MY INSPIRE WEAR SPORTS BRA
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
July 14, 2012
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
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Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
130 lb (59.00 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with involvement in a local canoeing/camping group called Canoe Trails. The culmination was a 10-day canoe voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have completed all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a week long. I carry a light to mid-weight load, use a tent, stove and trekking poles.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: My Inspire Wear
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.myinspirewear.com
MSRP: $29.99 US
Listed Weight: Not Listed
Measured Weight: 3.2 oz (91 g)
Size Tested: Medium
Other Sizes Available: Small, Large, XL, XXL. See size chart.
Color Tested: Cream (Breathe)
Other Colors Available: Black (Strength), Pink (Courage), Purple (Achieve)
Made in China
|Courtesy of My Inspire Wear|
|Courtesy of My Inspire Wear|
The My Inspire Wear bra is a sports bra made for low or medium impact activities including bicycling, power walking and hiking. The fabric is 67% viscose from bamboo, 28% organic cotton and 5% spandex. The front of the bra is a double layer of fabric and has princess seams. It has a rounded scoop neck. Along the front is silkscreened the word 'breathe' in bluish gray letters. The back is a single layer of fabric and is a racer back style. On the inside back are the size, washing instructions and other product information. There is no tag. On the outside back is the My Inspire Wear logo in green and purple. It claims to be moisture wicking and naturally anti-bacterial which I plan to test out. It also says that bamboo is eco-friendly, provides thermo-control properties, is hypo-allergenic, blocks 98% of UV rays and is comfortable.
|Photo courtesy of My Inspire Wear|
The website explains about the type of bamboo which they use, Moso, which is apparently a variety that pandas don't eat so there is no fear of endangering their population. The website also gives more details on each of the claims above. It also talks about their bamboo supplier and how they recycle manufacturing materials, use non-carcinogenic dyes, use organic materials, are safety conscious and don't use child labor. Lastly it talks about bamboo and how it grows in abundance, is good for global warming since it converts so much carbon dioxide and doesn't require irrigation to grow.
All of those claims sound good to me but I'm mainly interested in how the product works!
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS & TRYING IT OUT
I tried the bra on the first night just to make sure that it fit and was immediately taken with how comfortable it was. The fabric felt soft on my skin and the fit was great. I could tell that it is certainly the most comfortable sports bra that I own just from the standpoint of initially donning a bra (and not yet including wear). And for the record I have quite a large collection of different types and brands of sports bras. I like the scoop neck which is low enough to not show under my shirts but high enough that it still sits flat against my chest.
I first wore the bra on a snowshoe hike of 5.6 miles (9 km) with a long-sleeved technical shirt, a light fleece and a rain jacket. As the daytime temperatures increased, I removed the jacket and then the fleece. As far as comfort, I didn't notice much difference between it and any other sports bra that I would typically wear. I did get fairly hot and was sweating at some points but the bra breathed well and wasn't particularly wet when I got home and took it off. It also smelled very good with no body aroma at all.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The washing instructions provided are typical for sports bras or technical clothing in general so that will be easy to remember. They are:
Machine or hand wash with like colors, tumble dry low, do not bleach or use fabric softener. Use a dry (no steam) iron set no higher than low setting, if needed.
It also says that it is so easy to clean that it can be washed in cold water with just a dab of soap. That sounds perfect for backpacking.
There is a money-back return policy of 30 days.
The My Inspire Wear sports bra is a moisture wicking comfortable bra with inspirational messages on the front.
Things that are great:
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I wore the My Inspire Wear sports bra 25 times over the Field Test period. This included three multi-day trips. I wore the bra for six hikes, four snowshoe hikes, seven morning runs and nine gym workouts.
Union Valley Reservoir, Sierra Nevada, California: 2 days of snowshoe backpacking; 6 mi (10 km); 4,832 to 5,154 ft (1,473 to 1,571 m) elevation; 28 to 50 F (-2 to 10 C).
Pinnacles National Monument, California: 2 days of hiking with fully loaded backpack; 10.9 mi (17.5 km); 1,260 to 2,100 ft (384 to 640 m) elevation; 28 to 70 F (-2 to 21 C).
Sequoia National Park, California: 1 day each of hiking and snowshoeing with fully loaded backpack; 8.6 mi (14 km); 6,200 to 6,700 ft ( 1,890 to 2,042 m) elevation; 55 to 65 F (13 to 18 C).
