The Sports Bra Expert

Cotton or Synthetic?> back
November 14, 2011

Question of the week: "Maybe I'm "old-school," but I still buy cotton rather than 'synthetic' sports bras because they feel so soft when I put them on, and seem to soak the sweat right off my skin. Am I missing something here?"

You definitely aren't alone in your love for this comfy, body-friendly fiber! Some of my favorite exercise gear is totally cotton-rich. In spite of the amazing new high-performance synthetics on the market, cotton still has natural qualities that many fit chicks prefer, such as supreme cushiness, great durability, and thirstiness for sweat.

But if you're seriously active, you need to know about the "dark side" of cotton as well…

Here's the rub: When cotton soaks up the sweat, the moisture makes its fibers heavier and stiffer, which may make your sports gear more abrasive and less comfy. Also, because it's so ├╝ber-absorbent it may stay damp or dripping longer, promoting comfort-draining chilling as you cool down from your workout.

Synthetics, on the other hand, change less in stiffness as they get damp, and tend to dry much more quickly so you don't get that water-logged feeling that makes you want to strip down and kick your gear to the wall. The dyes used to create your favorite shades also tend to fade less quickly, so that bright, cute sports bra you love looks newer longer.

But you definitely don't have to abandon your cotton gear (I know I never will!), you just need to know when cotton works in your favor, and when a synthetic fabric is actually going to be more comfortable and body-friendly.

Think cotton when:
•Your workout is low-intensity or in cool, dry conditions where you're not cranking out cups of sweat
•Your workout is short-to-medium in length and you can jump right out of your gear at the end of your workout
•You have any sort of skin sensitivity to synthetic fabrics

Pick high-performance synthetics when:
•Your workout is so demanding that you're perspiring to the max
•Your workout is long or stop-and-go, and you can't get out of your gear the minute you're done
•You exercise outside in damp/rainy conditions
•You prefer the sleek look and feel of the latest fabric technology
•You want your gear to keep its bright, deep colors for as long as possible

Whatever you're wearing, I hope you'll go out and have a fantastic workout today!


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Introducing Champion's Sports Bra Expert - LaJean Lawson

In 1977, Champion Activewear invented the first sports bra, called the Jogbra®, made from two jockstraps sewn together. The realization that women also needed support for their assets was the catalyst for Champion Activewear to apply innovation and technology to become the leader in the sports bra market.

In 1977, runner LaJean Lawson had just finished her first marathon with bleeding sores on her shoulders and chest from a bra that did anything but support. Her search for a solution eventually led to the discovery of her life's passion–sports bras!

Today, Champion Activewear is thrilled to offer Dr. Lawson as a resource to help you solve your sports bra problems. While Dr. Lawson has gained critical knowledge from scientific research, the best education she's had about sports bra needs has come from the thousands of women she has spoken to at races and events, as well as those who help her test Champion products.

Whether it's your shoes or your sports bra, your workout happiness depends on finding the gear that's just right for your size and activity level, and that's exactly why we're here to help!

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