Filming showed how breasts move in and out

Sportswomen know that a good sports bra is important, but who would be prepared to run bare-breasted on a treadmill in front of a film camera to contribute to the development of the ideal sports bra? Sofia Åberg, Product Manager at Craft, doesn’t have the answer to this, but she does tell us how the product development of the new sports bra at the Swedish Winter Sports Research Centre (SWSRC) was done.

Craft’s desire to produce a better sports bra was grounded in their sense that they didn’t have a bra that was adequate for high intensity training, especially for women with larger busts. To get product development right, they needed to look at how breasts move during running. At SWSRC in Östersund, a range of women of different ages and bust sizes who ran on a treadmill with bare upper bodies while their breasts were filmed using a high speed camera.

“When we filmed using the high speed camera we saw the breasts’ movement amazingly well. We saw how the bust jumps and moves in different directions, up, down and sideways, but what was most interesting was that they move in and out by about 30 per cent,” says Sofia Åberg.

The camera also showed that the breasts’ movement extends down into the stomach, and the test demonstrated that women with larger busts have an uncomfortable bounce in the stomach, meaning that the test subjects ran more poorly, or had a poorer movement pattern, which could result in injuries.

“We got a lot out of the test and have since constructed a bra according to all the rules of the trade. Bearing in mind the breasts’ inward and outward movement, we have put a great deal of focus on making a tight cup that must be breathable and feel comfortable. It’s a balance between not making the bra too tight, but also providing good support,” says Sofia Åberg.

The new bra will be on the market in the autumn of 2014 and available on all of Craft’s markets, which currently number thirty-eight.

Craft has previously used SWSRC for testing the Swedish cross-country skiing team’s ski suits. They have done similar tests for cyclists on the Pro Tour and also tested running clothes to examine the optimal cuts for the garments.

“We are not researchers, we must keep it at a commercial level and we want to obtain the best possible result for creating good products. SWSRC has the expertise and understands that we don’t want to do unlimited research, instead we want to find points that need improvement. They understand what we want. We are in Borås and have a long journey to Östersund, so we could just as easily have chosen a testing lab in Germany, but we like SWSRC,” concludes Sofia Åberg.
Peak Innovation’s role: Peak Innovation has financed the high speed camera that was used in Craft’s tests, and the test leader’s wages. Knowledge dissemination: There are currently no academic publications on the development of sports bras, but there is a degree project available to the public.

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