6 Best Insulated Skirts for Skiing

Summary

Best Insulated Skirts for Skiing: Reviews and Buying Guide

Let’s be honest — skirts are the last thing you’d correlate with cold weather, and they’re indeed the last garment you’d wear while ripping through fresh powder. But today, we’re not talking about regular skirts; we’re interested in insulated skirts. 

With a thick wind-resistant fabric, insulated skirts are the best thing you can wear over your thermal pants to keep yourself nice and toasty while skiing. 

In this post, we will take a look at some of the best insulated skirts for skiing on the market. I’ll also explain some important factors that you should bear in mind while purchasing. 

First Things First, How Do Insulated Skirts Keep You Warm?

When one of my friends suggested wearing a skirt while skiing, I was sarcastically skeptical. Heck, how is it supposed to keep me warm while air can creep in from the underside! Lucky for us, air doesn’t flow in that direction. 

According to thermodynamics, cold air always sinks to the bottom because it’s way denser than hot air. When you wear an insulated skirt, your body heat will slowly warm up the trapped air. Once this happens, the skirt’s thick padding will prevent air from seeping through the sides, and the aerodynamic principles will act as an invisible bottom barrier.

Advantages of an Insulated Skirt for Skiing or Winter Activities

  • Extra layer that provides warmth for your legs and backside, whether you are on the trails, the slopes, or walking your dog
  • Looks more stylish than typical winter pants that the vast majority of people wear
  • Can add a wind and water resistant layer for sitting down if you otherwise just want to wear leggings or other non-waterproof garments

Let’s take a look at some of our favorite insulated skirts out there!

Best Choice

5/5
Smartwool Smartloft 120 Skirt Black MD

Smartwool started with a group of skiers who wanted to ski longer without having to deal with windburns and cold toes. They began by producing heavy-duty socks, but their collection quickly grew to include various skiing accessories. 

The best thing about this skirt is that it’s lined with merino wool. Compared to regular wool, this type feels much softer, neutralizes body odors, and dries up faster. 

We don’t know how, but this type of wool can keep you toasty when it’s frigid, yet it’ll keep you cool when it’s scorching! This way, you can wear this skirt throughout your day without having to take it off after you get off the ski hill. 

To cater to the fashion-forward customers, Smartwool designs this skirt with velvety side panels and waistband, which look and feel super smooth. Also, thanks to the inclusion of elastane, the side panels can slightly stretch to fit over whatever pants you’re wearing underneath. 

In terms of practicality, things aren’t that satisfying. First, this skirt doesn’t feature any zippers. If it limits your strides on the mountain, there will be nothing you can do. Second, the featured pockets aren’t wide enough — they’ll barely hold your keys and cards. And as you might’ve expected, they aren’t sealable.

Why We Like This Winter Snow Skirt

Other Product Specifications

  • Material: merino wool, nylon, polyester, elastane  
  • Length: miniskirt
  • Colors: black, blue, and red
  • Sizes: 5 
  • Pockets: 2 non-zippered pockets 
  • Side zippers: none

Best Value

5/5
Mountain Hardwear Womens Trekkin Insulated Wind-Resistant Mini Skirt for Outdoor Activities and Running - Black - Large

Mountain Hardwear was founded in 1993 by a group of avid hikers, climbers, and skiers. They were compelled to make their own apparel when famous brands started to trade off quality for affordable prices, just to suit non-technical users. 

In terms of quality, this skirt doesn’t disappoint. It’s mostly made of quilted nylon and polyester, which guarantee a wind-resistant and dirt-proof experience. Over the top, Mountain Hardwear made the waistband from extra-soft fleece, which looks incredibly cute. 

The thing I like most about this skirt is its hidden pocket. If you flip the waistband, you’ll find a pocket that measures about two inches wide and one inch deep, which should be large enough to hide some money or small jewelry. And because the waistband is highly elastic, it’ll firmly squeeze the pocket’s contents against your body, ensuring that they’d never slide out by accident. 

If you want to store larger items, you can stash them in the low-profile back pocket. This one has a small one-way zipper to provide optimal concealment. 

To be honest, the lack of side pockets disappointed me a bit. Although the two pockets I mentioned provide ample storage, I always love warming my hands in side pockets. 

Because this skirt doesn’t feature side zippers, it might slightly restrict your movement. But the kick pleat mitigates this problem to a moderate extent.

