Evolution of the Sports Bra

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Wacoal Sports Bras

Some 40 years ago, an athletic runner made an amazing, innovative invention
, the first sports bra. At the time, you couldn’t find anything like it in stores. Women had to battle against the tugging, shifting and the pulling for many years. Since those early days, it has become a story that has been supporting women for years. The very last thing a woman wants or needs during a serious workout is a distraction from their own breasts. As a result, the demand for comfort grew. Women took the battle with their breasts to a very real level. The creation of the sports bra shows the lingerie companies coming in tune with the physical needs of the woman.

The creation of the sports bra has undergone more changes than just about any other bra type through the years. And, it’s not just about the change in fashion trends. Through it all Wacoal-America has played a significant role in that evolution. The most common sports bra is basically designed like a tank top with the bottom half cut off. Other designs use gel and water pads, silver fibres, and air bags. A stitchless bra was first introduced by Wacoal and it was molded, compressed, and shaped. A compressed bra is designed to push the breasts against the chest to reduce movement and bounce. 

According to an in-depth history of the sports bra in Wikipedia, the first commercially available sports bra was the "Free Swing Tennis Bra" introduced by Glamorise Foundations, Inc. in 1975. The first general exercise bra, initially called a "jockbra", was invented in 1977 by Lisa Lindahl and theater costume designer Polly Smith with the help of Smith's assistant, Hinda Schreiber. Both Lindahl and her sister, Victoria Woodrow, complained about their bad experience exercising in ordinary bras, having experienced runaway straps, chafing and sore breasts. During the course of Lindahl and Smith's exploration for a better alternative, it was suggested that what they needed was a jockstrap for women's breasts.

Interesting Note: In the costume shop of Royall Tyler Theatre at the University of Vermont, Lindahl and Smith sewed two jockstraps together and nicknamed it a "jockbra". It was later renamed a "jogbra". One of their original Jogbras is bronzed and on display near the costume shop of the theatre. Two others are housed by the Smithsonian and another by the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

As the sports bra grew in popularity and design, the sports bra split into two distinctive types, bras that encapsulate the breasts or bras that compress breasts. Bras that encapsulate breasts have molded cups designed to fit around the mass of each breast. Bras that compress are designed specifically to restrict movement by holding the breasts firmly against the body. The encapsulation type bras are generally more effective at reducing discomfort, while compression bras may be more effective for high-intensity activities.

The sports bra revolution is changing the face of the fashion industry as well. Well defined categories of sports bras have emerged.

The Seamless Bra:
They are made from super stretchy knitted material which is very comfortable as well as forgiving. They are a popular choice because of their moisture-wicking feature which makes the wearer feel fresh and pleasant. Some also have adjustable straps which give the much-needed freedom of movement.

Encapsulation Sports Bra:
With a defined cup structure, they encapsulate each breast. They also render full support, giving a completely feminine shape.

Racerback Sports Bra:
They are the ideal lingerie for running as well as rowing since they can effectively reduce the pressure in the shoulders.

Compression Sports Bra:
These bras compress the breast tissue closer to the body to provide a classic means of support and also minimises excessive movement.

Women can find the best selling Wacoal-America sports bras at WacoalBras.com.

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