Thursday, 13 August 2015

M&S Extra High Impact Underwired Sports Bra Review

I thought that I'd do a sports bra review for my most recent splurge that was a complete necessity for me. I went (and finally) bought a proper sports bra. For the past 2 months I had been running without one, and after realising that this was definitely not a phase, and it didn't end after a month I thought it was time to search around.

I felt so absolutely clueless, and the reviews on products didn't help either - I looked at other plus size bloggers who featured sports bra reviews, some said one was great, others said it was rubbish and I became so much more confused - so I forgot all about the blogger reviews; and I'm sort of glad I did, because just because one thing doesn't work for one person, it may work for someone else!

So I tried out good old M&S - I got my first proper bra from M&S, and I've had nearly all my bra fittings and measurements (I get a friend to do my modelling portfolio ones every 4 weeks now) done with M&S. I waltzed into the store where most the ladies who work in the lingerie department seem to recognise me and got remeasured. Bearing in mind since my modelling break which I took back in April I hadn't got my boobs measured in 3 months; taking into consideration I've lost weight and taken up a lot of fitness activities in that time there was bound to be a change. My boobs had gone from a 44C to a 42D/DD.

Photo by M&S
So I browsed the sports bra's; all looked great but none in stock were in my size so I went home and jumped on my laptop and carried on my research - I'd seen a close friend of mine had recently bought the Extra High Impact Underwired Sports Bra in black and she said she couldn't recommend it enough and it was only £25.

So I went to check the reviews and it was really 70/30 - some ladies thought it was amazing, others were left vastly disappointed - I just decided to bite the bullet, and decide for myself. Two days later and this beauty arrived.

I completely refrained from reviewing this right away - as I knew I loved the look of it but really had to completely test it out thoroughly - so I did!!

Before I summarise each little activity I did to test the bra I'm going to show you how it looks on me and the two possible ways you can wear this...
Straps in conventional wear
Above is the most conventional way of wearing the straps - the straps don't dig in on me at all and are super comfortable. I found for me the best way to run with these is to have the straps adjusted fully and as I run the bra straps will adjust to my boobs as I go along. Overall I find this super comfy to wear - I'm not a fully cup bra sort of person but obviously that's bound to change for sports bra's. The material is amazingly soft and comfortable too - as I ran along they didn't rub against my nipples which felt amazing compared to what I was having before I purchased this. 

Straps in the racer back wear
(P.s I know the strap is twisted!)
I'd definitely say that if you feel you aren't getting enough support from wearing the bra conventionally definitely try the racer back. This kept my boobs held down phenomenally and I didn't have too many issues with the bounce factor wearing the straps conventionally. Again, there was no chaffing on my nipples which was definitely an overall highlight for me when purchasing this bra - the comfort is unreal! I did find this incredibly difficult to put on in the racer back style - especially if you don't have someone (like a boyfriend, girlfriend or partner) to help you - my technique was to get the bra on without pulling the straps up, with the back at my front switch the straps round and then wriggle around enough to get it on... It worked but I was definitely super cautious when putting it on just in case!
I also really love the simple detailing on this bra. I chose for the magenta mix but you can also opt for the black bra which has neon green spots on. By the underarms there is a meshing type material to help with sweat and positioning also. The under wire sits below the boobs and cuts off at the side not going right up to the end of the cup. For me personally this works well and means there's no risk of the wire digging in when running or cycling. The bra is also non-padded and has added stretch for comfort.

For the past 2 weeks I've been running, cycling, doing jumping squats, sprinting - anything you can imagine that involves boob bounce. 

Activites Review
  • Running/Sprinting - So I mainly use the bra for running, I run several times a week so this was the main purpose of my purchase. For the all of my activities I tend to opt to wear the straps conventionally unless I have a bad back where I'll opt for the extra support of the racer. I had a whole lot of bounce before hand but since wearing this my boobs are pretty much supported and the bounce has completely reduced; I was sceptical at first, I was never expecting miracles to eradicate boob bounce but definitely wanted to reduce it to a bearable amount - before I was wearing 2 very old sports bras and one normal bra and had about 95% bounce it was uncomfortable and really really hurt my boobs and back after running. I'd say I only get about 20% boob bounce now, and that's generally when I'm running exceptionally fast down a hill or sprinting. 
  • Cycling - I did a trial cycle with my normal bra and I didn't realise how much boob shift I had when bobbing up and down a bumpy track. Thankfully when wearing this sports bra, the shift in my boobs was near on eradicated, it was comfortable and didn't feel like my boobs were sagging. More importantly for me, the underwire wasn't digging in under my rib cage like a normal bra. I often got marks and sores due to my bra digging in, especially when cycling but thankfully due to the lining and material thickness around the underwire it was comfortable.
  • Circuit Training - So I recently also took circuit training up (post will be up soon for some of my quick little circuits). I think the main two activities that tested my bra was doing the sprint mountain climbers and jumping squats. I did get a fair bit of bounce in my boobs, however, once my boobs had reached their highest bounce point the bra did help in supporting them down easier and they didn't 'crash' down and leave me in pain on my under bust. 
8.5/10 - I'd definitely recommend this bra for anyone who is a beginner at doing high intensity and high impact activities. I'd say if you were a long distance runner then maybe see what else may work for you (hard for me to comment as I only run a maximum of 3.5km). This definitely reduces a vast amount of my boob bounce and is a perfect comfortable fit for me when training. My only small downfalls are the difficulty of the racer back which can't really be improved as that will be an issue with any bra. For my 42D boobs this bra is attractive, comfortable and does the job perfectly for me!

My Size - 42D
Size Range - 34B - 42F (covers sizes B-G Cup sizes)
Machine Washable and Tumble Dry safe
Made from; 83% polyester, 11% elastane & 6% polyamide

*this post was not sponsored by Marks and Spencers and all products bought were purchased with my own money. I was not asked by the company to review this product.

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