Review: Freya Active Soft Cup Sports Bra

Abstract: An amazing sports bra that’s supportive enough for the highest of high-impact sports. It isn’t pretty, but it gets the job done.

Image source: Freya’s website.

Background: This is a wireless sports bra made by Freya, in loads of colors, in sizes 28-40 C-H (but not 28C, 30C, or 40C). There’s also an underwired version, which is probably more supportive, but I chose the soft cup version because I find underwires in sports bras very uncomfortable. I purchased the bra online in size 32E, and then again in 32F, in 2010 for the normal retail price.

Sizing: The band runs small and I’m fairly sure the cups do too. My ribcage measurement is just slightly under 32″ and I normally find Freya’s 32 bands (in their everyday/fashion range) to be too loose, but I can barely do up the 32 band soft cup sports bra on the loosest hook. It’s very tight, which works well for giving extra support, but in this bra I could easily wear a 34 band as well.

Cup-wise, I found the 32E bra to be miles too small even when I actually was a 32E. The 32F was a better fit for my then-32E boobs. It’s difficult to judge, though, because the normal signs of too-small cups aren’t really applicable to this bra:

  • You can’t check if the wires are sitting flat, obviously, because there aren’t any wires, and I’m not sure whether the entirety of the center section is actually supposed to sit directly on the sternum.
  • Side bulging is usually another telltale sign, but things are trickier here because it seems like a bit of sideboob is a necessary consequence of the shape of the bra.
  • Because the front comes up very high, excess breast tissue would get squashed inwards instead of spilling out over the top, so you wouldn’t get the double-boob effect that usually tells you your cups are too small.
  • I also experienced some wrinkling at the bottom edges of the cups, as does the model in the photo above. Does this mean the cups are too small? Too big? Or is it, like sideboob, just an artefact of the cut of the bra? I have no idea.

All of that considered, I’m not as certain about the sizing of this bra as I usually am. I think you should go up once in the band and keep the same cup size if you want a looser fit, or keep the same band size and go up once in the cup if you’d prefer it to be very tight. If I ever get around to buying another one of these, I’ll probably order a 34FF to fit my 32FF boobs.

Comfort: The bra is comfortable right off the bat, and it gets nicer and softer over time as it’s broken in. No rubbing or chafing or any of that nonsense. The fabric does a good job of wicking moisture away, and since it separates the breasts instead of squashing them in, it reduces boob sweat as well. The lack of underwiring, the wide band, and the thick, padded straps also add to the comfort factor. The straps are also lot closer together than the wide-set straps in Freya’s usual underwired balcony bras, which could be useful to women with narrow shoulders.

Support: Incredible. Before I bought this, I was frustrated and about to give up on sports for good because every so-called ‘maximum support sports bra’ I’d previously tried had made zero difference in controlling the significant and uncomfortable boob bouncing that always accompanied exercise. In comparison, when I wear this bra, I can run around and jump up and down and my boobs do not move. Seriously, this isn’t a sports bra, it’s a feat of engineering. The high neckline does the very important job of controlling bounce from the top, while the wide band adds stability. The 32E fastens with three hooks and the 32F has four. Four hooks. I love it. It’s also worth noting that both the 32E and the 32F, despite being far too small for my currently-32FF boobs, still give me very good support.

Quality: High. These bras are very, very sturdy. I wear them once a week, on average, and after each wearing they’re thrown in with my regular washing (in a mesh bag, of course) and hung up to dry; after one and a half years, there hasn’t been any noticeable decline in fit or support or general structural integrity. The coating is starting to flake off the hooks and eyes, though.

Shape: Okay, let me be upfront here: this bra will give you a massive and hilarious case of torpedo-boob. The shape is extremely pointy. I don’t mind it in this case because, to be honest, the appearance of my boobs is the last thing on my mind when I’m playing sports or at the gym — I think the pointy shape is a fair tradeoff for the excellent support.

Appearance: I have the white version, which is rather plain-looking, but from the promotional photos, some of the color options look pretty good. I particularly like the red color shown in the photo above. Overall, though, looks are not one of the Freya Active’s strong points.

Conclusions: I love this bra, in case you couldn’t tell. It’s the only sports bra I’ve ever tried that actually did what it was supposed to. It’s well-made and the support is brilliant, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who isn’t too fussed about the appearance or the torpedo-boob effect.

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