Athletic supporters are a critical piece of sporting equipment for a range of athletes. Soft cup athletic supporters provide additional support for male athletes during sports such as jogging, in-line skating or basketball. Athletic supporters with a harder, plastic cup are best suited for contact sports like football, soccer and rugby in which there is an increased risk of groin injury. Contrary to popular myth, the proper size of an athletic supporter is not determined by the size of the genitals. Instead, athletic supporters are classified by waist circumference and should be properly fitted to both your waist and leg sizes.
Measure the circumference of your waist at about the point where the waistband of your pants normal sits. Round the number to the nearest quarter inch.
Determine the proper size based on your waist measurement. Standard adult sizes include small for measurements between 26 1/4 inches to 32 inches, medium for measurements between 32 1/4 and 38 inches, and large for measurements between 38 1/4 and 44 inches. Specialty sizing is available if your measurement falls outside of these boundaries.
Assess the fit of the elastic straps that wrap around your thighs. The straps should fit snugly without pinching your skin or hanging loosely. If the supporter fits around your waist but is tight around your thighs, you might have the elastics adjusted by a tailor or buy a larger size and have the waist taken in.
Ensure that the cup portion of the supporter is comfortable. The cup should feel snug, but should not put pressure on any part of your genitals. If the cup is tight, select a supporter with a larger waist size -- most manufacturers increase the cup size as the waist size increases. Have the waist taken in by a tailor to prevent slipping.
Choose youth sizes for children.
Athletic supporters are designed to protect against injury, but they are not a guarantee. Observe all sports safety rules.
Hannah Wahlig began writing and editing professionally in 2001. Her experience includes copy for newspapers, journals and magazines, as well as book editing. She is also a certified lactation counselor. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mount Holyoke College, and Master's degrees in education and community psychology from the University of Massachusetts.