Comfortable running socks and shoes? Check.

Running tees and shorts that stay put and are made of breathable material? Check.

You’re set to log some miles, right? Well, hold up a minute. How about your sports bra — how’s that fitting? Maybe you think you’re just fine with the one you’ve had for, well, ages (it’s in your favorite color! It fits fine enough…most of the time.) But apparently a whole lot of us — I’m going to raise my hand here — could use some help ensuring we’re wearing the right one for our bodies.

“Having the right sports bra is imperative, and 80% of women are not wearing the correct bra,” says Susan Hoddinott, an assistant store manager at Gazelle Sports Grand Rapids. “This can lead to back pain, aching shoulders, chafed skin and sore breasts. We always say, ‘Running is hard enough, why do it in bad gear?’”

Photo courtesy Gazelle Sports.
MRG caught up with Susan this week to talk about the importance of proper fitted sports bras — and how they can make a difference in our running. Susan knows a ton about running clothing and gear — you may remember her being featured as the winter clothing and gear expert on a podcast episode awhile back — and she and her fellow Gazelle Sports team members are looking forward to sharing their knowledge at the upcoming Gazelle Sports Bra Weekend this Friday, Saturday and Sunday , Aug. 19-21, at all store locations.

Visit any Gazelle Sports store this weekend to find the right sports bra for you. You’ll receive a free lingerie bag when you try on any Brooks/Moving Comfort bra. If you purchase a Brooks/Moving Comfort bra, you’ll get a free cosmetic bag. “We’re giving away a free bra in every store, too,” Susan says.

Here’s more from Susan, including tips for buying your next sports bra:

How would you say sports bras have evolved over time to aid our athletic pursuits and performance?

About 40 years ago, the first sports bra made its appearance. The development of creating a quality sports bra was slow moving, but has really picked up momentum within the last 10 years. Sports bras used to just compress your breast tissue onto your chest to reduce some movement — now they do so much more. Every sports bra brand we carry brings their products into their biomechanics research labs to undergo rigorous tests. They are looking to reduce vertical, side-to-side and in-and-out motion helping to make you more comfortable on your exercise adventure! Being in a properly fit sports bra can help reduce excess movement by about 66%. That’s crazy!

When you run, your breasts move in a figure 8 motion. The sports bras we carry all work to encapsulate and compress the breast tissue helping to reduce discomfort.

shefit 2.0What would you say are common mistakes women make when it comes to purchasing sports bras?

  • Not knowing your size! Your body changes constantly; it is encouraged to be remeasured every time you are due for a new sports bra.
  • Also not knowing how a good sports bra should fit; we need to make sure we are eliminating bounce.
  • Keeping them for WAY too long. A bra should never celebrate a birthday!
  • “Double bagging”: if your bra fits correctly and is supporting you appropriately, you shouldn’t have the need to wear two sports bras.

What should runners in particular keep in mind when looking for a sports bra?

  • Your sports bra is not supposed to fit like a lingerie bra. The band should feel more snug than a lingerie bra, and should lay straight across your back without riding up. 80% of the sports bra’s support comes from the bottom band!  
  • Sports bras come in a cross-back, racerback, or an H-back style. A bra with an H-back shape is the easiest to get on, but might not reduce bounce as well. If you’re looking to get locked in, opt for the cross-back or racerback style.
  • Fit! The fit is crucial. If you are unsure about the fit, see one of our experts so we can help guide you along.

What are the special considerations women need to keep in mind given their specific sizes (small-chested, larger-chested, etc.)

  • None of us are expected to fit into a “one size fits most,” so what works for your friend, may not work for you!
  • If you are larger chested, you need to make sure the bra is appropriately supporting you. You should never feel the need to double up!
  • If you are smaller chested, this doesn’t mean you don’t need a supportive bra!


What can women expect when they come to the Bra Weekend at Gazelle Sports? Why was it important for Gazelle Sports to hold this event?

  • We will take great care of you! We care about you and want to keep you moving and comfortable.
  • Our women’s apparel staff are experts in bra fitting.
  • We also have a 100% moving matters guarantee. We want you to be 100% satisfied with every purchase, every time. Get out there and give it a try! Never be afraid to bring something back that isn’t making moving better or easier.
  • If you try on a Brooks bra, you will get a special gift, and if you buy a Brooks bra, you will get another goodie!
  • We will also be offering special discounts in-store.

Anything else you would want to add on this topic?

  • You truly do need more than one. Having three quality sports bras is ideal. One on your body, one in the wash, one drying
  • Do not throw them in the dryer!
  • Wash in a lingerie bag with good quality sports based detergent. Avoid detergent with fillers, this will cut down on the life of the bra and make it smell.

Susan-Hoddinott-Grand-Rapids-02-200x200Susan Hoddinott is a one of the assistant managers at Gazelle Sports Grand Rapids, overseeing the women’s apparel department. She is training for a 10K and half in September, followed by the Chicago Marathon in October.


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