Running skirts – a review for men

On Friday I posted about running in a skirt for the first time. This was partly to prepare some of my running club friends for me turning up wearing it at the club run the next morning.

The reactions have been interesting to say the least and have covered pretty much the whole range of possible thoughts on it.

It’s interesting that my Warning: Man in Skirt post had more hits than any other post I have written, with the exception of my Merrell Trail Glove 2 review which has had a fair few search engine hits, but has had very little reaction in the way of likes and comments. I take this to mean people aren’t really sure what to make of it. My Facebook friends were much more vocal on it, and it pretty much ended up with a discussion on the merits of running skirts (at least amongst the women who run). The reactions from the club run and Facebook varied from “that’s so wrong” to “you’re totally rocking that skirt” and everything in between (including “did you lose a bet?” and “I’ve got to admire that you had the guts to go out in that” and just not mentioning it at all).

A couple of people mentioned kilts in their discussions with me (and in overheard snippets of conversation – apparently it got people talking), so let me go through the process that lead me to choose to get a skirt from http://runningskirts.com/.

Although my curiosity was initially piqued by the women who wear running skirts talking about how comfortable they were, my initial search terms included things like “running kilts”. There were quite a few online discussions, and a couple of products. One of the top search results was http://www.runningkilts.com/ – a website that provides a free pattern to make your own “kilt” or contact information to have someone make one for you. The first thing to note was that this was clearly not a kilt in the traditional sense and is basically just a skirt (perhaps not even that – it’s two pieces of material joined at the side to cover whatever you’re wearing underneath). There were a couple of different websites selling “sports kilts” or similar but it seems as soon as you use the word kilt instead of skirt you double the price and the reviews I had seen about using these sports kilts was pretty inconclusive about their comfort and practicality for hard running. The problems highlighted in this review revolved around the weight and then the additional weight when you added sweat to the mix. This, more recent, review was more positive, but not enough to make me think I wanted to give it a try at that price. The other option is to get some fabric and make a kilt (or rather get my wife to make one) – this may happen at some point as there are videos out there showing how to make a kilt and it would give the option of picking out some true athletic-wear material. Kilts also seem to come down to the knee which doesn’t seem to be the best length for running wear (although if you’re getting one custom made it could be shorter).

Some online discussions I found talked about how you might as well just get a women’s skirt and use that. After all, a kilt is a skirt and, really, does it make a difference if it’s called a kilt or a skirt?

The Running Skirt from http://store.runningskirts.com/skirts/running-skirts were looking like the best option at this point, but I wasn’t sure about spending that sort of money just for an experiment (sure, it could end up being a good investment but at this point I didn’t know that). It just so happened that a deal site had one, and it wasn’t too girly a color/pattern (although as I said before I would have preferred plain black) and that’s how I ended up with one.

After my first run I had been worried about the fact my thighs were brushing against each other during the run and I was considering wearing boxer briefs for me longer run. Rather than do that, I decided to give it a try as-is to see what would happen and that’s how, on a humid day, I ran almost 15 miles in the skirt praising how comfortable it was the whole way (no chafing problems at all), and very happy with the pockets for holding my Shot Bloks and key without annoying me in any way (when wearing shorts I usually end up holding packs of Shot Bloks in my hands because they just bang against my legs when I try to put them in my shorts pockets). The only slight negative, for me at least, is that the skirt is a little tighter across the front than I would have preferred it to have been, so there is a little bit of a bump where something only men have gets in the way – I don’t think there’s really any way around this with the type of stretchy material running clothing would be made from so I would imagine it would be the same with most running skirts – the sports kilts may get around this because of the material used. Anyway, it isn’t as much of a problem as you would get with compression shorts given that it does not wrap tightly around all parts of your family jewels, so I’m willing to live with this (I don’t think it’s really that noticeable on the picture below so I’m inclined to think it may not be that noticeable to others when I’m out running).

So, what happens next? I would like to keep running in a skirt that’s for sure – there’s still a psychological barrier to getting out there in it but I’m hoping that, with time, I will pay it less and less attention. (For example, I have a race away from home on Sunday and I don’t think I will wear it there because I won’t know anyone, and because I won’t know anyone I may just be wondering around sheepishly feeling really self-conscious).

Would it be nice to have a different cut more suited to men (if that’s even possible)? Maybe. At this point in time, given the comfort of the one I got, I would definitely consider buying another (a plain color this time, probably black). Maybe I will try to get hold of some material to make something more like a kilt (although I’m not convinced the reactions would be any different to the skirt).

