What Is the Difference Between a Regular Bra and a Sports Bra?

Sports bras not only look different from regular bras, they offer a different kind of support, too.

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You probably know what a sports bra looks like and what a regular bra looks like. But, do you know the different ways they're supposed to fit? Or that different sports bras are better for different activities? If not, you might need to read up on some of the differences between the underwire you're sporting every day and the sports bra sitting in your gym bag.

Purpose

Sports bras are meant for different levels of physical activity. They offer light support for yoga and floor-based exercises and heavier support for running, tennis and other, more intense activity. There's a sports bra for just about any kind of activity you can come up with. Regular bras are meant to keep your girls looking lifted and separated; they can be used for erotic purposes, too. That means regular bras have the ability to turn your mate on, whereas a sports bra typically does not.

Look

There are a bunch of types of sports bras and there are a bunch of types of regular bras. What you need to know to distinguish the two is that regular bras have cups that are separated by a clasp or section of fabric in between them. Sports bras don't separate your girls. Instead, both breasts fit into one section of fabric that usually pulls over your head like a tank top.

Fabrics

Regular bras can be made from different fabrics -- from plain cotton to dyed silk and lace. Sports bras all have stretch to them, usually in the form of spandex or Lycra. They can be made of cotton, too, but they're much more flexible and comfortable than regular bras. They don't have underwires and their straps are usually thicker, which means they won't dig into your shoulders. After all, they're made to help you out when you're exercising, not restrict you in any way.

Fit

You need to be mindful of different things when you're talking about the fit of a sports bra versus a regular bra. For starters, your breasts need to fit inside the cups without spilling over. You should bend over in a regular bra to make sure your breasts stay in place. The band of a regular bra needs to feel comfortable and not dig in to your ribs or back. When it comes to sports bras, your main concern is support and a snug, but not restrictive, fit. Pay attention to the label on the bra and see what activity it's for. Jump up and down in a new sports bra and make sure your chest isn't bouncing up and down with you.

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