This is adapted from a blog post I made on Health Unlocked on 1st September about how I graded my bras, for suitability for running. The responses are still coming in… so you make like to use this highly scientific scoring system to grade your own. The xls I used is linked at the bottom…
In a fake science sort of way I have created my own A2E Cup Sports Bra Challenge Table, where I give a score between 1-5 against five criteria. This is to see which, if any, of my bras pass muster. As befits a Bra Review, the scoring criteria are designated by cup size in ascending order, with a description of each score and its meaning to help you think about your fundamentals.
A Cup for Appearance
A surgical looking compression garment, is hardly likely to encourage you to run, but then we don’t want Ann Summers either
Score yours as follows:-
1= Fugly or Utterly Inappropriate
5= I want to run with this on now and I could wear it out socially, surely
B Cup for Bounce
A sports bra is only any good if it controls the bounce. Bouncing can cause black eyes. Most of us need more support than Kate Moss, otherwise irreversible damage to your Cooper’s ligaments ensues.
Score yours as follows:
1= Whoa calm that bouncing down, there’s a roller coaster of flesh on the move
2= I wouldn’t want to be balancing anything on here, right now
3= Occasional Jiggle
4= Firm, But Fair
5= Solid, solid as a rock baby
C Cup for Cleanability
Is it easy to wash? Does it have to be hand washed in pure mountain dew by the light of the moon?
Score as follows:
1= Dry Clean only or Mountain Dew preferred
2=Needs its own detergent, washing bowl and private space on the washing line
3= Prefers a hand wash, but occasional visits to a machine with ordinary clothing tolerated
4= Washing machine is fine but bagged and with like-minded clothing
5= Just bung me in, I don’t care
D Cup for Dextrousness
Do you need someone to help you in it/out of it? Does it twang like a bungee when you try and roll it up/down when sweaty? Do you look like you are wearing a climber’s harness, with clasps, cleats and carabiners?
Score as follows:
1= Requires a lady’s maid or cabin crew, to get you in and 10 minutes free time
2= Good job in a previous life you were a contortionist
3= Bit of bending required, it counts as pre-run stretching
4= Just like a normal bra, hook from the back or I hook swoosh it to the front
5= Front loading bliss
E Cup for Expense
Running is supposed to be a cheap sport, so if it costs too much that’s not good, as it will put me off buying one.
Score as follows:
1=You’ve got to be joking, that’s a handbag, a pair of shoes and a bottle of vino
2= Gulp, would a years’ supply of surgical bandage be cheaper
3= Mmm okay, still leaves some cash for a sweatband
4= Bargain Basement – that’s the pub for lunch then
5= How cheap?!?, better buy two
So here’s how mine stack up:-
Winner is Berlei Shock Absorber with 18/25
2nd is Sweaty Betty, although there is weird pouchy thing going on, that I’m really not sure about
My own Adidas and New Look bras are on the ‘to bin’ list with only 60% favourability (at 15/25) isn’t a good enough score to keep them.
If you want to see my scores click A to E Cup Challenge Scores
*Renamed from A to E, after a number of C25Kers suggested that ‘fit’ be added to the scoring criteria.
So in the interests of boob balance, here is the scoring grid definitions for ‘Fit’
F for Fit
No, this doesn’t mean whether you can run a marathon or not. It asks the question does the bra actually fit you? Many of us complain, about the under or over boob bulge. Shoulder straps too short so you look as though you have no neck, or too long giving you boobs hanging around at waist level.
The ‘fit’ scoring model is as follows:-
1 – Surgery is going to be costly, shoulders need to drop/raise/be removed. Rib cage in the wrong place.
2 – Who doesn’t like having 5 boobs, or alternatively just the mono boob?
3 – Okay if I lean like the Tower of Pisa, or don’t have to alter just one strap by 6 cm.
4 – No bulges, no gaps, no under boob, no chafing, no problems
5 – The Savile Row of bras, everything in place, regardless of running pace