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The Carousel Roadtests ‘The Ultimate Sports Bra’

The Carousel's shortlist of the best sports bra

The list of injuries I have sustained from sports bras includes: chafed boobs, cut boobs, a pulled back muscle trying to get into one and a strained shoulder trying to get out of one.

My friend calls them ‘sports corsets’ as most of them leave you feeling so trussed up. As such, when I heard that lululemon had created Enlite – a bra that had taken two years to develop and that was being referred to as the ‘ultimate sports bra’ – I was intrigued.

You see while you might think the only part of your body that needs a good sports bra is your breasts, that’s not true – research from the UK’s University of Portsmouth discovered when breasts aren’t supported correctly it changes the whole way you land when you run. In the wrong sports bra you hit the ground more heavily increasing risk of problems like knee pain, stress fractures or shin splints. A good sports bra therefore protects your breast and reduces your risk of injury. No wonder so many companies are investing time and money trying to create the perfect one. But is this it?

Enlinte, the ultimate sports bra by lululemon

The first thing I noticed about Enlite is how soft it is – the fabric is almost silky. The second thing was how easy it is to put on. It just slipped over my head. I then reached round and did up the back – in seconds. There was no twisting, pulling or contortions. It came off just as easily (even when sweaty). Of course the big test was what happened when I went out to run. The answer was nothing. I barely noticed it was on. Nothing pinched, nothing rubbed (the bra is completely seam-free) and my boobs stayed totally in place. That was only a short run though so a few days later, I wore it again – to run 14km – again, no problems whatsoever – that’s amazing as most bras need wearing in at least a few times for a run that long on a hot day. So far, every time I’ve worn it it’s performed brilliantly. I’m genuinely impressed. Enlite costs $99.

Of course, Enlite isn’t the only sports bra out there….here’s four more to try…

Panache Sport

Panache Sport braOne of the best ranges for larger busted women they offer sizes up to an H cup in their non-wired range and to a J cup in their super-supportive wired range. From $99.95 at bravawoman.com.au.

Brooks Juno

Brooks juno sport bra

Some of the bra development team at Brooks trained at the University of Portsmouth (one of the world’s centres for breast movement research) so you know they take design seriously. They recently redesigned the Juno, $99 to be easier to take off when it’s sweaty.

Under-Armour Eclipse High Impact Sports Bra

Under-Armour Eclipse High Impact Sports Bra

This bra doesn’t have encapsulated cups so it’s better for smaller cup sizes, but we love its simple design and zip front that makes getting it on and off seriously easy. Price: $74.99.

Berlei High Performance Underwire Bra

Berlei High Performance Underwire Bra

If you want a sports bra that looks like a bra (rather than a crop top) – this is a great choice. It’s the favourite of tennis superstar Serena Williams. Price: $74.95.

Coming soon: The Stress Reducing Bra: Canadian company Vitali have come up with a bra that tracks your stress level. The bra monitors heart rate, breathing and posture and if it detects you’re getting stressed out it gently vibrates so you can take a few minutes to regroup.

Written by Helen Foster

Helen Foster is The Carousel’s Health Editor. She is a highly regarded health journalist and author of multiple books.
Originally from the UK, she has worked for every major British newspaper and women's magazine in Britain. She was also a member of the Guild of Health Writers and the Medical Journalists Association.
Helen is a regular contributor for the Daily Mail newspaper, Stella at the Sunday Telegraph, Fabulous magazine, Sainsbury's magazine and UK Glamour.
She is also author 12 health and wellness books and has just finished No13 and she writes about fitness and health trends on her award-winning blog NotYourNormalHealthBlog.com.

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