Ski Skirts for Winter Adventures
Winter ski skirts (not JUST for skiing) are extremely functional and are one of my favorite pieces of winter gear. They are great for running, nordic skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, skating, and just generally keeping your behind cozy in cold weather. They’re also a great extra layer to have in your pack in case you need it, many of them pack down small.
Winter skirts can also be worn casually, around town or running kids to activities. Synthetic or wool skirts often look less “sporty” and can work on a commute and in an office setting. These skirts are also great for spring and fall outings in colder climates.
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Why add ski skirts to your winter gear closet
The best reason to invest in a skirt is for added warmth during winter activities. If you like the way a thinner tight or baselayer moves or feels, you can get away with wearing it in much colder temps if you add a skirt to keep your caboose warm. Or if you’re off on an epic adventure, it can be just the extra piece of gear you need.
Skirts can also be very versatile for fluctuating temperature, activity level, or incline due to their zippers. They’re also nice for a little extra padding when sitting down for snacktime on the snow or cold ground.
Types of Skirts and Features to Look For
A long skirt can be worn on its own over leggings, or can be worn over insulated pants for an even warmer setup. When it’s realllllly cold or we’re doing an activity where the kids are active and I’m more of a bystander, I wear down pants and then my down skirt on top. A mid-length or short insulated skirt are a great choice for warmer days or more active pursuits.
Since you have so many options, the primary considerations will be length, fill (down, synthetic, wool, or fleece), zippers, and pocket placement.
A large phone doesn’t fit great in any of the skirts pictured below, but it does fit in the black one pictured on the far left which has a vertical zip pocket; the other two have a smaller horizontal zip pocket that’s better for storing small items like an ID.
A better option is leggings with a phone pocket that you can access under a partially unzipped skirt. If you own leggings you love, pay attention to what side that phone pocket is on, it’s usually on the right which is where a lot of the skirts have full zips, but a skirt with a middle zip makes access to a phone harder.
Skirts with zippers
Zippers really increase a skirt’s versatility. I love when they have side zippers on both sides. It really helps when you can unzip as much as you may need, especially with the mini-skirt variety. If you’re nordic skiing or biking, you’ll want to play with the zippers to make sure you can get the range of motion you need for your activity. Some skirts even feature a back zip which would be ideal for biking.
The main choice for fill in a “puffy” skirt is down or synthetic; down is going to be warmer but often a little puffier and more expensive. Both will typically do an excellent job of resisting moisture, but if you plan to use it in frequent slush or rain the synthetic or wool options may be better than down as they will insulate when wet.
If you’re in these wet conditions often choose an option with a DWR (durable water repellant) finish, or apply your own wash-in or spray on DWR like Nikwax TX-Direct (for synthetics). I have never used any additional DWR on any of mine and they have performed wonderfully for years and years.
Where to Buy Winter Skirts
You can find great deals for gently used skirts at the REI outlet or REI used shop, searching on Ebay or Mercari, or shopping your local Marketplace or Craigslist. Some great brands to search for either on their websites or the used sites are described in this section.
Skhoop is synonymous with awesome winter skirts. They have a huge variety of styles and are available in down and synthetic fill, and three main lengths (mini, mid, and long).
They’re available from Skhoop’s website; and Title Nine also carries several Skhoop skirts including the Bun Warmer Quilted Skirt (in seven colors!), the Convection Down Skirt, and the Bun Warmer Midi Skirt. Title Nine is one of TMM’s favorite brands to support.
As mentioned above, there are lots of different options for zippers and pockets! Most Skhoop skirts also have silicone grip on the inside of the waistband to keep them in place (pictured above) which makes a big difference if you’re being active and wearing them over smooth or slippery leggings.
Skhoop makes most of their skirts with side zips, but I have one with a middle zip. It’s a very old style and I find it doesn’t give quite as much freedom of movement as the ones with side zippers.
The center zip works just fine for hiking, but it’s not my choice for more active adventures like nordic skiing as the side zippers (ideally two but even just one side zipper is usually enough) allow the greatest freedom of movement.
