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Reviews > Clothing > Skirts and Kilts > SkirtSports GymGirl SportsSkirt > Test Report by Stephanie Martin

Test Report: SkirtSports GymGirl - 2 pocket Skirt

Personal Biographical Info:
Name: Stephanie Martin
Age: 32
Gender: Female
Height: 5'5" (1.65 meters)
Weight: 155 lbs (70 kg)
Skirt Size: US 10
Email Address: syoong "at" alum "dot" mit "dot" edu
Location: Phoenix, AZ USA
Date: May 29, 2007 - Initial Report
July 30, 2007 - Field Report
October 8, 2007 - Long Term Report

 

Background: Having always enjoyed spending time outdoors, I got serious about it in 1996.  Since then, I've been actively day hiking most weekends. In addition to day hikes, my husband and I generally take a couple of week long trips to the Grand Canyon annually, in addition to short weekend backpacking trips. Our backpacking philosophy has been rapidly moving towards ultra-light gear. My target base pack weight is 10 lbs (4.5 kg), and my typical shelter is a single wall tarp/tent. In general, we average 12 to 15 miles (19 to 24 km) per day.  See http://www.ToddsHikingGuide.com for trip reports and a better sense of our hiking style.

 

Other sport skirts used: I have worn other sport skirts/skorts for running and hiking.  Some of these skirts are advertised as tennis skirts/skorts, and all models that I own have compression shorts underneath. Some brands include Nike, SkirtSports, and Fila.

 

Product Information: Gymgirl product photo courtesy of SkirtSports

The GymGirl is a versatile sports skirt with built-in compression shorts.

Manufacturer: SkirtSports [http://www.skirtsports.com]
Year of Manufacture: 2007
MSRP: US$58
Listed Weight: No weight listed
Weight as Delivered: 5.7 ounces (162 grams)
Size: Large (US 12-14)
Listed Dimensions: Skirt Length - 14" (35.6 cm)
Shorties Inseam - 3.5" (8.9 cm)
Measured Dimensions: Skirt Length - 14.5" (36.8 cm)
Shorties Inseam - 4" (10.1 cm)
Color: Black, also available in numerous colors and limited edition prints.

 

Contents

- Product Arrival

- Commentary on Skirts and Sports

- Product Features and Construction

- Initial Impressions

- Product Performance in the Field - Field Report

- Product Performance in the Field - Long Term Report

- Summary

INITIAL REPORT: May 29, 2007

It's Here! The GymGirl Arrives!
The GymGirl arrived attached to a product hangtag that provided brief information about the GymGirl and the technical fabrics it's made out of.  Also attached was a company info card expressing the mission behind the Triks brand and the SkirtSports company.
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A Brief Commentary about Skirts and Sports
Who would want to wear a skirt while out pursuing sports activities?! I for one, was initially not convinced that this was a particularly wise thing to do.  Several years ago I tested the Macabi Travel Skirt and my mind was changed - fast forward a couple of years to when I started running - what started out as a bet (running a race in a skirt) quickly opened my eyes to a new trend in sportswear for women - technical sport skirts.  Needless to say, I've been running (and hiking) in a skirt ever since.  The main reason is comfort - and the flattering design doesn't hurt either!  I'm not (and never have been) thin of thigh.  My legs have always been shapely, and this has always caused issues with "chub rub" and the riding up of shorts.  Because I can't abide hiking or running in pants except in the coolest of weather, I was forced to make do, often having to slow my pace to adjust my clothing - well made sports skirts resolve these issues by protecting the thighs via well designed compression shorts that are of the appropriate length and fabric to stay in place to prevent the dreaded "chub rub" thigh chafing.  The fabric also needs to allow freedom of movement while also being moisture wicking and quick drying.  The skirt that goes over the top of these shorts acts as a flattering cover-up (I've never been fond of parading around in spandex), and if made well, it stays down, doesn't restrict movement, and doesn't cling annoyingly to the undershorts.
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Product Features and Construction
Upon initial inspection, the GymGirl - 2 Pocket sports skirt is just about everything I look for in a sports skirt.  Technical fabric for both the undershorts and outer skirt and a simple yet flattering cut, adequate in length to cover the important parts.  All seams appear to be well sewn, with no stray stitches or unsecured threads.

GymGirl modeled

The skirt itself is simple in design, featuring a wide 2-inch (5 cm) flat waistband made from a doubled layer of TRIKSmesh (the same fabric used for the shorts) and a pair of 7-inch (17.8 cm) slits on either side to allow for additional freedom of movement as well as access to the two pockets that are sewn onto the shorts underneath. The skirt itself is made from SpeedSilk - a nylon/spandex blend that has a very smooth hand to it along with a slight sheen, not unlike actual silk.  As expected, the fabric is quite stretchy due to its spandex content.  Not far down the side seam on either side of the skirt are small button-hole like slits, that are designed to allow the cord for an MP3player to pass through.  The TRIKS logo is applied to the skirt off to the side, just above the hem, in sparkly silver dots.