Why We Like This Winter Snow Skirt

Other Product Specifications

  • Material: elastane, fleece, nylon, and polyester
  • Length: miniskirt
  • Colors: black and red
  • Sizes: 5 
  • Pockets: a zippered pocket at the back and an internal waistband pocket
  • Side zippers: none

Editors Choice

5/5
Helly-Hansen Womens Lifaloft Insulator Skirt, 990 Black, Medium

Helly Hansen is synonymous with premium quality ski and snow gear. Their LIFALOFT insulation technology is lighter and warmer than standard insulation which makes this product an excellent all around winter garment.

With an above the knee length that is neither slim or oversized, the Insulator Skirt fits perfectly and acts as a welcome additional layer whether you are downhill skiing, cross country skiing, or just going on a walk. Additionally, this skirt just a small bit shorter in the back to give you some extra protection when you sit down on the lift or at your table during apres.

Our only real drawback on this skirt is the fact that it only comes in black. Some people may want something a little more fun. 

As far as function, the Helly Hansen Insulated Skirt is as good as it gets.

Why We Like This Winter Snow Skirt

Other Product Specifications

  • Material: elastane, fleece, nylon, and polyester
  • Length: above the knee
  • Colors: black
  • Sizes: 5 (XS – S -M – L – XL)
  • Pockets: none
  • Side zippers: full side zip opening

Warmest Skirt for Skiing

5/5
Skhoop Women's Short Down Skirt, Black, S

Skhoop was presumably the first company to design insulated skirts. Based in the freezing mountains of Sweden, Sissi Kewenter, the founder, was in urgent need of a garment to keep her warm without restricting her motion. After that idea received massive success, Skhoop expanded its collection with all sorts of winter apparel. 

The thing I like most about this skirt is the two large pockets featured on both sides. They’re large enough to store small items, but you can also stick your hands in there if you get super chilly. Both pockets can be closed with YKK zippers so that you can rest assured about your stuff and live in the moment. 

On the right side, this skirt features a full-length, two-way zipper, which facilitates wearing and tightening it on your waist. On the left side, there’s a half-length, one-way zipper, which won’t restrict your strides while walking or skiing. 

In terms of warmth, this skirt rules! It’s padded with 80% down and 20% feathers, following the recommendations of the Responsible Down Standard (RDS).

Why We Like This Winter Snow Skirt

Other Product Specifications

  • Material: down padding with a polyester shell
  • Length: knee-length
  • Colors: black, red, navy 
  • Sizes: 5 
  • Pockets: 2 zippered pockets 
  • Side zippers: 1 full-length and 1 half-length

Another Affordable Option

5/5
Jack Wolfskin Women's Standard Iceguard Skirt, Black, L

Since 1980, Jack Wolfskin has been producing winter apparel and heavy-duty tents for people who like to relish the sense of adventure. They chose a “pawprint” to represent their brand, in referencing the wolves that roamed the wilderness in the novel “The Call of the Wild”.

Instead of depending on down feathers like most insulated apparel, this skirt is fully padded with recycled synthetic fabric — you’ll be staying toasty while helping the environment! 

On the left side, you’ll find a one-way zipper spanning throughout the full length. Since it starts at the top, you can slightly loosen it from the bottom to make room for long strides. However, the fact that this skirt has only one zipper on one side makes it somewhat uncomfortable. 

Although this skirt sports two large pockets, you can’t use them to store your belongings since they don’t feature zippers or even velcro. 

To provide the best value, this skirt comes with a free carrying bag that cinches with a drawstring and a cord lock. This way, you can easily stash the skirt if the weather gets too warm.

Why We Like This Winter Snow Skirt

Other Product Specifications

  • Material: recycled synthetic fibers
  • Length: Knee-length
  • Colors: black, blue, and dark turquoise
  • Sizes: 5 
  • Pockets: 2 non-zippered pockets 
  • Side zippers: 1 full-length
5/5
Craft Women's Storm Thermal Wind Protective Warm Nordic Snow Skiing Skirt, Black, Small

Back again with miniskirts, this time with a pocket-less model from Craft

Design-wise, this skirt resembles the Skhoop Women’s Short Down Skirt to a great extent: There’s a full-length, two-way zipper on the right side, allowing you to wear the skirt without having to step through. On the left side, there’s a half-length one-way zipper, which widens the skirt a bit to accommodate larger strides. 

Because this skirt is mainly intended for runners, it features light padding, which might not give enough warmth on extra frigid mornings. I’d only wear it while chilling with my friends at an après-ski bar.  

