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How Brooks Designed Its New Bras For Run-Ready Support

Women running in the new Brooks Run Bra Dare Collection

Your breasts don’t just move up and down when you run. It’s a lot more complicated than that.

Working with breast health and biomechanical experts, Brooks found a woman’s breasts move in a figure-eight pattern when she runs, which can put her though 200 unique axis movements. Up and down, side to side, in and out, around.

All that movement means your sports bra has a lot of work to do.

To make things even more challenging for designers, a bra has to work for a wide range of sizes, body types and preferences. Those are also moving targets.

“Breasts change day to day, week to week, throughout the day and at different times of the month,” says Julianne Ruckman, Brooks senior product line manager for bras and women’s apparel. Don’t forget about different life stages, like pregnancy, post-partum and aging.

“There’s a ton to consider.”

Changing consumer demand is another consideration. Ruckman says market research shows women across generations are now seeking comfort first—that’s especially true for younger women—which took over the top spot from support. (Although, as any runner will tell you, a comfortable bra has to prioritize support, too.)

Brooks says figuring out the right combination of comfort and support was a big obstacle.

“The hardest thing to decode is perception of comfort,” Ruckman says. “What we found, dependent on your cup size, is that something that felt really comfortable on her body typically held her in or reduced motion by at least 50 percent but doesn’t exceed 70 percent motion reduction.”

Designers' sketches of the Brooks Run Bra Dare Collection

The Brooks Run Bra Dare Collection

The Dare collection is a new line of running bras from Brooks that took three years to research, test and produce.

Brooks designers employed high-tech fabrics to help wick sweat away from skin and dry out faster; they added vents to the cups to release heat and moisture; and they molded each bra to fit smoothly against a woman’s body.

A smooth, distraction-free bra that disappears under your clothes? That’s exactly what Brooks was going for.

“New construction makes them seam-free, and they look good under your shirt,” says Helen Kenworthy, senior bra developer. “You don’t have to be self-conscious about your bra.”

The first six bras off the line in 2020 tell the first part of the new story. Details like seamless construction, streamlined fits and premium materials work together for a higher level of comfort. Plus, an assortment of styles—racerback, zip front, extra strappy, high neckline—will give every runner an option.

“The most exciting thing about this collection for me is understanding that our consumer wants a supportive bra and a luxury experience,” says Leslianne Carbary, senior manager for apparel and materials.

Test, Tweak, Test Again

A Brooks bra designers looks over designs for the Run Bra Dare Collection

Working with the University of Portsmouth, Brooks conducted biomechanical research to learn how breasts move while running and how to best keep that movement under control.

Researchers tested women with the new bras in B, D and E cups. Using fine-tuned motion sensors on their breasts and torso, the women ran at different speeds on a treadmill to analyze the motion of their bodies.

It wasn’t just motion they were testing for, though. Brooks also looked at breast displacement, perceived comfort and support ratings. Those results led to a surprising conclusion.

“It was a mind shift for us internally,” says Clare Rohrbach, Brooks bra developer. “We always wanted to be the most supportive, but we found that the most supportive isn’t actually the most comfortable all the time.”

Comfort isn’t just about support, though, so Brooks polished the Dare collection using feedback from real runners.

Brooks reduced the amount of stitching on all of their bras to prevent chafing. Designers removed as many seams as possible, took off any unnecessary trim and constructed bras from only one piece of material when possible.

All the small details add up to create a bra that’s built specifically for running.

“With the materials we’re using we’re able to create an experience that’s more run bra than sports bra,” Carbary says. “It’s designed for the run.”

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