Women's gear, up first
What's the best sports bra for running? The Editors Santa Fe, New Mexico
The R&D specialists at Moving Comfort know breasts better than anyone except, perhaps, your gynecologist. They should. Theyve been in the business of making bras and other women-specific fitness clothing since 1977. Arc'Teryx , better known for bomber ski shells than bomber boulder holders, is also rolling out a new Endorphin Line," that includes a form-fitting tank that can double as a running bra.
In general, a sports bra must get an A+ in four essential areas: breast support, comfort, breathability, and moisture control. Specifically, it should fit snugly, yet feel comfortable, stay in place, and not chafe. The criteria may sound basic, but sports bras are a surprisingly complex piece of engineering, which is why the finished product is often less sexy than a Hanky Panky lace bra.
Moving Comfort's Helena ($58) is the ultimate powerhouse, a high-impact bra for women in the 34-40 C, D, DD range. (Surprising fact: The average breast size of an American woman is a 36C.) The Helena's fully-bonded front and interior eliminates layers and bulky seams, adds support, and improves the form and fit. The straps are fully cushioned and front-adjusting, and the back has a hook-and-eye clasp. If you're well-endowed, training for a marathon, or simply prefer a lot of support, this is your bra.
Smaller-breasted women will want to go with the Diana ($52), which is made out of lightweight, quick-drying, bonded fabric that makes for powerful compression support, but still doesn't chafe. The adjustable keyhole back makes it easy to get on and off and the mesh in high-sweat areas prevents you from stinking.
Brand-new for spring is Arc'teryx's Cito Series, a range of fitted tops and bottoms for women. The Cito Crop Tank ($69) is for hot days when you want to run in something less than a full tank with a cloying bra underneath. This little number, which hits you slightly lower on your midriff than a standard sports bra, has a shelf-style bra, a narrow cross-back, and is made out of stretchy polyester knit that wicks sweat away.