Why Should Women Runners Wear Skirts or Skorts?
I think the better question is why not? You might think of skirts as something only women tennis players want to wear, but a number of women runners are embracing this trend, too.
For women, the appeal about running skirts is not that they should wear skirts when running -- it’s that they can choose to wear them if they want. The idea that they don’t have to conform to the idea of what a serious runner looks like appeals to them. They can choose to feel pretty and tough all at the same time. We don’t have to choose between the two.
Whether they are celebrating their femininity or just love the colors and patterns they can find in their skirt options, running skirts seem to be here to stay. Some women love how skirts make them look and others love how they feel while running. It’s empowering to know women can look as feminine as they want and still kick butt during their races.
Women who love the comfort of shorts but the appearance of skirts have another option that gives them the best of both worlds -- skorts. Skorts are shorts that have fabric across the front and sometimes the back to look like a skirt.
How Do Skirts and Skorts Stack Up to Running Shorts?
Running skirts and skorts aren’t for everyone. Some women still prefer a comfy pair of shorts for running over anything else.
Here are some of the differences skirts or skorts have compared to running shorts.
Running skirts sometimes have built-in underwear. That can be a pro or a con, depending on how you feel about built-in underwear.
Skorts can give you more modesty than running skirts often do, but the built-in shorts on skorts can creep up your thighs while you’re running. It can get pretty annoying to have to keep tugging them down.
Unless you’re a woman runner who has what is now popularly called thigh gap, you can get some friction from your thighs rubbing together while you run when you wear a skirt. That can be painful at times, especially during a long run. Skorts and longer shorts both solve that problem. Or, you can opt for a longer running skirt with built-in shorts.
The ventilation is a little worse with skorts because you have two layers of fabric -- the shorts and the pretend skirt. Runners who struggle with performing in hot weather may want to stick to skirts or shorts and avoid the skorts. When it comes to ventilation, skirts offer more airflow than many running shorts.
If you end up trying to buy a gift for the girl runner in your life, keep in mind that many high school and college-age female runners don’t like the skirt look. It tends to be runners in their 30s and beyond who are really embracing this look.
What Are Things I Should Look For in a Running Skirt or Skorts?
Before you pick out the funkiest-looking skirt you can find for your next race, here are some things you may want to consider first.
Whether they have pockets: Ideally, your skirt will have at least one small pocket so you can put some running fuel in it, some chapstick for longer runs, or your keys so you don’t have to strap them onto your shoelace.
If it’s made of moisture-wicking material: This is a must if you’re running in a skirt. You don’t want to be sweating profusely on your run if you don’t have a moisture-wicking fabric. You’ll be uncomfortable and soggy feeling.
What length you’re comfortable with: Running up hills can be tough enough without worrying about your bottom hanging out of your short running skirt. If modesty is an issue for you, you can find running skirts in varying lengths. Or, you can opt for the skort, which will give your backside full coverage.
If you want built-in underwear: While some running skirts have built-in underwear, it’s more common that they have built-in shorts. Keep that in mind if you hate the feel of built-in underwear or if you want to layer your skirt over a pair of Capri-length leggings. When you do that, you can wear your running skirt all year long, even in the dead of winter.
Look for a wide waistband: If you buy a running skirt with a narrow waistband, you’re going to end up with a lot of slipping and rolling. A wider waistband will help your skirt stay in place.
Quick Look: Our Top Picks
1. Skirt Sports Gym Girl Ultra Skirt
If you want a wide selection of colors and patterns to choose from so you can rock your workout in style, you’ve come to the right place. You’ll have your choice between basic black and many bright-colored skirts.
You can clean these in the washing machine.
They are light enough that you’ll feel comfortable during your run.
The fabric is moisture-wicking so you’ll stay dry during your workout.
They come with built-in shorts that give you enough coverage while you’re running hills and offer you a little compression as well.
There are two pockets to keep your accessories in.
The side of the skirt has a port in case you like to run while listening to music.
It’s flattering enough to work for a lot of different body types.
This skirt/skort doesn’t ride up, which is nice since the only thing you should be fighting on your run is your own PR.
