Sports Bras and Boob History 101

me in my new sports bra...not really. she's clip artToday I bought a super cute new sports bra. It has polka dots…what’s not to love about that? And I was once again reminded to thank Lisa Lindahl, the woman who invented sports bras. She’s my hero.

So here’s a little boob history for you. In 1977 a woman named Lisa Lindahl, with help from costume designer Polly Smith created the sports bra.  Lindahl wanted to take up jogging but the bouncing boob situation drove her crazy.

Her husband jokingly put two jock straps on and pranced around the house… and guess what…the sports bra was born. Thank you Liza Lindahl. The original name was “jockbra”, then “jogbra”.

If you don’t have big boobs or the desire to do anything physical the invention of the sports bra won’t mean much to you. But if you are a woman who ever hoped to do anything other than knit and watch tv the invention of the sports bra is as important as microwaves and dental floss.

Life before the sports bra was miserable. I remember playing tennis when I was 12 or 13, before the invention of the sports bra. My coach started calling me “Boom Boom” so I quite the team. There simply wasn’t a place  for women in the sporting world if they wore anything larger than a B cup. I was also on the swim team but suddenly, in my 7th grade summer, I wasn’t very stream-lined any more. It was depressing and embarrassing because I was tiny girl with enormous breasts.

But now, because of Lisa and the sports bra, we can all embrace our inner jock. We can run, kick, and hurdle our way into shape without the fear of the dreaded boob bounce.

While shopping for my sports bra today I was so pleased. I tried on an expensive and complicated bra and a simpler fourteen dollar bra. Then I did jumping jack in the changing room of JC Penny. Guess what? The cute cheap one did a better job.

It’s crazy to think our country had been around 201 years before the sports bra was invented. The jock strap was invented in 1874 to save  bicycle jockeys riding on the cobblestone streets of  Boston. But I’m pretty sure codpieces were the first jock straps.

So, today, we should all toast this remarkable woman, Liza Lindahl, l but make sure it’s with a well supported cup.


This is a partial reprint from March of 2011, by request.