There’s always a big jump in sports bra sales come January. And I’m sure it’s due to many of us making New Year’s resolutions to work out more. A nice surprise this year has been several new sports bra designs coming on the market. I reached out to all the design teams at each brand to ask how their new designs came about. In this talk, I’m delighted to share the inside scoop on each of these new styles. A curious observation is that all these new sports bras either come racerback or have straps that can convert to cross-back to give added breast support.
And, a special thank you to the designers and design teams for taking the time to share their design process with me.
Here they are in alphabetical order.
Chantelle – High Impact Wirefree Sports Bra
Chantelle’s design team explained this sports bra was style-driven. Its sleek and easy fit includes perforated, thin 3/16” cup pads for breathability and modesty, plus its stylish halter-like neckline can take you from work to your workout. There’s also plenty of adjustability in the back (4 hook rows & straps) to create a custom fit. Considerable fit testing also took place on a variety of women to ensure this bra achieved its high-impact status.
Chantelle – High Impact Sports Bra
For this sports bra, Chantelle’s objective was to develop a high-impact bra with a wide size range that would allow women with many different bust types to feel confident during their workouts. The design team found breathable spacer fabric that was rigid enough to control bounce while also providing a 360° cooling effect.
I want to also mention that the Chantelle design team is very proud of their bra sizing methodology for both of these sports bras. They do not make a single pattern and then simply grade it up and down to create the other sizes. These two sports bras – as well as all Chantelle bras – went through extensive fit and wear testing on a variety of bust types to create an excellent fit in every size.
Leading Lady – Wirefree Sports Bra
How fun! This is the first sports bra to put a hidden pocket on the left front side. Their designer, Kim, explained her inspiration. While working out, she was always struggling to find a place for a key, cash, card, or tissue when she suddenly had an “aha” moment to design a discreet front pocket into the bra. But, the primary mission in designing this medium-impact sports bra was to make it an “all-in-one” comfort bra that could be put on in the morning and function while at home, work, or in the gym. To accomplish this, the design was made seamless with a full coverage neckline, double layers for modesty, breathable mesh, and optional cross-back straps
Le Mystere – Sheer Illusion Sports Bra
The design team for Le Mystere set out to create a technology-driven, high-performance sports bra that looked sexy and sleek. They therefore hid all of the cup structure and support by using a supportive single piece of thin, yet hi-density foam that shapes to your breasts, while also encasing the underwires. The cups feel lightweight and airy, yet they are supportive and totally smooth. To achieve their goal of a sleek and sexy look, the design team told me they built up the scoop neck with a mesh panel that gives it flexible support and coverage and a more modern, lighter aesthetic. The design team also noted that several influencers posted photos wearing this bra with just pants and a blazer.
Looking at this new Natori sports bra, there were three obvious standouts: color blocking, 1-1/4” wide straps, and an all-over beautiful soft hand. The Natori design team knew they wanted a high-impact sports bra, but were inspired by the fact that many of us wear our sports bras both in and outside the gym. Looking at what high-end clothing designers were doing, they landed on color blocking details to create its super modern look. True to all Natori lingerie, comfort and softness were a must. Working closely with their fabric suppliers, they found the smoothest & softest moisture-wicking fabrics along with straps and a bottom band that felt more like a “gentle hug.” Finally, they decided to sandwich the underwires between the cup pad and the outer fabric so they would never touch the skin. The wide straps are attached in the back with hooks to let the wearer create a cross back should she wish for more support.
Pour-Moi – Energy Zip-Front Padded Sports Bra
Krista from Pour Moi explained the inspiration for this bra came directly from their customer base. She said they “requested/demanded a great fitting, zipper front, wire-free high-impact sports bra.” Pour Moi’s biggest challenge was trying to make this easy to put on for women with larger bust sizes. It took them over a year, testing on many models with many fitting sessions and modifications to perfect the fit in all the cup sizes from C to J(D10). And staying true to the Pour Moi aesthetic of color, it was launched with bright turquoise accents. Plus, this month it is now available in a red/cherry color combination.
Two by Prima Donna
Prima Donna – “The Gym” Sports Bra
Prima Donna – “The Game” Sports Bra
The Prima Donna brand specializes in larger cup sizes and is known for its impeccable workmanship. In 2017, they decided to expand into sports lingerie and created the PD Sports Division. Working with the Leuven University Lab in Belgium, they identified structural solutions to reduce breast bounce. These two new high-impact sports bras look the same by design but have different fabrications. The Gym is wire-free and comes in just one color – Venus. PD found there was a high demand for a soft and neutral color and Venus was tested to be invisible under most clothing. The Game, by contrast, is an underwire bra that comes in a high-fashion graphic black print for those women wishing to communicate style in the changing room. Both are made of fabrics with a high “kickback” quality, meaning they quickly snap back to their original shape when stretched.
Two by Simone Perele
Simone Perele – Harmony High Impact Underwire Sports Bra
Simone Perele – Harmony Medium Impact Wireless Sports Bra
These two new Harmony sports bras by Simone Perele were developed and designed with the help of a French fitness coach and Instagram star, Lucille Woodward. The goal was to create sports bras in two silhouettes: a wireless for small to medium-busted women, and an underwire for all women looking for more shaping and structured support. But being a French brand, they added feminine touches like light lurex detailing and swiss dot performance lace fabric to create a fusion of sport and glamour.
The stand-out feature on both bras is the terrycloth inner band. It makes wearing both bras extremely comfortable, while also providing moisture-wicking control.
Wacoal – Contour Underwire Sports Bra
Wacoal achieved what they set out to design with this new sports bra – a bounce-resistant, high-impact, full-figure, contour-cup sports bra that a woman can quickly convert to a cross-back without the help of a friend. They accomplished this by placing hardware at the top of the cup that is easily unfastened by the wearer. Though this bra has an easy-on back fastener it was designed to look as if you just pulled it on. The fabrics and modesty foam selected all have moisture-wicking qualities. And mesh details were added for a sportier look. An interesting feature is the elastic at the neckline and underarms which is folded over rather than simply sewn on. This gives these edges more stability to keep you contained. Very clever.
Here’s a curious fact. Many men buy women’s lingerie to wear for themselves. Their explanations run from the understandable to the esoteric. But many leave reviews of our products at our HerRoom site. Several years ago MANY of you made it VERY CLEAR to us they did not appreciate reading a product review only to discover it came from a man. Our solution, therefore, was to create a “Lingerie for Men” page where we post all men’s product reviews for women’s lingerie. Since our products are made for the female form, we simply do not know how they will fit a male physique. The good news is that these reviews are a great resource for men looking to buy for themselves. Their number one item of choice? Female briefs with a satin finish…mostly in black
Tomima Founder & CEO