Finding the perfect insulated skirt wasn’t a past-time for me. It was full on obsession.
Take this Jan. 21, 2014 Facebook update as evidence: I've been on a mission to find an insulated skirt ... seriously a mission ... my husband can often be heard saying "are you looking at insulated skirts on the internet AGAIN."
It all started with a frigid winter run. Not the kind where your toes and fingers get a little numb. The kind where you’re whole core gets chilled. The kind where you wonder what the #*&# you’re doing out there, and you pray earnestly that you don’t twist your ankle, because if you were to stop moving for even a moment, you really might die of hypothermia.
From that point on, my mind was made up. If I was going to run (or skate ski or ice skate) in those types of temperatures, I wanted to be wearing a mini-sleeping bag – insulated vest on top and insulated skirt on bottom.
So I started scouring the internet for just the right one. And, surprisingly, the insulated skirt phenomenon had only sort of caught on. I struggled to hit the “buy now” button because the choices were:
- too fashion-oriented, or
- too expensive, or
- not the right color, or
- out-of-stock (more than one brand of insulated skirts sold out during the holidays last year).
The outdoor industry, which usually designs products 18 months to 2 years in advance, has finally caught up, with a dozen or so brands now offering some version of an insulated skirt. Among the big-box brands, there are a few independent standouts. And, that’s what I discuss here.
Skhoop Short Down Skirt (the original insulated skirt company)
- Super high-quality
- Fits well
- Has enough down to actually keep your buns toasty
- Zippers on both sides open, allowing you to wear it while skate skiing and running
- Doubles as office attire, at least in the tiny rural Idaho town where I live
- It makes me feel bad @$$ and feminine
- Made in China
- A bit pricey, retailing at $159
- The full-length, two-way zipper digs into my waist (ie a tucked in shirt is a must)
- The company has a lukewarm personality, contrary to its exceptionally warm clothes
Skhoop was the first to design an insulated Skirt. The company got its start in Sweden, and its US distributor is based out of Anchorage, Alaska.
Skhoop has expanded into a full line of women’s fashion, but its insulated skirts are still its centerpiece.
This time last year, my biggest complaint was that color offerings for insulated skirts were drab and boring. I must not have been alone. This year the color choices rival a package of Skittles – bright and cheerful, just the way I like it.
I’ve reached out to Skhoop a few times and I’ve never received an exceptionally warm reception, but they do make a damn fine product.
Ruby Jupe Maxi (Made in the USA)
- USA made with love
- Company founded and run by two Wisconsin women
- Fits well
- Insulation is lightweight but still keeps you cozy
- Zippers on both sides let you bundle up or air out
- Reasonably priced, especially for being USA made. The ankle-length skirt costs $128 and the knee-length $108.
- The ankle-length “maxi” skirt can be hard to move around in; I wouldn’t use it to exercise outdoors and I’ve had a few awkward moments trying to get my two-year old into a car seat while wearing it. I’d be interested to try their mid-length Midi (currently sold out except for XS).
- Only offered in black; a variety of color choices is always good, but if you have to pick just one, Ruby Jupe was wise to go with black, because it looks good on everyone and goes with everything.
If you can get past wearing a product named maxi (I know this means a skirt reaching to the ankle, but I just can’t help but think about that time of the month), is my top pick for an around-town insulated skirt.
It’s perfect for wearing over leggings to yoga or exercise class, changing into for après ski and donning at the office.
I love that Ruby Jupe is a small company and keeps its production local. The skirt arrived nicely wrapped and with the extra touch of chapstick included. A little customer care really does go a long way. Props to Ruby Jupe.
DIY Insulated Skirts
Photo by backcountrywiththekids.com
Want an insulated skirt, but don’t want to shell over the doe? Or, like Alyssa, have the post-holiday weeks left you wondering about your levels of consumption, even when it comes to outdoor gear?
Check out this DIY upcycled insulated skirt made from a vest. It’s awesome and genius. I have to admit I don’t have the patience or skills to pull off making one, but I wish I did. And maybe you do!
Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Skirt (made in Canada)
The other insulated skirt that’s worth a mention is the Canada Goose Hybridge Lite Skirt. I just discovered it. From the photos (what few are available), it looks like it you could wear it both for outdoor play and around-town style. Plus, it’s made in Canada! I’d spring for the plum purple color in a heartbeat.
