Yep, that’s not a typo, it does say Boobs not Boots. And girls, we need to look after our boobs when we’re hiking as much as we look after our feet in our boots, which means we need to talk Bras. Some walkers will happily wear their M&S (other brands are available!) day to day bra when they head out to the hills and that works fine for them. But that didn’t work for me so I thought it might be useful to share my experiences and learnings.
Breasts will move up to 14cm during a workout
Hiking isn’t exactly the most dynamic of sports, surely they’re not going to move that much? Well, for me it wasn’t so much about the movement (although looking after the ligaments in your boobs will reduce sagging in later years which is a plus point in my book), but more about comfort. On a day to day basis I tend to wear underwired bras. Stick one of these on, pop a rucksack on with a decent amount of weight in it, and I find the rucksack shoulder straps and chest strap push enough to make the underwire move and kind of stick out at an angle away from my chest – meaning there is little or no support at all. And once I’ve been up a decent sized hill and perspired gently (yeah right!) the cotton in the bra clung on to the moisture and before long I was feeling the cold. So I made the move to wearing a sports bra for hiking.
There are so many to choose from!
When I retire my sports bras from running (generally after 200 miles when I feel they are not as supportive as they once were) I keep them and use them for a season of hiking before I throw them away. Okay so you don’t need a high impact sports bra for hiking but it will more than do the job. Equally if you’re buying new you might choose a medium impact as that’ll work for the level of movement you would expect to get from hiking. Your boob size will make a difference here too. I won’t ever buy a soft crop top style for instance because I get too much movement for my size, I need something with more structure. Websites like www.boobydoo.co.uk recommend styles by sport which is a really useful place to start.
Bruised shoulder bones?
Using my ex-running bras for hiking was working really well until I headed to Switzerland for a long distance trek. My rucksack was heavier than usual as I was carrying a tent, cooking utensils, basically everything I would need for the three week trek. By lunchtime my shoulders were aching and I just put it down to the heavier pack. By the end of the first day one area on each shoulder was really tender and I was feeling a bit sorry for myself. When I got undressed on day two I noticed I had bruises on the bony area on each shoulder! After a bit of investigation I discovered it was exactly where a clasp on the shoulder strap of the bra was being pushed into my skin and onto the bone by the shoulder straps of the heavier than usual rucksack. So now I have my running bras and I have my hiking bras – and I make sure the hiking ones don’t have clasps anywhere on the shoulder straps.
Wear and a spare
Because they’re designed for sport they’re designed to dry quickly. So if you are on a multiday trek you can wear one and take a spare. At the end of the day wash the one you’ve been wearing, tie it to the back of your rucksack the next morning while you continue your trek in your spare and it’ll dry ready for the next day, and so on.
I hope this has been useful and given you some extra things to be aware of other than just chest and cup size when you’re considering your clothing for your next hike. In later blogs we will be looking at layering your clothing to ensure you’re not too hot and not too cold on your walk.