My wife Shelly has been running in a running skirt for a few months. She originally heard of the idea from out friends Kate Kift and Angie Bishop. Since trying it out, she has fallen in love with the skirt. After hearing her touting the benefits for months, I began looking for an alternative to the running shorts I normally wear.
I considered the running skirt, but couldn’t bring myself to try it. James Webber, a phenomenal barefoot runner from Kalamazoo, has been running in a combination of compression shorts and a loincloth for some time. This idea fascinated me, but I haven’t had an opportunity to make one. Then I stumbled upon the Sport Kilt.
Sport Kilt is a US-based company that sells kilts for casual wear. I contacted them about a week ago to inquire about the “hiking kilt” model, which is designed for hikers and runners. They graciously sent me a model to test. This is the model I am testing.
I received the kilt on Friday. It did not arrive in time for my run Friday morning, so I would have to wait until today (Sunday) to test it while running. In the interim, I wore it extensively around the house. After wearing it for only a few minutes, I found it difficult to remove… it was that comfortable. The tricky part… preventing the accidental flash. I quickly developed a new-found respect for women wearing skirts and dresses.
The kilt itself is made from a fairly lightweight microfiber material. It is a single piece of fabric that is wrapped around your waist and closed with a Velcro strip along the top edge. The front of the kilt overlaps itself about 12-14″ in the front. The kilt has a relatively large pocket in the front.
The kilt would be tested in some extreme conditions. Today’s run was about 8 miles of trails. The purpose of the run was to hone trailcraft skills and do some heat acclimation training. The temperature was about 80° with 75% humidity. I was wearing a winter compression shirt under a bright orange hooded sweatshirt. Aesthetically, the combo of the oversized sweatshirt and red kilt was quite a sight. This run would test the kilt in an extremely sweaty environment. Prior to the run, I weighed 180 pounds. After eight miles and consuming 5.7 pounds of water, I weighed 175.5 pounds. Needless to say, I sweat A LOT.
Since most will ask- I was wearing the kilt in traditional fashion… commando. More on that later.
The first mile felt good. The airy feeling of the kilt was great! I was surprised that running was as comfortable as it was. Bouncing, my biggest fear, was a non-issue. I think form has a lot to do with this as my gait has very little vertical movement.
Immediately after the first mile, Shelly and I ran some stairs for a little hill work. Again, the kilt felt great. The freedom of movement was noticeable. The absence of fabric rubbing between my thighs was much better than I expected.
At this point in the run, I was feeling pretty spent due to the heat. The kilt was completely soaked mostly due to the drenched sweatshirt and wicking action. Even though it was very wet, the kilt still performed as it had at the beginning of the run.
The rest of the run was uneventful. I eventually pulled out of the early funk. I continued to sweat like a geyser, so the kilt stayed drenched for the duration of the run.
We finished the run and I changed into shorts to test how long it would take for the kilt to dry. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was mostly dry after our 30 minute ride home. Under normal conditions (i.e. non-heat acclimation training), the kilt would remain fairly dry.
The design is superb, the fit is excellent, and the material has pretty good moisture-wicking capabilities. The quality is excellent. Aesthetically, it looks very good.
The elimination of the material between my thighs felt better than expected. Inner-thigh chafing is a chronic problem using my normal combination of compression and running shorts. I did not experience any upper thigh chafing with the kilt.
This is the type of garment that will likely revolutionize my running. It will be difficult to go back to any of the running shorts I have used in the past simply because the kilt feels so much better.
The kilt is a bit on the heavy side (12 ounces). I would have preferred something a little lighter. While it did not feel “heavy”, the weight was more noticeable when soaked with sweat.
My particular model does not have the optional pockets sewn in; this would be a wise investment if you purchase your own. They would be perfect for stashing an extra Gu or similar running gear.
My biggest complaint is chafing. The combination of sweat-soaked material and lack of compression shorts resulted in some… well… chafing on the tool. Yeah, penis chafe. It wasn’t severe, but I did notice it when showering after the run. Had I run a longer distance, this could be a major issue. Compression shorts would eliminate the problem, but I think the kilt works better sans shorts. Next time, I will try SportSlick… it is my go-to anti-chafing product.
I would highly recommend the Sport Kilt Hiking Kilt to runners. It lived up to and exceeded my expectations. The Hiking Kilt is a superior product that will change your running experience. I will definitely be wearing this for future training runs and races, including Burning River in two weeks. I will continue to post comments about the kilt as I do more experimentation.
The Sport Kilts can be purchased here: http://www.sportkilt.com/