Anyone who wears sports bras will empathize with me on this. And if you don’t, then you are lucky…and you may want to come back tomorrow. Unless you wear a sports bra and suffer its wrath, you probably don’t want to read about it.
As a runner and hiker, the sports bra is a necessary evil. I have spent many hours out on the road or trails cursing my sports bra while simultaneously appreciating how much better it is for activity than a regular bra (as anyone who’s forgotten to pack a sports bra for a workout can attest). Still, the sports bra has a list of sins a mile long, figuratively speaking of course. I could probably rattle off twice as many as I’ve included below, but I’ll spare you and focus on the five worst things about sports bras:
- Straps that cut in: This is probably my bad for buying the occasional sports bra that has unadjustable and tight fitting straps. But what do you do once you’ve dropped $40 on it? You wear it, that’s what. And then you return home from an incredibly long hike with welts on your shoulders and complain about it.
- Padded bra inserts: These little bastards are notorious escapists and contortionists. I do not know how they manage to escape my sports bras every time I wash them but they do. It’s never both, though. It’s usually just one that escapes. The other stays trapped in its prison, but bunches itself into a ball as if to say “you can keep me here, but I don’t have to like it.” I am not sure if it’s worse having to search for missing inserts among a full load of laundry, or having to extract a balled up pad and reinsert it properly. If you don’t need padded inserts, I hate you because you aren’t cursed with a non-existent chest.
- They hold onto smell like it’s their job: Let me start by saying, I do laundry a lot. Like, I do laundry daily. Still, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, gets the stank out of sports bras. Once it’s in there, I swear it’s in there for life. You can put on a freshly washed sports bra and as soon as your body temperature starts to rise, you can smell the sweat of workouts past wafting up your shirt. It is not pretty. I have read all sorts of “fixes” for this issue but the only fix that I have found 100% successful is throwing the damn thing out and replacing it.
- They stretch: I know I’m not supposed to put my sports bras in the dryer, but seriously, I barely have room to hang up all the other clothing items that aren’t dryer friendly. The end result is the bras are going in the dryer. And then they stretch. On the plus side, the stretching fabric makes me feel as though I’m losing weight when I’m clearly not. On the downside, stretched fabric pretty much prevents the bra from serving it’s one purpose: keeping everything in place.
- “Bra Rash”: It’s a thing and it is not the same thing as chaffing. Since I’ve been injured, I’ve been miraculously free from ‘bra rash’, but last year when I was hiking 8 to 9 hours at a time in extreme heat, let me tell you, it was not pretty. A sweat-soaked bra rubbing against flesh in the heat for hours on end, particularly with a backpack guaranteeing that the sweat never dries, is going to have the exact same impact as a wet diaper. Enough said.
If you’re still reading and aghast at mention of excessive sweat, bra rash, and bra stench, need I remind you that the title of this post contains the term TMI? What were you expecting? If you have suffered these and other symptoms of evil sports bras, just know that you are not alone.