Every woman knows a good sports bra is a fitness essential – but how can you make sure that it offers the right level of comfort and support? We spoke to our lingerie technical boss Julia Mercer and lingerie buyer Amy Orchard to get their top tips
Choose from a range of designs in each support level: medium, high and extra-high impact, to protect your breasts from damage during exercise.
1 Did you know breasts can bounce up to 15cm in any direction if you’re not wearing the right sports bra? “Getting enough support is important because otherwise the delicate ligaments of the breast can stretch, exacerbating any natural sagging, and unfortunately the damage is irreversible,” says Amy. At M&S there are three levels of support available: medium for low impact exercise such as yoga or pilates, high for racket sports, and extra high for activities such as running or horse riding.
2 “If you have larger breasts, always opt for high or extra-high impact support, as your bust will naturally move more and therefore needs extra hold,” Julia advises.
3 “When buying a sports bra, always buy the same size as your normal bra. It may feel much firmer, but this is because it’s designed to minimise bounce,” Julia adds. However, it should still be comfortable and allow complete freedom of movement – if in doubt, mimic the activity you are planning to do in the bra when you try it on.
4 A cross-back bra is a good idea if you want extra support and hold for the bust. “These work by anchoring the straps firmly across the body and reducing the movement of the fabric,” Amy explains.
5 Sweat can deteriorate fabrics if not washed out, so pop your sports bras in the washing machine after each wear. All M&S bras are tested for durability, so they can withstand multiple washes. “As sports bras are vital to support and protect the breast tissue, it’s a good idea to replace yours every year to ensure you’re getting optimum performance from your bra,” Julia says.
6 Look for breathable fabrics to help you stay cool and comfortable when you exercise. “M&S bras feature a moisture-wicking fabric to draw sweat away from the body, allowing it to evaporate more quickly,” Amy explains. “We also use lightweight fabrics and meshes in certain areas that require more ventilation.”
Editor: Sophie Hines