Those who know me will know that my conversion to running skirts is less than a year old, when fellow tall girls Dimity and Sara convinced me to ditch my capri tights. I wore capris in all weather, even my hottest summer workouts, because I’ve never been comfortable in shorts.
When I buy pants, I look for a 36″ inseam. While those cute little running shorts with the 2.5″ inseam are adorable, and will probably cover my butt, they leave a lot of exposed leg. I prefer the feel of compression shorts, but again, they tend to look like they shrunk in the wash: the proportions are all wrong.
Skirts — particularly those from Skirt Sports — may not be much longer, but because of the overskirt they give me a much more proportional, balanced look. And they have convenient pockets! And they don’t ride up!
But aren’t skirts so… girly?
I’ve never been much of a girly girl. When I was a kid, my mother made me wear skirts to school every day, regardless of the weather. I hated them. Hated them passionately. So to think that I’d willingly wear a skirt to exercise… wasn’t that weird?
Lord knows that the “fastinista” naysayers would say yes. They would say that it makes me less of a runner, that it means that I take everything less seriously, that I’m more concerned with looking pretty than being fit and strong. A recent New York Times article ran under the title, “Running Skirts Go Girly.” I guess that’s to distinguish them from the manly skirts of yesteryear?
But as Dimity pointed out in a recent post for Skirt Sports, being a feminine athlete is about finding your particular strength, which for the 6’+ club isn’t necessarily about being cute and petite and girly, no matter what we wear.
I bought my first skirt and wore it last June for Chicago’s Proud to Run 5k last June. I was shocked to learn that I loved it. I wanted more. But part of me still held back, not sure where I fit into this fitness fashion trend.
After Nike, I sent out thank-you notes to all of my donors. On the card, I used a photo from my Angel Island 12k trail run earlier that summer (the photos from Nike were atrocious). When I talked to my 93-year-old Nana on the phone, she couldn’t stop talking about the picture.
“You’re wearing a skirt! Oh, that’s so… what’s the word the kids use? Retro. Oh my goodness, that’s something that we would have worn back when I was in school. Goodness, your grandmother was a runner, too, wasn’t she? You look just like Betty.”
And at that moment, I was 100% sold on running skirts. It’s not for comfort, or for fashion, or for pretty. It’s for Betty. Betty would run in a skirt. Betty did run in a skirt. And if she could win medals like that, then it’s good enough for me.
Do you wear a skirt? (No, not you, @delfuego or @gogarrio.)
Tags: advice, Angel Island, another mother runner, dimity mcdowell, envirosports, fashion, fastinista, Fitness, lululemon, new york times, nike women's marathon, nwm, proud to run, sara bowen shea, skirt, skirt sports, team in training, tnt
I’ve been considering giving a running skirt a try. I also prefer capris, though I certainly don’t have any long-leggedness issues (when I buy pants, I look for a 28″ inseam.) But I hate the way shorts ride up. So maybe I’ll give it a whirl the next time I buy any running gear. Just not the sparkly purple ones we saw at the expo last weekend. Yikes.
As you might imagine, I can’t quite make the leap to sparkly purple.
So far — and I admit, I haven’t tried every brand out there yet — the only ones I’ve found that don’t have a riding-up problem are from Skirt Sports. The compression undershorts are less stretchy, more stay-put.