I can’t stress the importance of a good bra as an essential piece of training gear. The time has come to pile on the miles as part of training for fall races.
I am about to start training for the New York City Marathon this November. And if I come across a half marathon or a 10K I like I may hop in.
If you use a bra to run, you already know, it can make or break your workouts. I like something with a lot of support and preferably with room to store gels and some headphones. I gathered a few of my friends and I asked them what they look for when shopping for a bra. Then we tested a pile of this year’s offerings so you don’t have to. Aleka is a club runner who feels at home on the track. A successful trip to Chicago last fall has earned her a spot on the start line in Boston next year. Her favourite feature on a bra is pockets. Cortney combines travel with her races. She recently returned from the BMO Half Marathon in Vancouver. This summer she will be training for both Chicago and the New York City Marathons. Alison likes to keep her running social. She’s the co-coordinator for the local chapter of the Badass Lady Gang hosting weekly meetups downtown. This spring she nailed her goal race at the Toronto Half. This fall she has her sights set on her third star at the Berlin Marathon. Alison’s ideal bra would give her high support and fit her smaller ribcage. She’s looking for something with straps that doesn’t dig into her shoulder on longer summer runs that are 30 kilometres or longer. Tara is the trail runner of the group. She averages 75-85 km a week leading up to the Sulphur Springs 50km Trail Race. And that’s just a warm up for the Javelina Jundred 100km in Arizona this fall. Tara says she is looking for the workhorse of running bras. In addition to comfort, she needs support for her smaller frame.
This is what we all thought about the different bra choices.
Adidas says its FastImpact Luxe Run High-Support Bra $100 is made of quick drying material with a sleek feel and it is made from recycled items. It comes in a range of band and cup sizes and has adjustable straps let you customize the fit and shape exactly how you want it
“I really loved all of the adjustments that could be tailored to my body. This makes it an easy fit for anyone who may need slight adjustments. It had limited bounce, as I could adjust easily to be a better fit!” -Cortney
“I think it looks cute, and I love how it fastens at the band.” -Alison
ASICS Accelerate bra $55.
This ASICS Accelerate Bra $55 is created by women for women. It offers medium support with molded cups, a mash panel and adjustable straps. This bra was an overall crowd pleaser among the testers.
“I really loved the fit when it was on and while running. The band stayed in place and the straps did not move an inch. I liked the strap clasps that weren’t really clasps but gave the extra space when getting it on. The fabric was smooth against my skin and there were no rubbing points.” -Cortney
“This was my favourite. I found it very supportive without being too cumbersome.” -Alison
“I really like the feel of the material on this bra and the adjustable straps were great. It had great coverage so no rub points under the arms and stayed in place the whole run even as I got sweatier.” -Tara
The On Performance Bra $95 offers medium to high support and is made for sprints and HIIT workouts. And it was an overall runaway hit among the testers. Personally, I really liked the fit and the smooth fabric. It has molded cups and feels almost invisible on a run.
“This bra is magic. I have never loved a non pocket running bra more in my life. The placement of the back straps is perfect and there was absolutely no chafing after my run. It looks great on and I have received a ton of compliments on it.” -Aleka
The Lululemon Enlite $108 has a front zip and it is designed to give the runner comfortable support and a natural shape. This style is offered in a range of band and cup sizes for a custom fit. This bra had a smooth feel and I definitely felt well supported for my entire long run. The straps were extremely comfortable and did not slip.
The Saucony Pinnacle Bra $100 comes with a high neck and a mesh panel pocket in the back. It ran true to size for me, however some of the other testers say they would have preferred more of a snug fit, particularly with the bottom band.
“This bra is great as a crop top on its own! I loved the high neck and interior cups. I didn’t enjoy that the back mesh didn’t have a bottom, as anything I stuck in there just went to the bottom and was unreachable. I found the bottom band is a bit wide, and it kept on folding over on itself.” -Cortney
“I have a shorter torso so the longer bras tend to roll up if I bend or reach for something, I was definitely adjusting it more often than I liked.” – Tara
The Adidas Pocket Bra $90 offers medium support and features lots of pockets. The racer back design is made with a minimum of 70% recycled materials.
“It has pockets, and a wide bottom band. My phone stayed still for the whole run and no chafing at all after a few runs in this bra.” – Aleka
The pieces we tested tell me that designers have been listening to the needs and wants of runners. More items are being offered with adjustable sizing to accommodate women who don’t fit the standard small, medium and large sizing. The fabrics are lighter and softer to the touch—while still delivering on function and support. And more items are being made with recyclable materials.
As runners and as women we like choice. We feel the range of bras we tested offered just that.