November 2016 UPDATE:
Someone left a comment on this post about Heim-Made insulated skirts from a small company in Northern Minnesota. (A huge thanks to the person who left that comment).
I've been in touch with the founders of Heim-made, Rose and Gretchen, and have been testing one of their skirts for the last year. I just published my review last week. You can check it out here.
The BIG question ... do insulated skirts keep you warm?
Last, but not least, I want to touch on the big question I get asked repeatedly: does an insulated skirt actually keep you warm? What about the fact that there’s a big hole, ya know, letting in the air?
It really truly does. An insulated skirt is all about keeping the bootie toasty, and in that area it’s skin on down contact. In many ways, it’s no different than a long jacket in that it adds just that right amount of extra warmth.
But don’t take my word for it, here’s what others have to say ...
“I have a down skirt from Skhoop in Alaska. I kick myself every time I forget to pack it on a trip. My butt is always cold. This is the only thing that has worked to keep it warm. I’m already wearing long underwear and good pants, and still get cold legs.” – Tanya Koob,www.rockiesfamilyadventures.com
“They definitely keep you warm. I wore one in Zion back in November with just tights and I stayed warm. It was 30 degrees and I was surprised I didn’t get cold. I’ve never worn mine with pants, just fleece tights. I can only imagine how toasty you would be.” – Melissa Edge, www.adventuretykes.com
A few thoughts on sizing
The other big question mark with insulated skirts is whether you should size up, if you plan to wear them over layers. With both my Skhoop and Ruby Jupe skirts I’m right on the cusp between a size small and medium.
After taking my measurements, I opted for smalls with both brands. I can wear my Skhoop skirt over jeans, but not my Ruby Jupe. Sometimes both skirts can feel a bit tight, but I prefer a form-fitting look and feel to an excessively bulky one.
Is there anyone else out there as obsessed with insulated skirts as I am? Tell me your thoughts by leaving a comment.
This is my first-ever attempt at a video. It's not art, but it is a fun 12 second slow mo of jumping off a rock in an insulated skirt...
NorSari is a Minnesota company that makes wool wrap skirts. There was another brand that does wool wrap skirts but I cannot find it for the life of me.
There’s also Mozy skirts.
I adore insulated skirts (glad to see I’m not the only one)! I really like my Skhoop but it’s a tad too big so feels a bit bulky. I also have an old Marmot down skirt that I love, but lately my go to has been a non-down (but insulated) Sherpa mini. Perfect length (not too mini), cute bright color and not too bulky. I just wish I could find more colors (bought it at a thrift shop and can’t seem to find another)
I also have an obsession! My go-to favorite insulated skirt for winter running is the Craft Thermal skirt!
obsessed. hahaha….and i live in california!!… i know i know, it doesn’t even crack less than 37….but hear me out. early morning runs entail, very thin lulu run leggings, and no matter how fast i run, buns remain cold. AND after a run, it is perfect for hanging on track with run group. it’s perfect for putting on and heading out to yoga, errands, etc. bought prana last year, and just upgraded to skhoop after reading your post!….it’s arriving this week! THANK you for your post and commenters!
I thought I was the only one obsessed with this. I took up ocean swimming due to Covid and I need something warm and easy to put on while wet and freezing. The skirts I’m finding online seem way too short to give me the instant warmth I want. I did see some really interesting long thermal skirts used for horseback riding. They would be perfect except they seem too bulky to stuff in my beach bag. I will update here if I ever find/make the perfect skirt. Stella
I also love insulated skirts. I was just revisiting your blog and see lots of comments since I first read it a few years back. Yesterday i received the Skhoop Rebecka Down Skirt from Steep and Cheap which is got for only $39.96! I am 5’6 130 lbs and the Medium fits, but I would say it runs small, and not much give. I am typically a Medium; I acted fast— I don’t believe it was available in a Large. This has zippers. I love the look, but I have others with and without zippers that fit nicer. Still, I got a great price and I am keeping it. After reading here about insulated skirts from Costco, I did a search and just ran across this skirt from Costco:
Aventure Ladies’ Down Quilted Skirt, Purple, Medium
Item # 1437966
I just ordered one in each color, purple and black. There is nothing to lose with Costco you can easily return anything.
