’ve got your sports bra on lock, pick up a pair of leggings—these are the most flattering options (ever). Plus, more activewear road-testing: Nike’s new VaporMax.