It would be nice to have some feedback (no matter how negative if that’s how you feel) so comment away…

photo (9)photo (10)

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This entry was posted in barefoot running, fitness, minimal running, minimalist running, New Jersey, NJ, running, Training and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to Running skirts – a review for men

  1. LOVE your process with the skirt! I completely thought this would be a man, yes doing this on a bet, complaining about a running skirt!

    • runninginnj says:

      My logical brain can get me into some strange situations – all it took was someone saying how comfortable these skirts are (and practical). Thanks for commenting.

  2. paigesato says:

    the skirt suits you. i might go a little shorter (11″ instead of 13-14″). If this advice helps any re: the need for more fabric in the front, one early morning I put my running skirt on backwards (not on purpose, it was dark in my room), and did my entire 7 miles with it on backwards. And i didn’t notice until I peeled it off for my shower. There’s extra fabric in the back to accomodate the butt, so maybe that’s your answer?

    • runninginnj says:

      Thank you! I did wonder about putting it on backwards but dismissed the thought. I’m not sure it will work out in the underwear portion but I will try it later. The wife suggested maybe taking it apart and either reversing the underwear or taking then out completely and just using something specific for men.

  3. I really enjoyed your article! It’s great to see that you’re just wearing it to assess the performance impact, rather than getting hung up on who’s supposed to wear what piece of fabric.
    With regards to your upcoming race, I’d say go ahead and wear your skirt! It’s a great conversation starter 🙂 I’ve worn my Sport Kilt at my last few races, and it’s been great..lots of positive comments, and puts a smile of people’s faces. It will really change how you experience your races.
    Looking forward to see how you enjoy it going forward!
    PS: thanks for the link 😉
    Dawsy

    • runninginnj says:

      Thanks! I’m a very introverted person really so I’m not sure about that as a conversation starter – maybe I will wear it but I’m really not sure at the moment. Perhaps it’s a good chance to just give it a try as I can be pretty sure I will never see anyone there ever again as it’s a 6 hour drive from home.

      • That’s exactly right! I’m pretty introverted myself normally too, and find it a lot harder to feel comfortable in my kilt around people I know. Maybe pack it just in case and see how you feel on the day 😉

  4. Mate, this could really catch on, perhaps even more than the barefoot running movement! 🙂

  5. Shannon says:

    Love the running skirt and completely agree about how comfortable they are—I love that you’re analyzing it so practically too!

    • runninginnj says:

      Thanks for your help in getting me started Shannon. I just ordered two more from their sale (actually the black one wasn’t on sale but I signed up for the email list and they sent a 20% off coupon for doing that).

  6. Brandy says:

    Runninginnj, and any men thinking about wearing a running skirt;

    Wear the skirt on your next run:) I would say this is even a better deal than with friends. What always gave me the biggest boost was from strangers giving me a compliment, I always felt the strangers comment was more sincere as they had nothing to gain or lose and it takes some courage to approach a stranger (male) and say I like your skirt!

    I would also suggest when you get home from work wear the skirt around home to get yourself use to the feel and your family to get comfortable seeing you and realize your still the same person they love.

    Do not worry to much about the “bulge” I’ve been told a large number of women do not mind seeing it. You get a more visible bulge from bike shorts and normal running compression shorts.

    OK, now here’s deal your perhaps apprehensive about how to respond to strangers, well first just smile and say thank you for the compliment, I appreciate it, then follow the lead from any reply. Negative comments just ignore’em or if pressed just say I’m wearing this skirt because it’s comfortable, you need no other reason.

    Since you already have your wife’s approval the biggest hurdle is your self the last and only person you need to convince. Also remember that you do not have any control over what others think, you have control of your reply/actions.

    So smile; run the best race you can and smile at all those guys being passed by a man-in-a-skirt.

    • runninginnj says:

      Thanks for the thoughts – I’m really considering wearing it for the race. I probably won’t wear it around the home, the same way I don’t wear my other running clothes around the home, and I just think it might end up making a bigger deal out of it than needs to be made. My daughter saw me when I came home from my run and asked me why I was wearing a skirt and I told her it was a special running skirt. She laughed briefly and carried on with what she was doing. No big deal.

  7. Jess_A says:

    I say go for it, if you want to wear the skirt ‘just do it’. Having said that I would expect you would get less attention wearing skins that leave little to the imagination than a skirt? Plus you can get great running belts that hold all your stuff (http://www.flipbelt.com/). But then again, I don’t really understand the comfort issue, I’ve always been fine in shorts or skins. My legs rub together when I walk/run at the best of times so the idea of a skirt makes me shudder….

