Saturday, August 10, 2013

Product Review - Lululemon Pace setter running skirt

This was my first Lululemon purchase - sort of. I did get a Lululemon jacket as a present from my hubby last year but I'd never bought anything myself and never been in the store.

I know that's incredible because I'm a girl and I'm into sport and all girls love Lululemon, right?

But here's the thing - whenever anything is just too hyped up I tend to avoid it. Whether that's a movie that just bombards the world with ads, a new fruity flavored light beer, or a new super hawt running fashion statement. Even if it's a race (hello - mud runs) if everyone is just bananas for it I approach it with caution because my personality is that I know that I might hate it.

But before Ironman France I was hunting for an outfit to wear on the run segment. I had actually thought I would have a new team suit but about 8 weeks before I knew that wasn't going to happen so I was shopping. I figured this was the one event where I could splurge for expensive shorts because I'd already spent a kings ransom on all the other parts of the race not to mention I'd pre-purchased the race pictures and wanted to look cute.

The Lululemon Athletics near me is actually right next to my favorite running store Footworks. I love Footworks but their apparel has been sort of sporadic lately in my opinion. This is perhaps in deference to the fact that a powerhouse apparel store moved in next to them (ya think?!).

So I spent about an hour in Lululemon and tried on a lot of things including an ill-fitting bright pink bike jersey that I really wanted to like but just couldn't force myself to believe that it would actually be comfortable on the bike. Also it's $178. Yes and it doesn't even have a race name on it. No matter I was there for shorts/skirt not actually a bike jersey so I moved on.

Who tries on running shorts?
Then I tried on about 15 running shorts and running skirts. This is totally unlike me. Seriously I usually pick up any brand of sport short that's on the sale rack (brooks, underarmour, moving comfort, even Nike) and do fine without even trying them on. But this would be my first $50+ running shorts so I felt the need to try them on.
These are under armour shorts that I picked up for $5 on sale at an outlet ... no issues. I'd never thought I was picky with run stuff.

I selected a running skirt. I was very excited and had to resist the temptation to do an extra run just to wear it.

It is really cute, right? The back is ruffles ... super cute. Sadly non-functional.
The next day I ran with it. I had an 8 mile run broken into two, four-mile loops by my house. I was hoping I'd see someone I knew who would see how cute I was. And then ... Ah the painful reality. I actually turned around at one mile came home changed my shorts and went back out on my run - they were honestly that uncomfortable. I seriously thought something might be wrong with me as a female because "everyone" loves these Lululemon clothes. I mean loves them, raves about them. What is my problem?

"Hi, my name is Amy and I hate my Lululemon running skirt."
Fearing that I was a substandard female I guessed that maybe it would be better after they were washed but sadly even after 3 wears and washes this running skirt is just not good for me. I mean I really tried because I wanted to love it. But ... In fact I hate it. There you have it my confession.
They have little shorts inside with grippers that keep the shorts in place. They are super snug ... a little too tight for my huge biking quads actually.

I suspect that there is no way any woman who actually runs designed this skirt and here's why I think this. There are several seams that rub up against your sensitive girl parts and hurt like crazy. It's just impossible to wear these shorts without underwear and not be miserable.

This is the inside of the shorts. Do you see all that stitching? Not comfy for me. Also it's not cotton here it's basic spandex which I think is not a great idea but I never wore them long enough to find out.
Aha ... underwear. Do you wear underwear under your running shorts? Because if you do ... well that's just silly - not to mention, uncomfortable, unflattering (as in unwanted pantylines) and also hot (as in overheating). That's why they have the built in breathable seamless liner.  Okay perhaps there are times where smart girl would want or need to wear underwear under her running shorts on purpose but not usually. But if you were not somebody who actually ran perhaps you wouldn't know this. Ergo the person who designed these shorts was perhaps either a man, or not a runner. 

Don't hate me the lululemon hater.
Anyway - it took me a long time to write this review because honestly I'm kind of afraid other girls will hate me for my non-lululemon position. Also I didn't want to just be a Lululemon basher - it didn't seem right.

So, I've remedied that. I'm going ahead with my unhappy review. But I've also emailed Lululemon about it. I've given them the link to the blog post. I'd love to know what they have to say about these shorts. I am not looking for a refund because I am clearly outside of their return policy which is very clear and not unreasonable. I have worn (without undies) and washed these shorts - they won't take them back. The policy is clear and I'm okay with that.
This is my email to the available address for Lulu. We'll see what they say.

But these are billed as running shorts. Its in the name Run Pace Setter skirt. And at least for me they are IMPOSSIBLE to wear for running.

So we'll see if Lululemon responds.  They probably won't - I'm not holding my breath. I won't be horribly crushed if they don't. I just felt wrong writing such a negative review without sharing it with them to give them a chance to say whatever they want. Maybe it's me, maybe I'm the only girl in the world who can't wear these. Oh wait ... actually I know that's not true. I did a quick google search and found others who were unhappy. Admittedly maybe it's just us. Could be - who knows.

So how about you? Do you wear Lululemon, do you love it or hate it?

Oh and Post script - I do still love the Lululemon crew that comes out and cheers at racers - they are great. They have the best and funniest signs, ever.

Update 8/14/2012
LuluLemon responded to my email very quickly. On a Sunday even. In fact I've received 4 emails so far as we work our way through this process. They have offered a return credit which they didn't need to do but it does make me happy. They also informed me that in fact their running apparel like these shorts are meant to be worn with underwear. So that's good to know. In my opinion it means these shorts aren't meant for me and that's okay too (not every product will work for every person - that's just life). But in the end they are standing by their product and offering a return which is good service in my opinion. Thank you Lululemon for doing that.  


  1. Never tried them - too many of my friends said they had snotty salespeople and the quality just wasn't up to par, so I'm with you. Funny thing, they had a store on Maui for a brief time, but never caught on. And none of my serious sports friends ever talked about them. Go figure.

    Now, ATHLETA, that's a different story. I have 3 of their running skirts (ordered one, loved it, then ordered it in two other colors). And their Queen K tri shorts are now my new favorite bike/tri shorts. And I have several of their swim suits. The quality is good, but they are pricey as well, so I wait for them to go on sale. I've worn and washed, worn and washed. PLUS I love their return policy. Wear it, test it, and if it doesn't work out, no hassle return policy. SO THERE, LULULEMON. ;)

  2. I love Athleta - I think they are part of the Banana Republic group of stores and I love Banana too so it makes sense. It's good to know about the queen K shorts. I think there might be an Athleta store near me which I should definitely check into because ordering via catalog isn't really my thing.

    So, Lululemon is giving me a return for the skort. I'm happy with that. Actually I'm just happy that they responded. They do say that they design their apparel to be worn with underwear which while I think is silly - they are a pretty darn popular brand so I'll assume that they know their target market.