If you think the worldwide market for sports bras is big, you’d be right.
In fact, it’s bigger than big. It’s estimated global sports bra sales will reach $10.6 billion in 2017. With everyone from Gap to Reebok trying to get in on the action, it’s no surprise the market has grown year over year.
Yet, according to experts, one of the biggest predicted trends this year – adjustable compression – has yet to be mastered.
“What’s next? Everyone is trying to figure out how to do adjustable compression so sports bras can become an even smarter product,” says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD Group, which tracks more than a trillion dollars in consumer spending a year in North America.
“Everyone is trying to figure out how to do adjustable compression.”
“We are going to see smaller brands (hello Būband!) work very hard to create something that doesn’t exist in the market.”
While compression is nothing new to sports bras, the debate continues regarding whether compression, encapsulation or a combination of the two is best. And it’s no surprise. Even the biggest brands are still working on perfecting the sports bra.
“There is no piece of clothing that is more difficult to design well than a sports bra,” says LaJean Lawson, a breast researcher and consultant for Champion Athletics.
“No piece of clothing is more difficult to design well than a sports bra.”
“There are so many different parameters. It’s the most hooked into cultural stereotypes. You have to think about sweat, support, chafing, straps, slippage, and then looking cute. That’s a really long list of conflicting design requirements.”
But Lifehacker journalist Beth Skwarecki, who independently bought and tested the Būband, thinks she may have found the answer.
“The great thing about the Būband is that it doesn’t have to fulfill any of those requirements, besides support. That word means a lot of things, and in a sports bra, what it often means is really compression. You have to hold the breasts to the body, somehow, if you want them to not bounce around,” she writes.
“So can a band that only provides compression somehow turn an ordinary sports bra into a super sports bra? That’s what BounceLab (which makes the Būband) is betting on, and that’s exactly what I found when I put the Būband on. The first time I tried it, I put it on top of one of my most supportive bras. Without the Būband, vigorous running in a good bra is occasionally uncomfortable but I can deal with it. With the Būband, the bouncing…just stopped. Exactly as advertised.”
“With the Būband, the bouncing…just stopped. Exactly as advertised.”
So while the largest brands on the planet work to achieve the impossible, our little start-up will continue to provide women the adjustable compression – or is it support? – they need.