Goodbye, 'Jogbra'...

May 2015: First up, though I still try to put up blog content whenever I can, it has been easier to more regularly visit the the Twitterverse. Follow me at @barethomas10 and let's keep the shirtless running flag flying. Of course, the blog still attracts very interesting comments, and good discussion. Keep it up.

Second, in the years since this venture launched, and as shirtless running among women has gone increasingly mainstream, the term "jogbra" has clearly declined in use. I will thus prefer "sportsbra" henceforth - as has already been the case on Twitter, and in recent posts here.

I continue to welcome guest posts (sent to on any related topic, including from those who would discourage stripping to the waist. I am myself of course a fervent convert to the joys of running bare. But let all voices be heard!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Guest post: Uptick in shirtless running?

Note from Thomas
It's been a while since we've had new items. Another summer of shirtless running has been ticking down in the northern hemisphere. So here's the first of a little flurry of posts to catch us up. The first, by Eric James, sounds an optimistic note: He has observed an increase in the number of barechested or jogbraed runners. As he told me during an exchange of emails:"I really do think that I am seeing more shirtless runners of various ages.  I am in a college environment and the trend is most popular among the high school and college age groups, but I am daily seeing very middle-aged folks as well.  Just today I saw separately a couple of jog-bra-ed coeds." More folks seeing the light, eh?

 Uptick in shirtless running?    by Eric James

Perhaps the subject is just old news.  I think I see more and more shirtless runners of all varieties these days. A healthy trend, I believe.  Nevertheless, I still see many negative opinion posts on the net, often in sites of runners magazines. I think that most of these opinions really miss the point.

First, I see no reason why the bare torso of anyone engaged in training or sport should be an offense to cultural norms.  Except in professional or high-level venues, training attire is not at all about impressing viewers in any particular way, positive or negative. But, on the contrary, about appropriateness to the sport and conditions for the active participant.

Second, anyone who has ever experienced the condition called "runner's nipple," i.e. chafed, sore, bleeding nipples after a run knows that that condition must be addressed somehow.  While there are a number of possible solutions including special shirt fabrics, lubricating substances, glues, and bandages, the obvious no-brainer simple solution (weather permitting) is to shed the shirt.  The other solutions which may be necessary in cold conditions are inconvenient, and involve both expense and experimentation for the best individual solution.

Therefore, I would ask witnesses to my runs not to assume that my intent is to display myself, to forgive that I am no longer a fit buff 20-year old, to refrain from judgement that I am neither fleet nor fair, but rather to know that I am doing what seems to aid my efforts, and to credit me for that activity.

Let us all enjoy the sport in unencumbered fashion!


Anonymous said...

I run for health and a sense of psychological well being. I read that some kind of impact exercise is good for bone density, so that's a factor in why I do it too. I'm not that great a runner, but I'm not trying to be a super athlete about it. In the summer time I often if not usually run shirtless. In the colder parts of winter I wear a sweatshirt, sweat pants, a knitcap ("beanie" as they call them these days) and gloves.

I don't visit the runner's forums that much, but I am aware of the anti-shirtless attitude among a lot of athletes---runners, body builder's, fighters...not to mention general society. It can be pretty virulent and insulting, especially on the Net, where it all seems to come out. Even now, I sometimes feel a little self-conscious about running shirtless, but more and more, I don't care about what other people think of it.

Warm or hot weather is more than enough reason to run shirtless. Why would I have to defend being shirtless at 70F any more than I'd have to defend being coatless at 80F. But whatever other motivations one might have is ones own business. Has society always been so judgmental about these things, had such a need to psycho-analyze others? If there's some vanity in my running shirtless, so what? There's some display, some performance in all sports. And in dancing, playing music, acting, maybe just about any human activity. Why be so puritanal about it?

For those anti-shirtless runners who accuse shirtless runners of exhibitionism, well, I'll offer some of my own arm-chair psychology. I think you may have unresolved inhibition and body image issues. I know in my early teens I did , and they came out as hositility towards other boys who seemed to go shirtless more freely and casually than I did. I secretly envied them, but convinced myself I was better. Unfortunately, this attitude is now encouraged in society, not just a private, slightly shameful quirk.

In the old runners magazines, in movies, in yearbooks, runners were commonly depicted shirtless. What happened? Why's it such a big deal now? Do the anti-shirtless people think they were nasty back then?

But even today running shirtless seems pretty common, so maybe the anti-shirtless voices don't matter that much.

GeorgeTSLC said...

Last time I was at the supermarket and looked at the running magazines, every man on 3 different ones was shirt-free.

Ray said...

I always run shiftless. I cannot tolerate the stickiness of a sweaty shirt. It feels good to feel the wind on my chest. Also, I don't have to worry about my nipples getting raw from rubbing against a shirt.
My wife encourages me to go shirtless as it saves on the laundry as well. I usually am shirtless from the time I get home in the afternoon until time to go back to work the next day.
I also am shirtless on the weekend doing all of my chores and yardwork without the worry of a sweaty shirt. I used to be timid when we would have guests over but am very comfortable without a shirt. Sometimes I will even run to the ATM or other quick errands without a shirt.