South Fork American River Trail, Sierra Nevada, California: 10.9 mi; 800 to 1,200 ft (240 to 370 m) elevation; 60 to 75 F (15 to 24 C).
Multiple hikes in the Sierra Nevada, California; 2.5 to 3.6 mi (4 to 6 km); 500 to 6,500 ft (150 to 1,981 m) elevation; 35 to 55 F (2 to 13 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
This bra has quickly become my favorite sports bra in the drawer. I was disappointed every time that I found it to be in the laundry and not available to wear. In fact several times I pulled it out of the laundry to wear it rather than choosing one of my clean bras. The comfort is the biggest factor in my love for this bra. The fabric is soft. The fit is good. This is the only sports bra that I've ever owned where I don't have to check for the straps being twisted after donning it. Well, so far I still check every time out of habit but I have never found them to be twisted.
Another thing that I really like is that the bra never smells bad. As mentioned above I have worn the bra several times between washings and it hasn't developed any foul odor despite getting really sweaty during use. The bra always has a fresh smell that I associate with the bamboo fiber. We own bamboo sheets and they have a similar fresh aroma which is very comforting.
I have worn the bra several times for running and find the support level to be very much adequate. There is no discomfort at all or any time that I wished for more support.
I washed the bra every week for approximately nine washings. Each time was a machine-washing in cold water followed by a low heat tumble machine-dry. There is no sign of any durability issues. There is no fading of the color or of the 'breathe' silkscreened letters. The stitches are completely intact and the elastic has maintained its properties.
The only thing that I have found to be any issue at all is that when I wear the bra with a white shirt, I can read 'breathe' through the shirt. This is somewhat uncomfortable for me since I don't want people trying to read my bra. So, I've stopped wearing it with white shirts.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
I wore the My Inspire Wear sports bra on 28 days over the Long-Term Test period. This included two multi-day backpacking trips. I wore the bra for three day-hikes, four mountain bike rides, five morning runs and for softball, disc golf, tennis and gardening.
Hunters Trail, Sierra Nevada, California: 3 days; 20 mi (32 km); 3,500 to 5,000 ft (1,067 to 1,524 m); 35 to 65 F (2 to 18 C).
Yosemite National Park, Sierra Nevada, California: 5 days; 37 mi (60 km); 4,200 to 9,400 ft (1,280 to 2,865 m); 45 to 75 F (7 to 24 C).
Forni Lake, Desolation Wilderness, California: 10 mi (16.1 km); 6,600 to 7,100 ft (2,012 to 2,164 m) elevation; 55 to 70 F (13 to 21 C).
Two hikes in the Sierra Nevada, California; 3.6 mi (6 km); 500 to 1,000 ft (150 to 300 m) elevation; 65 to 75 F (18 to 24 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The bra continued to be my favorite sports bra. Heck, it is just my favorite bra period. I only washed the bra six times during this test period. So, I wore it many times between washings because it was often in use on laundry day and got missed. This meant that I either had to wear it dirty or wear a clean one of my other sports bras. Only rarely did I opt for one of my other bras except when I wanted to wear a white shirt and didn't want the 'breathe' lettering to show through. On those days I missed this bra and could definitely notice that I wasn't wearing it. I'm absolutely amazed at how different it is in terms of comfort. It has made me much more aware of how uncomfortable bras are in general. So I'm not only changing my sports bras over to these, I'm also changing my normal bras over to a hopefully more comfortable type.
On the Yosemite trip we took an icy swim to stand under a cold waterfall. It was a hot hike so this was really welcome despite all of the yelling that we did from the shock of the cold water. We continued to hike afterwards and I never noticed any discomfort or chafing due to the wet bra. By the time we got to camp and I got changed, the bra was mostly dry except maybe for some sweat.
The durability seems fine considering how much this bra has been worn. It isn't looking new anymore but there are no noticeable signs of deterioration. The elastic is intact and all of the seams are doing fine. I can't notice any fading of the 'breathe' lettering on the front. The very fresh smell that I associate with bamboo seems to be less noticeable but the bra stills smells great even when it isn't all that clean.
The My Inspire Wear sports bra is an exceptionally comfortable bra that works well for all of my indoor and outdoor athletic activity.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
My favorite things:
Smells great (even when it needs laundering)
My not-so-favorite things:
'Breathe' lettering shows through a white shirt
This concludes my Long-Term Test Report and this test series. Thanks to My Inspire Wear and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test and to find my favorite sports bra.
Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith