Anita Extreme Sports Bra

For obvious reasons I am a big fan of companies that produce clothes for the larger sportswoman. Nike have recently launched a plus size range of clobber that I am overjoyed with and Anita have been making bras in a wide range of sizes for ages. 

Anita sent me a sample of their extreme control sports bra to test recently and so I’ve put it through its paces so you don’t have to. 

This is a soft bra without underwire which is a bonus for weight training as there is no risk of being skewered in the armpit when you reach depth in the squat. 

The disadvantage of a non-wired bra is the mono-boob, which I am modelling for you here. No discernable cleavage, just a shelf. 

Deep squat without underwire

It’s billed as an extreme control bra and did fair well at more dynamic crossfit sessions. It’s hard to challenge a bra more than skipping, running and burpees and in all cases the bra functioned well. 

All in all, it’s proved to be comfortable and is still my go to bra when exercising. However, I can regularly be spotted rearranging myself due to the mono-boob effect and don’t tend to hang around in it long after my training for the same reason. 

No Sports Bra, No Sport and The Energising Purple Bra

No Bra No Sports

Berlei contacted me recently offering me a bra to review as part of their No Sports Bra, No Sports campaign. I have the sort of build that means partaking in sport, particularly a running sport, without the assistance of a serious boob controlling device is a no brainier. Unfortunately Berlei don’t produce a bra in my size so perhaps I should give up sports?

Berlei Crop TopMy loss was the teenagers gain. She received the donated bra and at last has a proper sports bra to run in.

It is a lovely quality bra with some nice details. The rear clasps are hidden behind a stretch fabric covering which means the bra looks good enough to wear as a top without looking half dressed. Its very soft as well so shouldn’t rub excessively.

While Berlei don’t produce sports bras for the larger boob, Shock Absorber support women in action all the way up to HH cup.

I was sent a Purple Ultimate Bra to try out. The purple colour supposedly has energising properties for women.

Energising Purple

Ultimate Run braI’m not sure if it can energise the wearer from underneath a t-shirt so I considered going topless. But not for long.

I already run in Shock Absorber bras but this is the first requiring external assistance. There seems to be a recent trend for two-person sports bras. Maybe following the adage, No Partner, No Sports Bra.

Lynn runs in this model and has a particularly troublesome time with it, especially at a BMF session. She’s constantly requiring assistance as either the top impossible clasp has snapped open or the adjustable straps have slid off their guides and its a tricky task trying to reassemble the myriad straps under cover of a t-shirt while being yelled at by military personnel.

Ultimate Run Bra - RearMy new purple bra has a slightly different design to the one pictured, with 3 connectors running up the back and the standard variety of adjustable strap. Its the same Ultimate Run model so it might be that the design changes slightly as you move up sizes. I’m quite happy with my design – once I’m in it, there is very little risk of anything coming undone which is a bonus not to be sniffed at.

It doesn’t eradicate all bounce but is extremely comfortable.

If you are quick, SportPursuit have a few days left on a Shock Absorber sale offering 40% off the Ultimate Run bra.

Ultimate Gym Bra Review

20130213-204712.jpgWe’ve been trying out new sports bras.

I use the term “we” because I had to enrol the help of a less well endowed runner to try out the Shock Absorber Ultimate Gym Bra, which although generously sized, does not quite stretch to my proportions.

I can confirm that the test model was still sufficiently substantial to ensure a thorough testing in the bounce department.

This is a supportive garment, you feel and look, well ensconced. Firmly grasped as it were.

It has a double clasped connection, the normal hook and eye fastening plus the additional cross over back clasp. This extra connection pulls your shoulders back, forces you into a fine posture and secures you firmly. I defy anyone to get into it single handedly though.

20130213-204720.jpgThe second clasp is in that blind spot of the upper back – the place of the unreachable itch and in this case the unclaspable clasp.

I had to provide assistance in the gym changing rooms to ensure the bra was tested in its full glory. I’m not sure how practical most bra wearers will find this requirement for an extra pair hands.

It won’t be a problem for the extremely supple and the double jointed but for mere mortals you will have to ask for help.

Once on its as sturdy as it appears. Minimal bounce and extremely comfortable.

The Shock Absorber bra has a bonus extra in the form of a headphone hook on the top of the left cup. I think this is a fantastic idea as you an never have enough solutions to the problem of the errant headphone cable.

It’s a fine looking contraption as well.

Have any of you tried one? Can you get into it on your own? Is there a knack?

An Unexpected Bra Review

Bra manufacturers don’t tend to consider the H-cup lady as a partaker in high intensity, high impact sports and as a result you don’t tend to find a lot of bra reviews on the warriorwomen website.

Having said that, I was recently approached by SimplySweat who offered me a selection of sport bras for review, many of which fit into the category of “substantial” engineering.

I’ve just taken receipt of the Panache Sports Bra and it is an object to marvel at – it came with large wads of padding to maintain the stunning construction but I’m afraid my photo does not do it justice.

