Cover art for podcast Distillations | Science History Institute

Distillations | Science History Institute

294 EpisodesProduced by Science History InstituteWebsite

Each episode of Distillations podcast takes a deep-dive into a moment of science-related history in order to shed light on the present.


Second Skin: The Unexpected Origin of the Sports Bra

The sports bra is omnipresent in today’s sports landscape. But the current iteration of this nifty item is less than 40 years old, and it arrived with a serendipitous origin story.

For this episode of Distillations we talked to Lisa Lindahl, an entrepreneur from Vermont, who in 1979 patented what was to become the modern-day sports bra. It’s a story about a runner who wanted running to be more comfortable. “It was the right product at the right time. It really struck a chord for so many women,” says Lindahl. “This product came into being because it was something I wanted.”

We also talked to our museum team about their new exhibition, Second Skin: The Science of Stretch, and the roles stretch fabrics play in health and sports. Christy Schneider, exhibits project manager at the Museum at CHF, says it’s all about getting the body you want, whether you want to dance all night or run a marathon. “How do you that?” asks Schneider. “You clothe it in a second skin.”

Show Clock

00:05 Intro00:32 ‘The Sports Bra Seen Round the World’ 05:40 A brief history of the sports bra10:53 The technology and science behind the sports bra11:50 Why stretch fabric matters 15:20 Conclusion


Hosts: Michal Meyer and Bob Kenworthy Guests: Brandi Chastain, Lisa Lindahl, Gillian Maguire, and Christy Schneider Reporter: Rigoberto Hernandez Producer: Mariel Carr Associate Producer: Rigoberto Hernandez Audio Engineer: Seth G. Samuel


Music courtesy of the Audio Network.

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