Searching for a two piece bathing suit for summer fun in the sun can be a challenge regardless of body type or activity. I’m always looking for something in a fun print, that is supportive enough for a game of beach volleyball, and has good coverage even after a cannonball off the edge of the dock or a crash waterskiing. In order to best test these suits, we put them through three challenges: the sun salutation test, the 100m sprint down the beach and the cannonball test. Here are four of our top picks:
Ranifly Bikini is swimwear made by and for REAL women. Their suits are handmade in St John, Virgin Islands by the talented Rani, with an attention to quality, durability, style and function. The coolest thing about Ranifly Bikinis is that because they are all hand made, they can be made specific to your measurements – thus you are not stuck with in the generic Small/Medium/Large construct of most brands. We tested their Mimi X Back Sport Top and Low Rider bottoms. The suit came in a plastic bag perfect for stowing a wet suit after a day in the water. Both top and bottom did well in the sun salutation test, offering great coverage from down dog to cobra, and the sprint down the beach yielded excellent results as well as this suit has sports bra like qualities on top. The suit also performed exceptionally in the water staying put throughout various activities. Rani doesn’t lie- these suits really do feel like a second skin and we were able to go from the sea to sunset happy hour with plenty of support on top. [RAINFLY BIKINI]
Designed by a kite boarder and water sports enthusiast, Sensi Graves bikinis are made to work hard. The skimpiest and flirtiest suit we tested was Sensi’s Claire Top and Lindsay Bottoms. However, even with the smaller amounts of fabric we were impressed by how well this suit stayed in place. It aced the cannonball test and did exceedingly well in the sun salutation test, but lagged behind a bit in the sprint test for the same reason that I would argue that these suits are excellent for small to moderately chested women. We loved the strappy detailing on the back of the top and how well it stayed put in crashing waves. If you are looking for a flirty suit that hangs tough – Sensi Graves has the perfect one for you. [SENSI GRAVES]
If you are looking for a “classic” supportive bikini, Patagonia has arguably the best one on the market. Their Boucau Top and Sunamee Bottoms are made from a durable nylon/spandex blend specifically designed for use in swimwear. The top has removeable side entry soft cups and a wide supportive band. Regardless of cup size or body type, this suit offers great coverage and comes in some very fun prints this year. We tested out this suit jumping in the ocean and doing a little yoga, playing in the water this suit performs very well, but I do not recommend doing inverted positions in yoga as the top doesn’t hold the girls in very well upside down. The cut of this suit is flattering, classic and build to last. [PATAGONIA]
The suit that aced all three tests was the Zira Top and Saya Bottom from prAna. Made from a polyester/spandex blend the sport inspired top and bottom with feminine strapping and full coverage left little to complain about. Cannonballs, warrior poses, and chasing frisbees down the beach were each tackled by this suit with ease and even in the biggest waves everything stayed where it belonged. I could very comfortably swim laps in this suit, or play games on the beach, or just lie in the sun reading my book. The prints are fun and flattering and many of prAna’s suits come in the same patterns so you can mix and match their tops and bottoms to match your style. [prAna]
We know that women’s bodies are incredibly diverse and may need more or less support/coverage in different areas, so we hope that this list gives you a little bit of information about some brands that have catered their swimsuit styles to active ladies. Whether you prefer surfing, swimming laps, or simply reading a good book with your toes in the sand, don’t forget the sunscreen this summer!
Also – if you have a favorite bikini brand that you think would pass our tests with flying colors please let us know in the comments below!