Hitting the trails in the summer can often mean sweaty, sticky, uncomfortable legs. To combat this, hiking skirts and hiking skorts are becoming popular clothing items for women on the trails during warm weather. There are several options for hiking skirts to choose from, and it can be tricky to choose ones specifically designed for outdoor activities. We created this guide to the best skirts for hiking to help you choose the best ones for your upcoming summer adventures!
Why Wear Skirts for Hiking?
Wearing skirts for hiking and other outdoor activities is becoming more and more popular during the warmer months of the year. Unlike some hiking pants or shorts, skirts enable full breathability for your legs and thighs and don’t inhibit movement while on the trails. On hot, humid days, hiking skirts can be much more comfortable and breezy. Plus, they’re much easier to manage when you have to use the bathroom!
See Also: Best Hiking Pants for Women
Personally, we love the versatility of hiking skorts and skirts – they look polished enough to wear on a hike in the morning then to brunch in the city afterward. They’re also great for paddling, outdoor sports, and travel because they’re sweat wicking, quick drying, and breathable.
How to Choose a Hiking Skirt
Comfort & Fit
The most important consideration when buying skirts for hiking is comfort. Finding a skirt that fit snugly on your body and provides enough coverage is essential before hitting the trails. We’ve taken the following criteria into consideration when evaluating each skirt or skort, but the best way to determine comfort and fit is to simply try on a few.
A high-quality hiking skirt is always made of materials that allow airflow and prevent hot air from getting trapped next to your skin. Otherwise, you will get sweaty while hiking, which feels gross and uncomfortable.
There are lots of different materials that are breathable – some of our favorites include hemp fabrics, synthetics like nylon or polyester, and Merino wool (for colder conditions). Our best recommendation when choosing skirts for hiking is to avoid cotton fabrics and instead opt for a material that offers “sweat-wicking” or “moisture-wicking” properties. You’ll notice that none of our recommendations include cotton for this reason!
A skirt’s design plays directly into its comfort. One of the most important things you need to decide is whether you want a skirt or a skort (a skirt with a shorts-style lining underneath). Both have their pros and cons.
Skirts are more breezy and breathable (and are arguably more comfortable), but you can accidentally flash someone quite easily while scrambling on rocks or on windy days. Skorts provide the additional shorts liner hidden by the skirt’s hem and prevent accidental flashing, but do retain heat and moisture much more than open skirts do. For what it’s worth, we prefer skorts to skirts because they enable us to scramble up rocks and hike steep terrain with full coverage underneath.
You’ll also want to consider how long you want your skirt to be, and whether things like buttons, elastic waistbands, and cinch cords are design attributes you like.
While we did not use price as one of our main considerations when evaluating each of the individual skirts for hiking, it’s absolutely an important factor to consider when you’re choosing one for yourself. Typically, we’ve found that high-quality hiking skirts from $50-150, and the best hiking skirts aren’t necessarily the most expensive. You’ll want to choose one that falls in yoour budget range, whatever that may be.
Our Picks: Best Skorts & Skirts for Hiking
PrAna Arch Skort
Overall Best Hiking Skirt
- Materials: 81% Nylon, 10% Polyester, 9% Elastane
- Length: Mini
- Why It’s Awesome: Stylish and sweat-wicking, pairing the breathability of a skirt with the coverage of a skort
If you’re looking for one of the all-around best skirts for hiking, the PrAna Arch Skort is our favorite. Designed with sweat-wicking nylon, polyester, and elastane, this skort easily stretches and moves with your body on any kind of terrain. It’s also got a built-in shorts liner for full coverage, so you don’t have to worry about accidentally flashing anyone. An elastic waistband provides an extra snug fit, while side cinches enable you to adjust the length. The Arch Skort also has several pockets for extra storage on the go.
Many women like this skirt because it’s cute enough to wear on the trails and out on the town. Reviewers especially like the shorts liner, which doesn’t ride up, and the soft, dry material. We love PrAna’s hiking pants and the Arch Skort is no exception!
Patagonia Fleetwith Skort
A Close Runner Up
- Materials: 91% Recycled Polyester, 9% Spandex
- Length: Mini
- Why It’s Awesome: Very lightweight and sweat-wicking material makes this skirt great for humid climates
The Patagonia Fleetwith Skort came in a very close second on our list of the best skirts for hiking. We love this skort for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s one of the more reasonably priced skorts on our list (which is unusual for Patagonia’s high quality gear). Second, the material of this skort is super lightweight, breathable, and sweat wicking, and many customers love it for hikes in humid or wet weather. Lastly, it’s a skort construction, which is great for more strenuous hikes or those that require a larger range of motion with your legs.
