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Scoop Images: New Bra Beats Bounce

From the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology
For immediate release

Photo Caption: Sarah Findlay models one of the new Cool Guard sports bras, designed particularly for jogging, aerobics and women's soccer.


Max Rutherford is keen on sports bras.

His New Plymouth business, Quality Performers, has spent $27,000 studying them in the past year - its breast-protection products now adorn 80 percent of women in the sport of fencing around the world, and thousands of women in martial arts.

"Every sports fencing company in the world buys my products and almost all of the martial arts companies," Mr Rutherford says.

Every year he has sold 13,000 in the United States, Europe and Australia. His latest invention, developed with the help of Technology New Zealand investment, is aimed at the booming worldwide jogging and aerobics market, and women's soccer.

The protection bras, made of Tupperware-style polypropylene, offer strong and supple protection in contact sports. The newly developed Cool Guard jogging bras support women's anatomy in an activity that can be uncomfortable - even painful - and embarrassing.

They have been developed with the help of 12 women volunteers running on treadmills at Auckland Institute of Technology, while vertical and horizontal movements, and temperatures, have been studied by videos, digitised monitoring and computers, by Unitec and Massey University.

Mr Rutherford says the original chest protectors were developed in 1981 by an orthotics specialist for a women's soccer team in New Plymouth. They proved hot and uncomfortable in sustained physical activity, but later models have proved popular in short-duration exertion, such as in fencing, karate and boxing.
Early in 1999, he developed an improved protection version, designed to be cooler and more comfortable, and sent it to England for evaluation.

"They said it would make a great jogging bra, overcoming embarrassment, and pain from shoulder straps, and why didn't I market it as that? I rethought the whole thing, to develop a support bra and have protection as a bonus," he says.
The new model features a crop-top of special material made by Dupont, designed by Mr Rutherford's wife, into which separate polypropylene cups can be inserted when needed. They can be removed while the top is still being worn, and come in eight sizes.

Mr Rutherford says Technology New Zealand's $13,500 investment had been essential in gaining the research expertise required to improve the latest model and help break into the demanding United States market.

"I wanted to compete with overseas products - I can do that now."

Contact: * Max Rutherford, Quality Performers, New Plymouth.
Ph: (06) 757-4773. Email: * Philip Mowles,
Technology New Zealand at the Foundation for Research, Science and
Technology, Ph: (04) 498-7845 or 025 815-426. Website:

Prepared on behalf of the Foundation for Research, Science and
Technology by
I.D. Communications. Contact: Ian Carson (04) 477-2525,

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