* Prices may differ from that shown
I've had a couple of these and I really like them. They are really comfortable, give you great support and you feel supported in them. You can get them in a range of colours from most sports shop. I do find them a little bit on the expensive side in some sports shops but you can sometime drop on when they are in the sales. I regular go to the gym or go running and they are well supportive but sometimes find them a little bit tight so watch the sizes as I do find them a tad on the small size. They can be put in the washing machine with other items and was quite nicely, I have not had any problem with the bobbling or tearing as the are quite strong and made out of flexible and breathable material. I would definatley recoomend this item if you are using them for exercise or physical activity to keep you comfortable and secure.
Just before I dumped The Boy for being an idiot (and gross - who doesn't change their sheets in over 8 weeks?), he and I were having a race to see who would get a six pack first. He said I'd never manage it on a diet of pasta and daily ice creams - I suggested that probably plenty of Italians ate just like that and had stomachs worth taking note of. Little did he know how freakishly quickly my abs react to a little light exercise when combined with a few fewer pancake breakfasts. Now he is the ex rather than the present, he only gets to see me scantily clad while at the gym (he's ignoring the previous agreement that I would get custody of the place). So, in the January sales it was time to invest in some new gym gear that would show not only have I beat him in the race, but I'm decidedly more tanned than his whiter-than-white (and yet...Mexican) physique.
I have never been one to wear tiny gym clothes. Normally I will wear the same tank top I've had on all day, and just throw on a sports bra underneath. The last time I was wearing a crop top it had a Forever Friends motif on it, and had matching knickers, which I would proudly show off in the changing rooms before school swimming class. However, Marti, a local sports shop akin to JJB, was having a massive sale on gym tops, and I decided to take the plunge and buy what they call a Cardio Bra as well as one of the longer bra tops. For £5 (NB Mexican sale prices), I had little to lose.
My Cardio Bra is actually a Nike Women's Training Bra Top. It is a cropped top that covers my chest, but not my stomach. It is designed to be both a bra and a top in one - you don't wear anything under it nor, if you're like most people, over it, as the material is thick like a top, and therefore doesn't look like you're hitting the gym in your lingerie. It is also supportive, like a bra, and fully lined. It has a curved cut, with a slight v-neck, and v underarms, which curve away from your armpits.
I have the hot pink top, and it has a small, black Swoosh in the middle. It is subtle, but to me it clearly marks it out as being a Nike product, and therefore I tend to wear it with Nike leggings, or label-free bottoms. I just can't be one of those people who mixes Nike with Adidas and thinks it looks ok. It doesn't.
I bought the Medium top, because although the Small fit ok too, it pulled a bit over the chest and I thought it might shrink more in the wash. For comparison, I wear a 36B bra, or a size 10 top, unless I'm in the kiddie section, in which case I'm an age 13 (a little aside - how large are kids these days...?) There is a sizing chart on their website (link below) but it rather confusingly shows height too - so I'm wearing a top for someone 15cm taller than me, apparently. I would only take note of this if you're freakishly tall, have a long torso or have boobs which start a little low and have problems with clothes being too short, because the other way round it seems to work just fine if you go off normal dress size.
I really like the cut of the top. It has thick straps at the front that are somewhere between shoulder straps and a halter neck - they're cut away a bit to show off your shoulders, but don't end up round your neck in a strangle hold. The back has a muscle cut, but the bit that comes up in the middle is not too wide, meaning it fits nicely between my shoulder blades, without covering them too much. At the bottom, there is a thick elastic band to keep the whole thing in place - meaning the only wardrobe malfunction during Body Jam is when the instructor wears the BJ branded one- shoulder top (plus the uniform's page-boy cap and knee-high boots), jives too much and her boob pops out. My bra top fits snugly and doesn't move around during class, no matter how much I kick or punch or jive, something obviously of great importance in a conservative country such as Mexico. You can't see down between the boobs except when we're doing press-ups, and then there's a little gaping, but not in an indecent way. Since we have padlocks in the changing rooms, sometimes I stick the key down the top too, when I can't trust myself to remember to pick it up off the floor, and it generally stays in place ok, though fishing it out earns me some funny looks. Another bonus: though it fits like a second skin, it doesn't dig in at all, which matters since I sometimes think I could survive anything life throws at me, except back fat.
The top is supportive, in a flattening kind of way - the Nike-speak for this is "compression fit". That's fine - I don't go to the gym to bounce about, and cleavage is after all strictly reserved for nights out and the odd English class when a cute student has caught my eye. This has the added benefit that when I need to stop by the supermarket on the way home, and am too hot to throw on my hoodie, I can wear the bra with only a minimal number of glares / frowns from elderly Mexicans (and also no smirks in the chilled dairy section - this top is well lined).
The top is made from polyester and elastane, and has Dri-FIT technology which allegedly means it whips moisture away from your body keeping you dry and comfortable. It also boasts flat, finished seams to prevent chafing. For me, the thing that makes it the comfiest is that it's just one large piece of continuous material across the front, so there are no seams there at all, let alone flat, finished ones. There are seams at the sides, but these do not bother me at all, and there are no visible lines on your skin when you undress like some cheaper sports-wear causes.
I no longer do my own laundry, and have subsequently had a few miss-haps with the laundrette around the corner, but while they're managed to ruin two perfectly good Primark tops, this bra comes back perfect every time. It has not visibly shrunk or faded, despite their rather rough handling, and since they wash everything together, I think that is a sign of its durability since it gets exactly the same treatment as every other item in my wardrobe. Since it is a 2-in-1 product, I also save a fraction of a peso by only having to pay for the weight of one item, not a bra and separate top. I suppose this makes it a tiny bit better for the environment too. Very occasionally, I will wash the bra by hand and air dry, and although it never smells detergent fresh the way it does coming back from the laundrette (since I use either just water or, ahem, shampoo), it does dry nice and quickly in my not-very-well-ventilated bathroom.
I think the bra is a little bulky, so I personally would not choose to wear it under a t-shirt, though I imagine other people might. If you're looking for a good sports bra, this one might work, though you'd have to try it on since it's not available for different cup-sizes. However if you did decide to buy it for that and dislike your midriff, there's no reason why you shouldn't wear it as a bra, under another top.
The effect on my workout wasn't something I was thinking about when I bought this, but the top has proved quite an asset. There's nothing like looking at your stomach in the mirror for an hour to make you want to suck it in for the duration of a class, which works the muscles harder and is better for your posture.
This is my first venture into crop-top gym attire, but I am very happy with it, and would not hesitate to buy exactly the same one again should another sale come along. Simply put, it meets all my requirements: it looks good, is comfy to wear, washes well, controls the bounce, highlights the abs, and makes the Boy nauseatingly jealous. For me, there's nothing more I could ask for in a top.
--- FAST FACTS ---
Sizes: XS - XL
Colours: I have seen black, white and pink, but others may be available.
See the product and buy online here:
Or try any sports shop, department store with a Nike franchise or eBay.
For all day training comfort. Designed for practice or gameday use.