Let’s talk sports bras. If you are like most women, you can’t remember when your favorite sports bra came home with you. It’s like your favorite socks, hat, or gloves; it just seems like it’s ALWAYS been in your drawer!
Sports bras are a wearable product though. They have a usable life and for the sake of your breast health, your sports bra should not be celebrating birthdays with you. You SHOULD cycle in a new sports bra every three months to ensure that you are always being amply supported in your moderate and heavy impact activities, like running.
Many women don’t know how to properly fit for an athletic bra as nobody likes to talk about their undergarments. Avoiding the topic isn’t a problem when everyone is fitting well, but when most women aren’t getting ample support out of their bra, we need to have the discussion.
When new, a sports bra should fit slightly snug against the rib cage with no space to fit a finger up the cleavage from the band. The breasts should not feel smashed, they should feel supported. Our friends at Moving Comfort/Brooks have often shared their suggestion that most women need to increase the cup size one and go down one band size from their casual bra size to get a proper athletic support. We find that rule to be accurate across most athletic companies’ lines.
Also when buying a new sports bra, the clasp on the back should be on the farthest clasp out. This allows for stretching of the band over time and use. Once you reach the inner-most clasp setting, it is time for a new bra! Don’t risk injury of two irreplaceable assets just to keep your cutest offering in your cycle. I promise that you’ll find a NEW favorite if you just look for it.
Lastly, remember that sports bras don’t have to be washed every run. They can be used 2-3 times before needing to run a cycle in the washer (and hung dry, never heat-dried!) in a technical detergent, like Win, Sportwash, or a similar product. Remember that sports bras are made of the same comfortable tech fiber as your favorite running clothes and should be cleaned equally.
BRANDS WE CARRY
A common question of our customers is “what is minimalist or barefoot running?” The book Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall, helped generate the recent popularity of barefoot running. There are definite pros and cons to minimalist running and footwear. We don’t have an opinion on the subject, but rather we try to help all runners reach their goals. The most common problem we see from runners attempting to go minimalist is a rise in injury. Too often they neglect to develop a plan that allows their body to adjust to a minimalist shoe. We always encourage customer to transition their footwear over time.
Heel to toe differenctial (drop): The difference in heel stack between the forefoot and the heel. Typically, a minimalist shoe is between 0-8 millimeters (mm). A zero drop (0 mm) means that the heel and forefoot are completely level. In the picture below, the drop would be 6mm.
Midf-foot vs. heel striking: A shoe with a high heel stack for cushion, encourages a heel strike. Lower drop shoes, with less cushion, encourage a mid-foot strike. A heel strike is synonymous with knee and back pain. It also acts as a break slowing momentum down. A forefoot strike can cause strain on the achilles tendon and calfs. Hence, the mid-foot strike, is a perfect balance for shock absorption and momentum.
Mobility:Another important part of minimalist shoe is mobility, or how flexible it is. A minimalist shoe should allow your foot to move as it wants. The simplest way to test this is to take the shoe in your hand and twist it in all directions. The most minimal shoes should be able to roll the toe back to the heel counter with ease.
When transitioning to minimalist shoes, take your time. The lack of support and cushioning can be a shock to your system. The transition can take anywhere from three to twelve months. At a minimum you’ll want to start with a walk/run workout to break your feet and shoes in slowly. A sample would be run for 30 seconds, walk for 2 min for a total of 15 min. As your feet feel stronger, you’ll be able to progress your run, and shorten your walk.
In addition to progressing your foot strength, you’ll also want to transition your shoes. Especially if you are prone to injuries, or wear a very supportive shoe like the Brooks Adrenaline or Asics Kayano which are categorized as stability shoes for people who pronate. Here is a sample progression for a runner in a stability shoe, we’ll use one company for simplicity. You’ll want to wear the shoe until it wears out, and you are comfortable with running in less support.
- Brooks Adrenaline – 12mm – Stability
- Ghost -12 mm – Neutral
- Launch – 10mm -Neutral
- Pure Flow – 4mm – Neutral
MINIMALIST SHOES WE CARRY
BROOKS Pure Flow – 4 mm
SAUCONY Type A6 – 4mm
ON Cloud – 6mm
ON CloudFlow – 6mm
ALTRA Instinct /Intuition – 0mm
NB Minimus – 4mm
SAUCONY Peregrine (trai) – 4mm
ALTRA Lone Peak -omm
BROOKS Pure Grit – 4mm