Exploring Alternatives for the Right Bra Material For You

Exploring Alternatives for suitable bra material is a great way to ensure your bras are comfortable and fit well. Choosing sustainable fabrics can also help you reduce your impact on the planet.

Many of the comfortable bras we tested mix elastane and nylon or polyamide. The combination gives them stretch and durability, allowing them to mold to the body, like in the CUUP The Scoop Bra.

Merino Wool

Merino wool is a soft, lightweight, breathable fabric that’s warm when wet and odor-resistant. It’s an excellent option for hiking, yoga, or lounging around the house. It can also be worn as a base layer under your activewear, especially for hiking or cold-weather activities.

Different types of wool have different fiber weights, which impacts how the material feels against your skin. The thicker, coarser, sturdier types of yarn can be itchy and scratchy, but the thin, soft Merino fibers are less abrasive and more comfortable against your skin. Additionally, the micron size of the threads determines how odor-resistant the wool is.

The fibers in a Merino wool bra are naturally antibacterial and odor-resistant, so you don’t need to wash yours after every wear. However, you should avoid using fabric softener on Merino wool because it coats the fibers and reduces their breathability. Instead, hang your Merino wool garment to air dry between wears, and don’t put it in the tumble dryer, which can cause it to shrink.

When purchasing a Merino wool bra, look for one made by a company committed to ethical and sustainable production practices. Many of these companies are small parent-owned, and operated, so you can feel good about supporting your local community. In addition, look for a label that indicates whether the products are OEKO-TEX or Responsible Wool Standard certified, which ensures the products are free of potentially harmful chemicals from sheep to your skin.


Silicones (or silicone rubber) are a class of synthetic polymers with inorganic backbone chains consisting of silicon and oxygen atoms. They can be shaped, hardened, and annealed into almost anything, like plastics, but they are much more resistant to extreme temperatures, water resistance and have very low reactivity to chemicals.

They are derived from sand and other mineral sources through various chemical reactions. Their polar chain has high oxygen bond energy and is highly soluble in organic solvents. They have a lower melting point than common industrial polymers such as EPDM and can withstand temperatures above 400°C.

Like natural rubbers, they can stretch to a wide range of lengths. They also have good resistance to ozone and general weathering stresses.

They can be cured at room temperature using an organotin compound or platinum catalyst. The curing agent causes cross-linking of the linear backbone molecules, forming what is known as room-temperature vulcanizing silicones. This gives them elasticity similar to natural rubbers, and they retain this property up to 550°C.

To create more flexible, resilient, and durable silicones for the right bra material for you, they can be cured with higher cross-linking to form silicon elastomers or reacted with other materials, such as polyamides, to produce pressure-sensitive adhesives. PSAs can be used to stick various materials, including fabric, cloth, and paper, to surfaces, and they will adhere when the material is subjected to pressure. They can even adhere fabric to other fabrics, such as knits.


Nylon is a family of synthetic polymers often used to construct sheer paneling and lace in lingerie. It is spun with high counts of spandex to provide elasticity. It is often used as a lining for stretchy cup fabrics, as it’s light enough not to add unnecessary bulk while remaining rigid sufficient to lend adequate support.

However, it does not breathe as well as natural fibers and can cause chafing. Additionally, it contributes to climate change and is not biodegradable.

If you’re looking for a sustainable alternative, try a bra made from TENCEL®, which is spun from eucalyptus trees and requires significantly less water to grow than cotton. You can also consider bamboo, which is naturally antibacterial and moisture-wicking. Ultimately, it’s best to work out your unique needs (and, yep, that will involve some complex math) and work with a brand committed to sustainability and ethical practices. Thankfully, many brands prioritize both! Choosing the suitable fabric can make all the difference regarding comfy, supportive bras. And you’ll be helping to reduce the amount of plastic waste in our oceans and landfills in the process!


Lycra is a fully synthetic fabric commonly known as spandex (in North America) or elastane in the rest of the world. Its elasticity allows it to stretch up to 8 times its original size and retain its shape. The fabric is trendy and used in all clothing, including athletic and swimwear. It’s rare to find any workout apparel that doesn’t contain some form of elastane.

The need for a new, highly-durable fiber prompted the development of this innovative material. Natural rubber, an essential ingredient in undergarments and girdles, was being diverted to support the war efforts in Europe during World War II. Scientists worked diligently to develop a synthetic fiber that could replace rubber. Finally, in 1958, Dr. Joseph Shivers created a new type of fiber known as “Fiber K” and, later, lycra.

This breakthrough in synthetic fiber technology has since revolutionized the clothing industry. Lycra and its equivalents are now found in everything from yoga pants to lingerie. You can even see this fabric in many sports bras because it provides a level of stretch that helps with performance and comfort. Scientists create a solution fed into a cylindrical machine called a fiber production cell to make this fabric. Then, high-pressure air twists the key into strands ready for sewing and manufacturing.

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