We recently did a blog on how to choose the perfect sports bra for you, but we've also collaborated with the lovely Sian over at UK lingerie blog Big Cup Little Cup to get a more in-depth look at some of our top sports bra styles! We've been so excited to see what she thought of these styles, so go ahead and check out her thoughts below:
Hi Brastop lovelies! My name is Sian, I blog over at Big Cup Little Cup about all things lingerie, and I'm a 28GG.
As anyone DD+ will know, finding a sports bra that fits you is of utmost importance if you want to stay fit and healthy. Have you ever tried running for a bus in a normal bra? Or, heaven forbid, a bralette?!
Luckily, I've been given the chance to try out three sports bras from three different brands to help give you all an idea of what might work best for each of your needs.
Panache Sports Wired Bra - Black (28GG)
I've worn the Panache Sports Wired Bra in a 28G almost exclusively as my go-to sports bra for the last 3 years. My original version made it through countless yoga sessions, some pretty intense Crossfit and one very intense Tough Mudder. Here I've finally had the chance to size up to a 28GG - my usual bra size - and it's an excellent fit.
There are two different types of sports bra: encapsulation and compression. The Panache Sports Wired Bra is an encapsulation bra, which means that it has structured lightly moulded cups underneath a layer of smooth microfibre fabric. This fabric helps to wick moisture away from the skin, which is perfect for working out. This sports bra has underwires, but they are encased in a thicker, almost padded, layer of fabric. The straps are also wide and padded, meaning that it's super comfortable.
Speaking of the straps, they are part way adjustable but also have an O ring with a hook at the back, meaning that the bra can be worn racerback too. This is a brilliant option for when you want to hide your straps underneath your sportswear, and I find it also gives a little extra support too.
The band is lovely and tight in this sports bra, but also manages to stay very comfortable thanks to the fabric covering it. As someone who usually measures up and wears a 28GG, it seems to be very true to size.
The shape of this bra is quite minimising and flattening - I feel like I'm a couple of cup sizes smaller when I wear it! I find the cups to be a little on the shallow side with a fairly closed top edge. As a more full on top shape, this can cause difficulties with spillage for me, but fortunately this bra has a high level of coverage so everything is kept contained.
I find the level of support in this bra to be very good - I experience barely any movement from my breasts in this as it holds them firmly in place. I generally tend to prefer encapsulation sports bra as they help to prevent that, ahem, slightly icky feeling of sweaty boob smush after a particularly active workout - attractive, I know!
Personally, I wear this for everything - from hardcore weightlifting in the gym (or as hardcore as I get!) to yoga. It's comfortable enough that I forget I'm wearing it, but gives enough support that I really value having it there.
My final note on the Panache Sports Bra is that it has a crazy number of size options (starting at a 28DD and going up to a 40GG, although it goes down to a B cup in some band sizes and up to a J in some too) and colour combinations. I'm wearing the simple black here which is perfect for every sporting occasion, but there's also Grey Marl, Latte, White, and other fashion prints too! What more could you ask for?!
Freya Active Epic Crop Top Sports Bra - Cherry Marl (30G)
The Freya Active Epic Crop Top Sports Bra is quite similar in style to the Panache above. It has perforated foam cups for breathability, covered in a smooth, moisture-wicking fabric. It too has underwires, but these are less padded than the Panache. It also works by encapsulating the breasts within a highly engineered structure.
Looking at the straps, these are part adjustable too, due to the front of the straps being wider and thicker for support. I personally find these straps to be quite long. Normally I have straps adjusted to about half way (so I assume my shoulders are of average height?!), but I had to tighten these all the way to stop them slipping. This could also be avoided by using the J hook which turns it into a racerback.
Where the Panache Sports Bra was quite flattening, I find the Freya Active Crop Top Sports Bra to be more projected and "cone-like" - not quite to the extent of calling it Madonna-esque, but definitely not minimising. This would work well for those who have a more projected shape. Personally, I feel as if there's almost a little bit of extra room at the very point of the cup, however this doesn't seem to compromise the support for me as a series of star jumps and burpees proved!
