Another Rider Friendly Sports Bra from Title Nine

Riding Season is in full gear as we continue our Lady Bits & Riding features.

Are you on the big-chested side? Do you struggle to stay comfortable and cool on these summer days?

Guest columnist Emily Luciano reviewed the Trade Up Shock Absorber sports bra. Luciano is on the Steering Committee for the Best Horse Practices Summit.

Luciano writes:

Like I said in my last Title Nine sports bra review, I’m hard to fit. Not only am I hard to fit, but I’m also really doggone picky when it comes to bras. I look for just the right amount of coverage, separation and support.

Now that I’m pregnant— almost 17 weeks— I’ve gone from hard to fit and picky to nearly impossible to fit and ultra-discriminating. I was large chested before pregnancy. Now, it feels like I have cantaloupes that are the verge of rupturing strapped to my chest. Isn’t pregnancy grand?

Because I’m literally toppling out of all my other bras, sports bras have become my everyday support system— literally. I’m happy to say that the Trade-Up Shock Absorber from Title Nine has worked its way into my everyday rotation. From riding to the grocery store, to walking the dogs, to cleaning the house, this bra is perfect and oh-so-comfortable.

The Trade Up Shock Absorber is perfect for riding in the Florida heat because along with providing ample support, it’s oh-so-breathable. And yes, I’m pregnant and riding— my midwife gave me the “okay” as long as I promised not to gallop through the woods and stay on my safest horses. Easy enough!

I’ve walked, trotted and even cantered a few strides in this bra, and my tender melons felt supported the whole time. “Less bounce to the ounce” is the way Title Nine describes this bra and I have to agree.

Let’s talk bra straps: this bra has inch-wide padded straps and they are ah-mazing! Let’s be read: boobs can get heavy. We wouldn’t dream of strapping 10 or so pounds to our backs with narrow, spandex straps. So, why do so many bra companies think it’s okay to strap 10 pounds to our chest with little quarter-inch spandex straps?

The wide, padded straps with this bra form a racer back to provide ultimate support. It’s fantastic! My back literally never hurts while wearing this bra.

And the separation? Thank you, Title Nine! No uni-boob here.

The only thing I might change to make this the perfect bra would be to add just a tiny bit of padding in the cups, as it’s obvious to tell when one has a chill, if you catch my drift. Aside from that, hats off to another spectacular bra from Title Nine!

It’s Active Preggo-Boob Approved.

Title Nine’s Molly Hanks tested this bra, too. She adds: “This bra gives me amazing support without a lot of bulk. By far the best support I’ve found for high impact sports. Wicks away moisture and allows me to stay cool, not clammy.”

Does Your Bra Pass the Loping Test?

You can’t consider bras without considering lifestyle. And if our reader feedback and surveys are representative, here’s what our lives are like:

  • Horse chores in the morning and in the evening (and often in between)
  • A daily blend of active and less active responsibilities. We often shift from one to the other several times a day
  • Riding might involve a spontaneous one-hour hack or a more serious half-day outing

Despite our excellent and eclectic days, we most definitely do not want to switch bras as we switch endeavors. Title Nine has many, many options for women

Patagonia’s Barely Bra

like us. They call them Work-to-Workout bras. I tried two of them, the Barely Bra by Patagonia and the Straptastic, an exclusive by Lole. Both are great choices for us smaller chested gals.

Read Emily’s bra review for bigger chested women here.

The Barely comes with removable cups, a feminine center gather, and attractive (not too thin, not too think) straps that meet in the racer back. It lived up to its name as I started my day with horse chores and a strength workout at the gym before moving to office work, never noticing too much or too little support.

Straptastic Bra at Title Nine

Like many sports bras, the Barely does not have a back clasp. You simply pull it on over your head. Unlike many sports bras, the band is comfy and non-restrictive.

As dinnertime approached, we headed out for a quick ride. I did swap out the t-shirt for a warmer button-down, but the bra stayed on.

The Barely Bra passed the Loping Test with flying colors.

What’s the Loping Test? It’s the best way to assess the worthiness of a bra, especially for its straps and support: if you modify your riding posture to be more comfortable OR if the straps slip off your shoulders when you’re loping your horse, then the bra has failed you.

Barely Bra has a racer back

The Straptastic is a close cousin to the Barely Bra with a tad more support and a slightly sexier profile. It differs with a back clasp and adjustable straps that attach conventionally or can be switched for a crossover look. It also has removable cups.

While both have a blend of nylon, polyester, and spandex, the Straptastic is of just slightly heavier construction. That translated to better coverage and better durability with many washes, but the trade off is that it’s not quite as soft as the Patagonia bra.

The Straptastic also passed the Loping Test perfectly.

Coming soon: The best bra for going shirtless.

Straptastic has straight straps or can be crossed over.

Lady Bits & Riding: Intrepid Sports Bra Review

We talked with Title Nine’s Molly Hanks about the company’s promotion of athletic women and good gear to help them get out and be fit. “Sports bras help women be fit, active, and strong. For some larger chested women, if you don’t have a good sports bra, you might not do sports at all. It can literally be life-changing,” said Hanks.

Guest columnist Emily Luciano reviewed the Intrepid sports bra. Luciano is on the Steering Committee for the Best Horse Practices Summit.

Luciano writes:

Where has this bra been all my life?

It takes a lot to impress me in the bra department. As a larger chested gal, I value more than just support. I also want the right amount of coverage, separation (no uniboob for me!), and comfort.