I will post more of my favorite insulated skirt purchases later.
We all need something to look forward to during pandemic times.
Happy Insulated Skirt Shopping Everyone!
Recently became obsessed as well with insulated skirts. I live in Sweden where winter lasts a long time. I purchased a bunch of Skhoop skirts this year (had the original for a few years and liked it) and now I have all lengths and in several colors. I just got their rain skirt but have yet to try it out. The down skirts are warm and awesome. Quality is very good. Have not tried the other brands mentioned in the article but am intrigued!
So I am a huge fan of insulated skirts. I love all the research that you did here! I’m very tempted to get a Heim-made skirt to add to my collection, but I do have a few suggestions to add to your list.
I’m a big fan of my skhoop skirts. I love the mini; it’s bright (I got it in pink) and perfect for rainy festivals. I got the Original long skirt – they didn’t have the Alaska in my size – and while it definitely makes a difference, at some point I will splurge for the extra warmth of the down. Especially after coming out of a week where the temperatures dropped below -50°C with windchill.
I tried Mountain Hardware’s skirt, but returned it; it restricted my mobility way too much. I had the same issue with Indygena; it was likely very warm, but I couldn’t take a full stride with it.
Icebreaker’s Helix skirt is lined with merino wool instead of down, but it’s really warm. This year they came out with a knee-length version as well as the mini (which I have), which I think is brilliant.
I also have down shorts and a down skirt from Lululemon. They’re quite a few years old, but have held up remarkably well. I like that they have a stretchy waistband (like yoga pants) and the shorts have stretch at the sides, so lots of movement. Both are really sort; it’s mostly about keeping the hips and bum warm, but I find they make a big difference. They’re the Lululrmon hot cheeks, and are often up for grabs on eBay.
I love this article! Insulated skirts are a staple in my winter wardrobe for all the same reasons you listed. I find myself reaching for the Swix a lot. It’s definitely not the warmest one in the bunch but it’s by far the most comfortable for running around town, in and out of the car. The stretchy waistband is great. Zippers on sides, too. If only there were some bright colors available. My older Smart wool button up mini is my go-to for apres ski (easy on/off). I just ordered my first Ruby Jupe and now plan to try the Heim-made, as well! Thanks for the recommendations, Ladies!
I have been looking for an insulated skirt I could wear running, cross-country skiing, and running errands for over a year now. I live in the Adirondacks in upstate NY and winter is knocking on our door….my obsession to find an insulated skirt has been renewed. My search led me to this website and I am anxious to review the post and the comments and look at the skirts listed here! So glad I am not alone in my quest (obsession) to find a quilted skirt!
Having a desire to be warmer during recess duty as a kindergarten aide, and not having the money to buy a snow Skirt, I designed a pattern to make one! Snow Skirt by Culler Creations. I’ve sold hundreds of patterns, have 3 styles for women and teach the class multiple times a year. I love mine and I can choose the color and the number of zippers, etc. warming your winter ~ one snow Skirt at a time!!
I love my Smart Wool skirt. Loose low waist but it’s okay. I call it my winter uniform as I just wear it everyday. I’m a mountain Idaho girl. McCall and the Salmon River. Where’s your town?
Hi insulated skirt fans!
I own a ranch up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and have searched in vain for an insulated WORK skirt. Something like a Carhart duck outer material with insulation, free moving. Winter chores would be a lot warmer! Oh, and reasonably priced…
Check out Toast Snow Skirts. They only make two styles in black, but they are awesome.
I’m obsessed. I’ve been wearing a Mountain Hardwear one (a mini) for a few years. Perfect for camping, backpacking but wanted something longer. MH used to make a long one and I’ve tried to come across it on ebay. My partner works for Columbia Sportswear so I have an affiliation and employmee pricing. Saw some Skhoops after skiing in the ski shop and my new quest began! Perfect for putting on after a day of skiing (snow pants off, skirt on) as you change in the parking lot.
