The Running Skirt

So, after my running skirt comment, it solicited some responses. I know a lot of women love running skirts. In fact, one friend even pointed out this article to me yesterday:

Girls track team turns to skirts to improve results

The article makes total sense to me. If the skirts are being used to help the girls feel more modest, and hence more comfortable with themselves, I think that is fantastic. What I thought was horrible is that with adults around at a meet that boys were allowed to get away with the comments they made, but that's a whole other can of beans.

Anyway, after reading the article I thought hard about why I have such a distaste for the idea of a running skirt. Many women have told me how comfortable they are, they come in a myriad of colors and designs, and just how fun they are to wear.

Then it finally hit me why I don't want to wear a skirt when I'm running.

When I wear a skirt, I feel pretty and cute.
When I am running, I am neither pretty or cute.
On a run, I don't want to feel pressured to look pretty or cute.

The other day I was out on a run in 90+ degree heat with my Run Club. My buddy Ali and I were running with each other when I looked back, leaned over and spit. Within about 30 seconds, she did the same. Then, I blew my nose using the bottom of my sweaty running shirt. My running isn't pretty. It's filled with weird sounds - cracking and wheezing, lots of random bodily fluids, and it isn't very graceful to watch. I like the fact that it's okay, too - because I'm running.

It's okay for me to look like crap out on the road in my Kinvaras - to be covered in sweat and blowing snot rockets. I don't want to do it in a skirt! I run so I can wear short skirts when I don't look like crap - when I actually do feel pretty and cute.

In a way, I guess I have the opposite reaction to the skirts that the track team in the story had. I feel that a skirt puts me on display in an environment where I would really just rather do my thing. At my age, unless you are a pro, you're probably not wearing the "bun hugger" running shorts described in the track story anyway. The skirt isn't worn for modesty - in fact, I would feel much more self conscious in a short skirt running than I would in my trusty umbros.

I read a story posted on another blog (which I was trying to locate, but can't seem to find now!) that made a comment about "running skirts being flattering to all body types." Really? You been to a race recently? (Sorry, here's where the catty in me comes out.) I had the unfortunate experience of running behind a young lady last year wearing a running skirt. Her body type was not meant for the skirt. Myself, and everyone behind her, had a full view of everything she was trying to cover up. The shorts stitched into the skirt were stretched to their absolute max, making them near translucent. The skirt rested on the top of her bum rather than covering it.

I felt horrible for her - did anyone in her life not have the guts to tell her that the skirt was anything but a horrible fashion choice? It wasn't flattering for her in any sense. Is this the way all ladies look in the skirts? Absolutely not - but it was not a flattering impression of skirt culture.

And I feel horrible for saying that. BUT, if she wasn't wearing a skirt, I never even would have noticed her running in front of me. SEE???

I would love to hear why you love running skirts. Or why you, like me, don't love them.

The skirt seems to be here to stay for a while - I see them more and more at each running race I do. In full disclosure - I've never even tried on a running skirt. Part of the reason is that I'm afraid I would like them.

Let the discussion begin - to skirt or not to skirt?

PS - If convinced enough, I may even go try one on :p


Matty O said...

I have no complaints seeing women wearing them on the trails ;)

Personally, it does throw me for a loop when women will race a tri in them.... swim and BIKE. Just looks wrong.

A lot of women swear by them.

Just don't go getting all dolled up and lipstick to run haha. That is a bit much ;)

T said...

I actually have a blog post all written about this topic for Monday (or maybe Tuesday). As you know, I wear running skirts exclusively. I think I've figured out the difference: I wear skirts about 99% of the time. I don't feel cute in a skirt. I find them more practical (for me) for daily life, so that comfort carries over.

I'm not going to be able to change anyone's mind, and in theory I *should* be anti-skirt (I freaking HATE the idea of vanity while running - wearing makeup? you people SICKEN me). But to me, skirts are more comfortable, full stop. The ones that I have that are patterned, I bought because they were on sale for cheap.

Unknown said...

I'm not a fan, based on my experience with the one Nike skirt I own. The compression shorts underneath ride up so I can't wear it for more than 4 miles, first of all, but I guess that issue is exclusive to me. Secondly, I have giant thighs. I feel like it emphasizes that. Also, I'm paranoid that my bum is sticking out, just like that unfortunate soul at your race. So I haven't bought another one. Do you technically probably see more in tights / compression shorts? Yeah. Do I feel better in them anyway? Yes.

Old She dragon said...

In school we had awful short dress things that were about the length of running skirts. Having been forced to wear those for games 3 times a week for 5 years, never again. LOL .

Patty said...

I like the idea of a running skirt but I am pretty sure I have the type of body type which doesn't look the best in a short skirt - running or otherwise. I think they look cute on other people though.

Unknown said...

OH, speaking of makeup at races, I saw Ginette Bedard at the race I ran this morning! Full on, cakey looking makeup every time, even while she's breaking those 80 y.o. age group records.

Ms Mae said...

LOL. I feel the same way as you. I just don't see the point in wearing a skirt running. . . but I don't really wear "short" skirts normally so that may play into :)

Mom in Motion said...

I'm skirt ambivalent. I have one that doesn't fit well enough to wear on its own, but over my swim bottoms (bike style shorts) it's perfect. It does make me look cute, but I don't necessarily care about looking cute on a run. I guess the cute-factor is a bonus but not a requirement. I'm comfort first, style second. I don't care one way or the other if people wear skirts or don't. It really has no bearing on how I run my race.

The advantage I see is what the article was hinting at. If more people feel comfortable (or cute or sexy or whatever) and that causes them get out and run, then AWESOME. More runners=more awesomeness. And for some folks it IS all about looking cute at first, or at least not feeling self-conscious. If they're confident in what they're wearing then they're more likely to get out and try something new. You know?

I guess I see skirts as just another type of gear that works for some and doesn't work for others. Just like I can't wear the loose-style running shorts, but I'm totally comfortable in the tight compression shorts that others wouldn't be caught dead in. Whatever floats your boat, baby!

RunKateRun said...

I've never liked the idea of running skirts, and I think you pretty much hit on why!! I don't mean to be judgmental, but to be honest, the first thought that pops into my head when I see a woman working out in a skirt is that she's not taking the workout very seriously. (I know this is not necessarily true, just how my brain connects things!) I think it's the weird combination of sweating/grunting/mucus/all things unfeminine with the cute little skirt. Messes with my mind. Plus it doesn't look comfy or conducive to running to have extra fabric flapping.

And btw, when I ran the thanksgiving 10k here in 'nati, I saw runners in full-on makeup - mascara, blush, and etc. AND it was drizzling! I don't know what they looked like by the time they got to the finish line, but I bet it was disastrous!

Anonymous said...

I think I feel very similar to you. Wearing a running skirt would be like dressing up for the run. I'm a fairly new runner and it isn't pretty when I'm out there. After about five minutes, my face is beet red and I'm already sweaty. I actually even hate it if I find, after dressed, that my shirt matches my shoes! It's just not right! But kudo's to those ladies that wear them and enjoy them. Whatever gets you out running...

TheKate said...

My other friend that runs (see? it is a specialization in my friend taxonomy) just had a running skirt incident: http://trytrytri.tumblr.com/post/18185777731/skirting-the-issue and it made me think of you.