I’ve noticed when I do any research on running in other countries, particularly the USA,there seem to be a lot of women running in skirts. I’m not talking about costumes people dress up in for fun runs, but actual running skirts.
The running skirt entered the scene back in 2004, when Nicole DeBoom won an ironman race wearing a skirt (for those of you who don’t know, the run in ironman is a full marathon, so twice as far as I’ve ever run!). Companies making running skirts have been popping up ever since, and many of the big sports companies also offer them. We see women participating in other sports wearing skirts, so why not running?
To be honest, running skirts aren’t something I’ve seen out on the streets much here in New Zealand. I’m not much of a fashionista or a “girly” girl, but could a skirt be a good choice for my next piece of running kit?
In my research for this post, I came across quite divided opinions on running skirts – people either love them or hate them. There’s no one going “oh yeah…I suppose they’re alright”
So what is it that people love? And what do they hate?
So, the most resounding reason women LOVE running skirts is:
They provide good thigh coverage.
Many women feel self conscious about how they look when they run, particularly in close fitting shorts. I fall into this category myself: I admit I fret about how my most comfortable running tights make my legs look.
The other reasons to love a running skirt:
- they give a more feminine look. When we run, we get sweaty, we don’t wear makeup, and our hair can be a mess. This is absolutely fine by me. In fact, it’s part of the fun. But loads of women like the fact that a running skirt helps them maintain a bit of a feminine or “cute” look while they run.
- they often have tons of pockets. Because they often have shorts underneath the skirt, there is room for loads of pockets for your keys, your i-pod, your gels, etc. That’s awesome for me, I often tie my key in my shoe, which is a bit of a pain!
- they give loads of flexibility. This feedback comes particularly from out trail running sisters, who report that they find it easier to cover steep or technical terrain in a skirt, because it moves more with them than some shorts do.
- they can’t ride up like some shorts can. This one goes hand in hand with good coverage. Bonus: lots of the models with shorts built in have gripping tape on the shorts, which helps hold them in place (no chafing!)
- they transition well from race to casual. So after you run a big race, you probably can’t wait to get out of your running gear and into a hot shower. But if you have to hang out for a bit in your running gear, or travel to your race in your gear, some ladies say they feel like their running skirt is closer to regular clothes than shorts, and feel more comfortable in them.
- they are something different. And variety is the spice of life, right?
There are loads of people in this camp too, though.
- Lots of women say they just can’t get their heads around the idea of wearing a skirt for running. And that’s totally fair enough. I think the most important thing is that we feel comfortable with what we’re wearing.
- they’re “flouncy”. Some women feel they look a bit silly for running, particularly some of the more ruffled versions that are out there.
But these seemed to be the two main reasons why people hate them. There weren’t many mentions of their practicality or comfort level being a problem. I have to admit, I’d feel a wee bit flouncy in one, and it would be a bit strange after so many years of running in shorts and tights…
So Em, are you gonna try one?
You know what? Yeah. I think I will!
I’m not really one for setting or following fashion trends, but I do like practical gear with lots of pockets. I also feel a bit self conscious about my thighs, and it seems like a skirt might “look” better to me than some of my shorts I currently run in.
The practicalities and coverage that a running skirt might offer me make them an appealing option, so why not!
Do you run in skirts? Or do you avoid them like the plague? I’d love to hear your opinions, please share a comment below.
Your running buddy,