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Swimwear Showdown: Summersalt vs Athleta

March 18, 2022

By:

Team LIY

We’re taking two of the most popular swimsuit brands on the internet and putting them to the test in a side by side, body by body comparison. With weekends by the lake and afternoons by the pool right around the corner, it’s time to make sure our swimsuits are locked and loaded and ready to go for all the summertime activities. LIY Team members and LIY Ambassadors each ordered one suit from Summersalt and one suit from Athleta, evaluating how they felt and fit on each of our unique bodies. The results? Well, you’ll just have to keep scrolling to see!

Erin’s Swimsuits

ERIN // My favorite is: TIEBREAKER! 

Athleta Square Neck Bikini Top [true to size, wearing in 36D/DD]  // Athleta Clean Medium Coverage Bottoms [true to size, wearing in medium] 

I bought my first Athleta bikini last summer and since buying that first one, I keep going back for this exact style in more colors! I love that the top is bra-sized specific and gives me the coverage and support that my DD cup boobs need! As for the bottoms, I’m always looking for a little coverage so that I can walk confidently on the beach without feeling like I’m baring all. Their medium coverage bottoms are perfect for giving enough coverage without feeling matronly. I can’t recommend this bikini enough if you want to feel comfortable and confident all day long! 

Summersalt Ruched Backflip One Piece [size up if in between, wearing in 6]  
It’s amazing what a little red swimsuit can do for your confidence. I have tried several other Summersalt swimsuits and have had great success with them, so I was excited to try this ruched backflip style. Sometimes with one-pieces I feel like they can look too leotard-ish or baby onesie like on me, so it’s important to find one that gives off a little sex appeal and not as much Dominique Moceanu [although give me her talents and I’ll wear whatever you want me to wear ]. I like that this swimsuit does have slight padding in the cup area as some Summersalt swimsuits don’t so if you’re worried about nipple coverage, this one has you covered! Overall, I think this is a great swimsuit whether you’re smaller or larger chested!

Hannah’s Swimsuits

HANNAH // My favorite is: Summersalt The Ruffle Backflip

Summersalt The Ruffle Backflip [True to size, wearing in color Seaweed & Seaglass] 

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner! Can we talk about how flattering this swimsuit is! As a pear shape swimsuits can be a little challenging to find; either the fit is off, too tight or not working altogether. This suit is not only figure flattering, stays in play but also balances my body shape with the ruffle detail [love the color underneath too]!! While the Athleta swimsuit was so cute, it didn’t quite work for my body shape and it was a little too Athletic for me. The chest/body of the suit kept pulling away, so this may be a better option for someone with a larger chest!

Claire’s Swimsuits

CLAIRE // My favorite is: Summersalt The Wave

Summersalt The Wave [size up one] // Athleta Hermosa [size up one, wearing medium but could do a large] // Athleta Keyhole [size up one, wearing large]

Oh hey, vacay – I’m ready for ya! Both Summersalt & Athleta make such great suits!! Ultimately, I decided to keep Summersalt [only because the suit was more my style and I know I will wear it] and send Athleta back! Athleta’s suits feel slightly more athletic or sporty and I think they would be great for a day of activities or any mama’s chasing little ones around the beach or pool. I will say, Athleta seemed to have more booty coverage than this style of Summersalt, so if that’s a priority for you, this may not be “the one”. They were both great quality and seemed to suck everything in, in all the right places. You can’t really go wrong with either brand – just a matter of personal preference and style! Either way, I’m a firm believer that every woman needs a LBS [little black swimsuit, that is!] in their collection! For sizing reference, I’m typically a size medium [29 in denim] and sized up to a large in Athleta and preferred the size 10 in Summersalt.

Lauren’s Swimsuits

LAUREN // My favorite is: Summersalt Halter Plunge

Summersalt Halter Plunge [size up one] // Athleta Square Neck [true to size, wearing in medium] 

This was a tough decision to pick a favorite, and honestly, I think they’re both my favorite [shhh, don’t tell]. The Summersalt Halter Plunge is fun for an adult vacay or a time that I don’t mind showing off a little more at the beach! The Athleta Square Neck one piece  makes me feel secure when I’m chasing little ones around the beach and building sand castles galore! The Athleta suit also feels like a thicker material if that is important to you! They both have great suction power and I can’t let go of my favorite suit color – black!

Katy’s Swimsuits

KATY // My favorite is: Athleta Bikini Top and Bottoms!

Athleta Square Neck Bikini Top [size up if in between] // Athleta Clean Medium Bottoms [size up one] // Summersalt Tie Waist Backflip [true to size]

I have a hard time choosing favorites and this swimwear showdown is no exception…🤣 Let me tell you why – there are pros and cons to both of these suits!! I think that Summersalt has a lot better (and more fun) selection from styles to patterns, but I felt that the quality of the Athleta suit (barely) made it the winner in my book! It felt like a thicker material overall, but let me tell ya that you cannot go wrong with either of these suits. I was pleasantly surprised!! 

Cassidy’s Swimsuits

CASSIDY // My favorite is: Summersalt The Perfect Wrap One-Piece

Summersalt The Perfect Wrap One-Piece [size up one] / Athleta Scoop Bikini Top [true to size] / Athleta High Waist Bikini Bottom [size up if in between] 

I am a BIG time Athleta fan–they are my go to for workout wear and athleisure! I hadn’t tried one of their swimsuits yet but knew that Erin spoke highly of them. I tried this super cute green two-piece featuring a scoop neckline top, and high waist, full coverage bottoms. I have been on the hunt for a swimsuit that actually covers the booty and these are by far some of the best out there! That being said, this suit wasn’t my favorite. I loved the color and the style, but the fit was a little uncomfy. I found the leg openings to pinch a little and kind of give me some unwanted bumps in the bum area! I think if I would have sized up, I would have been better off! Aside from that, the top fit nicely and felt super comfortable! Overall–I thought the suit was great quality and provided full coverage but it just didn’t WOW me. 
When comparing it to the Summersalt faux wrap one-piece, it was hard to measure up. I just love how fun and flattering the Summersalt suit is! It was a little more “chesty” and I probably wouldn’t reach for this suit if I was headed to the beach with my grandma, ha! Otherwise, I loved the quality of this suit and all the fun designs! I think these suits are worth the hype!

