Kilted At Last!

I’ve been kilted! Don’t worry, that’s a good thing. It’s just going to take some getting used to.

I’ve been interested in getting a running kilt for some time, and have looked at all the available options. On my first visit to the RunningKilts site, I knew this was the one for me. It just makes so much sense. It’s a purpose-specific item. It’s not a kilt for wearing to weddings, or to the football game, or to the pub. It’s for running. It’s short (14″ from waistband to hem, in the medium model I have), so it doesn’t flap at the knees. It’s made of lightweight Dupont nylon supplex. There’s no tartan involved (I’m not a fan of tartans). The RunningKilt comes only in navy blue. All good.

As you can see, it’s pretty basic. It’s got a small internal key pocket, a narrow (1/2″) waistband, and a 3″ dart on either side. The left front edge features the RunningKilts logo. No bells, no whistles.

The RunningKilt’s price is a very reasonable US$31.00. (With shipping and handling from the US to Canada, I paid CDN$41.40.) If you don’t want to lay down the cash, the RunningKilt site features free pattern and sewing instructions, so you can make your own.

There’s more material to the RunningKilt than the RaceReady shorts I usually wear for races. But the kilt is a looser fit than any pair of shorts I’ve ever worn, and the fact that there’s nothing between my legs means that wearing the kilt feels like wearing nothing at all. That’s good, but it’s a very strange feeling.

I’ve tested the Running Kilt on some treadmill runs, at distances ranging from 5K to 13K, and a few gravel bucket sessions, each lasting 30 minutes. The RunningKilt is fantastic! The kilt’s material is light enough to move well when I do, it’s soft enough that it feels very comfortable where and when it touches my skin, and it wicks well enough that it never gets close and clammy. I get very warm and I sweat a lot. The kilt, unlike running shorts, which often feel clingy and oppressive, keeps me cool and comfy.

The only hitch in this whole deal comes from the RunningKilt’s very strengths. It’s short. It’s made of nylon. It doesn’t have pleats, as does a kilt. It’s a solid colour, not a tartan. In other words, it’s a skirt.

As gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thomson once wrote, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” I’m OK with that. I think it’s time to get seriously weird, and run in a skirt.

Real men run in skirts!



  1. Nice to hear the kilt will get a good outing next year for the Brantford Grand Trail, I’m all for them, in fact I have more kilts than trews in the wardrobe. However, I’m not really a great fan of Tartan, not least of which because I don’t have a clan afilliation and I live in the Central Valley of Scotland (the Clan System and tartans are a thing of the Highlands, though you’d never believe that walking down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh). I had in mind to make something lightweight based on Minoan-style kilts for running, but I have to say I tend to prefer slightly heavier weight to help prevent the innevitable fly-ups. How does your running kilt do in that respect?

    1. I can wear the Gordon tartan, as my mother was a Gordon. Though I still don’t like them. 🙂 The running kilt doesn’t fly up at all. It’s just long enough, and shaped in such a way, that I don’t think that’ll be an issue. Of course, having said that, a fly-up in a very public place is almost inevitable! 🙂

      1. Well I hope you don’t get any of those! I suppose it depends on the wind conditions, but if you go fast enough the wind pressure should help keep things in place anyway….

  2. I’ve run several marathons in mine, including boston. I often wear dependant on the distance[i need pockets for my gels] of the race compression shorts or my race ready shorts underneath. i wish i wore mine in the houston marathon this year as my shorts were drenched from the rain and thats one of the kilts best qualities, it keeps everything under there out of the rain.

  3. I’ve attended a few Highland games and acquired a Sport Kilt. Turns out the length was above the knee, so it’s too short for formal attire, but I will try running in it.

    1. I know of a number of runners who wear Sport Kilts. A friend of mine, who runs trails, swears he’ll never run in anything else. Bit too long and heavy for my taste, though, and, as I said in my post, I’m not a fan of plaid. 🙂

  4. I have a dress sort of kilt that I love, so it’s not “kilt” I object to. Rather, I don’t like anything loosewhen I run. I’m very happy running in lycra shorts and nothing else but my glasses. More power to you if the lightest, loosest fit suits you. I’d prefer nada, I think.

  5. Shot first asking questions after.

    Having previously replied, I have now been to the runningkilts web site.
    I now find myself asking the question. Is it loose shorts themselves that cause the discomfort.
    Cycle type shorts = no chaffing.
    loose shorts = chaffing on a miserable scale.
    No shorts = untested. (suspect/fear chaffing though)

  6. Alan

    Inner thighs rather than outer, no custom sizing is going to change that I’m afraid.
    I am not on any social networking sites nor any plans to at this time.

  7. Nice one Alan.

    Love the idea and if I could go more than 2 miles without out the tops of my thighs spontaneously combusting through friction I would order today. however…

    Keep us posted.

    1. Good to hear from you again, Jason!

      You might ask Scott Schneider of RunnngKilts about custom sizing. It would be worth it if you’re keen on running in a kilt.

  8. Amen! 🙂

    I’ll be putting a Sport Kilt and Utilikilt through the running paces this spring. I’ve been holding off the Running Kilt for the reasons that you specified, i.e., the resemblance to a short skirt. I have run in a skirt before, and I have to admit that it was more comfortable to wear than shorts… not necessarily comfortable to be seen in. I’m excited to hear more from your experience with it.

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