How The Sports Bra Began

Did you know the sports bra was invented just 43 years ago? Compare that to the jockstrap, which was invented 144 years ago! The first sports bra wasn’t even marketed for all types of exercise, but instead called the “Free Swing Tennis Bra,” and was clearly designed for smaller chests.

free swing tennis sports bra

The first general exercise sports bra was invented by Lisa Lindahl, Hinda Miller, and Polly Smith. In the 1970s, there was a upsurge of jogging for recreation and fitness. Lindahl’s sister asked her, “Why isn’t there a jockstrap for women?” after experiencing breast pain while jogging. Lindahl had previously been wearing a bra that was one size too small. Creating a functional sports bra would prove to be difficult. Polly Smith, the seamstress of the Jogbra, said, “I can make a shoe easier than I can make a bra.” They designed and tested multiple versions of the sports bra, but could not find the right combination of parts.  Bloom Bras founder, Elyse Kaye, understands this challenge.

jockbra sports bra

After Lindahl’s husband pulled a jockstrap out of the laundry and put it on his chest saying, “Look, jockbra!” it clicked for the women. They bought two jockstraps and sewed them together to create their first prototype. “This was a functional item about taking care of yourself and your body,” said Lindahl. The Jogbra was launched in 1978.

The modern sports bra may look very different than the jogbra, yet most mainstream brands still do not cater to well-endowed or plus-size women. Nike, for instance, only goes up to a 38E.  The average female body has evolved with the median bra size increasing to a DD/E cup. This is not a design flaw but an engineering challenge.    

 

Bloom Bras was designed for well-endowed women looking to lift their breasts, not squish them. The Bloom Bra works like a shelf and distributes weight throughout the back and sides rather than putting pressure over the shoulders and across the ribs. Find your fit here.

Sources: Revolution: A History of the Sports Bra
Fish Sticks, Sports Bras, and Aluminum Cans: The Politics of Everyday Technologies by Paul R. Josephson

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