I’m impressed with manufacturers who “support” the larger lady and Panache have created something very special in this bra. Moving along the D to H cup range necessarily means a decline in sports bra options, I’ve previously been restricted to the Enell – super compression bra and the Shock Absorber Maximum support bra – it’s great to have some more choice.

Panache Sports Bra frontThe Panache bra is as substantial as the Enell contraption but lighter and more comfortable. The cups appear to have a thin layer of moulded foam which will prevent the friction grazes I experience with both of my other options. The well concealed underwire and moulding helps to maintain a shape so that the overall look is more appealing than the mono-boob effect of the Enell.

I was concerned that the Panache bra might hold quite a lot of moisture but I’ve just rattled off a 5k indoor treadmill run – the sweatiest workout option I have, and the bra is still comfortable 20 mins later so the wicking properties are as good as they are billed.

Panache Sports BraHaving scoured the website for action photos, I notice that the bra can be worn in true racer-back stylee. This is obviously optional as I didn’t even notice the additional clasp. I have to say I feel a little bit too trussed up with that fastened but it certainly reduces movement even further.

I’ll finish off with a quote from Panache – an homage to running boobs:

In sport, breasts are not assets.
But I’m not running away from mine.
They’ve been along for every heart-pounding, gut-wrenching mile.
And while they may not be as aerodynamic as some,
they’ll never slow me down.

Tabio Running Sock Review and Giveaway

I was encouraged out on today’s run by the arrival of some new socks for me to trial and review.

I’ve been sent a fascinating collection of running specific sports socks from the Japanese manufacturer Tabio. Today I tried out the Tabio Racing Run Toe Sock but I also have the lovely lobster styled Tabi Socks and the more conventional Racing Run Sock yet to trial.

The first thing that struck me about the socks was the price. At £28 a pair they are the most expensive sock I’ve ever worn. The last sock I bought also had that accolade but at £21 for a twin pack it was a snip at the price.

I got over the price fairly quickly but that might have something to do with them being a free gift.

They generated rather a lot of excitement in the house, which can’t be said of the other socks I own. Quite the opposite actually.

The Tabio socks have a host of design features, the most obvious in this pair is the individual toe compartments like the Vibram Five Fingers. This supposedly improves balance and push off. I think they look rather snazzy. They’ve also got arch support by way of some nifty weaving and extra large heel compartment to prevent the sock riding up or down. The most useful feature as far as I’m concerned is the skidproof patches on the soles.

I have quite a large middle toe and it tends to get bashed mercilessly on the end of my shoe, after 5km I’ll inevitably have a bruised toenail and by 13km the nail may have pulled completely away. With the non slip design I felt as though my feet held in place and I certainly didn’t feel any impact pain from my toes.

I’m going to try these socks out with a variety of shoes and longer distances so I will soon know if they are toe savers.

Now for the giveaway.

I have two pairs of Tabio Socks: Racing Run and Racing Run Toe Sock size 4-6.5 that I can give away to readers of this blog.

Nothing two onerous, I’ll give one pair to a random commenter on the blog and I’ll give another to the commenter who pleads their case most impressively. Good luck – they really are quite exciting socks.

Rapanui Eco Clothing

I have to buy my own t-shirts now that my race entries have slumped to next to zero per year.

I first became aware of the existence of bamboo clothing when The Royal Parks Half issued their first race t-shirt. What a fantastic fabric – it’s incredibly soft and has amazing anti-pong qualities.

I ordered this lovely green number – the bamboo Eko from Rapanui clothing after the marketing guy there alerted me to enviromental merits of the company. It is a beautifully soft t-shirt and embroidered with a leaf motif.

It has rapidly become my fave item of clothing and has been worn rather more than is decent.

After two 5k runs and four 18km cycle commutes, I decided it was time to send it to the wash basket – more out of a fear of my work colleagues thinking I had personal hygiene issues than any actual cleaning requirements. Bamboo really does seem to have impressive anti-smell properties.

The Bamboo Eko is quoted as being Rapanui’s most breathable t-shirt but I wouldn’t really recommend it as true performance wear. The weave is too tight and although it is a light t-shirt the sweat soaks in and lingers for just a little bit longer than I appreciate. Cycling seems to be ok as the breeze helps the drying process but I come back a bit damp after a run.

I hope they expand the range though and consider making performance sports gear for runners.

One of the eco features of Rapanui is the so called Traceability Tool, which enables users to trace the entire journey of any garment on our site from seed to shelf.

Seems like my t-shirt fabric was made in Turkey and assembled in their fair wear wind powered factory in the Isle of Wight.

Do they grow Bamboo in Turkey or am I missing a stage in the trace?

Gore Running Spy II Shirt

Gore Running Spy II Shirt
Originally uploaded by warriorwomen.

I’m afraid it looks a bit creased in this photo (basically because I just pulled it from a pile in the floor).

This is an ideal shirt for me as I overheat very easily. It’s incredibly lightweight and breathable, in fact the material is almost non-existant beneath the arm pits, so no chance of getting too clammy.

It both looks and feels to be quite a high quality garment but then it did cost about £30.