I'm not interested in reviewing most gear.
I mean, I definitely have my favorite rope, shoes, harness, and quickdraws. I have strong opinions about that stuff, and I'm happy to share them if you want to reach out.
But there is no dearth of bloggers reviewing the aluminum tidbits and nylon miscellanea we use every day at the crag. I want to talk about…
Bras. Skincare. Dirtbarbie hair hacks. No climber worth listening to says we can't be strong and fabulous — and I've done a lot of research in this field.
So. Look this way for pink-hued product reviews. First up: my top three climbing sports bras.
The last night of my first trip to the Fins, I couldn't sleep. After overdoing it on coffee, I found myself insomnia shopping at 4 a.m.
My decision making compromised from sleep deprivation and overcaffeination, I did the unthinkable: I ordered a $70 sports bra. Then I purchased a $50 sports bra. Then I got a Fabletics membership and bought - among a great many things - yet another.
I'm sure my dad is cringing at my observably poor spending choices, especially given that I was between jobs at this time. Still, I have no regrets. A short time later, you see, USPS left treasure at my doorstep.
I have spent the last year performing extensive field research on each of these bras. Below, I present my findings:
Climbers come in many shapes, sizes, and stylistic preferences. Still, most of us have one common challenge: our latissimus dorsa are constantly expanding, and our boobs are not. This makes the search for a sports bra that looks good, feels great, and does its job especially tiresome.
I've scored each item based on five criteria. A bra's aesthetics score denotes how much I like its color, texture, and shape. The durability score indicates how well each product has held up on the rock and in the wash. Coverage and support scores provide insight into each garment's functionality. Finally, I've rated each bra's ~*lattitude*~ based on how well it fits these lovely lady lats.
Note: I have no affiliation with any of the companies listed below. I am simply a spandex-loving shopaholic attempting to justify my impulse purchases.
Lululemon Free to Be Bra in cherry blossom pink
I bought this bra because I wanted to see what the Lulu hype was about, and it was the cheapest one available. I'm honored to finally be in the club.
This bra is super flattering on me, and I feel like a woodland fairy queen when I wear it at the crag. I love the color, but unfortunately I photograph slightly naked when I wear it on its own.
This bra has maintained its shape well. I haven't noticed any pilling or stretching out, even though I've accidentally run it through the dryer a few times.
Again, it works great for me aesthetically, but better-endowed wearers would likely have some spillage issues.
This bra takes its job seriously. I can climb, run, jump, skip, and happy dance in it.
Sadly, this garment was not designed with large-latted ladies in mind. I still wear it all the time, but it definitely squeezes my lats a bit, which gets uncomfortable after several hours.
I definitely recommend the Free to Be Bra if you habitually buy $50 undergarments and the expense is no big deal to you. But if you're trying to splurge on the perfect climbing bra, keep reading.
Fabletics Dash Seamless Bra II in blackberry
I am obsessed with Fabletics. Their leggings are incredible - 10/10 recommend for aesthetics and durability. I'm really glad I got the membership, even though I am planning to cancel it soon because I don't think a subscription clothing service is really in line with my environmentalist values, and also because I keep "forgetting" to skip the month because I have AmEx and poor self-control.
But anyway. I chose this bra because the back is nifty and I am a child. I love getting crazy tan lines, and I knew this bra would give me some exciting ones.
It's super cute! The color is a rich purple, and I love getting weirdo lines all over my back from climbing in the sun. I thought it would be hard to get on and off because of all the straps, but they're really not a big deal.
Unfortunately, this one has stretched out a bit. Full disclosure though, it has definitely been through the dryer at least three times. I'M SORRY, KATE HUDSON.
Hella coverage and then some.
This bra is great for low-impact activities like climbing and yoga, but it's not the best for higher-impact activities like running or happy dancing. It's also gotten looser as it's stretched out, but again, my dryerside negligence may be responsible.
No lat problems here!
I am an eternal champion for Fabletics leggings, and I will definitely keep wearing this bra, but I don't recommend getting a membership just to buy it. Maybe order leggings instead, and let Fabletics throw the bra at you as a last-minute sale item before checkout.
Arêt Basewear Toura in olive/black
This bra was designed by lady climbers, for lady climbers. I heard about it on Instagram and was like, "that sounds amazing if I had $70 to spend on a bra!"
Thank the rock gods for that fateful night of impulse buys.
This bra is incredibly flattering on every member of the human race. The garment itself is dainty-looking, but it really accentuates your strapped shoulders. It comes in a bunch of colors, and I want them all (except fuchsia).
Unfortunately, mine has gotten ever-so-slightly pilled. This is partly because (full disclosure) I accidentally put it in the dryer three times, and partly because I've taken some weird slab falls. Still super cute, though, and it does its job hella well.
I've never had a ~*malfunction*~, and I've learned to be confident in this bra's magic powers, but I was definitely concerned initially because of its low cut. That said, the company offers a fuller-coverage version for bustier climbers.
This bra is the thinnest of the three, but it's surprisingly supportive. Arêt Basewear must be doing some major science voodoo for such minimal fabric to do so much while feeling so not-there.
This creation was truly borne of the #ladylatstruggle. I literally sleep in it sometimes, and not out of laziness — I put it on before bed, just because it is THAT comfortable.
This bra is a blessing from the great rock goddesses. It's pricy, but you only really need one.
What is your favorite bra for climbing? Have you tried any of these?