I didn't believe it at first, either. When I first heard about the Būband, I googled up review after review looking for someone who could verify that it was a ridiculous garbage gimmick. But most of what I read was positive, so I told you guys all about it. I even bought one for myself, and now? I'm a believer. The Būband goes over an ordinary sports bra, and provides extra compression to turn it into a super mega sports bra: no bounce, ever. That's what the website says, anyway. Even after I checked out those reviews and posted about it, you readers were sceptical. But there were also some believers.
So I ordered one. The first shock was finding out that I couldn't get it from anywhere with free shipping, so I paid, not $US40 ($55), but nearly $US50 ($69) for this piece of elastic. And then it needed extra time to arrive; the Būband's maker, Bounce Labs (yes, really), is Canadian. When it finally showed up at my door, I thought, this thing better be worth it.
It was. It is. The Būband does exactly what it says it does: minimises bounce, comfortably and conveniently.
The Būband Only Has One Job: Compression
No sports bra is perfect. My workout-clothes drawer contains many styles, from $14 Hanes bras to a Moving Comfort that cost as much as the Būband. Some are comfy and others give good support, but none of them does everything right.
(Before we go any further, an important fact: I'm approximately a D cup. I may regret giving detailed measurements of my boobs on the internet, but it seems like a relevant detail for this review. Because bra sizing is not a branch of mathematics, different calculators give my size as anything from a 38B to a 34F.)
I don't believe the perfect sports bra even exists, at least for anyone above a B cup. This Racked explainer about the sports bra industry sums up the problem:
While there are suddenly a ton of options out there for women, not all of them are good. "There is no piece of clothing that is more difficult to design well than a sports bra," says LaJean Lawson, a breast researcher and consultant for Champion Athletics. "There are so many different parameters. It's the most hooked into cultural stereotypes. You have to think about sweat, support, chafing, straps, slippage, and then looking cute. That's a really long list of conflicting design requirements."
The great thing about the Būband is that it doesn't have to fulfil any of those requirements, besides support. That word means a lot of things, and in a sports bra, what it often means is really compression. You have to hold the breasts to the body, somehow, if you want them to not bounce around. According to Racked, there is disagreement in the sports bra research world about whether compression by itself is enough, whether a compression-encapsulation bra is needed for larger sizes, or whether the perfect sports bra may need some other, yet-to-be-discovered strategy.
So can a band that only provides compression somehow turn an ordinary sports bra into a super sports bra? That's what Bounce Labs is betting on, and that's exactly what I found when I put the Būband on. The first time I tried it, I put it on top of one of my most supportive bras. Without the Būband, vigorous running in a good bra is occasionally uncomfortable but I can deal with it. With the Būband, the bouncing... just stopped. Exactly as advertised:
Convinced I was imagining it, I slipped the band off while I was chugging up a hill, and the bouncing came back. My breathing was also a little easier, which is the only real downside I've found. The band makes it just the tiniest bit more work to expand my ribcage if I'm doing a hard interval workout that really has me sucking air. I don't believe that the band affected my breathing in an important way -- I didn't run slower or feel more out-of-breath when I wore it.
So I put the band back on to finish my run. And I realised that the fact you can add and remove compression in seconds opens up new possibilities. For example, you could put it on for the parts of a boot camp class where you're doing jump squats, and take it off for the rest.
The next day, I put on one of my more comfortable but less supportive sports bras, and took care of a few errands before it was time to run. I put in my headphones, tucked my key in my pocket and hooked on the Būband. Instant support (er, compression). When I finished my run, I took it off again. That's a much better experience than wearing a super compressive bra all day, and rushing home to take it off.
The Bottom Line: It's For Real
I've worn the Būband for every run since I got it. Still enamoured. I rinse it out in the shower, and it's ready to go the next day. It rides right under your armpits, so I would have expected stains or smells on those spots on the band, but the fabric either wicks the sweat away or hides it well.
The Būband is for you if you:
- Want to add more compression to the bras you already have
- Want to be able to add and remove compression at will
- Don't mind that it's harder to expand your chest when you're breathing heavy.
- Have $69 to spend, and would rather spend it on a band that works with multiple bras instead of a single $69 bra.
I wear the band over my bra but under my shirt, which makes it possible but awkward to adjust on the go. One previous reviewer said she was self-conscious about her squooshed body shape while wearing the Būband, but I'd say it's only about 10 per cent weirder than the squooshed uni-boob look you already have in a sports bra.
If you're happy with your current sports bra, there's no need to add a Būband. But if you're looking for more compression, the Būband provides that -- and nothing else.