This is a review, primarily for all you fellow lucky ladies out there, who like me are somewhat “gifted in the chest department”. Whilst finding regular bras, swimwear and clothing to fit your figure can be extremely challenging at the best of times, in my opinion, the humble sports bra presents even more of a challenge for us. Not only does it have to fit, but if you want to fully participate in sports without causing yourself pain and physical damage then it’s got to reduce the high levels of impact on your breasts you’ll be subjecting your body to. Regardless of your size, proper support is so important, so I would encourage you all to invest some time and money into finding a bra that really works for you. With my chest currently a 30FF, I knew that running without adequate support would be nigh on impossible.
Not knowing all that much about what bras were out there, I turned to online advice, first googling to see which bras the internet recommended for someone of my size. The result was more or less resounding- Shock Absorbers! When out shopping in Debenhams later that week I noticed that they stocked them, and tried on a few to get an idea of the sizing (I would recommend this, if possible, as you never know how sizing will differ between brands). In my experience, the sizing is pretty accurate and is the same as what I would wear in a regular bra, however if you’ve not been fitted professionally in a while, it’s worth doing as our bodies are always changing. Also, when trying on bras, don’t be afraid to jump up and down and jog on the spot, in the fitting room; you want to get a proper idea of the support the bra will provide you. I wasn’t fully satisfied with the range of Shock Absorbers and sizes that were available at Debenhams that day, so I didn’t buy any from there. I did, however purchase several online at a later date.
I currently own 3 of Shock Absorber’s high exertion running bras (this style http://www.lessbounce.com/sports-bras-non-wired/shock-absorber/shock-absorber-high-exertion-n109_ct486bd194pd48.htm) and 4 of the sports bra tops in assorted colours.I have had most of my Shock Absorber collection for nearly three years, and with the exception of one that accidentally went in the washing machine (please always handwash your bras- it’s so much better for them!), they have all retained their shape and size.The two different style bras work in two different ways; the white bras encapsulate each breast separately and stop movement from occurring whilst the bra tops compress both the breasts together, restricting some of their movement. For actual running I will always choose to wear one of the white bras; they are incredibly enclosing and stop pretty much all movement. They aren’t so tight that they are uncomfortable and you find yourself counting down the minutes until you can remove them, but at the same time you probably wouldn’t want to wear one all day.The bra is also quite high cut, so looks slightly odd if paired with lower cut running tops, and the tight encapsulation of the breasts unfortunately also gives them something of a Madonna effect, but this isn’t too noticeable underneath a top. If you are feeling a tad self conscious, or just want to feel extra secure, then I would recommend wearing a sports crop top over this bra, just to even out the “pointy breasts” effect. I occasionally do this, but mostly just when I am racing. If it makes you feel more comfortable and perform better, then you might as well!
The crop tops are, it has to be said, far more stylish looking but not quite as practical as they restrict the movement of the breasts slightly less well than the encapsulating bra does. I would wear mine for a less impact heavy activity such as cycling or rowing. I do wear mine in dance classes, which I realise are quite impact heavy but I would rather trade off the difference in support for a smoother looking physique and a lower neckline, as the white running bras would look awful with a leotard. Again, it boils down to what you feel best in, and I just know I would feel terribly self conscious were I to wear one of them to a dance class, and that this would effect my performance negatively.
I have yet to try sports bras from the other main brands, but I will report back on my findings when I do. Since I’ve found Shock Absorbers at fairly reasonable pricers and enjoy wearing them, there seems very little reason to change brand right this moment. As my bras are a few years old, the style of Shock Absorbers is slightly different to the ones on sale right now, so I’m excited to see how the new ones differ. Maybe a treat to myself of a little retail therapy is in store?