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A Review Of The Freya Active Underwired Crop Top Sports Bra

20 Jan

A few weeks ago this press release landed in my inbox:

Is This The Best Sports Bra Yet?

The most comprehensive breast research study ever undertaken finds that a new sports bra from Freya Active reduces breast strain, pain and movement minimizing the risk of damage across the entire breast

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Breast pain is reportedly experienced by over 70% of women during exercise and now there is a remedy! Sports bra brand Freya Active has launched a brand new sports bra which has been scientifically proven to reduce breast strain, pain as well as movement.

Featuring a secret protective moulded layer inside which helps to support, give shape and separate the breasts, Freya Active’s brand new sports bra has undergone ground breaking testing in breast research that has never been carried out before.

Freya Active reveals it has been working with the University of Portsmouth, conducting the largest scale breast research project ever. Working with the University’s breast health specialist team, Freya Active has studied how their new sports bra reduces strain, pain and movement, investigating where this occurs most in the breast during exercise. Before now, sports bra testing has commonly focused on breast movement reduction (known as breast bounce), monitoring only one area of the breast (a marker on the nipple), on a small number of participants and usually on small breast size females.

The Freya Active project is world leading research as it is the very first to study the 3 aspects – strain, pain and movement at multiple locations of the breast (applying up to 19 markers on the breast) testing across 7 different bra sizes from cup size participants from a 32FF to 36E.

Strain of the skin and the breast tissues occurs during movement due to the deformable properties of the breast tissue itself. Strain of these tissues may lead to stretching and tension of the skin which may cause pain, damage and breast sag.  Other breast problems we experience during exercise can also be a barrier to participating in sport, reducing confidence and changing our breathing and upper muscle activity.

The study tested against 7 other sports bra styles currently available on the market and identified that most breast strain occurred at the centre nipple line and mid-section of the breast. Interestingly, the brand new Freya Active sports bra topped other styles at providing reductions in strain around the centre, base as well as upper pole areas of the breast. The sports bra reduced breast strain in the inner region of the breast to 3%, compared to 28% strain reported in an everyday bra. It also almost eliminated strain at the nipple, reducing strain to just 1%, compared to when wearing no bra, reducing the risk of damage to this area.

Dr. Joanna Scurr, specialist in breast health from the University of Portsmouth who conducted the research said: “Breast strain may occur during exercise when the breast is not supported correctly and there is tension on the ligaments and skin of the breast.  Over time this may lead to a stretching of the breasts natural support, which could lead to permanent breast damage.  This important research helps us to identify products that are effective at protecting the breasts.  Reducing strain across the mid and upper parts of the breast will reduce the risk of damage to the internal structures of the breast.”

The study also revealed when analysing the movement of cup sizes 32FF-36E, the new Freya Active sports bra reduces breast pain by up to 97%, compared to no bra running while an everyday bra reduces pain by only 58%. Participants that took part in the study identified the upper pole area of the breast (located high up on the breast) as a common region of pain. The new Freya Active crop top sports bra ensures this region is supported and encased within the bra, providing effective reduction in breast pain.

Other results from the study revealed that 92% of participants felt that Freya Active’s new sports bra reduced independent breast movement (breast movement within the bra) and it was more effective at reducing forwards and backwards movement in the upper section of the breast than the other sports bra styles tested.

Participants were asked also to provide a score out of 10 for perceived support for all bras tested. Participants rated the new Freya Active sports bra as 20% more supportive than other sports bra styles in this study. Participants also favoured the sleek, sporty shape and high coverage of the bra.

Freya Active’s Design Director Ruth Fox who has over 20 years industry experience said: “After six years of careful development we are extremely excited to launch this sports bra. The bra has been specifically designed to support the fuller bust and is available for larger cup sizes going up to a H cup.”