LIY Ambassador Heather

HEATHER // My favorite is: Summersalt Sidestroke

Summersalt Sidestroke [size up one, wearing Tall] // Athleta Seychelles [size up one, wearing Tall] // Birkenstocks

Being 6’ with a lot of length in my torso makes finding one piece swimsuits so difficult! I feel like both these options from Summersalt and Athleta are great choices!! This was a really hard decision for me, but the winner for me is the Summersalt Sidestroke! I love the fit and feel of this and I just feel more confident in it. Full disclaimer the only con of this one for me is there’s not much support for the girls so I’m wearing these! The Athleta suit didn’t have quite as much length for me so it’s my second place, but still a great quality suit!

LIY Ambassador Allison

ALLISON  // My favorite is: Athleta Bikini Top and Bottoms

Summersalt Long Torso Perfect Wrap [size up, wearing 12T]  //  Athleta Plunge Bikini Top [wearing in Large] // Athleta Clean Medium Bottom [wearing in Large]

Allison here! I really wanted to buy and compare 2 one pieces. One from Summersalt and one from Athleta, but I was unable to find a long torso from Athleta that also gave me enough chest support (34G), so I bought a one piece from Summersalt and a bikini from Athleta. The Summersalt suit was long enough for my 6 foot frame, but also lacked enough support for my chest. I added Booby Tape to each of the bathing suits, to get a little extra lift! I really liked the Athleta bikini, and felt like it had nice coverage; being 46, I try to be conscientious of age appropriate bathing suits! Scale of 1-10, I’d give the one piece a 6 and the bikini an 8! Now bring on the warm weather!

LIY Ambassador Ashley

ASHLEY  // My favorite is: Athleta Square Neck Bikini Top & Cinch Full Bottom

Athleta Square Neck Bikini Top [size up, wearing 36 B/C] & Athleta Cinch Full Bottom [size up, wearing size 8] – Color: Cerulean // Summersalt The Plunge Bikini Top [true to size, wearing size 6] & Summersalt The High Leg Mid-Rise Bikini Bottom [size up, wearing size 8]- Color: Lava


Winner in the bathing suit showdown is…..the Athleta two piece!  I love how the Athleta top fits my small chest. It didn’t feel constricting or too flattening if you will.  The suit is constructed very well and just feels good!  I like that I can move and groove and the suit seems like it will stay put. My runner up from Summersalt is honestly pretty awesome as well…but I had to pick a winner!  The Summersalt two piece is very flattering and I love the plunge neckline on the top. Both options are a bit higher waisted than I normally pick out and I’m SO stoked about how they hide my lower tummy (you know, 3 kids & I’m almost 40).  I cannot wait to rock these new options on the beach and poolside this Summer!  I will be checking out more options from both ASAP 🤗 For reference, I’m 5’8” & about 155 lbs.

LIY Ambassador Skye

SKYE // My favorite is: Athleta Square Neck One Piece

Athleta Square Neck One Piece, Color Dress Blue, Size L – I got my true size (Regularly a 12/14) // Summersalt Sidestroke One Piece, Color is Lava, Hibiscus & White Sand, Size 12

This was my first time wearing both a Summersalt swimsuit or an Athleta swimsuit, so having no previous experience with either brand made it a little more fun for me! I really loved both swimsuits, so the runner up really was a very very close second! What it finally came down to was how it felt on my body! 

The Athleta suit is such a great, basic swimsuit that I felt amazing in. It is super supportive and would be great for a vacation or a day at the beach with kiddos. I normally go up a size in bathing suits, but for this one my regular size (Size 12) fit me well. I think it also offers more support for my chest as well. I love that the straps are fully adjustable over my shoulder and in the back so even with a larger chest I felt like everything would stay right where it should be! It also offers great coverage in the back as well. 

The thing I love most about the Summersalt suit is the fun color. As someone who normally gravitates toward a dark, solid color, this combo was a great change of pace for me. I love the one shoulder style, and by sticking with my normal size, it felt really supportive in the chest even though it doesn’t have a built in bra. The one thing that gave the other suit the slightest edge was that the one shoulder design of this one was not uncomfortable, but definitely different and would take some getting used to for sure! This is still an amazing swimsuit and would look good on pretty much any body type I think! 

LIY Ambassador Debbie

DEBBIE  // My favorite is: Athleta Bikini Bottom and Bikini Top

Athleta Bikini Bottom [size Medium] Bikini Top 34D/DD // Summersalt Sidestroke [size 6 in Seaweed and Seaglass and White Sand]

I was really impressed by the quality of both Athleta and Summersalt but my favorite is the Athleta two piece.  They both fit so well and comfortably and gave me the coverage that I wanted but I really liked the style of the high waisted two piece best.  I like the high neck of the top and that is has 2 hooks in the back; one at the neck and one mid back.  While the Summersalt Sidestroke wasn’t my favorite it is a really great quality suit.  You won’t have to worry about show through with this because it has a double layer of fabric.  The fit is also great and feels secure…I just prefer the two piece.

Our Summersalt Suits

Our Athleta Suits

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