What kind of relationship do you have with your sports bra?
I’ve been attending the gym more frequently in recent years, and I purchased a sports bra when I started taking things more seriously and my regularly-fluctuating bra size had finally settled down.
However, my sports bra is now getting to be so old and battered that I can’t even remember what brand it is; the label is long gone and I’m lucky that it somehow manages to stay in one piece as I run, row and cycle my way around the local gym.
Sports bras are like that; after making the initially expensive investment, you gradually bend them to your will following an indeterminate period of ‘breaking in’, and when they finally take on your bodyshape, you really don’t want to let them go. (Somewhat like most bras, really, but particularly so with those of the sports variety).
So, when I decided to review some new sports bras, it was with some trepidation and sadness that I would need to set aside my trusty harness and try out something entirely new…
Bra: Black and white Shock Absorber Bras.
Product description: Maximum bra support (level 4) from a best-selling style for fuller busts. Coolmax fabric draws moisture away from the body.
My size: 32FF.
Review: I’m essentially reviewing two sports bras here, so I’ll start with the white Shock Absorber.
When I first tried the white bra on, I thought I had made a mistake with the size. It was a real struggle to fasten it up at the back, and I felt like I was being choked. It was difficult to adjust, and I felt like I was wearing a really tight harness. I contemplated sending it back, but considered the idea that maybe I had grown too used to my trusty, battered bra, and perhaps this was how it was meant to feel. It has a single back-fastener with three hooks-and-eyes at the back, but the big advantage with this bra is the soft shoulder straps – they’re double-lined, with no tapered edges, so when all the adjustments were made, it felt quite snug on my shoulders.
After a run-out at the gym, the material loosened up a bit, and it felt okay on. I guess the whole point of a sports bra is for it to be tight-fitting, and stop your boobs flailing about all over the place, which is especially important if you’re quite big, like me.
This one certainly holds you in place, although, after an hour on the treadmill and the rowing machine, it was a relief to take it off. I had heavy track-marks across my back, under my boobs and at my armpits where the hard edges of the band had been digging in to my skin.
Obviously, there’s no underwires in mosts sports bras, but I had no trouble with the cups – everything stayed firmly in place, with a comforting ‘minimiser’ effect.
I can’t say it was completely uncomfortable – just very tight – so, with that in mind it might be a good idea to consider going up a band size from your normal size for a sports bra like this – if you want a little bit of comfort while you jog, that is.
The black Shock Absorber, on the other hand, was simply fantastic. It was easy to put on, easy to fasten, and it felt absolutely perfect. No discomfort, no pain, no choking sensation. The difference between this one and the white bra was the double set of back-fasteners (both with three sets of hooks-and-eyes) and the smoother edges on the band.
The black bra was much more comfortable on, even after an hour or so of heavy work-out – it felt natural, almost like wearing a tight vest – and had a much nicer look and feel to it, with the white piping tapered around the edges on the shoulder straps. If I was bold enough, I would wear it as my training top, but I might catch a few strange looks from my fellow gym-attendees.
I happily spent an hour in the gym – running, working weights, rowing and cycling – and I can honestly say it did the job it was designed for, although, I don’t play any sports regularly, so I couldn’t speak for high impact activity like netball, tennis, hockey or football. The real secret to any kind of bra is putting it on and forgetting all about it – and that’s exactly how I felt with this one.
I’m quite happy with both bras, but the black one has now become a firm favourite – which means I’ll need to take extra care with it when washing it, or it’ll end up like my sad, yellowed, frayed and battered old one.
Value: both are quality bras and are absolutely essential if you’re serious about sport or aerobic exercise. The materials feel strong, well-stitched and expertly designed. I would say there’s slightly more ‘give’ in the black bra and it generally feels better in quality – but the white bra works well as a sturdy, tight and quality garment, perfectly-suited to the purpose.
Price: £26 each. Not cheap for a bra, but certainly cheap for a sports bra – and worth every penny if you exercise regularly and want to take proper care of your boobs.
Both bras are available at Brastop.com