Time and time again, people stress that good quality and expertly-fit running shoes are a must when you’re pounding the pavement. If you’re woman, though, there’s another piece of equipment worth spending money on—your sports bra.

They are designed to significantly reduce breast movement during physical exercise. Breasts have no muscle, and without proper support, the skin and ligaments can break down and cause sagging. Once those ligaments stretch out, they do not bounce back.

One study says a staggering 68% of women do not wear a sports bra during exercise. Brooks Running predicts that around 8 of every 10 women who do wear sports bras are either wearing the wrong size or the bra needs to be replaced.

Here’s how to get a correct fit:

  • Go to a specialty run or lingerie shop and get fitted, especially the first time you are purchasing a sports bra.
  • There are many different breast shapes, so try on several different styles.
  • The band that sits underneath is the foundation of the fit. It should be snug and lay flat and even across your back. If the band is loose or rides up, then the bra is too big. If the band digs in, then the bra is too small.
  • The straps should be snug and not slip.
  • If wearing an underwire, it should lay flat across your body.

Caring for your sports bra:

  • It should not see a birthday! Most sports bras last six months to one year.
  • If you start to see some chafing, your bra is probably stretched out.
  • Wash your bra in cold water. If it is an adjustable bra, make sure the hooks are clasped and the straps are attached. Use a lingerie bag if you have one.
  • Do not use fabric softener, which takes away the moisture-wicking properties.
  • Hang to dry. A dryer will ruin the band.

For the long-term health of your breasts, invest in a high-quality sports bra. They might not be cheap, but they are worth the money in the long term. And if you are spending the money on one, then take the time to get a good fit and treat it with care.

Fleet Feet Sports has a wide range of brands and sizes (from A–H cups) and the expertise to get you fitted properly. 

Do you have questions about getting started or finding a plan to work for you? Stop in and talk to anyone on our staff. We’ll be happy to help!

Rachel Randall is the go-to girl for all marketing, media, and events at Fleet Feet Sports. She has run more marathons that she can count, including the 2017 NYC marathon in November.