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Demand spurt sees sports bras evolving with new styles, materials, features


Demand spurt sees sports bras evolving with new styles materials features

Largely ignored till now, sports bras are getting the attention they deserve from activewear companies. Adidas for example has launched its most robust sports bra collection offering 42 new styles in 72 sizes, says a Business of Fashion report. Last Fall, brand ThirdLove launched a sports bra collection with half-cup sizing and adjustable hook-and-eye closures. Launched in October, Under Armor’s collection-SmartForm Rush bra, incorporates infrared technology that enhances performance. The bras in this collection have adaptive cups that mould to the body. Another brand Gymshark is launching a new sports bras collection with improved sizes and materials.

Global sports bra sales grew 54 per cent to hit $3 billion in 2021, says a NPD Group report. Overall sportswear market reached $325 billion during the year. McKinsey & Co projects, the market will grow 8 to 10 per cent annually. This encourages sportswear brands to develop new sports bras styles. Adidas for example is attracting female shoppers with new product assortment, says Amy Charlton, Senior Director and Head-Global Product, Adidas.

Evolution of sports bras

Earlier, made from mundane materials in typical small, medium and large sizes, sports bras are now being developed more scientifically. Brands are teaming up with biomechanical scientists to launch bras that withstand various durability tests. Adidas has joined hands with Joanna Wakefield Scurr, Professor, University of Portsmouth and a pioneer in breast health research.

In fact, brands are offering a variety of sports bras for different activities. Adidas has launched different bras for running, yoga or high-intensity training. Brands are also focusing on consumers’ movement, function and durability while launching products. Some leading brands in this space are: Lululemon, Athleta, Nike, Under Armor, Victoria’s Secret and American Eagle’s Aerie. Emerging direct-to-consumer brands like Girlfriend Collective, Alo Yoga, Vuori, Gymshark and Oner Active are also responding to demands with new fits and materials, says Nina Marston, Senior Analyst, Euromonitor. And larger lingerie brands are positioning sports bras as a part of their loungewear collection.

Adopting size-inclusivity

Feedback from social media is making sports bra product development easier for brands. Last summer, Brand Brooks Running added mesh to the back of sports bras besides strategically placing a perforation around cleavage. Meanwhile, brands are also focusing on the needs of plus-size women and launching different types of bras for activities like boxing or horseback riding.

Minute product details like seams and closures are being paid attention to while designing. Brands like Under Armor and Lululemon are laminating their bra seams to make them more comfortable. However, brands need to focus on making their bras more functional and easier to wear.


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