The CW-X Sport Support and Firm Support bras look good. They won't make the grade as outer garments at an upscale soiree, but they will bring a touch of elegance to your sunrise meditation at Perfect Kiva in Grand Gulch Primitive Area.
Of course the CW-X bra will be invisible most of the time, so what really matters is whether the bra is comfortable and supportive.
- Comfortable enough for multi-day, all-day wear
- Dries fast
- Stays in place
What’s Not So Good
- Snug bottom band can make it hard to pull on/take off
- Heavier than some mostly single layer sport tops
- Some users noticed hot spots at the arm opening
|2005/2006 CW-X Sport Support Bra and Firm Support Bra|
|2.7 oz (77 g) as measured Sport Support size L|
|Four-way stretch Coolmax Tricot fabric, 80% Coolmax/20% Lycra|
|Sport Support - S, M, L; cup size regular, (A) and (D) covering bra sizes from 32AA/A through 36D. |
Firm Support - M, L, LL; cup size regular and (D) covering sizes 34B/C through 38D
Sizes tested - Sport Support L regular (36B/C) and M (A) (34AA/A), Firm Support LL regular (38B/C), and LL (D) 38D
|Black, Black/Grey, Black/Pink, White|
|Sport Support Bra $44.95 , Firm Support Bra (available August '06) $51.95|
CW-X uses technology and body movement analysis to create apparel as technical as other gear you use to enhance your backpacking experience. Their parent company, Wacoal, has spent 40 years studying the human body. The CW-X Soft Support technology was developed after extensive high-speed video analysis of women in motion. The Soft Support Web utilizes mesh webbing built into the cup of the bra in a five-point star pattern. Suspending the breast from the shoulder strap of the bra, the webbing is claimed to reduce the initial upward bounce experienced during high impact activities. Anchoring the Soft Support Web at the base strap and shoulder is intended to provide the wearer with a floating inner support web that is comfortable, yet supportive. In addition, compression is used to provide added motion control and increase the bra's ability to move moisture away from the skin.
CW-X has extended the size range of their Sport Support Bra and added the Firm Support Bra. The Firm Support Bra uses a modified Soft Support Web for larger cup sizes. Sport Support Bras are now available in sizes 32A/AA through 36D, while Firm Support Bras are available in 34B/C through 38D. The sizing convention used by CW-X is somewhat confusing necessitating a chart (below) for clarification. Four reviewers representing the complete size range of the line tested the CW-X Sport and Firm Support Bras backpacking, day hiking and at the gym and confirmed that sizing is accurate.
|No designation||32 B/C||34 B/C||36 B/C||38 B/C|
|(A)||32 AA/A||34 AA/A||36 AA/A||-|
|(D)||32 D||34 D||36 D||38 D|
Does all the technology behind these bras pan out in actual use? In a word, yes. The Sport Support Bra is very comfortable to wear day and night with no chaffing during intense activity. Testers for both the Sport Support and the Firm Support Bras all commented on the good support.
Comments were mixed on the difficulty of donning/doffing the bra. Our largest tester needed assistance taking the bra off after a sweaty workout, while another tester found the CW-X bra easier to get on and off than other sports bras she owns. Any difficulty is due to the snug bottom band (tip - keep the band from rolling over on itself when pulling the bra over your head). Once the bra is in place, the bottom band is amazingly comfortable - it holds the bra securely in place without pinching. There are no skin indentations after prolonged (multi-day) use, except for a very minor indentation at the bottom circumference that doesn't cause any discomfort. The tag bothered some users and two of us noticed a hot spot at times at the front of the arm opening.
The CW-X Bra is constructed with an inner and outer layer of fabric with a Soft Support Web of five interconnected floating inner cup straps suspended in between. Each breast is supported individually rather than compressed together into one "mono-boob." The two layers of fabric help hold in warmth - a plus in cool weather. CW-X offers the Mesh Support Bra and Ventilator Support Bra for warmer weather, although I have not felt overheated wearing the standard Sport Support Bra hiking in desert conditions.
Contrary to my expectations, the CW-X bra does not take excessively long to dry. In fact, in a hang to dry comparison test with an older model Patagonia Mesh Sport Top, the CW-X was completely dry first. It was neck and neck throughout the test with the Patagonia bra slightly in the lead, until the end when the CW-X pulled ahead with a faster drying bottom band.
Minimal accents give the top an understated stylish look. The straps are fixed length and long enough for those with a long torso - like me. The Patagonia Mesh Sport Top has shorter straps and feels like it will pull up out of place when I lift my arms above my head. That is not the case with the CW-X bra (see photos below). As a bonus, the CW-X bra passes the sniff test after intermittent use - 15 days and 5 nights.
|After a faster than anticipated 3-mile hike to the top of Rincon Peak to watch the sunset, we arrived an hour early to cool, windy conditions. My shirt was soaked and I was getting chilly fast. But not so chilly I didn't take the time for a photo op as I peeled off my wet shirt to replace it with dry insulation. Notice how the CW-X Sport Support Bra stays securely in place even with my arms over my head. (Thanks to Don 'Photon' Johnston for being a good sport and taking the photos.)|
The CW-X Sport Support and Firm Support Bras are good looking, supportive, and comfortable enough for continuous wear.
Recommendations for Improvement
The CW-X bras are wonderful, but there's always room for improvement. The sizing could be clearer (even the sizing chart isn't immediately obvious).