I am not a big fan of shorts, particularly when it comes to running. Shorts that are tight inspire uninspiring honking, usually from trucks of guys sporting hardhats and emergency-orange vests. Shorts that have some give to them tend to bunch and gather smack in the crotch, exposing the least toned stretch of thigh* and creating such a jamb of fabric that you wonder for a confusing second whether you should be popping a beer and groping for the remote rather than running however many miles outside, ponytail swinging. They're "masculating," I suppose is one way to put it. Sports bras are bad enough. Sports bras + shorts? Shudder.
Usually I run in tights, which is a dumb term because it evokes visions either of pantyhose (another dumb term) or of Jazzercise wear circa 1985. The "second skin" approach to running wear is not one that I approve of. (I'm also not an endorser of running warm-up pants, which lost the memo about the tapered look going out of fashion, permanently, about 15 years ago). This leaves me with a limited field of fitted but not circulation-strangling tights and boot-cut yoga pants not fashioned from cotton.
But now: another option. I noticed a few women in the SF marathon running in...skirts. Mini-skirts, to be exact, designed specifically for distance runners. Intrigued, I tracked them to one of their sources: Skirt Sports, which launched its first clothing line, TRIKS (skirt spelled backwards), earlier this year. The mastermind behind the idea and the design is Nicole DeBoom, an Ironman triathlete who was sick of feeling like she looked like a boy when she worked out. So a few weeks ago, I ordered a TRIKS skirt called MarathonGirl, in brown/pink. After some initial disorientation (surprising breeziness, and some low-level paranoia about the skirt flipping up in back without me knowing it to reveal the hot-pink "spankies" underneath, which would be the athletic equivalent of walking out of the restroom and back into the party with your skirt hem tucked into your underwear) I've come to really dig it. Certainly you get some looks, but mostly it's from women runners suddenly feeling like shlubs in their shorts and wondering where you get a running skirt. Hey, I feel for them.
* Inner-upper, of course. The muscles in the inner-upper thigh are called adductors, and they get toned mostly through lateral-motion exercise. Since running is a straight-ahead sport, you can have killer calves and great quads and stare at the top of your thighs wondering what they are doing there. Maddening, but true.