April 27, 2012
Question of the Week: “It seems like there are more sports bras than ever with hooks in the back! Why wouldn’t you just want to pull it on and go, without all that fiddling around?”
Ah, you have a good eye! You’ve picked up on a definite trend in sports bras, which is more adjustability in their bottom bands. While hook & eye closures are a familiar sight on everyday bras of all sizes, it’s only more recently that they’ve shown up on uncomplicated pullover “compression” styles like Champion’s Spot Comfort Max-Support sports bra.
There are good reasons for this trend:
1. Support. The bottom band is a surprisingly important foundation of your sports bra’s support system. It gives you a 360° anchor point around your chest that all the rest of your bra can work against to successfully reduce breast bounce. A hook & eye adjuster, especially in bras sized S/M/L instead of band/ cup sizing, allows you to customize snugness and maximize support.
2. Chafe-protection. A well-fitted bottom band can minimize chafing. Believe it or not, a too-loose band can be more vicious than one that’s too tight because it’s more free to move! With a hook & eye adjuster, you can minimize tissue trauma before it happens. By fine-tuning bottom band snugness, your bra will stay put instead of shifting around and "flossing" you raw.
3. Comfort. If I’ve learned anything in 30 years of researching sports bra fit, it’s that women vary wildly in their definition of what is “too snug,” “too tight,” and “just right.” For every bra I’ve seen that seemed so tight that I marveled at the wearer’s ability to breathe, I’ve seen one so loose I feared it would fall down— and in both cases, the women claimed the bra fit just the way they preferred it! Whatever your snugness preference is, if your sports bra has a hook & eye adjuster, you’re more likely to achieve it. Just one comfort caveat— check to make sure your bra’s hook & eye closure is super-cushioned so the metal can’t dig in.
4. Harmony. Well, it’s not like your bra’s hook & eye are going to produce world peace! But if you sometimes feel like you’re at war with your sports bra and can hardly wait to rip it off and throw it against the wall at the end of a workout, the ability to tweak the band size may be just the remedy needed to reduce that constricting feeling.
With more structured “encapsulation” sports bras, hook & eye closures are often necessary for getting in and out of them, and reaching back to hook/unhook can be tricky and test your flexibility. Here are a couple of strategies to make things easier:
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help if it’s available from a partner or workout buddy!
- If you have slim hips or shoulders, you might try pre-hooking the bottom band in your preferred position, and either “stepping in” or pulling the bra over your head into position on your chest, then sliding your arms into the straps.