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…
UPDATE August 7th: Sport Kilt Review plus some updates on running in a skirt.
As of August 16th I have decided to continue my thoughts on running in a skirt to a blog specific to that topic. The new blog can be found here (skirtedrunningman).