In the photo above, Misty Copeland, ballerina, is wearing the Women’s Armour High bra.
Still wearing the same sports bra you’ve had for years? Time to toss that baby out, and stock up on some newer models. Here, Kendra Sands, a product line manager in bras and underwear at Under Armour, shares why it’s important to replace your bra and just how often you should do so.
A Sports Bra Timeline Do you still have that sports bra from your college days stashed in your underwear drawer? Go ahead and hold onto it for sentimental value—but don’t work out in it. According to research conducted by Under Armour and Portsmouth University, the more you exercise, the more the elasticity in your sports bra stretches. So a well-loved bra likely won’t offer you much in the support department—and this can speed up the inevitable sagging process, no matter your cup size.
How often you need to replace your bra depends on your activity level, stresses Sands. The more active you are, the sooner you’ll need a new model.
Pro surfer Brianna Cope is wearing the Women’s Armour Mid bra.
“It really comes down to the intensity and frequency of the workouts. If you’re training for a marathon, you would need to replace [your bras] every three months,” says Sands. “But if you’re working out regularly but not doing high-impact activities, six months would be a better choice.”
A general rule of thumb? If you’re exercising more than three times per week, for more than 45 minutes per session, retire your sports bra after six months, says Sands. Also, look for signs of wear and tear: If it’s just a tad too comfy (meaning the support’s just not there anymore), if the band at the bottom seems looser or if you notice a bit more bounce as you’re exercising, it’s time to go shopping.
Make It Last Longer
While six months is the typical marker for a bra’s shelf life, Sands says there are ways to make it last a bit longer. For starters, hand wash it in cold water with a mild detergent, then air dry (lay flat or line dry). If you prefer to go the machine route, stash it in a lingerie bag, then keep your dryer on a cool setting and skip the fabric softener; both softener and the warm setting on your dryer and can break down the bra’s material and accelerate stretching.
Misty Copeland is wearing the Women’s Armour Low bra.
You can also keep your bra going strong by taking out removable pads prior to washing to extend and maintain their shape and smoothness.
The Impact of Intense Exercise
It may seem extravagant to re-up your bra stock twice a year, but Sands can’t stress enough the long-lasting impact of exercising without the proper support.
Pro soccer player Kelly O’Hara is wearing the Women’s Armour High bra.
“A lack of support will put more stress on your body, which can cause discomfort and pain outside of workouts, in addition to premature sagginess in breast tissue,” she says. “It can also be a big distraction in workouts, keeping you from performing your best.”
Is it time for you to replace your sports bra? Check out the latest styles of Under Armour sports bras to support all of your fitness endeavors.