Not My Shorties.As I mention above, the undershorts (or shorties, as they are referred to) are made from TRIKSmesh, (a lightweight stretchy matte mesh fabric made from a blend of nylon and spandex) and they feature flat sewn seams and a pair of 3- x 4.5-inch (7.6 x 11.4 cm) pockets (also made from TRIKSmesh) - one on either leg. As seen on the photo, the pockets are flat, and are designed to hold small items such as a small MP3 player, some spare cash, an ID, and small snacks (such as energy gels).  The seaming on the shorts is thoughtful, and as flattering as tight fitting shorts can be.  Unlike some compression shorts, these do not have any elastic gripper panels at the bottom of the leg, though after a little bit of activity and some light sweating, they are supposed to stay in place.

Like a lot of other technical clothing these days, the GymGirl does not have any tags inside to cause itching or unsightly bumps; instead, the skirt size and care instructions are printed on the inside of the shorts fabric.  Care instructions are simple and as expected for technical apparel: machine wash cold with like colors and hang to dry.

 I was unable to find any guarantee or warranty information about the GymGirl on the SkirtSports website - though returns and exchanges are accepted within 30 days of purchase on merchandise that has not been used, worn or altered.
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Initial Impressions
I've found the GymGirl Skirt to be as expected in both fit and appearance based on my visits to the skirtsports website.  Both the skirt and shorts are sewn well, and are flattering in style and the material is soft and flows and drapes nicely.  The shorts fit snugly, as they should, but do not make me feel sausage-like in any way.  The GymGirl's waistband hits slightly below my natural waistline, and does not bind or squeeze in any way and neither the skirt nor the shorts seem to hinder my movement at all.

sideview and pocket

The length of the skirt is about the same as many of my hiking shorts (and is even longer than some), and even with the side slits, the skirt is quite modest in appearance.  I know I wouldn't feel shy wearing the skirt elsewhere other than to the gym or while out on a hike or a run.  The skirt does need to be hiked up a little bit to get in and out of the pocket (shown with the SkirtSports company info card in the photo), though I feel I can do so without flashing the world.

TRIKSmesh

The TRIKSmesh is not completely opaque, allowing a fair amount of show-through if the viewer is really up close - so I'll have to refrain from wearing any wild prints underneath ;)  though from a respectable distance away, the mesh provides adequate coverage and modesty.
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Product Performance in the Field (FIELD REPORT August 1, 2007)

Gymgirl out on desert slickrock in Southern Utah

Field and Test Information:
Location(s) of test: Various locations in the wide expansive deserts of southern Utah in addition to extensive use in the urban jungle.
Terrain: The majority of the terrain has been open desert environments and canyons with few shade trees present, though several nights were also spent in high elevation pine forests where the cool nights and shade were greatly appreciated.  Urban testing has taken place at my local gym and while out and about.
Weather Conditions: Mostly sunny with a few overcast days.  Winds have ranged from nonexistent to moderate gusts.  Outside daytime temperatures during the test period have ranged from nighttime lows in the mid 50s F (low teens C) to daytime highs well in excess of 100 F (38 C).  No precipitation was encountered during the field test period.

Checking out PetroglyphsDuring the Field Test period, I've had an opportunity to wear the GymGirl on numerous occasions - during the week, I often wear it as my preferred garment when I'm slated for aerobic exercise - especially if I'm planning on running.  I've also had the opportunity to wear and evaluate the GymGirl while out hiking - both in low desert country as well as high above-treeline excursions.  In all cases, the GymGirl was comfortable and flattering to wear, providing modesty and coverage with a little sass.

I've been quite pleased with the performance of the GymGirl across the range of activities and environments I've tested it in.  Durability-wise, the skirt shows little sign of all the wear it's been through.  I have not noticed any loose threads or seams, nor have I observed any fading in color or change in the fit.  Surprisingly (to me anyhow), the fabric of the skirt remains smooth and blemish free - even after being worn off trail. While the off trail hiking did not subject the skirt to much brush, I did have to slide and climb down various slickrock sandstone obstacles.  The GymGirl took it all in stride, and any dust or sand that was initially attracted to the skirt was easily brushed off.  While at home, I've simply thrown the skirt in with the rest of my laundry and hung it to dry.  While out backpacking, I would rinse the skirt when possible, and I never had any issues with it being damp in the morning.  In addition, I did find that the skirt does dry quite quickly, as one of my hikes included extensive wading, resulting in the skirt periodically getting soaked.  While the skirt does look a little bit rumpled after being squashed haphazardly into a pack, the wrinkles seemed to release after some time.

