Does This New Sports Bra Hold Up? (It’s Modelled After a Breastfeeding Bra.)

What It Is: A sports bra born out of a line of stylish maternity and nursing bras made specifically for active women. The sports bra I reviewed here, called LEVEL, is for women no longer in the breastfeeding stage.

What You Might Not Know: Cadenshae—the New Zealand brand behind these sports bras—was started by two personal trainers, Adam and Nikki, a husband/wife duo with four kids.

After the birth of her first baby, Nikki had trouble finding workout clothes that could accommodate both her active lifestyle and day-to-day duties as a breastfeeding mom. I can relate. When I was breastfeeding my daughter, I don’t recall ever seeing nursing bras for active women. And the standard breastfeeding bras I did have were def not cute (shudder).

Feelin’ the Love: When Cadenshae first approached me about doing a sports bra review, I didn’t know how I could help. My “baby” is in high school, so my days as a nursing mom are loooong over. I have no business testing out breastfeeding gear. 😂

But when I learned the brand was releasing a new sports bra without all the breastfeeding accoutrements like drop-down cups, I changed my mind. I’m always on a quest for great sports bras and was curious to test-drive the non-nursing version of Cadenshae’s celebrated bras. 

Plus with close to 50K followers on Instagram, Cadenshae clearly resonates with active moms. I figured they must be onto something in the bra department, and I wanted in on it!

Cadenshae Sports Bra Review

So far, I’ve worn my Cadenshae bra while teaching high-impact fitness classes, training in the weight room, jogging outdoors and rowing/running/lifting at Orangetheory Fitness.

This wire-free sports bra with thick(ish) straps is a little different from others I’ve tried. When I’m wearing it, everything feels decently “locked” in place. For one thing, the construction is anything but flimsy. I can see and feel that a lot of care went into a design that keeps boobs exactly where they should be.

Bye Side Boob

But the biggest difference I noticed is this: Compared to my other sports bras, the cups on this one come up a little higher on the sides near the top, almost right to the armpit crease. I imagine this full-coverage feature was inspired by maternity and nursing bras, where all-over support is a necessity to help prevent painful breast motion during activity.

While the cut took me about half a workout to get used to because my other bras don’t fit like that, I soon came to appreciate that there would be absolutely no side-boob spillage or flesh squeezing out around the underarm (if you’ve had this, you know what I mean). A lot of other sports bras simply don’t have your back (or front) on this issue. Kudos, Cadenshae.

If I Could Change One Thing: The bra’s super-supportive structure means lots of stitching and seams, including right in the middle of the padded cup (see pics). Because of that, I had to pair my LEVEL bra with looser tanks and tees. The seams are just too apparent under anything form-fitting.

Incidentally, I noticed Cadenshae does offer breastfeeding bras with what they call a “smooth contour” (i.e., no visible mid-cup seam). Seeing as many women who’ve moved past the maternity and breastfeeding stage don’t need quite so much construction, I’d love to see their non-nursing sports bras with that same smoothness—it would make the bra more versatile to wear with a variety of workout tops.

Should You Try It? These are cute bras! If you’re in the market for maternity and breastfeeding sports bras, or a bra that simply feels like it’s going to hold you in really well, these ones from Cadenshae are worth a look. They have breastfeeding workout tops and maternity leggings too.

A word about sizing: If you want my advice, contact Cadenshae for guidance. They sent me a size medium, and it fits perfectly around the under-bust but is perhaps (I can’t believe I’m writing this) ever-so-slightly roomy in the cups. Yet, cup sizes for the version I have (Fit2Feed LEVEL non-breastfeeding bra) seem to encompass B through E whether you get XS or any other size all the way up to XL. For that reason, I’m not sure sizing down would have made a difference. FYI, Cadenshae also offers a different version for larger-busted women called Ultimate. See their online Size Guide as a starting point.

The brand is based in New Zealand, but ships worldwide with free returns; $10 shipping to Canada and $5 to the U.S. via standard post.

Use code LEVEL10%OFF to save 10% or nab 20% off when you donate a gently used bra (and post about it on social media) through their Sister Support program.  

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