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How The Shock Absorber Sports Bra Is Different

Updated on May 7, 2012

A shock absorber bra refers to a specially designed sports bra capable of reducing breast bouncing during exercise and athletics. While some use the term as a broad classification of athletic bras, most are referring to a specific line of bras, called Shock Absorber, made by Berlei. The company was originally started in 1910 in Sydney, Australia by the name of Unique Corsets. This company takes its research and development to a higher level and has partnered with the Australian Institute of Sports (AIS) to produce superior sports bras. Together, they run biomechanics testing on the bras to measure support levels and to decrease bouncing.

Their products are sought after by droves of athletes, in fact they sell nearly 2 million bras around the globe annually. They successfully merge science with technology, superior materials and design... it's no wonder their shock absorber bra has gained such an excellent reputation. It's been rated the number one sports bra by Runner's World, was voted the best athletic bra in 2008 by Runner's World readers, is the number one selling sports bra in the U.K, as well as the bra supplied to the prestigious English netball squad.

Best Shock Absorber Bras on Amazon: Highest Rated

Importance of a Quality Sports Bra

Research has found that wearing an ill-fitting or under-supportive sports bra causes breast pain in more than 50% of all women. Naturally, this can be an impetus for not starting or quitting an exercise program. Women whose breasts aren't properly supported can also suffer from neck and upper back pain from stress on the muscles. This can lead to problems with chronic pain.

Women have what are called cooper's ligaments in their breasts, a strong ligamentous band of tissue, responsible for holding up and supporting the breast tissue. Women athletes or women who exercise frequently can stretch out these ligaments permanently, leading to sagging, drooping breasts. Thus the nickname "cooper's droopers". A proper bra can help reduce the amount of stretching sustained by the cooper's ligaments.

University of Portsmouth Study

A high profile study was recently headed up by Joann Scurr, PhD, at the University of Portsmouth, U.K. It involved a total of 100 women hooked up to sensors placed on various locations on their bodies. The results show movement causes the breasts to move in three different directions: up and down, side to side and in and out. Most sports bras only account for the up and down motion.  It was previously thought compression bras were best for smaller breasted women, while encapsulation bras were better for larger breasted women.  The study debunked this myth and revealed encapsulation bras are better across the board.

Shock Absorber Bra: Demonstration

shock absorber bra
shock absorber bra

More Top Rated Shock Absorber Bras on Amazon

What Makes a Shock Absorber Bra Different?

As I previously mentioned, Berlei does extensive testing on their bra lines. They claim breasts without any support bounce a whopping 17 centimeters. Please note that Dr. Scurr's recent study has shown breasts bounce up to 21 centimeters. Regular sports bras decrease the bounce by 38%, while a shock absorber bra decreases the bounce by 74%. Shock absorber bras come in four different levels, depending upon the intensity of your activity AND your cup size. Level one (light) is for activities like pilates and yoga. Level two (medium) is for activities like walking, snow sports and cycling. Level three (high) is for more intense activities like aerobics, tennis, hockey, soccer and other team sports. The highest degree of support is level four (extreme) and is for running, horseback riding, rugby, basketball and netball.

Their cups are double-lined as well as molded to support each individual bra, instead of the harness design used by many other sports bra manufacturers. In other words, they use encapsulation to mold and separate the breasts, instead of just compression. Compression bras merely flatten the breasts against the chest wall. Encapsulation bras separately mold each breast in a cup and allow independent movement between the two breasts. This cuts down on the 3D movement of breasts during activity.

The shock absorber bra has very thick straps and a racerback, which helps offer optimal support by limiting bouncing.

Berlei's shock absorber bra line has its own sizing system with the goal of obtaining as close to a custom fit for each woman as possible. They are available in cup sizes AA to G, band sizes 30 to 40 inches (65 to 90 cm).

Shopping for plus size sports bras can be very difficult. Not all bras are made the same and women have very different needs. Carefully reading reviews can go a long way.

More Shock Absorber Bras on Amazon


Submit a Comment

  • wordscribe43 profile imageAUTHOR

    Elsie Nelson 

    6 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

    It's an awesome bra, Ingenira! It's dramatically changed my comfort level when I exercise.

  • Ingenira profile image


    7 years ago

    I go to gym often, and I really like one of this shock absorber bra. Good writeup on the bra !


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