    • runninginnj says:

      I think I’d be ok with skins if I wore a looser t-shirt to provide a bit of cover, but I like compression t-shirts – if I don’t wear a compression shirt, after about 4 miles, I get nipple chafing which is not fun. The skirt provides the equivalent of a loose t-shirt. I was worried about my legs rubbing together and they do seem to, but haven’t caused chafing yet. Thanks for commenting.

  8. OK, I see you discovered the running kilts. Please keep wearing the skirts. I think they’re great!

  9. Men's Skirts says:

    http://www.facebook.com/mensskirts
    I have been running in skirts and a sportkilt for a fews years now. Honestly, I will never return to shorts.

  10. David says:

    I’ve done the running skirt thing for about a year now. Not every time, but at least a couple of times in summer months. They are awesome! Smooth free and easy movement, cool in the hot weather. I got thumbs up from about 75% of women and funny looks from about 50% of men. I have a very sedate black one and a bright red one that is a bit hit at a fun run 2K. I have gotten at least two phone numbers from women who start up convos with me because of the skirt.
    The rest of the people just say nothing; either they don’t notice of they are just acting like they don’t notice. Not sure what I think about that.

    • runninginnj says:

      I wore it to a race this morning – very little reaction (although I think people were having their own private discussions about it) but one woman did make a point of coming up and saying it was great and we had a chat about how comfortable they are. As I’m married I didn’t get her number though. Good to hear I’m not alone!

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  12. Frank K. says:

    Well, I think it takes a lot of confidence to do this. Congrats on that. It calls to question the nature of clothing and how we get fixed in one set of ideas about how to dress. Thanks for a very interesting report on your experiment.

    • runninginnj says:

      It is interesting, but it’s still a struggle to actually wear it every time even though when I’m actually out there it doesn’t feel so awkward now. It’s so comfortable I’m even starting to consider getting a kilt for casual use for really hot days – I never, ever thought that would be something I might do.

  13. Crazy Runner says:

    Great to see another guy finding the fun in wearing running skirts! I tried one a few years ago and just fell in love with it, it’s fun, certainly different, comfortable, awesome colors, what’s not to like? So far I’ve done a few 50 mile and 50k trail runs, a marathon, many of the local runs and while it might get odd reactions from a few, most are fine with it, some love it, it’s a great conversation starter, and to me, a whole lot more fun than wearing what everyone else is wearing. Keep having fun!

    • runninginnj says:

      Thanks for coming by and adding your support. I went for a run today in my shorts – it was humid and I found myself wishing I had the skirt on. Need to get more.

  14. From the 2013 Brooks Run Happy survey I just got in my inbox:

    Q: As a guy, how do you feel about running skirts?
    * I love the way they look.
    * I think they’re silly.
    * Who cares, let’s run!
    * What’s a running skirt?

  15. Amanda says:

    I am glad that you went out and ran in your skirt. I know that more men would run in them if they were not so scared about what others will say. Skirts are comfortable and cool to run for anyone.

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  17. R. Henderson says:

    I think it’s great you tried this I have gone and done my walking on occasion in womens shorts and race back tops. To me these are so much more comfortable and less expensive than male workout items. I think if your comfortable than why not.

    • runninginnj says:

      I’m completely committed to trying whatever works now – even if it is supposedly designed for women. As long as it’s comfortable (and cheaper is just a bonus). Thanks for commenting.

  18. Dustin says:

    You’ll run in them again regardless because you likely will not be able to go back to shorts for all the reasons you mentioned. They are truly far more comfortable than anything else. I started 5 years ago using tennis skirts. Ive received minimal comments but quite a few looks which honestly makes it kinda fun. I dont go to the gym or anything in them but yes the biggest advantage is they stay out of the way esp when humid out. Black gets old after awhile so I say use the crazy prints FOR races and have some fun. Just be aware that the insecure will try harder lest they get beat by a man in a skirt; it’s a good motivator!

    • runninginnj says:

      Thanks for commenting – I’m surprised at the number of people who seem to have done this as you don’t really see it often out and about. It’s definitely getting easier.

  19. Reblogged this on Skirted Running Man and commented:
    This was my initial review of the running skirt. As mentioned in the “About” section of this blog, I am continuing my thoughts on running in a skirt as a man here rather than allowing it to take over my Running in NJ blog.

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