Skirting the Issue

shirtorshortsAt our race this weekend, Cara and I were decked out in our usual race outfits:  a tank, a running skirt, our Fellow Flower in our hair, and running shoes.  The race started and as we fell into our long run pace, passing a few runners as we went along, cheering and encouraging each other along the way.  We passed two women early on and didn’t think much of it at the time.  Around mile 5, we have a turn around, so it’s one of the few chances to see other runners along the course.  The two ladies we passed earlier were running towards us and they yelled out to us as we got closer, “Look at you two!  You girls are doing so great!” We said thank you and kept on running.  Just a few minutes later, either Cara or I, can’t remember who, said “That was a weird, wasn’t it?”  The tone they used was one of surprise more than encouraging and more like they were talking to cute little girls vs two women.  I was waiting for them to pinch our cheeks and send us on our way.  It was odd.  So we of course try to figure out what they meant by that!?  We started wondering if it was because we were dressed more girly if that was given off the vibe that we weren’t “real” runners.  I’ve honestly never thought that before.  Since we had 13 more miles, we had plenty of time to talk about it and I started formulating this blog post in my mind.

Just by searching for running in skirts on Google, there are several Runner’s World articles that pop up and a slew of blog posts.  There are some definitely strong opinions about running skirts, for and against.  From complete acceptance and celebration of running in a skirt to the complete opposite, where running in a skirt devalues women as serious athletes.  Most articles agreed that it was a personal preference and in no way should anyone have the right to question another’s running attire.  After reading several posts, I realized that I was getting a little agitated at the underlining tone of women who wear skirts want to look pretty because although I love the playfulness of the skirts I wear and yes, they are cute, that’s not the only reason why I wear them at all!

So I asked several of my running friends who are as much of a running skirt fanatic as I am to share their thoughts on why they rock skirts!  Were my reasons the same as theirs?  Here’s what they said:

Cindy: “I ran Hinson Lake last year and wore a skirt the whole time. I talked to everyone and a guy who never spoke to me talked to me after 2 am in the morning and said,”I didn’t think you were legit until now. You are a competitor “. He then chatted with me every lap after that. I’ve learned to never judge a book by it’s cover and I love wearing skirts.”

Christie: “They are comfortable, functional, and let’s face it -very forgiving! Like a girl!!!!!!

Cara: “I like how my legs look in them. And the compression shorts provide an extra layer.”

Carole: “Why shouldn’t a woman look feminine while she’s kicking ass? So stereotypical to think a woman should hide that part of herself if she wants to undertake athletic pursuits.

Christine: “I wear skirts because I want to look like a girl. Some running clothes are just too manly. I also like that they cover the lumpy places. Much more flattering! And occasionally you get a “hey, cute skirt” from spectators.

Yes!!  I was thinking the same thing!  I knew my girls would have my back!  (And I swear I have friends whose names start with something other than “C”. 🙂 )

I wear skirts because shorts aren’t as functional for me.  I get the dreaded “chub rub” and the compression shorts under all my skirts eliminates that.  Additionally, I don’t have to tug, pull, twist and fidget as much with my skirts vs shorts.  I like the added coverage a skirt provides.  Sure I can wear just compression shorts, but I prefer to be a bit more modest and covered.  I also like the pockets on my skirts!  While many of my shorts have just a key pocket, my skirt has large side pockets where I can keep my key and chomps.  And yes, I think they are cute!  I love the fun patterns and I like wearing them to stand out among a sea of solid colored attire.  I like that they are girly.  I like that I can rock a skirt and run like a girl and kick some ass in a race like a girl.  I like that people may underestimate me because I’m wearing a skirt.

At the end of the day, wear a skirt or wear shorts.  It doesn’t matter to me.  Just wear what makes you happy and comfortable.  But, let’s agree that whether you wear a skirt or shorts, we’re all out there together, participating in a sport we all love and running the same distance in a race regardless of pace, gender, age and now, skirt or short.  We all did the work to get there.  Let’s celebrate that!

Now wearing flowers in our hair…that’s a whole other blog post.

What are your thoughts?  Are you a skirt kind of girl?  Or are shorts kind of girl?

If you want more, here are some additional posts about running in skirts:

The Rise of Skirt Culture

Running Rags: The Jury is Still Out on Running Skirts

Running Skirts and Sexism

Running Skirt Convert


4 thoughts on “Skirting the Issue

  1. I started wearing running skirts (with built in briefs) because shorts ride up on my athletic 🙂 thighs. They are the coolest, most comfortable thing to wear during hot summers. I don’t understand why some people are against the skirt. You can kick butt and still look like a girl!

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