When you check the sides, you’ll find stretchy jersey panels, just like the ones we saw on the Smartwool Smartloft 60 skirt. But due to the light fabric, these panels grant a lot wider range of motion. 

Why We Like This Winter Snow Skirt

Other Product Specifications

  • Material: 45% recycled polyester 55% polyester 
  • Length: miniskirt 
  • Colors: black
  • Sizes: 5
  • Pockets: none
  • Zippers: one full-length and one half-length

Things to Consider Before Buying an Insulated Skirt for Skiing

Unlike other garments, ski skirts shouldn’t be chosen based solely on the looks. Here are the most important factors you need to consider before purchasing.

Material

Any insulated skirt is made up of two parts: the shell and the padding. 

The Shell

To suit the snowy environment, your skirt should feature a hydrophobic shell, meaning that it should repel water. To that end, you have only two options: nylon and polyester. 

By nature, nylon tends to absorb water, so manufacturers reinforce it with a durable water-repellent (DWR) coating. But even with that coating, nylon can still absorb some water, making your skirt feel heavier and less warm. 

On the contrary, polyester naturally hates water. If you accidentally spill water on your polyester skirt, it’ll dry up before you know it. 

In terms of durability, nylon generally lasts longer. However, its color fades away quicker than polyester, especially if you overexpose it to the sun.

The Padding 

What goes inside the skirt’s quilting will directly determine whether or not it can keep you warm. Let’s find out the available options. 

Down Feathers 

Down fillings are hands down the most famous option for insulated skirts, jackets, vests, etc. Contrary to common belief, they’re not feathers; they’re the fluffy undercoat that lies directly over the birds’ bodies. 

Unlike synthetic fibers, down grants impeccable warmth with a much smaller thickness. Also, it can naturally mold itself inside the garment to fill up any empty spaces that might leak cold air. 

Despite its benefits, down has a shockingly unethical side. Some farmers pluck it off live birds instead of waiting after butchering. Such practices are not only painful, but they also endanger the birds’ health in the long run.

To ensure you’re not endorsing such barbaric behavior, avoid purchasing down skirts that aren’t certified by the Responsible Down Standard (RDS)

Wool

Although wool gives the toastiest warmth possible, many people don’t like it because of its demanding care instructions. For instance, it should be dry-cleaned only, it should be regularly aired, and you shouldn’t allow it to come in contact with any water.

Form

Ski skirts should preferably have an A-line form, meaning that they should fit tightly at the hips before gradually widening toward the feet. This design will allow for freer movement without compromising on warmth.

You can wear pencil skirts, but only if they have either pleats or zippers. Otherwise, they’ll ride up your thighs whenever you take a long stride, which is the last thing you’d want in freezing temperatures.

Sizing

Here’s the worst part about ski skirts: The sizing is infernally confusing! 

While designing ski skirts, some brands bear in mind that you’ll wear them over your basic ski apparel. Others, however, think you’ll wear them over tight leggings. If you try to layer the latter, it won’t fit. 

Unfortunately, brands don’t really share their designing approach with the customers. So to be in the clear, you should go one size up.

FAQs

Q: Can I make my own DIY insulated skirt?

Answer:

If you know your way around a sewing machine, you can make pretty much any DIY garment! 

For an insulated skirt, you can upcycle one of your old vests or jackets, preferably those that feature a zipper. I don’t recommend buttons since they might accidentally undo while skiing.

After you finish cutting and sewing the garment, you might have to stitch an elastic band at the top, especially if you have a small waist.

Q: How can I clean my insulated skirt?

Answer: There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. You should always follow the manufacturer’s care instructions to avoid ruining the shell and padding materials. In most cases, skiing skirts can be machine washed on a cold and gentle cycle and tumble dried on low heat.

Final Thoughts

We really like the Smartwool Smartloft 120 Skirt. The waistline and side panels feature a stretchable jersey that breaks the monotony of the quilted pattern. It’s a fashionable choice made by a quality name brand that puts out great, lightweight, and warm winter apparel.

If Smartwool is a little too high on the budget end, take a look at the Mountain Hardware Insulated Skirt.

At the end of the day, most of the skirts function very similarly and what works for you will likely come down to the look and fit that your prefer.

Good luck and stay warm out there!

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6 Best Insulated Skirts for Skiing

Best Choice Smartwool Women’s Smartloft 120 Skirt Check Price Best Value Mountain Hardwear Women’s Trekkin Insulated Mini Skirt Check Price Editors Choice Helly-Hansen Womens Lifaloft

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