Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Functional Fashion Vs. Feminist Fitness

Are Running Skirts A Step Backwards For Athletic Women?

“Fitness and fashion can be strange bedfellows (think of the thong-bottomed neon leotards that were so popular in the '80s). And while there are those who jump on every fashion fad, fitness enthusiasts tend to favour function over fashion, which is why the current trend of running skirts has sparked some debate among runners. Runners World, considered the bible of all that is running, currently tackled the issue with a five-page article featuring three female runners who weighed in on the running skirt (one for, one against, one ambivalent). Why the debate? Skirts in sport are symbols of years gone by, when female athletes were required to demonstrate both modesty and femininity when participating in athletics. The resurgence of skirts on the athletic scene is credited to Nicole De-Boom, a professional triathlete who showed off her prototype during an Ironman event in Wisconsin. She has since launched her own line, called Triks. So popular is this fashion trend that most sporting-wear companies have launched their own versions, each with a slightly different look, including shorter and longer skirts, high-and low-rise styles, with waistbands that are wide and flat or narrow with a drawstring. Is there an advantage to running in a skirt over a pair of shorts? Some women think so. A quick perusal of my local sporting goods store almost put me off. Running skirts aren't cheap. The average price is $50 or more; a little pricey when compared to a good pair of shorts, which cost about $35. Faced with the possibility of being left with an expensive piece of clothing that would do little more than take up precious space in the packed cubby where I store my running gear, I decided to save a few bucks and try my daughter's running skirt. Once I started running, the skirt part of the outfit became extraneous. It didn't restrict my movement or ride up and the shorts stayed in place nicely. I sweat, but the moisture didn't leak through the skirt. In fact, the skirt covered any sweat marks around the groin, which was a bonus I hadn't anticipated. It also didn't bunch up or get caught up between my thighs, something I can't say about some of my running shorts.”

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