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Reviews > Clothing > Base Layers and Undies > Ibex Balance Sports Bra > Owner Review by Kathryn Doiron

Ibex Balance Sports Bra

Owner Review by Kathryn Doiron
April 6, 2009

Image of Balance Sports Bra

Personal Information:
Name: Kathryn Doiron
Age: 33
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 8" (1.7 m)
Weight: 150 lb (68 kg)
Email: kdoiron 'at' gmail 'dot' com
Location: Washington DC, USA

Brief Background: I started backpacking and hiking seriously almost four years ago. Most of my miles have been logged in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. I have recently finished 1200+ miles (2000+ km) of the Appalachian Trail. My style is to be as light as possible while not spending a fortune. My pack weight tends to hover around 25 lbs (11 kg) with two days of food and 16 oz (0.5 L) of water. I have recently started getting into winter hiking, snowshoeing and kayaking.

Product Information:

Manufacturer: Ibex Outdoor Clothing
MSRP: $55 US
Weight: (stated) n/av
Weight: (actual) 2.4 oz (68 g)
Material: 17.5 micron Merino with 10% Nylon, 4% Spandex
Colors/sizes available: Alligator, Ivory, Warm Green, Violet Haze, Triathlon Red, and Black/Small to Extra Large

Product Description

The Balance product line from Ibex contains several different types of support product, the Sports Bra being one of them. The Sports Bra is a mostly seamless, next-to-skin support layer that comes just under the breasts and has full breast coverage. The Sports Bra has nice thick straps that come together at the back to avoid interfering with the shoulder blades. The only seam is where the shoulder straps meet with the back section and it is a flatlock stitch. There is a pinch in the material in between the breasts to offer some separation and form fitting. The material is mostly merino wool with a touch of spandex and nylon mixed in for fitting and elastic. The inside of the chest band has lettering around it with various expressions. The back inside of the Sports Bra has lettering with care instructions.

Detail of the soft wide band   Detail of the shoulder seam

From the beginning, I have enjoyed using this Sports Bra. Not only does it work well with my other wool base layers, but it fits well, breathes well, and is easy to care for. I really love the color too. The Triathlon Red is a nice deep red color that is pleasing in shade. The Sports Bra is made with a nice thick knit material that offers low- to medium-level support. The thickness of the material is quite nice. The wool works as I expect wool to work and when the band gets wet from sweat, it has been able to keep me warm. The straps are nonadjustable but this hasn't been a problem. The little tuck in the material in the front does help prevent some of the problems associated with getting uni-boob. While not 100% effective I like the effort.

Detail of the pinch point

I have found this to be spot-on for the support level depending on workout intensity. The website says it is for A, B, or C cup sizes. Being just outside of this range on the larger size, I wasn't sure the top would work for me, but it has. The fit isn't 100% but there is enough give in the Sports Bra to tug it into place for good coverage and comfort. It doesn't offer me as firm a support as it might have if I was within the range. I found the sizing true, and the medium fits nice and snug without pinching. I do find that the top can be a little difficult to pull on without having it roll around itself and sometimes it can be difficult to pull off due to tightness, especially when I am tired.

Field Use

I have used this Sports Bra on quite a number of trips and will detail a few from over the last few months. Trips have ranged from wearing it around the house, to simple day hikes to multi-day overnight trips.

One trip out was a 6.5 mile hike with an elevation gain of 1500 ft (457 m). The temperatures were around 45 F (6 C) and there was a light drizzle that turned to rain by the end of the trip. The Sports Bra performed very well and in fact I could barely tell I was wearing it. There was no riding up and it wicked away the moisture very nicely. I wore the Sports Bra under a thin wool camisole with a lightweight wool layer over top. The Sports Bra was nice to wear and washed very well after the trip. I hang dry my hiking stuff and this Sports Bra was no exception.

Another trip was a 3 day, 2 night winter backpacking trip in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I wore the Sports Bra through the entire trip. The temperatures were mostly just above freezing for the entire time with lots of snow on the ground. The Sports Bra was worn under a wool camisole base-layer over which I added more wool layers according to the situation. While hiking with my pack on, I didn't notice any chafing along the chest band, but did sometimes get a little pressure at the straps from my pack weight. After removing my pack, I noticed (when changing base-layers) that the back of the Sports Bra was damp with sweat but I did not feel cold or wet. The Sports Bra performed well and moved with me. It remained comfortable through the whole trip, even on the 2 hour drive back to town. After 3 days, I didn't notice any strong odors associated with the Sports Bra.

Another trip was a day hike of about 8 miles (13 km) with a total elevation gain of 500 ft (152 m). The temperatures were in the high 40's to low 50's F (8-12 C). I wore the Sports Bra under a wool base layer and again I didn't notice any riding up. The terrain had a few steeper sections and some reaching was required. There was also some jumping from boulder to boulder and a rocky scramble up a rock face. The Sports Bra performed very well again and I didn't feel that it rode up in any way. The Sports Bra stayed in place nicely. It also kept me warm and dry as I moved.

Another recent trip saw the Sports Bra being used on a kayaking trip. The temperatures were in the mid 70's F (around 23 C), the water temperatures were actually a few degrees cooler requiring special gear. I wore the Sports Bra under a lightweight wool base layer which was under a dry top. While I did have some water leakage, I wasn't soaked. I did find that the Sports Bra didn't ride up when wet nor did it stick to my body in an uncomfortable manner. It also kept me feeling warm even though I was wet in spots.

I have been using the Sports Bra for several months now, both in everyday wear as well as on-the-trail wear. The Sports Bra is nice to wear being both comfortable and soft on the skin. I have not found that it rides up in any way, no matter how much I have to stretch for that next hand hold on a steep trail. It has wicked the moisture away from my body and even when the chest band became wet with sweat, it still kept me warm. The Sports Bra does not offer me total support, but for a soft cup sport bra, there is enough support to do low impact activities like hiking and backpacking. I have even found that the Sports Bra is quite comfortable to sleep in. I did notice that the Sports Bra bled color into an lighter colored base layer while on a hiking trip. This was after the Sports Bra had been washed at least twice. I did not notice any color bleed while washing the Sports Bra with lighter colored items.



    - comfortable, as well as soft on the skin
    - stays in place, even after several washings
    - wicks sweat away very well


    - red color bled into another layer

This concludes my Owner Review on the Ibex Balance Sports Bra underwear. Thank you for reading this report and I hope you have found the information contained valuable.

Read more gear reviews by Kathryn Doiron

Reviews > Clothing > Base Layers and Undies > Ibex Balance Sports Bra > Owner Review by Kathryn Doiron

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