For the longest time, I felt like I could find a bra that only met some of my needs. Perhaps it was supportive and comfortable, but left me with the dreaded uniboob. Or, maybe it looked great and was comfortable, but left me bouncing my way down the trail. My girls and I have been let down a number of times.

When I got the opportunity to test drive three sports bras from Title Nine, I jumped at the chance! I’m generally hard to fit in the bra department, and I was thrilled when I didn’t have to make concessions for my size. Not just everyone carries a 32DD, but Title Nine has multiple styles.

The first bra I test drove was the Intrepid Underwire Bra, which they give 5/6 barbells on the Title Nine support scale. Say what you will about underwire bras, but I don’t feel like I get enough support without it and absolutely prefer all my bras—even my sports bras— to have underwire.

I wore this bra from the moment I woke up to the moment I stripped down to shower before bed, and I L-O-V-E-D it. I walked the dogs, gardened, rode horses, and did a mixed martial arts workout (kicking, punching and jumping) while wearing it. I not only felt comfortable and supported, but I loved how it looked like a regular bra under my clothes— no uniboob. It was exactly my size.

One of my favorite things about this bra is that it has a racerback option; all you have to do is hook the clasp on the straps to convert it to an even more supportive version of itself. Easy! I chose to hook the clasp when I rode and when I was working out. The girls didn’t budge!

In the Intrepid description on the Title Nine website, says it features “an anti-microbial finish to keeps the Intrepid smelling like new.” Before the Intrepid came into my life, my favorite sports bra was a Victoria’s Secret number that required washing after every other sweat session. For someone who works out six days a week and is doing daily farm chores in the sweltering Florida heat, that means I was washing that bra A LOT. I’ve now sweated in my Intrepid three times since the initial test drive and it still smells just fine.

The Interprid surpassed all my expectations, and hit all my requirements (coverage, comfort, separation, and support).

Got used bras you’re not using? Consider donating them to Support the Girls.

Lady Bits: Infections & Incontinence

As athletes who are often spending hours and hours in the saddle, there are several Lady Bits issues that crop up for us. Incontinence, yeast infections, sweaty rashes, pubic pain are problems faced by us riders. Yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis, for instance, are common and can be treated through prevention as well as drugs.

Read more about two women riders who had problems and then found solutions.

Itchy Prevention:

Breathability is key! Many riders suggest wearing cotton underwear and changing out of sweaty undies as expeditiously as possible. Consider wearing loose, breathable clothing when not in the saddle. Try sleeping without underwear and/or pajamas.

Cutting back on sugar in diet is often recommended for women prone to yeast infections. We know, for example, that women at risk for diabetes tend to get more yeast infections.

Itchy Treatment:

Many issues can be treated with over-the-counter medications. However, if you are experiencing your first infection, you may not know what it is. Knowledge first, then treatment! Jock itch, for instance, requires different treatment than a vaginosis. Consult a doctor.

Incontinence:

Older women or those who have had multiple births may struggle with incontinence. It’s an issue that can sometimes be alleviated with physical therapy.

Check out this video on the correct physical therapy approach to Kegel exercises and this one for incontinence.

Here is a helpful article on preventing and treating incontinence.

Here’s a Colorado State University article on vagina-related facts.

Coming soon: We review sports bras from Title Nine.

Lady Bits: Undies & Oww-ies

Several women shared their Lady Bits & Riding experiences. Thank you and keep ’em coming! Contact us here if you’d like to share.

Writes a rider from Colorado:

What a great subject! At age 50, I’m fairly new to riding. I have an Arabian mare and am studying reining and ranch versatility with a trainer. In my short adult riding career, one interesting Lady Bits moment to share in hopes of helping others: I rather suddenly developed a small, very tender spot on the vulva (the area immediately external to the vagina). It ached all the time. I knew it wasn’t a cyst (which I’d gotten in the same place from cycling, years ago).

I went to gynecologist and it turns out that I’d grown a skin tag, which she removed with a bit of anesthetic. Her recommendation was to choose underwear wisely: anything with a thick edge to it, or a thong, because of its narrowness, can move around while riding and rub. The friction can cause an irritation.

Now, I wear a ‘boy short’ which puts the elasticized leg edge well away from anything tender and doesn’t have bulky seams. I’ve had no further problems.

Writes another rider from North Carolina:

I wear boy shorts or athletic undies to ride in. I never go commando (no undies at all). I tried that once and my crotch hurt for about a week. I always always wear cotton undies which can be unbelievably hard to find. Also, when riding all day, I often change socks and undies at lunchtime.

Lady Bits and Riding Special Section

Ladies!

In the coming weeks, we’ll be featuring articles and reviews dedicated specifically to our lady bits and riding.

We’ll talk about comfort and discomfort in the saddle. We’ll highlight concerns, strategies, and solutions. No topic is out of the question if it’s a concern to you:

  • incontinence
  • sexuality
  • jock itch (yes, gals get jock itch, too)
  • pelvic floor and core strength

We have support (physically and promotionally) from the wonderful women at Title Nine. They’ve sent us some fabulous sports bras from Patagonia, Lole, Brooks, and others. Stay tuned for bra reviews with the horse rider specifically in mind.

We’ll talk with doctors and link to about issues affecting women riders.

Let us hear from you! Tell us what you want and need to know about. Comment here or send us a message.

Not on facebook? Send us an email at info@besthorsepractices.com. Got a sensitive comment or question? No worries! Your name will be kept confidential.

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