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Skirting Tradition

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The dirt on seven snazzy alternatives to plain-Jane shorts

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Anna Frost’s doing it. Krissy Moehl’s doing it. Ellie Greenwood’s doing it. Who isn’t doing it? Skirt-sporting women are swarming the trails these days, and we couldn’t help but wonder: by staying in our running shorts, were we somehow missing out?

The resounding answer from our women testers: yes. After a few weeks, even those who strongly identified as “not girly-girly” found themselves donning skirts instead of shorts. While shorts often ride up, many skirts feature inner-thigh-friendly (i.e. chafe-free) compression liner shorts. Even if the liner shorts do ride up, the over-skirts allow women to focus on things other than constantly adjusting coverage—things like, you know, running.

Often, too, women found they felt more confident in skirts. Said one tester, “As silly as it sounds, the feminine look and feel helps with self image, which translates into a better run!”

However, with many of the skirts’ liner shorts underneath sporting tiny inseams and loose fabric that rode up, testers found several of the skirts more suited for short runs or casual “après-run” wear than long runs. A well-designed, stay-put liner was often what set apart the great skirts from the good.
MOVING COMFORT
Sprint Tech Skort

$56 | movingcomfort.com
/ The Dirt /
With apparel designed and tested exclusively by women, Moving Comfort nailed it with this lightweight, eye-catching skirt—an all-around tester favorite. A wide, flattering waistband adjusts with a drawcord, and hides a zip pocket at center back for bounce-free toting of gels or keys. Drawcords and ruching at each side add a nice feminine touch.
/ Rave /
Thanks to light compression and silicone grippers at the hems, this skirt’s liner shorts stayed completely in place and were still mostly hidden.
/ Rant /
It’s hard to find anything not to love about this skirt, but some testers weren’t thrilled with the loud colors and patterns on the liner shorts.
/ Tester-Monial /
“It only took a few runs before I was reaching for this skirt over my favorite shorts.”

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ICEBREAKER
Swift Skort
$80 | icebreaker.com

/ The Dirt /
With both the liner shorts and skirt made from cozy merino wool (that is machine washable!), this skirt was a quick favorite of testers tired of the usual tech wear. While the wool liner shorts feel buttery soft against the skin, they ride up considerably on runs more than a few miles long.
/ Rave /
Because wool does not tend to hold odors like synthetics do, it transitions well between running and other activities, said one tester, “The Swift is definitely something you can run in, and then just wear around for errands.”
/ Rant /
Though Icebreaker designed the full-length slit on one side to promote freedom of movement, most testers found that it tended to flap awkwardly open. The side zip pocket also left gels or other stashed items banging uncomfortably against testers’ legs.
/ Tester-Monial /
“This could be a go-to if the shorts stayed put better and the slit didn’t provide so much visibility.”

IBEX
Rim Skort

$95 | ibex.com

/ The Dirt /
Made in the USA of imported fabrics, this merino-wool skirt feels incredible against the skin, and transitions well between cool runs and warm weather. A touch of nylon adds comfortable stretch and boosts durability. The zippered pocket at back hip easily stores gels, keys or a small media player.
/ Rave /
Said one tester, “With a straight-down design (no slit or ruching), the skirt provides maximum coverage and stays put in windy conditions.”
/ Rant /
Though the liner shorts, which have no elastic or silicone grippers at the hems, stayed in place while walking or running slowly on flat terrain, hills and speed tended to wreak havoc, causing them to ride up a great deal.
/ Tester-Monial /
“I would recommend this for someone making the transition to wearing skirts, as it provides coverage, is comfortable, cute and makes me want to go run!”

SALOMON
EXO S-Lab TwinSkin Skort

$140 | salomon.com
/ The Dirt /
This skirt blends the femininity of a featherlight over-skirt with Salomon’s EXO muscle support and compression technology in the liner shorts. It’s no wonder this skirt has graced trail-running podiums throughout the world. Stretchy gel pockets at the back waist accommodate gels or a phone.
/ Rave /
Testers praised everything from the precise fit of the supportive liner shorts to the overall appearance—eye-catching, but in an “I’m-about-to-run-up-a-mountain” sort of way, rather than an “I’m-on-my-way-to-cheerleading-practice” sort of way.
/ Rant /
On the liner shorts, some of the silver dye in the honeycomb pattern smeared after a few runs, quickly dirtying the white fabric.
/ Tester-Monial /
“This skirt is clearly made for the competitive athlete who needs a non-frivolous skirt that will get the job done.”

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STIO
First Light Skirt

$55 | stio.com

/ The Dirt /
Stio, a new outdoor-apparel company out of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, created this skirt with a simple-does-it approach to technical functionality. The unique ripstop skirt fabric sports a DWR coating for high water- and wind-resistance. A rear waistband pocket secures with a zip, while plush front pockets offer a cozy spot for your hands post-run. Sizing runs small.
/ Rave /
Testers praised the good length and reliable coverage. The liner shorts are made of an exceptionally soft, brushed jersey knit. Though short, they stayed reasonably put.
/ Rant /
With no elastic or adjustability in the waist—a side-zip keeps it snug—the fit was difficult to dial in.
/ Tester-Monial /
“I like the sweatband on the inside of the skirt, but dislike how high the skirts sits on the waist.”

SKIRTSPORTS
Lotta Breeze Capri Skirt

$75 | skirtsports.com

/ The Dirt /
Don’t let the end of summer equal the end of skirt season! This skirt’s below-the-knee, all-mesh capri leggings stay in place well, offering both an effective liner beneath the skirt and warmth for cooler-weather runs. With a wide waistband yoke, the skirt has a pleasant slimming effect.
/ Rave /
Testers appreciated the stylish pattern, as well as the substantial, comfortable capri liners—allowing for chafe-free, breezy runs!
/ Rant /
One bummer was the lack of zippered pockets. Testers also felt that the heavier fabrics were too bulky for racing.
/ Tester-Monial /
“It’s a great option for someone who wants the function of spandex without the contour-exposing look of tight clothing.”

PATAGONIA
Nine Trails Skirt

$59 | patagonia.com

/ The Dirt /
A tried-and-true running skirt, the Nine Trails has benefited from years of feedback from pro athletes and subsequent design tweaks. The soft polyester-spandex blend stretches easily, and a wide drawcord waistband dials in the fit. Two rear hip pockets with hook-and-loop closures securely stow energy gels.
/ Rave /
Quick-drying fabric recovers well from rainy bouts, and won’t snag when cruising through narrow, brushy singletrack. The skirt also stays down well, even in high winds.
/ Rant /
The extremely short liner shorts (“butt-huggers,” in the words of one tester) and overall shorter skirt length left several testers nervous about coverage while running.
/ Tester-Monial /
“The Nine Trails felt smooth and soft against my skin. I really enjoyed this skirt to run in, but almost liked it more for a post-run piece.”