Is A Sports Bra More Important Than Your Running Shoes?

Do your 2014 goals include a 5k run/walk or even a marathon? Runner friends of mine have said running can be the best sport, because you can do it nearly anywhere—all you need is a pair of shoes. But you’ll also need a properly fitted sports bra.

Full disclosure: I am not an avid runner or even really a runner at all. However, I did train for the Indy 500 Festival Mini-Marathon two years ago. I injured my foot about a month before the race and never got back to training or running—maybe this year! I did accomplish some fantastic shopping for sports bras, socks, and shirts when I started training though.

Before training started, I went to a local running store known for personal fittings of running shoes. After the gentleman fit me for shoes, he quickly turned my attention to the wall of sports bras—white, black, fuchsia, thin strap, wide straps, padded, not padded.

“Did you know that the sports bra will affect your running comfort second only to your shoes?” he asked me.

(Flickr: All rights reserved by fatfeet_running)

No. I did not know that.  I wondered what was second for men, but didn’t want to appear utterly clueless to the man who was now going to sell me a bra. Much of the magic to the sports bra is merely trial and error and ultimately preference. But here are a two comfort tips I gleaned that day for distance running:

Runners circulate that “cotton is rotten” for all gear—sports bras included. Cotton absorbs and holds moisture. Even in cold weather, runners sweat. Keeping the moisture away from the body will minimize the chilling affects of running in cooler temperatures.

Aim for a tight fit when it comes to a sports bra, almost uncomfortably so, but not where the edges will dig into your skin. The sports bra’s sole job is to keep your breasts close to the body, so you don’t want a loose fit. If the sports bra is too tight or too loose, your skin can chafe. This is a painful and sometimes slow-healing injury, which can derail a training schedule.

Do you have any successful sports bra fitting tips? Let us know your body and breast type and what’s worked best for you.

Meghan Barich is a writer, the storyteller at When she’s not crafting the next story, you can find her nose-in-a-book or walking her dog, Moose.

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