History: Here’s How The Sports Bra Was Invented


Boobs, you can all thank one Lisa Lindahl for helping you stay snug and comfy while your human goes on a run.

In the 1970s, jogging became all the rage, but there was one problem: the sports bra hasn’t been invented yet. More and more women, through the passage of Title IX (which prohibits gender-based discrimination in schools), were entering sports. Yet, the technology at the time hadn’t kept up with bosom-friendly standards. Boobs were uncomfortably flying all over the place, and clearly something had to be done.

Enter the sports bra’s early ancestor. Glamorise, a women’s undergarment company, created the Free-Swing Tennis Bra in 1975. It gave better support than regular bras, but its thin straps still gave women problems. A quick look at its 1978 newspaper ad shows that it was better suited for leisurely sports like bowling and golf.


Meanwhile at the University of Vermont, grad student Lisa Lindahl would often go on a jog wearing either two bras or one that was a size smaller to give her ample support. Talking to her sister about it, they both joked that they need a jockstrap for women. And there begins, a rather kooky inventing journey.

Lindahl approached her friend Polly Smith, a costume designer, to help her make a prototype. They came up with a few models, but nothing seemed to be just right – it would either lack support or was too tight. On one fateful day, Lisa’s husband paraded around their home, wearing a jockstrap on his chest, saying “Here’s your jockbra, ladies.” And that was their “Eureka!” moment. The next day, Polly stitched together two jockstraps, creating the first ever jockbra (which would later be known as the sports bra.)


With this jockbra design, straps wouldn’t fall off (thanks to the cross pattern on the back) and fasteners wouldn’t clamp down on skin. Lindahl filed for a patent and put out an ad in a running magazine. Soon, her mail-order business took off and the rest as they say is history.

So just to point it out: Millions of women today can thank the immaturity of one man for helping invent the thing that’s holding down their breasts whenever they engage in physical activities.


Via: Deadspin