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Adidas Introducing Extensive Sports Bra Collection

The assortment will feature 43 styles and 73 fits in light, medium and high support.

Mikaela Shiffrin in a shot from the campaign.

Adidas continues to expand its product offerings for women.

On Valentine’s Day, the German sports company will unveil a sports bra collection designed to fit every shape and size of female athlete. It will include 43 styles and 73 sizes across 18 product franchises and is intended to address the impact poor breast support has on female sports participation and performance.

Adidas’ new sports bra collection was created in partnership with the University of Portsmouth, an independent research body based in the U.K. that specializes in breast biomechanics. Studies have shown that inadequate support leads to movement-related breast pain in nearly half of female respondents and more than 90 percent of women are believed to be wearing the wrong size sports bra. In addition, according to the university, if breasts are not supported properly during running, they experience the same G force as an F1 driver and could undergo potentially damaging skin stretch.

To address these issues, Adidas has revamped its sports bra portfolio to cater to more body types and workout needs. They are now categorized into Everyday bras for lounging and gentle movement; Studio for yoga, Pilates and other low-impact activities; Train for enhanced support during more-intense sports, and Run, models that offer the highest level of support.

Jessamyn Stanley in one of Adidas’ yoga-specific bra.

Amy Charlton, senior director of product at Adidas, said: “There is a sizable data gap when it comes to sports bra development, so we worked with experts in breast health, University of Portsmouth, to challenge ourselves and drive forward our innovation to better meet the needs of our female athletic community. The wrong sports bra can have a serious impact on performance and efficiency — for example, if you run a marathon, unsupported breasts travel an extra four miles on their own. It was a significant undertaking with an all-female team of designers, testers and experts, and we hope this collection will help more sports bra wearers experience the benefits of added support and a better fit, and not be held back when doing the sports they love.”

She said the wide range of styles and sizes that will be offered will “serve every female possible.” The products will be tailored for specific geographies, with more plus-size options in North America and more small sizes in China, she explained. “The number sounds big, but there are nuances by region.”

In addition to the wide range of sizes, the materials have also been updated. “Women shop ‘touch’ first,” Charlton said. So the Everyday bras, for example, will be lightweight, seam free and bonded, the Studio yoga bras have a brushed and lofty feel, while the Run models offer four-way stretch and recovery features.

To help women make the right choice when shopping, Charlton said store associates have been trained in touch-free fitting and there is also a digital fit and bra finder tool online where shoppers are asked six questions to help them decide on the appropriate model.

Joanna Wakefield-Scurr, head of the research group in breast health at the University of Portsmouth, said there are “lots of negative consequences if you don’t have the right kind of support. Unknown to many, athletes may require the same amount of breast support during power walking as they do during sprinting, and a lack of support has the potential to cause irreversible damage.”

She said breast movement in sport continues to be an area that is overlooked and many companies think they’ve addressed the issue by offering five options in their sports bras. So while the number of styles in Adidas’ new offering may seem excessive on the surface, she believes it is necessary to address the many body types and activities women need sports bras for.

“Companies spend a lot on developing sports bras, but if they don’t fit properly, they’re not making the most of those investments. So it’s great to have a range of options.”

To promote the new collection, Adidas has tapped Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin to feature in the campaign, along with yoga teacher and body positivity advocate Jessamyn Stanley; sprinter and European Championships medalist, Lisa-Marie Kwayie; British model Ellie Goldstein, and Japanese actress and TV personality Rola.

Adidas is offering a variety of bras for a cross-section of women.

“My sports bra is the first piece of kit I consider when I’m training because when it isn’t right, it throws me off and I lose focus,” Shiffrin said. “In the lead up to such a huge competition, it was so important for me to stay in the zone and not having the right bra has a significant impact on my training and performance, both mentally and physically. Sports bras are a foundational piece of kit, but it’s not one size fits all — my training is varied and involves cardio, yoga and strength training, so having the right performance product that is tailored for each of these is key.”

The new collection will be available worldwide on Feb. 14 in retail stores and online. There will be early access beginning Wednesday. The bras will retail for $36 to $84, a range that Adidas said “stretches our price curve” while still remaining competitive within the global bra market. According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, sports bras grew by 5.4 percent in 2020 over 2019, the most recent figures available, to reach $376.9 million.

Adidas is not alone in shining a light on women in sports. Nike, Under Armour, Puma and a number of smaller brands are all targeting the lucrative women’s sports market, especially in light of the fact that Lululemon has now emerged as the top activewear brand for women, according to the most recent data from NPD Group.

The company has declined to say what percentage of its overall sales women’s represents and would not project how this new initiative would increase its reach with females. But a spokesperson said, “We know there is great potential in the bra category for Adidas and we’ll continue to grow this globally over the coming years.”

In addition to sports bras, tights are also strong sellers for the brand, and the two categories are often purchased at the same time, the company said. “That’s why we are launching some great complementary tights alongside our bras, and we’ve also built new digital infrastructures into our dot-com platform to make it easier to shop both pieces together in a seamless experience,” a spokesperson said.

Earlier this month, Adidas said the latest iteration of its “Impossible Is Nothing” campaign, which will also launch on Valentine’s Day, will center around women in sport. In addition, the brand will invest more assets this year in creating women’s-specific products to join the Ultraboost 22, a shoe that was introduced in December; Formotion, a shapewear collection launched last February, and Stay in Play, a line of activewear for women to wear while menstruating.

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