Although the Patagonia Fleetwith Skort is great in many ways, we couldn’t get behind the cut-open design as much as the more versatile PrAna Arch Skort, our favorite of the hiking skirts on our list. However, if you’re in the market for an active skort for hiking that will keep your legs dry, this is a fantastic choice.
REI Co-op Sahara Guide Skirt
Best Hiking Skirt Without A Liner
- Materials: 88% Nylon, 12% Spandex
- Length: Short (Mid-Thigh)
- Why It’s Awesome: Relaxed, stretchy skirt design allows maximum breathability and movement
Some people prefer skirts without liners instead of skorts, and for those folks, we recommend the REI Co-op Sahara Guide Skirt. This budget-friendly hiking skirt is made of a sweat-wicking synthetic fabric blend that consists of 12% Spandex, perfect for moving and hiking. There’s an elastic waistband to ensure a snug fit and two side pockets to store small things on the go. Additionally, this skirt is a bit longer than many of the skirts on our list, which minimizes flashing risk and provides an alternative for those who want a bit more leg coverage.
Smartwool Smartloft 120 Skirt
Best Cold Weather Hiking Skirt
- Materials: Shell – 100% Nylon; Panels – 56% Merino Wool, 44% Polyester
- Length: Mini
- Why It’s Awesome: Insulated Merino wool skirt design provides warmth during colder conditions
If you’re looking for a skirt that’s suitable for colder hiking, the Smartwool Smartloft 120 Skirt is our top pick. This insulated skirt provides warmth and coverage without giving up the comfort of the rest of the hiking skirts on our list. Insulated with Merino wool and lined with breathable nylon fabric, this skirt is a great companion for fall or winter hikes. Paired with tights or leggings, this skirt is a warm and stylish companion on and off the trails.
While we would highly recommend this insulated skirt, it is a bit pricier than other options on our list. Additionally, the zipper design makes it less adjustable than others with elastic or drawstrings. Many women who love this skirt recommend going up one size from your usual fit because it runs small.
Mountain Hardwear Dynama Skirt
- Materials: 96% Nylon, 4% Elastane
- Length: Short (Mid-Thigh)
- Why It’s Awesome: This mid-thigh length skirt has a flattering fit and a lightweight build for hiking or outdoor activities
Another great option for those who don’t want a skort liner is the Mountain Hardwear Dynama Skirt. This versatile hiking skirt hits a little longer than the mini skirts on our list, providing more coverage with the breathability of a skirt. Many reviewers use this skirt while backpacking or hiking and absolutely love the freedom of movement and easy bathroom access it provides. We don’t love the cinch cord around the hem (it looks a little funny to our reviewers design-wise), but it’s otherwise a solid hiking skirt to consider if you’re looking to go shorts-free.
Smartwool Merino Sport Lined Skirt
- Materials: Shell – 86% Recycled Polyester, 14% Elastane; Liner – 54% Merino Wool, 46% Polyester
- Length: Mini
- Why It’s Awesome: Merino wool materials in the skirt liner are super soft and breathable
If you’ve read any of our other gear guides, you know we love Merino wool clothing for hiking. That’s why we recommend the Smartwool Merino Sport Lined Skirt for any of your warm weather adventures. In our experience, there are few materials more suitable for hiking than the sweat-wicking, odor reducing qualities of Merino wool. This hiking skirt has a liner made of a soft, breathable Merino wool blend, which offers the breeziness of a skirt with the coverage of a skort. We absolutely love the style of this skirt for wearing on the trails and out to lunch – versatility that’s perfect for outdoor activities, sports, or travel.
SKHOOP Short Down Skirt
- Materials: 100% Polyester, DWR coating, down insulation
- Length: Short (Mid-Thigh)
- Why It’s Awesome: Down-insulated, full-coverage skirt optimizes warmth in colder climates
If you’re a hardcore winter hiker who wants a skirt to match, the SKHOOP Short Down Skirt is a fantastic insulated hiking skirt perfect for cold weather. It’s got a longer length than the Smartwool insulated skirt above, providing even more thigh warmth and coverage. You can wear it with some winter hiking leggings for optimal warmth on winter hikes. The only major downside we have with the SKHOOP Down Skirt is that it is, by far, the most expensive skirt on our list…but what can you expect from. a fully down-insulated, high-quality piece of gear?