I am a bit obsessed, too, with insulated skirts. I think they make sense for wearing over your regular clothes like snow pants – for walking the dog or the kids to school, or scraping your car off in the office parking lot. I’m actually thinking of designing such a skirt. Any thoughts on what would be good features to have? I own a Skhoop skirt and I don’t like the whole zipper thing – I think a wrap-around skirt would be easier to take on and off. Plus after the holidays my Skhoop is too tight LOL. A snow skirt should be somewhat flexible in terms of size, do you agree? I’d love to hear your must-haves. :)
I only found your quest after I bought my first down skirt from Columbia Sportswear https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B018F3DF8C/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 It is a mini length, more a bum warmer. It does have one 2 way zipper for ease of movement. I am quite happy with it.
Another inexpensive version is Xposurzone 650 down filled skirt. It is more a fashion skirt than activity skirt. However, if you just want a layer over pants, these skirt would do. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01D34PYMS/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s02?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Now I wish that Patagonia and The North Face would make Nano skirt and Thermoball skirt. As much as down being warm, I’d rather have primaloft filled skirt for faster drying.
Hello from Central Europe. I must recommend a Canada based one-woman company Toastskirts – toastskirts.com. After many many years of looking for a insulated skirt in really big size I found it here – www.toastskirts.com. And my obsession for insulated skirts started – I have 4 pieces now, living all winter months in these skirts. Working outdoor, in office, extremely versatile, worth for every dollar, altough not cheap. But is avalilable in BIG sizes, as mentioned above. And is unisex, so I’m enjoying this skirt as a guy. :o)
They seem like a good idea when you don’t want to wear snowpants. I live in my snowpants during winter and although they’re warm, they’re definitely not stylish. ; ) All the skirts look good! Have you checked out Patagonia’s down skirt too? It is beautiful! Almost bought it, but the ones on clearance at MEC were white and too big, and regular price is a bit rich for me… might check out one of the skirts you reviewed instead!
Agree with the luke warm reception of Skhoop out of Alaska. I’ve reached out to them several times as well and apparently Canada really isn’t a target market. Whatever! Not like we have snow or anything here. But love the product. My butt freezes if I don’t bring my skirt. And it’s much more feminine than ski pants. I’ve “sold” a bunch of the Skhoop skirts to friends who now have them and swear by them as well.
Looks like the Ruby Jupe website no longer exists. The Facebook page hasn’t had activity since December 2014.
I haven’t seen Patagonia’s skirt, and actually couldn’t find it with a Google search??? Mind leaving me a link?
Thanks for your thoughts and let me know if you have any other questions.
Thanks for your thoughts Tanya. Yah, kinda weird that Skhoop hasn’t gone out of its way to be friendly.
Thanks Christine for the recommendations. These are new-to-me companies. Always love discovering new gems.
more canadian options
I may have to go and lie down and then buy some more snow skirts ……
Amy, thanks for the heads up. I just googled it and was able to bring up the website: http://rubyjupe.com/ and it shows an end-of-year sale. I’ll double check the link in the article. Cheers.
Enjoyed your article as I also am always looking for a great insulated skirt! Athleta had a great light insulated skirt..I wear it almost daily as I am a professional dog walker and it keeps my bum warm and the dog hair doesn’t stick to it! I wish I had a dollar for every time someone complimented me or asked me where I got it.
I bought a Skhoop through amazon (and I live in Anchorage — didn’t know they were here!) size small, and like all lower wear on me the waist was right and the hips were too tight. (Being a pear makes for a hard fit.) But the DIY idea is great! I had two cheap vests, same brand, and zipped them together. The combined neck is a good waist and the rest balloons out. If I pretty up the arm holes I’ll have a functional skirt. Thanks so much for the suggestion. I’m laughing at the whole look, but I love it.
after moving to alaska a few years ago I was psyched to find skhoop skirts. i now own two. they are pricey, but i feel the are totally worth it. i wear them literally daily during the winter. costco sold a knock off this year and they sold out in days (i saw them when only xxl was left and didn’t look too closely, but many people were talking about the great deal they got at work the next week). i was just on the east coast last week and noticed llbean had one in the store, it was super light and didn’t look that awesome, i didn’t look that closely, but was impressed to see it. i cannot believe that more companies haven’t jumped on this awesome product.
Oh, good to know about the Athleta skirt. I’ll check it out. So true, about how often I also get asked about my insulated skirt – part of what inspired me to write the article. Thanks for the note. Always love hearing from readers.
