Running gear for me is all about feeling nimble, light, and unrestricted. The Patagonia Women’s Nine Trails Skirt is a fun and sleek alternative to running shorts that’s also supremely comfortable for miles upon miles of chafe-free running.

This summer, I would occasionally get motivated to go running after work in the early evening heat, knowing that either the shade or setting sun would eventually provide relief as I ran on the trails near my house in Jackson, WY. The Patagonia Women’s Nine Trails Skirt was a fast favorite in these sweat-inducing, high 70s to mid 80s temps because of its comfortable fabric and short length.

I loved the way the poly/spandex fabric of the Patagonia Women’s Nine Trails Skirt was soft against my skin and form-fitting with just the right amount of stretch to stay put but allow movement. My skin is often sensitive to irritation from even the slightest bit of chafing from running shorts, and so I was very happy to discover that both the fabric and cut of the Nine Trails Skirt consistently provided a chafe-free experience at the waist and where the skirt skimmed my legs.

The skirt is lined with spandex shorts that fit like boy short underwear, with a 2” inseam, and the skirt extends another 2” past this. This means that the Patagonia Women’s Nine Trails Skirt is pretty darn short. Reading Patagonia’s website description, an 11” skirt sounded reasonable to me, but in person, an 11” total length is on the skimpy side – 2” shorter in the front and 1.5” shorter in the back than my shortest running shorts. Once I discovered the unrestricted movement and chafe-free advantages of the skirt’s short and sweet design, I embraced it. That said, even though I’m not self-conscious about wearing short skirts, I felt a little exposed wearing the Nine Trails Skirt to the gym to work out.

The Patagonia Women’s Nine Trails Skirt has several useful built-in running-specific features. There is a small pocket built into the back of the waistband that’s perfect for holding an energy gel or keys. On the sides, there are two even smaller micro-pockets that I use to stash my iPod shuffle. The front of the skirt has a subtle Patagonia logo that’s reflective for safety when running in the last of the evening light.

The Patagonia Women’s Nine Trails Skirt is available for women in sizes XS – XL, in Black, Navy Blue, Western Dots: Camp Green, and Western Dots: Skipper Blue. I found it to fit true to size in the waist and fitted everywhere else. It’s made from recycled polyester/spandex fabric that is bluesign certified and is Polygiene-treated to control odors so it stays fresher between washes.

Bottom Line: A supremely comfortable, barely-there technical running skirt.

Manufacturer’s Site: www.patagonia.com

buy-now $59, on sale from $29 – 44, also available at Moosejaw.