Signs you should replace a sports bra
1 | You have noticeable bounce. This one should be pretty obvious. If you run or jump and your bust is moving around a lot, it’s time to say goodbye. If you go for a run or do some other high-impact exercise and your breasts hurt afterward, you definitely need to trade that one out for something new.
2 | The bra band slides around. Raise your arms up over your head. If you feel a noticeable shift in the band when your arms are overhead versus by your sides, the band has stretched out too much to be doing you any good. The majority of your bra support comes from the band, so once the band is shot, your support is going to all but disappear. Likewise, if you slide your fingers underneath your bra band and try to tug outward, you should immediately feel firm resistance. If you can wiggle your fingers around easily without having to firmly pull on the band, it’s probably not providing you with much support.
3 | The bra is just plain dingy. Bras see a lot of sweat around the band, underarms, and straps. Once these areas start to get permanently gross, no matter how much stain remover you use, consider retiring that one. Also, if your bra is vaguely smelly, even after you wash it, it’s definitely time to say goodbye.
4 | The bra is more than 1-2 years old. Alright, let me clarify. This is definitely more of a guideline than a rule, and there are lots of other factors at play. How often you wear your bras is definitely a huge factor. If you only have 3-5 sports bras and you’re wearing each one once a week for an intense workout, there’s a good chance they’ll wear out after about 1 year. On the other hand, if you have dozens of sports bras and you only wear each of them once a month, they will probably last for more like 4 or 5 years. In general, if your bra is on the older side but it still passes all the tests above with flying colors, you’re probably ok to carry on. Unless you are really abusing your sports bras, they should last at least a year without losing any of their oomph.
How to make your sports bras last longer
Sports bras are expensive, so taking good care of them will mean replacing them less often. Your bank account will thank you. Here’s a few things you can do to make sure they’re not wearing out faster than they need to.
1 | Be sure you’re buying the right size. If you buy a bra that’s already a little too big in the band, even just a little bit of stretching out is going to make it worthless to you. Make sure you take the time to be sure the bra is the right fit and the right support level for your needs right off the rack.
2 | Wash cold. Heat is the nemesis of spandex: it will accelerate the decay of the stretchy fibers, meaning that your bra will lose its stretch faster. Always wash cold! If you have a particularly stubborn stain, it’s ok to make an exception. One hot wash isn’t going to completely ruin your bra, but as a general rule, try to avoid hot/warm water whenever possible. Also: use the delicate cycle. You don’t want your washing machine to be too rough on your bra.
3 | Air dry. Again: spandex and heat do not get along. Let your sports bras air dry instead of throwing them in the dryer. Either lay them flat or drape them over something that won’t distort the shape. Be sure not to hang your bras by the straps, because that will put a lot of stress on the straps and cause them to stretch out faster.
4 | Use a laundry bag. You don’t want your bra straps to get wrapped around your leggings and stretch out in the wash. And of course, you don’t want any zippers or anything to catch on them either! They only cost a few bucks and are worth it for protecting anything delicate you wash. You can get flat bags like these or cylinder shaped bags like these–it doesn’t really matter which.
5 | Avoid fabric softener. The sweat-wicking powers of activewear are destroyed by fabric softener, and that includes bras. And trust me, the bust is definitely one area you want the sweat to be wicked away!
6 | Give them a rest day. This one is important, but not a lot of people think of it. After an intense workout or even just a day of casual wear, your bra elastic has taken a beating. Throughout the day, the elastic gradually stretches out. You need to give the elastic a day or two to recover before you wear it again. Don’t wear the same sports bra (or any bra) two days in a row.
P.S. Last chance to enter the Sweaty Betty giveaway going on over on my Instagram!