I’m always on the lookout for a great sports bra. But being very narrow in the back (28 inches) and somewhat better-endowed on the front end (E cups), finding a new sports bra is usually a bit of a trial for me. In fact, sports bra buying expeditions have been known to end in shrieks of frustration and underwear being flung at the walls.
So when PureLime delivered a sports bra in my size right to my very front door, I was delighted. And bemused, because I was able to sit in the box they sent it in (there wasn’t anything else in there, just the bra!).
Back to the undergarment…
My test version was black (they are also available in white, nude & limited edition purple & red) it’s made of their Coolmax material and extremely lightweight. In fact, it weighs around the same as a CD in a paper case. And because there’s no underwire, it compacts down to a TINY space. I can just about conceal it in both hands.
No chance of doing that with my usual brand of sports bra, which is underwired and bulkier. So if, like me, you enjoy a run while you’re on holiday but like to travel as light as possible, this bra may appeal to you.
Let me just list the other features of the bra, then I’ll let you know what I think of them.
- Coolmax Material (breathable, dries fast, wicks moisture away from the skin)
- Shaped padded shoulder straps (comfortable, stays in place)
- Adjustable straps (for cross-back option which I got nowhere near trying for reasons that will become apparent)
- Moulded cups (for support and separation)
- Adjustable fit (for both straps and elastic)
- No irritating side seams (never noticed seams being irritating, to be honest)
- Wide soft absorbing elastic (not sure what they mean by this)
- Anti-stretch cup separation (nor this)
- Side support (for lift and reduced side movement)
- Compression strap (restricting up and down movement)
- Wide range of sizes available
Okay. So, first of all I was a bit alarmed by the idea of ‘separation’. I kind of want my breasts to stay relatively close together on the front. I’m guessing they mean that, unlike more fashionable brands, there’s no lift and squeeze. No cleavage for the runners. Fair enough, I suppose.
I’d never noticed side seams being irritating on my usual bra, but there were certainly no irritating side seams on this one either.
And I really didn’t know what they meant by the wide soft absorbing elastic or the anti-stretch cup separation – although thinking about it that probably means that the front of the bra won’t stretch, allowing your breasts to escape in opposite directions. Which I would say is probably A Good Thing.
The Good Stuff
So, the good points of PureLime’s sports bra?
It was SUPER comfortable. Really, surprisingly, very comfortable indeed around the sides and in the shoulder straps. And the fabric is indeed excellent at wicking moisture away. There were no sore spots, no unpleasant damp patches… just comfort.
It’s obviously been developed for women with actual breasts who actually do real exercise, and that’s great.
It kept everything strapped down right where it was supposed to be. No black eyes or escapees to frighten the farmers. I have no complaints at all about its performance under bouncing.
The Less Good Stuff
I hesitate to add this, really, because it’s purely an aesthetic thing and the bra itself is bloody good at doing what it’s supposed to do: protect your breasts from stretching and pain. But honestly? It’s not the most attractive garment in the world. As the name suggests, the compression bra really does compress everything. Right down. A lot.
And there’s a strange flappy bit of fabric just underneath the cups that kind of makes it look like you’re wearing a cup size that’s slightly too big. You can even see this flappy bit in the promo pics, so I don’t think it’s wrong sizing that’s the issue. It’s just a bit… odd.
Having said that, I’ll mostly be wearing it under a t-shirt unless it’s really hot, so I guess that’s not really an issue. I can wear my other usual brand if it’s sweltering and I want to run in a crop top-style bra.
I do have a genuine gripe with this bra though. It’s the thing that’s stopping me giving it full marks. It’s a RIGHT pain in the bum to put on.
Honestly, PureLime, nobody needs FOUR hook-and-eye fasteners. Not even Dolly Parton, and I’m nowhere near her ball park, if you’ll excuse the metaphor.
This dubious feature is the one and only reason I’ve only worn this bra once. I’ve picked it up to put on a couple of times, remembered about the four fastenings, thought, “Oh god I can’t be arsed” and flung it back in the drawer again.
Because putting the thing on was a workout in itself. My arms were killing me afterwards. It was a genuine struggle, I ended up on my knees (as if this could get me closer to hooking all the thingies together), and was mocked mercilessly by my husband for failing to dress myself without help.
The thing is, a sports bra should be pretty tight around the ribs – and the more hook-and-eyes there are, the more difficult it is to do it up. I was exhausted by the time I’d finished. I suppose there’s a small chance that I’m just utterly inept, but I’m a yoga fanatic so I’m pretty strong and flexible. This shouldn’t have been an issue for me.
This is a real shame, because it spoiled an otherwise superb piece of sporting gear.
PureLime, if you can produce the bras with a perfectly adequate three fastenings and send one to me, I’ll likely give you full marks.
If you have octopus arms with surgeon-grade dexterity, you can assume this is a 10/10.
If you’re a relatively flexible and strong runner, you can assume 8/10.
If you have the flexibility of an 80-year-old ex-boxer, you won’t even be able to put it on and test it.
Ease of use? Not.
Price: £34.99 (RRP) Available in sizes 28A-44H
Ed’s Note: We’re going to update this review when our tester has tried it out a few more times… assuming she can dress herself OK.