For the second year in a row we sent out a challenge to some of our favorite brands that make swimsuits to give us their best “bikini that doesn’t budge”. As women we know that searching for a two piece bathing suit for summer fun in the sun can be a challenge regardless of body type or prefered warm weather activity. In order to best test these suits, we put them through three challenges: the sun salutation test – complete three sunsalutations in a row without adjusting the suit, the 50m sprint down the beach and the cannonball/dolphin dive/get knocked over by an ocean wave test. Five awesome ladies tested suits from six different brands and this is what they found. [All images by Gretchen Powers]
25 year old, 34 A cup, size 4 pants, tested the Athleta Napali Cross Strap Bikini top and the Napali Tide Medium bottom in size small. She says “This suit was designed for swim, surf and paddle – the closest I could get was body boarding and swimming in the waves and was really impressed at how well it stayed in place. There wasn’t a single time that I came back from riding a wave that I needed to readjust. The top has quite a few straps which are adjustable allowing you to make it fit just right and gives it a fun look but did yield a few more conspicuous tan lines. Something I always look for in a suit is how well the breast insert cups dry. As someone with smaller breasts I usually keep the cups in and I hate when the cups take forever to dry and if they drip. The QUICKDRI cups dried quickly and didn’t drip down my stomach. If you are person who doesn’t like the cups these are also removable. Both the top and bottom are made of Nylon/Lycra® Spandex and after washing and air drying them they are in great shape, with no fading, stretching or pilling. The Nylon/Lycra® Spandex combo makes this suit both durable and breathable. So if you are taking a walk or run down the beach, or practicing yoga poses it still feels lightweight and sleek. The top and bottom are rated SPF 50 to provide great sun protection. I could wear this suit all day long without worrying about a thing – this suit passed the tests with flying colors!” 5/5
[50 year old, size 34D, 6 pants – not pictured) tested the Athleta Vichy High Neck Bikini top and Shirred Bottoms in size Medium] She says, “I have been wanting a top like this to help with coverage of my chest as I am now 50 years of age, my skin is thinning in that area and tends to get burnt more easily so I was very excited to be able to test out this top. I love the coverage, fit and style of the Vichy High Neck Bikini which is made of 85% nylon and 15% spandex – stretchy enough to be comfortable but also firm enough to give good support – critical when running on the beach or swimming in the ocean. The top has an adjustable tie back which is also great because I have a smaller rib cage with a 34 D cup and medium fit very well. When I ran on the beach I was impressed at how well it supported my chest, when I practiced yoga nothing slid out! The bottoms offer great coverage with the cute ruching on the side as a nice detail. They didn’t ride up throughout any of the exercises which is impressive for a swimsuit bottom!” 4/5 SHOP ATHLETA
25 year old, 32 DD cup, size 8 pants, tested the IMSY Margo Top and Stella Bottom in size large. She says “IMSY, a bikini company that seamlessly bridges the gap between fashion and function sent us the Margo Top and Stella Bottom to test. The suit is made from 75% nylon and 25% spandex. The sport style of the Margo Top offers great lift and support, is fully reversible, and seamless. The classic coverage Stella Bottoms are more cheeky than I usually wear, but for offering less coverage were very secure and didn’t ride up. The bottoms are also fully reversible and seamless. At IMSY they say “each suit is hand crafted and surf tested to achieve a secure and flattering fit” and boy were they right! This suit has the miraculous ability to cover a small amount of skin in the most secure way possible. The top – a skimpy sports bra style holds everything in very well and I could easily ride my bike to the beach, swim and bike to drinks with friends all while still wearing the suit without any discomfort. I completed a sun salutation, run down the beach and went boogie boarding in the waves all without any indecent exposure occurring. The cut of the bottom is really nice – not sure how they do it but it doesn’t ride up at all! I did need to cut off the little tags they sewed on the corners of the suit as I have super sensitive skin and it was chafing, but other than that I have no complaints about this suit! I really liked the fact that the suit is reversible, with one side being solid black – perfect for mixing and matching with other suits as well – gives it an even better bang for your buck!” SHOP IMSY
29 year old, 30 DD cup, size 4 pants, tested the Lululemon Go with the Flow Top and Be Cheeky Bottom in size 6. She says “Lululemon, who considers themselves “a technical athletic apparel company for yoga, running, training and most other sweaty pursuits” sent us the Go With the Flow top and Be Cheeky bottom to test. The suit is made of two materials. The main material is the Four-way stretch Aquelu™ fabric. What I love about this type of fabric is that it provides sun protection (a UPF of 50+) and it is both salt and chloride resistant- perfect for the beach and the pool. There is a stripe of mesh fabric that runs around the rib band of the top. The mesh is light weight, breathable, and sweat-wicking. This combination of fabric makes it an excellent swimwear choice for an active woman. Whether I was doing a sun salutation, running down the beach, or jumping in the waves, this suit provided me with just the coverage and support I needed to feel comfortable enough to forget I was wearing just a bathing suit. While the Go With the Flow Top definitely has a sporty feel, it’s also fun and sexy with a lower cut and fun, flirty straps and a little bit of see through mesh. The Be Cheeky Bottom is a classic low rise bottom with a drawcord and tie in the back for a little flair. The drawcord also serves as a way to adjust the bottom as needed. The Be Cheeky Bottom is made of the Four-way stretch Aquelu™ fabric, which is comfortable, flexible, and light weight. The suit is designed to “show a little cheek” and that it does. I typically wear bottoms that provide more coverage so this suit did put me out of my comfort zone a bit. While reading on the beach and standing still, I felt perfectly covered even with the low rise, cheekier bottom. However, while doing beach yoga, I was self conscious that the suit was moving as I moved and didn’t feel sufficiently covered. All in all, I would recommend this suit to those who enjoy a cheekier bottom. While the suit didn’t suite me perfectly, I did love how the simple design made it super versatile and could be worn with virtually any top”.
