I’ve been on a bit of an exercise kick lately, out of a desire not to be out of breath for the entire journey after running to catch the train rather than a need to lose weight. As all women (should) know, a sports bra is often the most important piece of kit you wear, and without one you can do lasting damage that will leave you with saggy boobs. When me and my friends discovered this, aged 16, in a school P.E. class held at a local gym, we spent the rest of our time on the treadmills desperately clutching our chests to stop the bounce!
There are loads of sports bras out there that I’m keen to try, but since I’m not sure yet if I’ll become an exercise convert or give up like I always have before, I picked up a cheap one on eBay. For the very reasonable price of £5 I bought the Shock Absorber D+ Max Sports Bra, which rated at a Level 4 is supposed to be one of the most supportive bras they offer. It comes in a variety of different colours and doesn’t look too bra-like so you can wear it as a top if you’re feeling brave (or exercising at home, like me!)
If you wear a 28 band and have ever searched on eBay for your size, you’ll probably have seen one of these come up, and at a very low price. This isn’t true of any other band size – sure, you’ll find them, but they won’t be around the £5-£7 mark as the 28s are. I’ve now discovered the reason for this.
The band is EXTREMELY tight. I found the 28 painfully tight on the first wear and even after a few washes I can still barely fasten it. My underbust measurement is 26 inches, so I would recommend sizing up one, if not two, band sizes. I know it needs to be tight to provide good support, but the band measures a tiny 21 inches and stretched I can’t get it bigger than 26 inches. Unfortunately, the gap between the two lines of hooks is much smaller than on a standard bra fastener, and so it is not possible to use an extender.
In addition to the main fastening, this bra has a second set of hooks. I’m fairly flexible and fasten my bras at the back, so I don’t have too much trouble with it, but reading reviews of this bra many women really struggle with it, and I can imagine if you’re a front fastener it’s an absolute nightmare. To make things extra difficult, both of these fastenings have two hooks and you often end up getting one in only to have the other pop out.
The ‘cup’ sizing (it’s a compression bra, so doesn’t have defined cups) is good and I don’t get any overspill. I haven’t shown a side view as I don’t think the shape is terribly important whilst exercising, but it is perfectly normal, rounded and fairly minimised – as you would expect from a compression bra.
The straps are wide and padded, although only partly adjustable and I find I have to wear them as tight as they’ll go. They also slip quite easily and I usually have to re-tighten them after washing. The fabric is comfortable and not irritating, and it is moisture-wicking to keep you cool. The construction feels robust, and once you get it on, it stands up well to the challenges of exercise. Even whilst doing the most energetic exercises I could come up with, I only noticed a very slight movement and I didn’t feel any discomfort.
This bra is available from a 28 to 40 bands in D to HH cups. Not the most exhaustive size range available in a sports bra, but I’m pleased that Shock Absorber have including a 28 band and, inadvertently, support for women who really need a 26 or a 24 band!