The Claim: Aerobic sports in winter often require insulated tights, which add heft to a body. The last thing most women I know want—regardless of their size—are beefier looking booties. Enter the down mini, which demurely covers the hips, while also adding legitimate warmth for snowshoeing, skate skiing, fat biking, and broomball.
Field Test: I tried three different down skirt models on the trails at Boulder, Colorado’s, Eldora Nordic Center, judging them on warmth, freedom of movement, and comfort.
The La Sportiva Athena 2.0 Primaloft Skirt with Primaloft SPORT insulation, a front zip pocket, and a handy integrated stow pocket was the lightest of the bunch at 4.5 ounces. Somehow, it was also incredibly warm. I wore it in a graupel squall and on a powder day. Thumbs up for its movement-friendly shape (an A line with a flared bottom) and reversibility, but thumbs down for its stiff, three-finger-wide waistband. $80; lasportiva.com
The Swix Romsdal 2.0 Quilted Skirt features a flattering fit (straighter cut; wide, soft waistband) and it’s plenty warm, with quilted insulation. The shiny outer shell stayed dry in a wet storm, but compared to the La Sportiva, it allowed far less mobility. Two side zippers helped, although I’d still prefer stretchy side panels. But it was by far the cutest of the skirts I tested—meaning I’d wear it to Costco. $90; swix.com
My last test skirt, the Skhoop Gretchen Windstopper Mini, was hands down the winner, thanks to its light weight and side stretch panels, which allow for full extension while skate skiing. A 100 percent polyester shell and Windstopper liner also made it the warmest of the lot. And, crucially, I loved the style—the length hit two inches above my kneecaps (I’m 5’5”) and my teal green model was chic enough to wear to work after skiing. $170; skhoop.com —Tracy Ross