TV Doctor Pixie McKenna commented about the sports bra research: “Exercise seems like the simple solution when it comes to maintaining good health. While many women are motived to get out and get active, it may surprise you to learn that the thing that often holds them back, are their breasts. While market research tells us that most women experience breast movement during exercise, new ground breaking scientific research has revealed there is a lot more going on over and above breast bounce. It has highlighted that the skin and tissues are under strain during exercise and this can result not only in pain both during and after exercise, but also damage to the breast tissues ultimately resulting in breast sag. Adequate breast support in the form of a sports bra is an essential part of every woman’s gym kit. But choose wisely, this research has confirmed that a sports bra needs to not only control movement but also help to reduce strain and pain. Make sure your sports bra ticks all the boxes to enable you to exercise with confidence and in comfort, ensuring you are doing the best for your breasts.”

Freya Active’s new crop top style sports bra which is available from in size 28-40, B-H is available in indigo blue and cosmic black and has been designed to be worn as both under/outwear meaning it is extremely versatile depending on your type of workout. The bra features microfibre fabrics for moisture management with an Odour control finish applied on top.  Moreover, it also features a centre front extension for extra support through the top cup to reduce bounce and padded straps with soft folder elastics to avoid rubbing against the skin.

Sports bra of choice by the professionals, the England Netball team only wear Freya Active sports bras.

Freya Active’s new crop top sports bra is £40.00 and available from Leia lingerie, Littlewoods, Less Bounce and Lace lingerie.

I of course just HAD try try one of these bras. I already own the original Freya Active which works fairly well for me, and so this looked to be the next step up in terms of shape, support and appearance. And as I’ve recently starting running several times per week I knew that I would be able to give this bra the perfect workout.

I generally take size 34HH in Freya, but as this bra stops at an H and my previous Freya sports bra had come up snug in the band, I decided to go for a 36H.

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(Please not: I generally DO NOT run around outside without a top on. This was done purely to show how the bra looked in motion. No residents were harmed or even sighted during the making of these photos.)

After trying it on it became clear that a 34HH would have been a better fit. I felt the need to put the bra straight on the tightest hook to ensure a snug fit. This is not a huge issue right now, but once the bra starts to stretch out the band will become looser and I won’t have any smaller hooks to fasten it on. However, as I would be running in the bra, this was a far tighter fit than I would take in a day to day bra.

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The back band of the bra has a whopping FOUR hooks and eyes and the padded straps are semi adjustable. This is due to the fact that halfway up the straps there is the option to make the straps into a crossover.

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I absolutely adore this feature as this gives my bust extra support and also stops that annoying issue of the straps sliding off my shoulders during a run. I did find it a little tricky to do up on my own and that was almost a workout in itself.

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I found that the cups were spot on, however, due the the size of my bust, the compression and the cut of the bra I did have a little boobspolosion over the top. I think that a size up would have the same effect AND my bust would have moved around more in the cups. A higher cut would probably be the best solution to prevent this issue, but it didn’t effect the movement of my bust as it was.

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The bra comes with matching 3/4 length bottoms. I received them in an XL and I paired them over my Maidenform leggings on my runs to help keep me warm and strap my wayward stomachs down. I also wear running socks and New Balance trainers. I do think that a 2XL might have been a better fit to get them a little higher over my bottom, but they would probably have required a drawstring to stop them slipping down too much.

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I was impressed at the lack of bounce the sports bra provided, along with the rounded nipples free shape – a must in this weather! I have used this bra for several runs and one ’30 Day Shred’, and although I am not the most energetic of people, those two activities are probably the ‘bounciest’ that I will partake in.

Overall I am extremely pleased with this bra. I do believe that it has lived up to the hype and I will be interested to see what others have to say about it. It is similar to the Panache sports bra which also stops at an H and a 40 back, and so I really hope that after the first bout of feedback from their customers Freya will decide increase the cup sizes on this. There are so many H+ and 40+ women who would kill for a moulded sports bra like this one, and Freya would really be doing something special if they are able to engineer products that will cater to these women.

What do you think of this sports bra? Is it something you’d like to try? Let me know!