Wearing the GymGirl has been quite pleasurable.  The skirt (and the undershorts) are comfortable and quite breathable, and neither the waistband nor the shorts were binding or restrictive in any way.  I never had any issues with the wind kicking up the skirt and "flashing" my hiking partners, nor did I have any difficulty with the skirt riding up while a pack was worn on top of it. I welcomed the light and breathable compression shorts, especially on my low desert hikes.  With the high temperatures and little wind,  regular shorts would have made for uncomfortable walking, for they would have constantly been riding up and I would have been in danger of severe chafing in the upper thigh region.  I had no fears of (or problems with) chub rub during the test period - once a light sweat was built up, the shorts of the GymGirl could be tugged into place, and there they would stay, providing protection against the dreaded thigh chafing!

On occasion, I used the pockets of the GymGirl while hiking - though I used them primarily for storing wrappers and baggies after having consumed the goodies.  Accessing the pockets wasn't difficult or hindered at all, even while wearing a full backpack.  I have used the pockets while running to securely hold my 3 oz. (90 g) mp3 player with no difficulties - the only quibble I have while using the pockets in this fashion is that the button hole provided to route my headphone cord out is a rather tight fit for after-market headphone jacks.  I should note that I rarely use my pockets to carry snacks or other things while I hike/backpack - and if ever I'm hunting for a pocket to use, it is typically for the same use that I put these to - to store wrappers and empty baggies from snacks that have already been consumed.
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Product Performance in the Field (LONG TERM REPORT October 8, 2007)

Field and Test Information:
Location(s) of test: Desert and forested locations in Arizona, in addition to extensive use in the urban jungle.
Terrain: The majority of the terrain has been higher elevation (7,000+ foot (2133+ meter)) pine forests and open desert environments and canyons with few shade trees present.  Urban testing has taken place at my local gym and while out and about.
Weather Conditions: Mostly sunny with a few overcast days.  Winds have ranged from nonexistent to moderate gusts.  Outside daytime temperatures during the test period have ranged from nighttime lows in the mid 50s F (low teens C) to daytime highs well in excess of 100 F (38 C).  No precipitation was encountered during the field test period.

During the Long Term Test period, I continued to wear the GymGirl on all of my hikes and for my aerobic workouts at my local gym - in all cases, the GymGirl has continued to perform well and hold up well to continued wear and washing with no changes to report from my field report.  The skirt still seems to be the same size (no shrinkage over time), and it does not appear to have faded in color at all during the course of the test period.  All stitching has also held up well, with no damage observed.  The fabric still has a nice smooth finish to it, and I've somehow managed to not snag it even while scrambling, climbing and hiking off trail!

I have discovered during this test period that for cooler mornings I can don a pair of light pants over the top of the GymGirl without much difficulty or bunching - this was certainly easier than trying to get a pair of tights on over the undershorts, but under the skirt portion of the GymGirl.  This is primarily due to the way that the garment is made in addition to how it is designed to be worn - relatively low on the hips.  I found that while attempting to go the tights route, I wasn't able to get the waistband of the tights high enough to not feel like they were about to slither on down my hips.

As noted in the field report, I find the GymGirl to be both comfortable and flattering to wear - so much so that I don't mind running errands while wearing it.  While it does (especially in brighter colored models) seem to draw attention while I'm running in town (apparently a girl running in a short skirt is still not considered "normal"), I'd prefer to wear the skirt rather than running shorts any day.  Interestingly enough, I haven't noticed the same reactions while I'm out hiking in the GymGirl, nor do I notice any different reaction if I'm just walking around town going about my business while I'm wearing the GymGirl - the surprised stares appear to be reserved for running/jogging activities.  Oh well.

Overall, the testing of the GymGirl has been fun, and it's worked its way into my hiking and fitness wardrobe.  I've found the GymGirl is a welcome change from shorts - especially since I don't have to worry about thigh chafing or short creepage while hiking or running.   I certainly wouldn't hesitate to wear or pack my GymGirl on any of my backpacking adventures.
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Summary: Woo Hoos and Boo Hoos  
Given the choice between shorts and an athletic skirt, I believe I'll be choosing the skirt for future hiking and backpacking activities.  The GymGirl is comfortable, performs well, and its flattering appearance easily goes from trail (or gym) to running around town.  With that said, here are my "Woo Hoos" (likes) and my "Boo Hoos" (some room for improvement).

- Woo Hoo: Very comfortable, the waistband and compression shorts don't bind or squeeze.
- Woo Hoo: Flattering design that provides coverage while preventing chub rub!
- Woo Hoo: Tech fabric packs nicely, releases wrinkles, doesn't attract and hold dirt and breathes well.
- Woo Hoo: Easy care - dries fast.
- Woo Hoo: Pockets are easily accessible, even when a pack is being worn.
- Boo Hoo: Button hole to allow headphone cords to be routed out of skirt is a very tight fit for aftermarket headphone jacks.

This concludes my report series for this product. 
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My thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and SkirtSports for this testing opportunity.



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