4 Sports Bra Myths You Can (& Should) Ignore

There are all sorts of weird myths and rumors surrounding sports bras — these are four that you can and definitely should ignore

4 Sports Bra Myths You Can (& Should) Ignore

Any woman living an active lifestyle will tell you that a decent sports bra is an essential part of their gym kit. Whether you love running, spin classes or starting your mornings with a yoga session, sports bras make life easier and workouts more enjoyable.

But why is this item of clothing surrounded by all sorts of strange myths and shrouded in mystery? We’re told all sorts of weird stories and rumors about the dangers of sports bras (or what you do with them) from the moment we step into that fitting room and try our first bra on.

In the post below, we’ll be debunking four of the sports bra's biggest myths — and explaining why you’re okay to ignore them. Read on to find out more.

Myth #1: Sports bras can cause sagging

You’ve probably heard a variation of this first one. That’s right; sports bras (or indeed, any bra) apparently can cause sagging.

There have been rumors swirling around about bras causing sagging for years, but this was “confirmed” by a French study carried out back in 2013, which “discovered” that a group of women who had been wearing bras all of their life had breasts that sagged more than a group of women who hadn’t worn bras at all. The study concluded that bras stopped supportive muscle tissue from forming, which caused breasts to sag.

The issue with this study was that it was done on very small groups of women, without taking into account factors like age, genetics or motherhood. Plus, they even got the biology wrong: breasts don’t contain muscle — only skin, fat and ligaments.

The truth: A well-fitting sports bra is actually great at preventing sagging that may occur as a result of regular exercise over the years — particularly running.

This is because a decent sports bra restricts the movement of your breasts through compression, encapsulation, or both — like this high impact sports bra from Knix. Studies show that breasts move in a figure of eight when we run; by restricting this movement, we can reduce the strain that our breasts are under, making exercise more comfortable and reducing the risk of sagging.

Myth #2: Sleeping in a sports bra can keep your breasts perky

Just to show you how silly some of the myths surrounding sports bras are, this one completely contradicts the one above. Yes, it’s that age-old classic: sleeping in your bra can keep your breasts perky.

The truth: This myth simply isn’t true, and can make for a very uncomfortable night’s sleep if you decide to act on it. In fact, the discomfort and pain from wearing a bra at night can cause sleep deprivation, which can, in turn, impact your fitness. Not what you want from wearing a sports bra.

Instead, save your boobs and put on a bra when you really need it: like during exercise. Wearing a good sports bra will support your breasts and back to avoid any aches and pains, allow your skin to breathe, and enhance your performance.

What it won’t do is keep your breasts perky during when you’re snoozing.

Myth #3: Sports bras can cause cancer

Or in fact, any type of tight-fitting bra or underwiring apparently (depending on who you listen to) can cause cancer.

This bra myth harks back to the nineties when it was suggested in the book “Dressed To Kill” that wearing tight bras — such as a compression sports bra — restricted lymph nodes around the breasts, which traps cancer-causing toxins in the body.

The truth: Complete nonsense. Many other researchers and studies have established since then that this bra myth is bogus; there is no evidence indicating that wearing any type of bra is connected to an increased risk of breast cancer.

Myth #4: Sports bras shouldn’t be washed in the machine — or too frequently

There are some weird myths about when it comes to washing your sports bras. Many women think (or are told) that they shouldn’t wash their sports bras too often because it can cause the bra to lose elasticity and the fabric to break down.

The same goes for chucking your sports bra in the machine; a popular sports bra myth is that it will instantly be destroyed if it touches the drum of a washing machine.

The truth: When it comes to how often you wash your sports bra, the opposite is true; the fabric of a sports bra actually breaks down because of its close proximity to the oils, dirt, and sweat of your skin. If you really want to extend your sports bra’s life expectancy, then you should be washing it after every workout session.

In terms of the machine wash myth, there is an element of truth. Machine washes can batter your bras a bit; however, using a mesh lingerie bag and a cool setting will protect your delicates. Washing your sports bra in the machine every so often is not going to destroy them, so don’t worry about taking a break from hand washing!

There are all sorts of myths surrounding sports bras, and these are four that you can — and definitely should — ignore.

Invest in a high-quality, high impact sports bra and it can make a huge difference to your body, performance, technique, and recovery time. Just make sure you don’t sleep in it!

Read next: The State
Laura May
See all posts by Laura May