I’ve had my Alaska Long Down Skirt for nearly a decade and put it through everything and it still looks and feels like new. I highly recommend this skirt to everyone especially if you feel like you’re often cold in the layers you have, it is well worth the investment.
I sized up on my down skirt because I’m often wearing it over more than just leggings, but it has adjustments to make it fit over anything I want to wear it with from leggings to snowpants. I wore this skirt when I was pregnant when nothing else would fit, just unzipped it about an inch from the top.
With the skirt fully unzipped you can get excellent airflow when you’re moving, but have wind protection on the front and back, and then the warmth when you stop.
The long skirt is great for so many activities, but I especially love it for outings with young kids as there is a lot of kneeling and waiting, and then some movement, followed by more kneeling to fix a glove or talk to the child.
The length of the long skirt gives me a warm and dry place to kneel down by a child while I offer them help or support.
Smartwool makes skirts with a wool-fiber fill. They have two current styles but you can find many older styles used.
TMM Team Member Jami loves her Smartwool skirt for nordic skiing and wore it to her Ultra this winter to help keep her warm over the all-night event! She also loves it for nordic skiing.
The dual zippers are great but I’ve had trouble with my top zipper slipping a little on a Smartwool skirt. It doesn’t fit into place at the top very well and sometimes I’ll find it sneaking down during the day. I do still wear the skirt because I love that it’s wool-lined and is a great option for warmer days, but I wish the zipper was more secure. I have never had this issue with any of my skhoop skirts.
Title Nine Skirts
In addition to selling several different Skhoop skirts, Title Nine carries a variety of skirts that would work well for being active in the winter, including the Off The Grid fleece waffle skirt and the wool/poly blend That’s a Wrap skirt. The Off the Grid waffle fabric is excellent at trapping heat during cold weather outings.
Fleece skirts are usually going to be a cheaper option and will still provide a lot of warmth for your winter adventures.
Funluvin’ Fleece Skirts come in a lot of different patterns and were recommended by several TMM Community Members. There are tons of fun prints to choose from. The skirts have a small inner pocket which would fit an ID or maybe a small snack, and a drawstring waist.
Sizing of these is fairly flexible, I went with a large and the waist was quite big but with the drawstring it fits great over leggings and I can also wear it over thicker pants.
They also make fleece shorts which could be used over leggings also, and were made to go underneath wetsuits for a little extra insulation (cool!). There are a ton of fun prints to choose from.
Denali Daisy Designs on Etsy makes a huge variety of fleece skirts. Most have a slit cut in the side so while they don’t have the zipper that many of the aforementioned skirts have, they look like they’d allow for great freedom of movement.
Other Adventure Skirts for Winter
The Indyeva Suletekk Down Skirt comes recommended by a TMM Community Member, and looks like a great and adjustable option.
Searching on Etsy brings up a bunch of options for both fleece and wool skirts (wool is harder to search for as you’ll find a bunch more casual options, but skirts like this one could work great for many outdoor activities). You can often get shops to make you a more customized skirt (different size or length) compared with buying a big brand, so this can be a nice option if you have something very specific in mind!
The Ibex Izzi skirt isn’t currently in production but it’s a great mid-length thick wool skirt that can be dressy or can keep pace with whatever adventure you throw at it. It’s very warm and has a zippered pocket. Snag one if you can find it and like longer skirts!
You can DIY your own Winter Adventure skirt out of an old or thrifted wool sweater or fleece fabric. Really any material could work for this (just avoid cotton), and a skirt is a relatively easy pattern to follow if you just want a basic one to wear over leggings.
Winter Adventure Skirts
Adding an insulating skirt or two to your cold weather gear wardrobe can add extra comfort and a pop of color to your winter outings. There are plenty of different styles so you can find just the style that will work for the type of activities you do!
- Best Adventure Dress for All Seasons
- Leggings for Hiking in Cold Weather
- Skirts and Dresses for an Outdoor Life
- Epic Winter Gear Guide for Women 2021
- Outdoor Women Winter Style Guide
Skirts for Winter Adventures
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