The Freya Active Sports Bra (underwired model) is the first sporting underwear I have reviewed for Baby Routes! Keep reading for the full review but the short version is that this is a comfortable, good value and versatile sports bra for larger bra sizes – perfect for ladies participating in more than one type of sporting activity.
Back in January I was invited to review my choice of underwear by The Dublin Lingerie Company as well as a review of their website (if you are thinking of using The Dublin Lingerie Company you can read my review of their website here). Spending a lot of my week out walking and running, a sports bra is one absolutely essential item on my outdoor kit list and of great relevance to other outdoor mums. Reviewing a sports bra from the range on offer was therefore an easy decision.
Which sports bra though was a harder decision. Many mothers will know what I mean when I say my body is not quite the same as its former pre-baby self! With more curves than I used to have and at the larger end of medium (or the smaller end of large!) when it comes to bra size, I am in definite need of good support.
I currently own two different brands of sports bra – one from a well-known high-street department store and the other a much more technical model from a specialist sports shop, bought during a brief fling with triathlon training. The high-street one is useless for anyone with a C-cup or larger, with plenty of bounce for your buck! The more technical sports bra is at the other extreme – I fight to get it on but once it is on, neither the bra nor my chest is going anywhere! This is great for high-impact running or a short but vigorous gym work-out or exercise class but I have found that it is uncomfortable for more casual or long duration activities such as hiking or long-distance runs. It also leaves me feeling a little bruised after prolonged use, even though no marks are discernible.
I sent information on my bra size and activity types and levels to the lovely ladies at The Dublin Lingerie Company. They picked out two possibilities from their sports bra range for me to try. One of these – the Freya Active Underwired Sports Bra - I had already short-listed myself both for its shape and the fact I hadn’t ever tried an underwired sports bra – so it was the Freya Active that subsequently dropped through my letter-box a few days later for me to take for a test-run (& walk).
About the Freya Active Sports Bra (underwired)
Freya are a leading lingerie company who also feature sportswear and swimwear amongst their underwear ranges. With bra sizes starting from a B cup and ranging up to an H cup in sports-wear and K cup in lingerie, Freya underwear is designed very much with medium to larger busted ladies in mind. There are lots of beautiful designs but it is reassuring to know that in theory at least, these also have practicality as a key requirement.
The Freya Active Sports Bra range offers three different models. The Freya Active Soft Cup Sports Bra (sizes C – H cup) and the Freya Active Moulded Racer Back Sports Bra (sizes B to H cup) both offer the more traditional non-underwired sports bra design whilst the Freya Active Underwired Sports Bra is available for larger busted ladies (sizes D to H cup) who prefer underwired support.
All three Freya Active models differ from the traditional sports bra in that they support the bust by encapsulating each breast rather than using compression. The Freya Active bras also have a built-in sling that is designed to help prevent side-to-side movement. Freya describe the Active Sports Bra range as suitable for average to high-impact sport and state they have been designed to relieve wearers of the hassle of having to purchase a different sports bra to suit each different type of sports activity they participate in.
The Freya Active Underwired Sports Bra is definitely aimed at larger busted ladies and those with wider back measurements and a cup size at the upper-end of medium. The Freya Active Underwired Sports Bra comes in cup sizes D to H and chest measurements of 28 to 38 inches
Wearability and comfort
I spend most of my time walking with a 10kg baby riding in a rucksack behind me and I am also a fair-weather runner. I tend to head to the gym when the weather is really rubbish. I should also probably mention that I have recently taken up ballroom dancing and whilst you’re probably thinking that a waltz ought not to involve too much bounce, after a particularly energetic evening of learning to jive my husband tactfully suggested a sports bra might not be such a bad idea and proclaimed the offending support-wear of the night ‘a disaaaster, darhling’!
Finding a sports bra that provides such a diverse range of support for all these activities seemed an unlikely mission but here was the Freya Active bra boasting it could do just that. Amazingly, on the whole, it delivered. It was super-comfortable, I loved the re-enforced straps which felt very sturdy and I did not feel like I had a case of the so-called ‘monoboob’ – wearers of the standard compression style sports bras will know what I’m talking about here!
This sports bra has four sets of hooks, making it fully adjustable and a double layer of fabric over each cup support. I particularly liked the use of a different breathable thick mesh material between the breasts and for the under-arm area which was noticeably good at wicking away moisture from those high-perspiration places compared to previous sports bras I’ve owned. The v-shape of the neckline was also perhaps an unintentional design aid in helping prevent a sweat build-up. I’ve always noticed that a major flaw with the higher necked soft compression sports bras is that enclosing more skin inevitably means trapping more moist air, no matter how breathable the material used to make the garment.
The only area I would say that the Freya Active Underwired Sports Bra falls down on slightly is very high impact activity. After several minutes of star-jumps as part of circuit training I definitely felt there was a bit more bounce in this bra than my old-fashioned grab-’em tight compression one and I can imagine that if you took your road-running at a faster pace than I do then perhaps those needing the largest sizes might feel in need of a tiny bit more grip.
For hiking the Freya Active Underwired Sports Bra was a dream – super comfortable when spending long hours wearing it at a time and no rubbing or chaffing at all. At one point during my trial I used it for each of six walks over the course of four consecutive days during which it provided consistently great support and I certainly didn’t have any strap marks or sore skin as a badge of honour at the end!
When picking out a sports bra to trial, it was the shape of the Freya Active Underwired Sports Bra that really appealed to me. Unlike the more traditional soft-cup sports bras, the Freya underwired sports bra has a deep v-neck shape and looks almost like an everyday bra. Given that as well as running, I also take part in lower impact activities that include wearing everyday clothes, this was a massive advantage, meaning I could wear a sports bra under lower cut non-sports tops but still have great support. I have even successfully got away with wearing the Freya Active Sports Bra underneath a going-out top with jeans for our ballroom dancing class – something I’ve never been able to wear a sports bra for previously and had come to think of the ensuing bounce as a necessary evil.
The Freya Active Underwired Sports Bra comes in a range of different colours including the standard staples of nude, white and black. It would be fun to see some livelier additions to their colour range in just one solid colour (the brighter models have contrasting piping). In practical terms though, given I mainly wear white or pale coloured tops for sports activities and that the breathable material of technical gear normally necessitates it being fairly thin, I would be more likely to still buy white or nude to avoid a sports bra showing through.For outdoor activities in Britain’s damp climate this is particularly important! The model I tried was in nude and a great choice for walkers or those using the bra for lower-impact activities for which you want to wear more everyday style clothing.
The Freya Active Underwired Sports Bra is made from 69% Polyester, 28% Nylon/Polyamide and 3% Elastane/Spandex.
It is machine washable at 40 degrees and I have had no issues with throwing it in the washing machine with my other sports clothes. The wiring is double-lined to protect it from over-zealous washing-machines.
Like all underwired bras, it is not recommended that you tumble-dry it and for those busy ladies who are involved in sporting activities on a daily basis and need a quick turn-around time for their sports laundry, this may be a drawback over non-underwired models. At least the breathable material used does make the Freya Active Underwired model a comparatively quick air-dryer and if you remember to put it in to wash the night before and hang it out before bed, it should be ready to pack in your sports bag in the morning.
Overall, this is a robustly made bra and although I have only had the chance to wear it for just over a month, I would be surprised if it developed any serious flaws in the foreseeable future. If it does, rest assured I will be updating this review!
The Freya Active Sports Bra is a good mid-range sports bra and I personally feel it is great value compared to some of its rivals. It is available from The Dublin Lingerie Company for 43 Euros.