Overview of the Oiselle Ballard Bra
The Oiselle Ballard Bra is a workhorse bra with a bit of flair. It offers removable cups to prevent headlights and enough styling for those who prefer to run in just a bra. The Ballard Bra is likely best for smaller chested women—my guess is that a full C cup might really max the Ballard’s compression and allow the dreaded bounce.
But for those looking for reliable compression in our high impact workouts, this may be the bra for you.
- Nyelle Compression
- Nyelle Might Mesh Detail Trim
- Plya Power Mesh lining (Plya is Oiselle’s proprietary fabric of 94% poly and 4% Spandex.)
- Removable Cups
- 4 Straps for Comfort and Support
- Compression Level: 2 (compression level 2 is appropriate for high impact sports for B–C cup; C–D cups would want level 3)
- More info on the Oiselle site right here.
I’m a B cup and according to Oiselle’s “how to measure” chart, my chest size is a 32 so I ordered a size 4 which is intended to fit 30–32. I felt like the bra fit pretty true to size.
Comfort: The Ballard is comfortable and offers a moderate to high level of compression while running. When product testing I opt to go sans glide to see if there are any hot spots out of the gate. On my first run I went out for 12 miles with zero chafing, and repeated wear never elicited any need for glide. Oiselle’s trademarked Nyelle and Plya fabrics are soft, supple, and comfortable against the skin. They also seem to wick moisture well, and post-run I wasn’t in a hurry to get out of the bra. It doesn’t have that sausage-casing feel that some sports bra do and it was easy to remove even when damp post-run.
Styling: The double strap design and mesh detail give this bra a bit more flair than your typical sports bra. The compression level is good without creating a full on uniboob, and if you add in the removable cups you’ll get a bit of extra lift and separation.
Attention to Detail: Oiselle’s tag system is unique. It still has the long, white tag we all tend to remove as soon as we purchase a garment, but it also has a small, thin, sewn-in tag that the white tag is looped through. This sewn-in tag shows the garment size and brand, so if you choose to remove the standard tag you’ll still have access to that information.
What Could Be Improved:
Fit: I’d love the fit to be just a little bit more snug. I did the bounce test in front of a mirror and there was a bit more movement than I would like. I think a C cup would max out the limits of the Ballard’s Level 2 compression (intended for running). And if you are a C cup who really likes support this might not be the bra for you.
Removable Cups: I really like the idea of removable cups. If you like a bit of extra padding or hate headlights removable cups are a GREAT solution. However, if you don’t like them, like me, you find you end up with piles of bra cups littering your drawers. What are we supposed to do with all of these cups?? I’d like to challenge the bra companies to come up with a way to add these in if we want them and to leave them out if we don’t, in order to save a lot of extra materials from ending up in a landfill. [Side note: If you have ideas for projects you can do with these bits of padding or just want extra, hit me up and I’ll ship you mine!]
When to Use It:
Any type of physical activity that requires a sports bra.
How It’s Holding Up:
After 6 trips through the washer (and dryer, low heat) the bra isn’t showing any signs of wear or color fading. The sweat smell is not adhering to the fabric and each time out of the wash it comes out smelling clean. No noticeably fraying or loose threads after repeated trips through the wash. I’ll update this section if that changes after more wear.
Oiselle is a female owned company with women designers. Their tagline is “by and for women athletes.” This is not a shrink it and pink it company, rather they are heavily focused on designing performance products for women athletes at all levels.
Should You Purchase:
At $50 the Ballard Bra falls middle of the road cost-wise. If you like your sports bras to have a bit of styling to go along with their performance, then the Ballard is a solid choice. It gets the job done and looks good at the same time. If you tend to keep your bra covered up and/or you don’t much care about styling, there are cheaper options to be had that will give you similar performance.
If you are interested in purchasing this bra, check out your local, independently-owned running specialty store to check them out. Click here to go straight to the bra on the Oiselle site. You can also find their dealer list here, and if you happen to find yourself in Seattle, Washington you should check out their Flagship store in Seattle’s University Village.
Other Sports Bra Reviews on Ultrarunnerpodcast
Your New Reviewer: Sarah Bradham