Bras for Female Athletes

Special equipment needs of female athletes.

Posted Jun 10, 2014

Is there a need for sport bras?

Being a quite freely mobile fatty structure, the female breast is not very vulnerable to significant injury. Serious bruises requiring surgery have occurred in a few rare instances in which the breasts, firmly immobilized against the chest with a wide elastic bandage, received a strong blow. With excellent breast-support bras available for the active athlete, there is no reason to support and immobilize the breasts in this inappropriate manner. There is no evidence to suggest that bumps or bruises in a well-supported breast during athletic participation will have any relation to the eventual development of cancer or tumors.

What are the positive features of well-designed sport bras?

Dr. Christine Haycock, a distinguished surgeon and accomplished athlete, conducted pioneering research in the 1970s and 1980s that biomechanically analyzed breast movement of women running on treadmills. She also conducted key studies investigating breast support and protection. Based on her research, Dr. Haycock concluded that sport bras should have wide bottom bands for extra support and straps not so elastic that they let breasts bounce.

As women upped the intensity of their sports, they demanded equipment equal to the task. In turn, that equipment made it possible to go longer, harder, and faster.

Do you want to learn more about accommodating the needs of young female athletes?

  • The Mastery Approach to Parenting in Sports and Mastery Approach to Coaching are research-based videos that emphasize skill development, achieving personal and team success, giving maximum effort, and having fun.
  • To access the videos, go to the Youth Enrichment in Sports website at