Awesome – way to take a DIY idea and add a twist! Thanks so much for dropping a note.
Thanks for your note (and apologies that it took me so long to respond). Ya, I just heard about the Costco insulated skirts – and it knocked my socks off. Hard to believe that in two short years it went from being extremely difficult to find an insulated skirt to being sold in Costco.
I just got my insulated skirts out again last week. Happy to have toasty buns ; )
Wow – thanks for sharing your story and all your research and beta with us. I’m interested to check out this Costco skirt (but unfortunately or fortunately the closest Costco is an hour and a half away ; ). I never even thought about how useful an insulated skirt would be for religious reasons – add that to the pro list!!!! I just went skate skiing in my Skhoop down skirt last week … and it really is amazingly versatile … so warm and so easy to move around it!
Joyce "Bubbie" Weinberger
Hi Amy, I like you was obsessed with the insulated skirt quest once I saw and bought my first one!!! But for me it was not only for warmth, it served my purposes since I wear skirts for religious reasons!! Being an orthodox Jew who does not wear pants and only wears skirts (although I do wear ski pants when I actually put on my skis), this was ideal. I was able to wear it around the ski slopes and villages and stay warm. With the side zippers it was easy to pull my ski pants on underneath and zip the skirt away when I was ready to hit the slopes. When finished skiing it was easy to zip the skirt on, get rid of the ski pants and walk the village!! I have been wearing my Skhoop original insulated skirt for two seasons now and can’t wait to wear it again this year. I found it in Eastern Mountain Sport in Vermont two years ago and thought it was ingenious. At the time they sold the down minis and the long original midi which I bought. Wasn’t sure how your legs were being kept warm with the mini? Although it was cute for the après ski group who were going to be standing at a bar!!! It is comfy to wear in a car for the 4 hour drive from NJ to Vermont……like having a comfy blanket over your legs!!! That winter I order all the different skirts from skhoop that were knee length or below. Personally, I found the heavier down ones to be too puffy on me compared to the original one. I also live in NJ and ski often in Vermont so I felt the down wasn’t necessary. I am a slim size 4-6 who likes to wear things stylish and not baggy and even with the original one in a size small I took a little in through the seat of the skirt by sewing a small seam down the back. Whenever people saw me in the midi skhoop skirt, I always got stopped and asked about it!!! I could have sold it off my body and made a profit!! It also compresses and travels easily taking up little room. I used it in Annecy France for extra warmth over my regular skirt while we walked around a city and then removed it when we went inside. Although, not water resistent, it is fine in a light dizzle to keep you dry. My husband just told me about the one at Costco (because he said it was $20 rather than the $128 that I paid!!) so I checked it out yesterday and did buy it. It is made by a company called 32 Degrees and is a very light down. It comes in black, maroon, and blue in sizes s-xxl. There was also a zipped jacked that went with it as well making a cute outfit. The skirt is a little shorter in the front than in the back with a full opening zipper on one side and the two zippers like the skhoop skirt on the hem. The zippers seem to not zip as smoothly as the ones on my skhoop skirt, but then again this one is only $20!!! I took the small and it fit well….nice enough to wear around my upscale town!!! The length covered my knees which was important for me (I am 5’ 3 1/2"). I haven’t worn either this winter yet so I can’t tell you how the two skirts compare as far as warmth, but for $20 it is a nice addition to my winter wardrobe and it came in a few colors as well.
I am like you . . . OBSESSED with insulated skirts! I have owned a few brands over the years . . . . Lole, Mountain Harwear, Prana, Patagonia. . . . . but my very favorite skirts are my Skhoops! The others seem to be more for casual wear, while the Skhoop is for casual wear AND outdoor functionality for sports! I love it when I am able to find them on sale. ?. My hubby is the one who actually created the monster in me . . . . HE purchased my very first Skhoop skirt as a gift for me years ago! Then, the obsession started! I also receive compliments and “Where did you get that?” when I wear the skirts. Here’s to staying TOASTY WARM and looking feminine!!
Thanks so much for the note. Those chicked skirts look REALLY interesting – seem to have a very similar design and style to the Skhoop skirts. I look forward to reaching out to the company to learn more. I’d love to hear what your wife thinks of her. The fact that they’re USA made is a huge plus.
