What’s Underneath Matters – Triathlon Bra Advice
Triathlon bras are as essential to a woman’s triathlon kit as a good pair of trainers or a bike. But many women don’t spend time making sure that their bras fit well and offer the support that delicate breast tissue needs.
In triathlon, it’s straight from the swim to the bike (no changing in transition!). Therefore, it’s important that your triathlon bra can go from one discipline to the other without fuss.
What type of bra should you wear in triathlon?
For smaller cup sizes, a compression-style crop top is typically enough, even for triathlon racing. For larger-busted women, an encapsulating style (with separate cups) is recommended. Because encapsulating styles typically involve more fabric layers, quick-drying properties will be affected, but a good sports bra will use fabric to help minimise this.
Because of its high-quality wicking fabric, we recommend the Anita Active Extreme Control bra available on our site. When quick-dry is less of a priority, encapsulating cups are recommended for all cup sizes.
What other features are important to look for?
In addition to wicking and breathable fabric, it is important that a sports bra does not chafe. Look for soft, supportive fabric, flat seaming and quality elastic. Anita Active’s Momentum bra offers comfortable towelling and ergonomic support with very flat seaming.
Avoid styles with a lot of padding at the chest as this will affect drying properties and breathability. Look for wide straps to offer evenly-distributed shoulder support. A bit of padding in the shoulder straps will add to the bra’s comfort level.
How should a sports bra fit?
A sports bra should have a firmer feel than your normal bra. That said, whether it’s a compression bra or an encapsulation style, firmness should come from the elasticity of the fabric, not from the bra being tight. Fabric with firm elasticity will allow you to move and breathe while still keeping everything comfortably in place.
The bottom band of a sports bra should be horizontally level front to back (if the back rides up, the bra is either too big or the straps are too tight). In bras with separate cups, the centre piece should lie flat on your breastbone.
If the bra is dividing your two breasts into four (i.e., there is extra skin coming over the top of the bra or hanging out of the sides), go up a cup size.
How do I care for a sports bra?
To keep the elastic in your triathlon bra functioning longer, wash at a low temperature and do not tumble dry. High temperatures will break down the elastic, compromising the bra’s support and potentially causing the elastic to chafe.
Even with the best of care, sports bras do need to be replaced regularly. How often varies with usage, but experts recommend replacing sports bras as often as you replace your trainers (every 300-400 miles).
Breast tissue has no muscle- once it sags it won’t go back. It’s worth taking the time to choose and care for this vital part of your triathlon kit!