25 year old, 32 DD cup, size 8 pants, tested the Lululemon Strappy Back One Piece in size 8. She says “This is the most beautiful one piece swimsuit I have probably ever seen. The print is like a watercolor painting in an ombre that features two gorgeous shades of blue. The suit is made from four-way stretch Aquelu fabric is made with post-consumer waste nylon, has a UPF of 50+ and uses Xtra Life LYCRA® fibre for improved chlorine and salt resistance. The fabric has a great feel – nice and smooth but also tight – I have a good feeling it won’t stretch or fade over the years. The coverage is great at the chest and hips, and the suit has nice strappy detailing across the back to keep it fun and flirty. If you swim laps regularly, or like to swim in the open ocean this is a great suit that keeps everything covered and pulls tightly across the stomach. However, as there is no built in shelf bra or any type of boob support really I wouldn’t recommend this suit for running around at a beach or playing any kind of beach games. The suit performed well getting pummeled by ocean waves and only rode up a little doing the sun salutations, but lagged behind in the 50m run.” 4/5 SHOP LULULEMON SWIMWEAR
25 year old, 32 DD cup, size 8 pants, tested the Patagonia Nano Grip Top and Nano Grip Side Tie Bottoms in size large. She says “): This nano grip technology is the real deal! I was a little nervous at first, but after swimming in this suit twice in a pretty wavy ocean I believe in it completely – the bottom is very “cheeky” I ordered a size large for my size 8/10 bum and it doesn’t leave much to the imagination – HOWEVER – that being said, what little coverage it offers does stay put! This suit performed well during the tests – the nano-grip technology is as impressive as they claim holding everything in place during down-dogs and running on the beach! Body surfing in some rather large waves off the coast of Maine each time I came up for air I worried less and less about my suit moving around. The top wins all of the awards for me – super supportive, while the strappy detailing keeps it more interesting and secure than your average bikini like the one we tested from Patagonia last year [LINK]. I really wish the bottom gave more coverage – a complaint that many women seem to be having on their site, but otherwise it stayed in place. The suit comes in a fun print and a few solids and when in doubt size up”. Top: 5/5 Bottom: 2/5
[50 year old, size 34A, 4 pants – not pictured) Tested the prAna Aleka Tankini and Zuri Bottom in size Small. She says “What a treat to get to test a bathing suit from prAna which I knew from personal experience would be of high quality once I opened the package! The size Small suit fits well even before adjustments I could make on the top straps and I love that the suit is made from 87% recycled polyester in this black feather print. Doing my yoga moves in the suit I was impressed that I could be in any position from downward dog to warrior pose and finishing with sun salutation made sure that all my (extra) body parts stayed where they should be! I did my yoga moves on the grassy flats behind my house where I could check out my moves in the reflection of the full glass doors on the side of the building. Then I did my 50 meter runs and was pleased with the support I received from the bathing suit top.
The bottom was tested when I dove into a quickly moving gorge with a depth of about 8-10 feet. Happily the suit stayed in place but frustratingly the goggles came off my face! Swimming upstream was hard for my toothpick or out-of-shape arms but the bottom and top of the suit did it’s job and stayed in place. One thing on the negative side is that the tankini part of the suit clung awkwardly to my torso as if there was a little too much material. All-in-all this is a terrifically comfortable bathing suit and I give it a rating of A and recommend it to any other female looking for a sporty, comfortable and flattering suit”. (Top 4/5, Bottom 5/5)
29 year old, 30 DD cup, size 4 pants, tested the Sensi Graves Ingrid Top and Bella Bottom in size medium. She says “Sensi Graves, who sells “rad swimwear for the active woman” sent me the Ingrid Top and Bella Bottom to test. The vision for the suit is for it to provide “coverage, support and confidence to get out there and charge it.” And the suit did just that for me. I didn’t have to think twice about jumping into the waves, moving through a Vinyasa, or running on the sand. The Ingrid Top provided the ideal level of coverage while also feeling fun and sexy with its three strap design. This top felt like I had the support of a sports bra but the style of a fun, colorful bathing suit. In addition, the fabric was soft and stretchy. The bottom is made of a combination of nylon and spandex and has a hidden, seamless elastic so it will stay put. The Bella Bottom is definitely low cut in both the front and the back. The front cut was lower than I typically wear and was a bit uncomfortable for me. I also had to remember to pull it up in the back a few times. The other drawback to the suit was the lining. In the back, the lining showed on the edge of the suit on one side. When I tucked it back in, it would pop back out again so a line of white showed along the edge of the suit. Aside from that, I think the suit would be a great match for an active woman who is confident and comfortable in a low rise bathing suit”. (Top: 5/5, Bottom: 3/5) SHOP SENSI GRAVESView More: Athleta, bikinis, clothing, IMSY Swimwear, Lululemon, Patagonia, Prana, Sensei Graves, swimwear, travel, women's