REF2014: Impact Case Study: Improving sports bra design and breast health through biomechanics research.

Impact: Economic & Commercial Impacts, Health & Welfare Impacts, Societal Impacts

Description of impact

In collaboration with major, global apparel companies, fundamental research by the Research Group in Breast Health (RGBH) at the University of Portsmouth has led to the development of new and innovative methods for investigating the biomechanics of the breast during sport and exercise. This research has generated the following global impacts: knowledge transfer to industry that now use these methods to design and validate their products; economic benefit in terms of increased sports bra sales; increased awareness of this important aspect of women’s health and the associated benefits of good-fitting and well-designed apparel.

Who is affected

Sports apparel industry; Sports Bra retailers; Sportswomen; General public.


The development of methodologies to measure breast support requirements in three dimensions provided the bra industry with an assessment tool against which product performance could be measured. These methods have been adopted worldwide by the sports apparel industry, both independently and in collaboration with us. Retailers as well as manufacturers have realised economic benefits through association with our research. This has led to increased sales and higher prices, both for manufacturers who have worked with us and for the industry in general.
The RGBH has also engaged in awareness and educational activities which include press coverage to over 60 million people worldwide, public presentations (Women’s Institute, Nuffield Health, MODA, All Woman Show), and television programmes (Channel 4 Sex Education Show, ITV This Morning).
Impact statusOpen
Category of impactEconomic & Commercial Impacts, Health & Welfare Impacts, Societal Impacts
Impact levelBenefit (delivered impact)


  • breast health
  • biomechanics
  • sports bra design


  • REF2014