These won’t restrict your movements, so you’ll be able to sprint to your heart’s content.
With the built-in shorts, chafing won’t be an issue for your thighs.
They are pretty expensive.
Runners have complained the sizes aren’t the same, depending on which color you get.
2. Skirt Sports Jette Skirt
If you have great legs and don’t mind showing them off, this may be the skirt for you. It’s short in length, but long on style, with form-flattering pleats on the front.
- It’s UPF 50+, so it will block you from the worst of the sun’s harmful rays.
- This fabric is light and breathable, and it sucks away moisture from your body.
- It has a cord in the waistband so you’ll always be able to find the perfect fit.
- It has two pockets on the shorts under the skirt that can hold your phone and other items you might need. It also has a small key pocket.
- It has a built-in music port.
- The built-in shorts give you enough coverage while you’re running up hills.
- It comes in a wide range of sizes -- they fit sizes 0 to 22.
- The brightly colored print options will give you extra visibility.
- This skirt is fairly expensive.
- This skirt is shorter than some women will feel comfortable with.
- Some runners said that the pleats made the fabric feel a bit heavy on the skirt.
3. ASICS Love Skort
This skort looks like a skirt because it also has the extra fabric on the back. It comes with shorts underneath for added comfort and to ward off any chafing.
The fabric will keep its shape and color even after repeated washings, so you’ll get your money’s worth out of this purchase.
The shorts have a good fit and they don’t seem to ride up when you’re running.
This skort is true-to-size so you shouldn’t have the frustration of having to return an item for a different size.
The material is good for athletes -- it’s lightweight and breathable.
The fabric will wick away moisture so you’ll stay dry and comfortable on your run.
This skort doesn’t have any pockets, which means you’ll have to wear a running belt for carrying around your nutrition, phone, and other extras.
The skirt flares quite a bit, which means you’ll get some flapping around from it when you run.
The flare can make runners’ hips look bigger than they actually are.
4. Colorado Clothing Everyday Skort
This skort also looks like a skirt in the front and the back. Plus, it comes in a variety of colors and patterns for you to choose from.
It’s affordable, which is a nice break from the expensive running gear on the market.
This skort won’t wrinkle, even if it is packed in a suitcase, which is nice for races you have to travel to.
The fabric is moisture wicking.
It isn’t as short as some other running skorts and skirts, so you’ll be able to wear this one for other activities as well -- people may not even realize it’s made to be used as running gear.
This skort can go in both a washing machine and a dryer, which is a double score for busy runners who hate to hand wash and line dry their gear.
The fit is flattering for all body types.
It comes in a wide range of sizes, from small through XX large.
The waistband doesn’t roll.
It doesn’t have any pockets.
Some runners have complained that the sizing is off.
5. Fila Secret Message Skorts
These skorts look like a super cute skirt. And, you’ll have several color choices so you can find one that will go with most of your running gear.
- They have an inside key pocket on the waist, so you won’t have to carry your keys when you run.
- These skorts are great for other activities as well because they do look fairly dressy.
- It moves around fine during your runs, even if you’re sprinting -- it doesn’t feel too tight or confining.
- The waistband is wide, so it doesn’t ride up.
- The seams are comfortable and won’t cause any chafing.
- The fabric is soft-feeling against your skin and is lightweight.
- The skorts are not as pricey as other running bottoms you’ll find on the market.
- This skort may not be the best bet for tall women who have a more muscular build because it will likely be too small.
- The size runs a bit small, so you may want to order up one size.
- The hidden waistband pocket is really small -- this could benefit from a bigger pocket.
And the Winner Is …
Although I love the appearance of the Jette skirt the best, the pleats on that aren’t my favorite when it comes time for running. For that reason, my pick for the best running skirts/skorts is the Skirt Sports Gym Girl Ultra skirt.
I love the performance this skirt offers, as well as the many different colors you can choose from. They are low maintenance since you can clean them in the washing machine and they score high marks for how comfortable they are.
With two good-sized pockets and a music port, these skirts are functional as well as cute.