Nike Is Revolutionizing the Sports Bra and Extending Their Sizes
You can now find a style that fits you, in sizes up to 44G.
It's totally normal today to see a woman tackling a boutique yoga or boxing class in only a sports bra. But back in 1999, soccer player Brandi Chastain made history after scoring the winning penalty in the Women's World Cup and ripping off her shirt in a controversial goal celebration. In an instant, the sports bra became a renewed sign of strength and commitment to hard work. (Related: These Companies Are Making Shopping for a Sports Bra Suck Less)
"The bra I was wearing was a prototype that hadn't come out to the market yet," Chastain told us at the launch of Nike's new Just Do It campaign. "At halftime during the games, I would change and put on a new dry one for better support. Back then, the sports bra wasn't part of the uniform. Back then, you got a shirt, socks, and shorts. Today? This is a specific piece of equipment that is relevant and necessary for women."
Chastain has a point: A lot has changed since the original sports bra-called the Jockbra-debuted in the late 1970s. Today, sports bra sales have grown 20 percent year-over-year to about $3.5 billion in the United States in 2016, according to data from A.T. Kearney. Which is no wonder why big names like Nike are renewing their commitment in the category and bringing women everywhere both upgraded fit and comfort. In that vein, in addition to debuting the campaign, the event served as a platform to gather 28 of the most badass female athletes out there (think: Simone Biles and current soccer powerhouse, Alex Morgan) as a signal of its ongoing dedication to supporting lady warriors of all stripes, everywhere.
The brand recently announced their upcoming Spring/Summer 2019 bra collection, which includes an impressive 57 styles across three support levels in sizes up to 44G, plus there are some new innovations and 12 different materials.
First up: an update to their FE/NOM Flyknit bra, which was first debuted in 2017 and will be provided to the players at the Women's World Cup this summer. Made with a super-soft spandex-nylon yarn, the Flyknit bra is 30 percent lighter than any of the brand's other models and is designed to fit close to the body for comfort, holding the girls in place without extra elastics or underwire. It's the product of over 600 hours of rigorous biometric testing which took Flyknit material, once only used in shoe uppers, to the body. (Related: What to Know Before Buying a Sports Bra, According to the People Who Design Them)
Also in the mix: The Motion Adapt 2.0, which uses a foam and polymer blend that stretches with the wearer based on the intensity of her workout, and the Bold Bra, designed with a compression fit and knit stabilizers for a locked-down feel and max support. The latter being the bra that comes in the widest range of sizing. All three bras are part of a companywide effort to accommodate women of all shapes, sizes, fitness levels, and preferences.
"Preference is everything," says Nicole Rendone, design director for women's bras. "Your body type, body size, and personality make such a difference-comfort is huge. And what comfort means to one woman is totally different than what comfort means to another woman."
Research shows that one in five women say their breasts prevent them from participating in physical activity. The survey of 249 women found that not being able to find the right sports bra and being embarrassed by breast movement were the two biggest barriers to breaking a sweat.
"People come to Nike for performance innovation," says Rendone. "We want to give her a lighter-weight option that dries faster and has higher support with less bulk. Nike is working to build in the things you want in a bra with zero distraction. These bras are ones that perform the way you want and need them to."
As for what's next? Rendone gets giddy talking about updated looks and size inclusivity. "We've got way more fashion than you've ever seen before," she says. "And there's the sizing. We're working on beyond 44G. Trust me, there's definitely a beyond." (Check out more of the best size-inclusive activewear brands.)