I've worn Freya Sports Bras in the past in a 28 band and found them a little on the tight side, so I picked this one in a 30G - the sister size to my usual 28GG. To be honest, I think I should have just stuck with the 28GG, or potentially gone down to a 28G. I'm already fastening the band on the tightest hooks which means I'll get less wear out of it. I like my sports bra bands to be tighter than a normal bra for maximum support, but on the loosest hooks, I don't get a lot of support.
I'd be happy to wear this for a range of sports and workouts, however I think I'd be most likely to reach for it for lower impact exercises. It's ever so slightly less comfortable than the Panache and has a little less support for my shape, perhaps because of that small bit of additional space I've got in the cup due to the projected shape.
Like the Panache, the Freya comes in a pretty impressive selection of sizes (from a 28D to a 40G, with most band sizes going up to a H cup, and 34+ band sizes beginning at a B cup) and a few different colour options too. Personally I love this cherry marl shade (sadly now sold out) - it looks sporty but fun, plus it matches most of my other activewear. The contrasting red on the straps, underbust and band also makes me feel fierce and confident. I'm a fickle creature and if I have something pretty to wear in the gym, I'm more likely to make the effort - it makes a difference, people!
Shock Absorber Active Multi Sports Support Bra - Dark Grey (30G)
Where the previous two bras operated on encapsulation, the Shock Absorber Active Sports Bra is a compression style. This means that instead of separating and enclosing the breasts, it presses them against the body to hold them in place. It's a matter of personal preference over which one will work best for you. Interestingly I generally prefer encapsulation, but I LOVE this sports bra.
The Shock Absorber sports bra is not wired and is non-padded - very different from the other two sports bra. You'd think this would mean that it has a lower level of support, but to the contrary, I find this bra to have the best result of all three. I experience barely any movement from my breasts in this bra at all. In fact, I jumped (rather aggressively) around while wearing this bra and found my stomach moving more than my boobs - very impressive indeed!
Like the others, it is designed with moisture-wicking fabric meaning it's ideal for hot and sweaty workouts, and is very comfortable to wear as a result.
Where the cups on the other bras are moulded into shape, this bra uses seaming to provide the cup shape. I chose my 30G sister size as this bra doesn't offer a 28 band option, and I'm glad I did size up - the 30 band is very tight! I like this and it fits me, usually a 28 band with a 27" underbust very well, but if you're between sizes, I'd recommend sizing up in the band. The cups also fit well, but it's more difficult to judge with a wireless compression bra. I get no spillage and very little movement, plus it's really comfortable, so I judge this as a good fit in the cups for me.
The straps are also part way adjustable, but here's where it gets really interesting: this bra has two sets of fastenings: one at normal band level that fastens with a narrower band than the others (2 rows of hooks and eyes), and another slightly higher up which also fastens with the same number of hooks and eyes. This innovative design helps to provide that additional support for larger cup sizes like me as it hold the bra close to the body at band level and boob level. On top of that, I just think this looks really cool too! This works partly as a racerback with this design. The only issue I have with this fastening is that it's a little more tricky to do up by yourself - fortunately I had a handy photographer (better known as my fiancé!) on hand here, but it's definitely not as easy when you're alone.
This bra is pretty much ideal for high impact sports, and the one I would reach for first for anything intensive like Crossfit, HIIT training and future Tough Mudder events. It honestly makes me feel like I have a much smaller bust and makes training so much easier for me.
This bra also boasts an impressive size range for DD+ - although it doesn't have a 28 band option, I'd judge the 30 band to be on par with a 28 band in the others (possibly even a little tighter maybe!). It goes from a 30D to a 38HH, with the 32 and 34 band sizes also offering B and C cups. It too has a range of colour options, as well as more standard options like my dark grey and plain black.
So there we have it, Sian's amazingly in-depth reviews of three of our top selling sports bras right now. Let us know what you thought of this blog in the comments below or over on our social channels, and have a nosey at our Top 10 Sports Bras! You can also read through our Sports Bra Buying Guide to find the perfect style for you.