How to choose the best sports bra or top: 6 important things to know

The top is a key piece when it comes to our sports practices, but not all women know how to choose the ideal one for them. When choosing the ideal sports bra we must take into account aspects such as size, the type of sport you are going to practice, support and let's not forget the aesthetics! that can help us with an extra motivation during training. In this post we give you the keys so you can find the sports top you've been looking for.

Characteristics of a sports top

The differences between sports tops and bras that are used in everyday life are obvious, but the maxim when choosing your top is that it must be very comfortable. The function of a sports top is to restrict chest movement during physical activity through compression and cushioning.

Therefore, it is important that when you try on your top, you don't notice it, it has to be an extension of you. It's not as important to look in the mirror as it is to move around to see possible points where it might rub or cause discomfort during exercise. And to avoid this discomfort, you should choose designs without underwires - thus preventing them from digging into you or deforming - and even better if they are seamless, to avoid unnecessary chafing.

In addition, you should take into account that the fabric of your top should be breathable, since, being an intimate garment, it is in direct contact with your skin; therefore, it is necessary that it can perspire since sweating could cause irritation and end up producing very annoying chafing.

Factors to take into account

As we mentioned, that you feel free practicing sport is a key aspect when choosing your sports bra, so you have to pay attention to your chest, and that the movement of this does not prevent you from giving 100% during your practices.

So, when you try on your bra you should feel in balance, that is, you should not feel more tension on one side of your body than the other, nor restrict your movements. The volume of your chest, the height of your shoulders or the width of your back can vary from left to right, and this imbalance can slow down the pace of your training. So we recommend that you choose designs that are flexible enough to feel balanced or have adjustable straps. Keep in mind that the pattern should be ergonomic so that the chest is kept apart, not chafing with movement and ensuring full support.

Depending on the sport to be practiced

The type of sport you are going to practice is an important aspect when choosing your sports top, as you will need more or less cushioning depending on the type of movement you are going to do and the intensity of these. When looking for a sports top, we will find three main types of support: light, medium and high, and we must take them into account depending on our activity.

Light support tops are ideal for low-impact or non-impact movements, controlled and slow. The structure of these tops is usually simpler so they are lightweight and very easy to wear; they can be a good choice for barre workouts, pilates and some yoga modalities with slower movements.

If, on the other hand, you tend to practice sports with faster movements where there is a bit of impact, you should choose medium support tops. Since they offer the necessary compression to minimize that impact, but at the same time have enough elasticity to provide comfort. This type of sports bra is ideal for your favorite spinning classes, workouts and classes at the gym, some forms of yoga or hiking or mountain trail.

But if you practice aerobic sports, rhythmic and with more sudden movements in which the impact is continuous, it is important that you choose a high support bra to minimize the rebound and that the chest remains in place with maximum comfort. These types of tops are perfect for running days, your tennis matches, basketball or HIIT workouts.

Depending on the type of support

In addition to the type of sport you are going to practice, you should also take into account your size when choosing the support of your top.

Women with small breasts should pay special attention, as these sizes tend to be less tight, which can lead to lack of comfort and sagging of the breasts. For this reason, low and medium support bras are usually the most suitable for this type of breast, as they are more comfortable.

For medium or large sizes, in addition to using highsupport for more active activities, we recommend using medium support tops for low-impact activities as you will feel the chest subject when making different movements and thus increase your comfort.

How to choose the right size for comfort

Although there are now many apps to find out what your correct size is, remember that bodies change; therefore, it is always more reliable to take your measurements to make sure you are wearing the fit you need, and also, you can have them as a reference for your day-to-day bras.

To find out what type of sports bra you need, you will need to take two measurements: circumference and neckline. We recommend doing this with a bra on, but it should not be a padded or compression bra, so that it neither reduces nor increases your measurements. Now take a tape measure, first measure the contour of your chest by placing the tape around the ribs, just below the chest. Make sure that the tape is close to your body, but not too tight; to get the most accurate and precise measurements relax, inhale, exhale and leave at least one of your arms close to your body -ideally, both arms should be resting at your sides, but we understand that there may not be another person taking your measurements-. Now you must do the same with the cup: place the tape measure from the sternum, pass it across your chest -always without pressing it- surrounding your contour by the part that protrudes the most. Make sure the tape measure is flat and straight around your body so that the measurements are as accurate as possible.

In this way you will have your measurements clear, and as there are not always universal rules, you will be able to guide you and check through the chart of equivalences between your measurements and the brand's sizes, which is the one that best fits you.

Frequency of washing and how to take care of it

Just as you take care of the way you wash the clothes you use in your day to day, you should take care of the way you wash your sportswear since the finishes of synthetic materials and elastic parts are delicate areas.

Therefore, in general, we advise you to wash your sports bra with the same techniques as your compression garments and technical textiles, ie:

  • With delicate programs and cold water (30º).
  • With neutral detergents - without using abrasive products or softeners, such as bleach.
  • Like your bras, it is recommended to wash your tops separately or using delicate bags or nets, keeping them separate from the rest of your clothes during the wash cycle.
  • Do not dry clean your tops.
  • Never tumble dry.
  • Do not iron your sports tops.

This will extend their life and the materials will not wear out quickly in the wash. But, of course, we recommend that you always follow the indications on the label of each top in case there are other factors to take into account.

And even if you take the utmost care of your sports top, there will inevitably come a time when it needs to be renewed. Some signs that will warn you that your top has reached the end of its life are: when the elastic band lifts or rolls up while you train -it is important that this base stays in place, as it is where the chest rests-; when the shoulder straps feel loose -since the straps must be kept firm to protect the chest from sudden movements- or when between 6 and 12 months have passed.

Our top recommendations

Taking into account all of the above keys, we at Born Living Yoga recommend our sports tops. Among our designs you will find high and medium support tops, adapting to your needs depending on the sport discipline you practice. Our fabrics are sustainable, soft touch and "4 Ways Stretch" technology, and you will find both Seamless and Premium finishes.

Depending on the coverage you need, you can find short or long tops with which you can create total looks with their matching legging, create your mix & match combinations, and with the long tops you can create a sporty jumpsuit effect by combining it with your favorite legging. It's a matter of bringing out your creative side!

And now that you have the keys to finding your perfect top, all that's left to do is get training! But remember that comfort and how you feel comes first, so if you feel that a different size or level of support makes you more comfortable, go for it. If you feel better doing a light activity in a high support bra, that's fine, or if you feel sore after static stretching, choose a bra with a higher level of support. Every body is different and requires different care, so above all, listen to yourself!