While Christmas shopping for my wife who hinted at a down skirt for winter running, the first one I came across was the MINNE-SKIRT made in the states and sold through www.chicked.com. It wasn’t until after I ordered it that I discovered the Skhoop brand which was what I think she originally wanted. She had mentioned that they came from Scandinavia; something I totally forgot. Hopefully I’m not disappointed and even more so I hope she’s not disappointed!
Thanks so much for dropping a note. Yes, love that Skhoop is toasty warm, feminine and functional. As I just mentioned in my comment above, I used my Skhoop skirt for skate skiing last weekend — and it worked great! Hilarious about your hubby. My hubby got so tired of me talking about insulated skirts, but not actually buying one, that he finally got me my Skhoop for Valentines ; )
i am totally obsessed after trying to run in 6 degree weather and freezing my bum. not happy so far that all i can find are 120 price range what the heck. I still may breakdown and get one though. looking at other options first though missed out on the costco deal. dang it.
I’m so excited to learn about this company … I’m about falling out of my seat. Thanks for the tip. Can’t wait to reach out to Rose and Gretchen!!!
My friends, Rose and daughter Gretchen, own the Minnesota company called Heim Made and they make the Minne-Skirt. I’ve had mine for two years and can’t live without it. Check it out here: http://heimmade.com/product/minne-skirt-2/
This a tiny company that employs people in way northern Minnesota. Rose and Gretchen Heim are wonderful creative people. I can’t say enough good things about them.
Hi’ from Denmark :-) (I really need help on ’size’ing’ ;-), sorry if my spelling is a bit %&€#"" ;-))
So cool to read your original post on skirts and all the comments, I am already in love with down shirt’s, before I even tried one.
I need to order from Sweden so it’s not easy to return it again.
I like a tight fit, but not so tight that the down will go flat or I cant move easily..
I tried to measure my selv:
waist = 70 cm, hips = 87 cm, around the buttocks = 93 cm.
I am 175 cm tall, weighs 60 kg
Witch size would you choose?? How are your measure’s and size-choice’s ?
I will start to by Skhoop Mid down skirt :-)
And the question is: is it a Small or Medium I should by? :-)
Thanks from Matilde :-)
Ya, down skirts can be pricey (but if you use it all the time, like I do, totally worth it). If you can last a couple of months without one, you may keep an eye out for end-of-winter sales. My sister-in-law got a good deal on Skhoop skirt in Feb or March of last year from REI.
Cheer and thanks for the note!
Thanks for the note Trisha, and for sharing your background. You make a good point that an insulated skirt is not ideally suited to sledding. I used mine sledding with my daughter last week, but it had been several days since the last snowfall, so the snow was packed down. In fresh snow it really wouldn’t have worked all that well. There are some soft shell pants and/or extra thick tights designed for cross-country skiing that might give you the extra warmth and required water resistance. That could be something to check in to.
I too wear skirts for religious/modesty reasons( belonging to a “holiness” denomination,I dress a lot like the orthodox jew that commented earlier) and I’ve been thinking of trying to make something like this. would look a lot better and be a lot warmer than wearing a denim skirt over leggings (what I usually do for sledding and skating) But wouldn’t you still need ski pants underneath when sledding to keep the snow from going up under the skirt and soaking thru your leggings?
Thanks for your note. Here’s the link to the Skhoop sizing chart: http://www.skhoop.us/pages/size-chart
If you have further questions, I’d suggest contacting Skhoop directly, as I’m no expert on sizing beyond the observations I shared above.
I live in Japan for 5 years and many women there wear shorts or mini skirts in winter. I tried it and wore an appropriate clothing inside it.. boy! It was toasty. They have bun sweater lol they wore underneath and looking with this.. I really want to have one :D
Something like this is what I had in mind …
I’m sure there are other options out there too. I just typed “women’s softshell leggings” into Google.
If you get the setup figured out, I’d love to see a picture. firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you know what the tights or leggings are called? I did find a pair of ski pants at a thrift store that will work for now under a skirt, but I still love the look of an insulated mid length skirt over ski leggings ( as long as the leggings are waterproof) if I ever can afford to go skiing, that would be so much more cute and fashionable.
Thanks for the note Jen. Did you have a particular positive experience?