The Running Skirt: Friend or Foe?

Last week I spent a little too much time in the sun and even though I reapplied my SPF 30 three times, I still ended up with a sunburn.  A second degree sunburn from the tops of my feet all the way to mid-thigh, to be exact.  Fantastic.

I was miserable and untouchable for about a week- the burning, the fever, the redness, the blisters, the peeling, the itching, the pain.  So very attractive.  The day after the burn, I tried to pull on a pair of biking shorts for spin class, screamed, “WHY ME???” fell over, and nearly passed out.  Ouch.  A day later, I was able to put on the shorts but my skin ached and stung constantly while I ran and especially underneath any synthetic sheath of black fabric I require when I work out.

It was that moment I decided to try a running skirt.  In the past I would always joke to my running buddies, “If I ever wear a running skirt, shoot me dead on the spot.”  I always figured running skirts only belonged on women who 1) have 0% body fat, 2) are taller than 5’5″, and 3) have no cellulite.  Not adhering to any of the aforementioned rules myself, I happily dismissed the running skirt.  But now, I have to add that running skirts can and must be worn by women who 4) have a horrific sunburn that no wicking clothing could possibly ever cover.

So, I slathered myself in aloe vera, took two ibuprofen, coated myself in SPF 70, and hit the town determined to find the perfectly painless running skirt.

The first skirt I purchased was the Brooks Glycerin Skort.  I was drawn to the nifty black and white pattern along the waist band, the comfortable fit, and flattering side pleats.  It is long enough that you don’t feel completely exposed when bending over to stretch.  There is a zipper pocket in the back as well as a pocket on the undershorts, perfect for a Gu packet.

At first, I also loved that the shorts were hemmed with a silicone strip that keeps the liner shorts in place and off of my sunburn.  However, after a six mile run with this skirt, I was left with some nice and raw chafe spots on my inner thighs from the point where the silicone strips meet the shorts.  (First the sunburn and now flesh wounds.  Greeeeeeeaaaaatttt.)

Never one to be easily dismayed, the next day I took four ibuprofen, applied neosporin to my thighs, aloe to my legs, sunscreen to my entire body, and resumed my search, finding the Gym Girl Ultra Skirt by Skirt Sports.  While I have only run 3 miles in her, I think this one may be a keeper.  It fits more snug than the Glycerin Skort so it really stayed in place without any threatening silicone strips.  So far, no chafing; and sunburn, untouched.

The Gym Girl Ultra also has two pockets on the inside short as well as a music port above one of the pockets that you can thread your iPod cord through, keeping the iPod hidden and the cord out of your way.  The back of the skirt is about an inch longer that the front, so I was even comfortable enough to wear this to the grocery store without worrying that strangers would be getting a free show with their gallon of milk.

I am still debating whether the running skirt is my friend or foe.  When I wear a running skirt, I feel like a cheerleader and that is fun, the extra ventilation is great for summer, plus the looseness of the skirt itself really solved the problem of running with a severe sunburn.  I have to be honest, though.  I went shopping today, bought more sunscreen and… a pair of running shorts.  What can I say, old habits die hard!

Do you run in skirts?  If not, what is keeping you from trying one?  If you do don the skirt, do you like them more or less than shorts/capris/pants?  Why? 

… still deciding… (photo credit: my 5 year old daughter)


4 thoughts on “The Running Skirt: Friend or Foe?

  1. Love, love, love my running skirts! They are by far my favorite running bottoms, and I am neither taller than 5’5″ or 0% body fat. I was a naysayer at first, but they are more comfortable than capris, often come with great built in pockets, and cover up more of my cellulite than shorts- that is, I don’t mind doing errands or going to the park in them after I run. I never could get that Gym Girl Ultra, or any other short skirt by Skirtsports, to stay up though – they really need to add a drawstring for us straight-waisted types.

  2. I love the idea of a running skirt but was worried about everyone rolling their eyes at me. Last year I bought a bathing suit with a skirt and felt like I had just become one of “those” women. I’m now intrigued by this skirt thing once again…especially for the summer…

  3. I’ve always stayed away from running skirts, partly because of the cellulite issue but also because…I don’t know…I feel like it’s hard to be take athletics seriously in skirts. I even look askance at female tennis players, amazing triceps and V02 maxes notwithstanding. But I’m well on board with other cute/feminine workout items, so it may be time to reevaluate that prejudice. Especially since (1) the idea of better ventilation certainly appeals, and (2) you look damn cute in yours.

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