Every time I open Instagram on my phone, which–let’s be honest–is all the time, I see beautiful, strong women crushing boulders or training for projects. Most of the time it’s inspiring; it makes me want to train just as hard; it motivates me to stop binge watching West World or Stranger Things and go to the gym. Sometimes though, it makes me feel like a giant potato troll. When I originally contacted Arêt Basewear about doing a gear review for them, I had images of myself crushing my v4 projects with rippling muscles, flat abs, and perfect hair–not begrudgingly pulling off my oversized sweater while acutely aware of my unshaved legs, messy hair, and general feeling of being bloated while looking up at a v3 I’d been trying for almost three years. Basically, I did not feel like Beyonce–or Nina Williams.
I’m not going to tell you that I have found the cure for low self esteem or that Arêt Basewear’s sports bra will magically give you six pack abs and perfect hair. What I will tell you is that modeling is incredibly fun, especially when your photographer is your best friend (or boyfriend) and looks at you like you imagine the world looks at Beyonce–flawless. Giving my boyfriend the camera definitely changed how I viewed images of myself, at least for the time being. Instead of seeing only the rolls of skin covering my stomach (and somewhere at least two abs), I saw strong arms and a toned back. I saw photos of me reaching a new highpoint on my problem. Now if you also happen to be doing all of this while wearing an amazing sports bra that doesn’t dig into your sides but instead hugs the curves of your back muscles, surely that only helps boost your self confidence.
I stumbled across Arêt Basewear on Instagram and continued to periodically check their website, waiting for them to officially open their virtual doors. The company is run by three amazing outdoorsy ladies in search of a multipurpose, fashionable, and comfy sports bra. Well, they made it and let me tell you–it’s everything I hoped it would be.
The sports bra, the Toura, works for climbing, hiking, and swimming. It’s comfortable, without the pinching elastic bottom band that most sport bras use as equivalent to the ever painful underwire. The fabric is a blend of 82% nylon and 18% spandex which allows for four-way stretch capabilities. Instead of scraping up your sides while you make big reachy moves, the bra moves with you, no resistance, no pinching, no awkward back rolls produced by squeezing. The material is similar to swim and dancewear with addition of compression due to the nylon to spandex ratio, allowing the wearer to enjoy a fuIl day at the crag followed up by an often much needed jump in the water (especially if you’re in the south east). If this isn’t enough to convince you to support these incredible ladies, they also package their bras with environmentally friendly packaging and use local production that includes fair wages. Not only do you look good, you also feel good. Finally, if none of this can convince you to throw all your money at these ladies instead of LuluLemon, they also use real women as models, women who rock climb, who have back and shoulder muscles with the goal of sending a positive message to the women in the climbing community, one that embraces diversity, strength, and empowerment. All in all, while the bra may not giving you massive boosts of confidence for the rest of your life or six pack abs, it will still make your boobs look great while also leaving you comfortable in a multifunctional and ethically made bra, and that’s pretty dope.