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Discussion Forum - Gear ! - Walking without trousers


Author: Fiona Cameron
Posted: Thu 30th Oct 2008, 13:16
Joined: 2003
Local Group: Surrey
You might try one of the on-line stores that specialises in womens sports and outdoor gear - Sweaty Betty, She Active, or Gear for Girls.
Author: Garfield & Helen Southall
Posted: Wed 29th Oct 2008, 16:20
Joined: 1991
Local Group: Merseystride
It would certainly be useful to have contact details for stores who sell large (or small) sizes, and also for people who will make gear to measure - if only to avoid the ubiquitous black or dark blue for a change!

[Helen]
Author: Madeleine Watson
Posted: Sat 25th Oct 2008, 22:59
Joined: 2002
Local Group: West Yorkshire
I've just had another thought (might be too late!). We used to be in the tandem club and there was a lady who had her own clothing business. Made cycling tops and trousers to your measurements (and colour schemes). I had some running shorts made (ie without the padded bit). I don't know if she's still making them, but I'll see if I can find out.
Author: Garfield & Helen Southall
Posted: Sat 25th Oct 2008, 18:02
Joined: 1991
Local Group: Merseystride
Success at last! I've found a small triathlon shop which stocks all shapes and sizes of leggings, and succeeded in finding a pair of ladies Sugoi leggings (size XL). Apart from being a couple of inches to long they fit quite well. I did try some 'mens' XLs as well, but although I could get into them, they were about 6 inches too long and a bit tight round the hips (which is what I meant in my reply to Madeleine earlier.) (Sorry if that reply was a bit curt, but I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever get gear to fit, and although mens' sizes probably work well for many women I'm just too pear-shaped for them to fit me comfortably!)

In case it's of use to anyone, the shop I bought my leggings at today is called Tri-Active and their e-mail address is graham@tri-active.co.uk. There have also been some useful comments on the subject of getting ladies outdoor gear in larger sizes on the Country Walking web forum, at Live for the Outdoors

[Helen Southall]
Author: Garfield & Helen Southall
Posted: Fri 24th Oct 2008, 23:10
Joined: 1991
Local Group: Merseystride
Hi Madeleine

Men's trousers don't fit either. Something to do with men being a different shape from women, I think...
Author: Madeleine Watson
Posted: Fri 24th Oct 2008, 22:29
Joined: 2002
Local Group: West Yorkshire
Why don't you just wear men's trousers?
Author: Garfield & Helen Southall
Posted: Fri 24th Oct 2008, 11:05
Joined: 1991
Local Group: Merseystride
I will if you will Matt! ;-)

No, scratch that. Much as I'd like to see the gentlemen(?) of the LDWA cavorting about the hills in mini-skirts, I won't be joining them. Too cold, too wet, too many brambles....

Mind you, I'm sure you're right that other members will be able to come up with more practical and helpful suggestions.... ;-)
Author: Matthew Hand
Posted: Thu 23rd Oct 2008, 23:27
Joined: 2001
Local Group: Mid Wales
I think you have already answered your question Helen, wear a skirt. I can't see it as a problem (other than when navigaing gorse & brambles etc.) probably a most practical and underated attire. Matt.

p.s. I'm sure you will receive more helpfull answers later!
Author: Garfield & Helen Southall
Posted: Thu 23rd Oct 2008, 21:48
Joined: 1991
Local Group: Merseystride
OK, that would be a bit chilly at this time of the year, and it would take a bit of explaining at the kit check - but honestly, what's a girl to do?

I'm 5' 7'' tall and even at the slimmest and fittest I've been so far (in my early 30s) I've always been at least a size 14. At the moment I am several stone heavier than I was then, and in non-walking life wear a size 18. (To put this into perspective, The Times reported in March that although many British women think of size 12 as "fat", the national average is in fact size 16.)

Most shops have no problem with this. They are happy to sell me size 18 skirts, dresses, suit trousers, etc, etc. Even the equivalent size in Speedo-type swimming costumes doesn't seem to cause too much of a problem, and outdoor gear & sports shops don't flinch at selling me size 16 tops and jackets.

But when it comes to getting any sort of outdoor gear for my traditionally-built lower half, it's a whole different matter. It's really difficult to get anything in my size. My local branch of Blacks don't sell any ladies trousers at all bigger than a size 14. Milletts do, but only general-purpose trousers and waterproof overtrousers designed for low-level rambling. In the past I have managed to find walking trousers and leggings to fit eventually, but it's invariably been a slow, expensive and soul-destroying process.

The problem is exemplified by an e-mail exchange today with an otherwise very competent and helpful online store. I'd found what looked like a promising pair of Nike trousers. For once, size XL was in stock, so I asked what ladies size that equated to. I got this reply:

"Im really sorry but these in my opinion are sized quite small. I am a size 14 and the XL tights only just fit me in the waist. I would not find them comfortable enough to do any sort of sport in them".

In other words, at the slimmest I've ever been, I wouldn't have been able to fit into a pair of "XL" Nikes. Ron Hill et al seem to operate much the same policy.

What is going on here? I'm motivated - I really want to get appropriate winter gear, (rather than wearing M&S leggings which are barely up to the task) but I have to work really hard to do it. To me it's a waste of good walking time! What really mystifies me is that we're told that there's an "obesity epidemic", and that people should be encouraged to get out and do more exercise, but unless the manufacturers change their sizing policy dramatically, any woman who is genuinely "average-sized" or bigger is going to struggle to get good quality gear that fits.

This annoys, frustrates and mystifies me in equal measure. It's certainly not that there's no potential market. It just seems to me that for some reason Ron Hill et al take Paula Radcliffe as "average" (which is about the least accurate description I can think of!) and size their gear accordingly. They really need to get out in the high street more!!!

OK, that's the rant over with. ;-) What do other LDWA-ers think? Am I the only female walker to have encountered this issue? (If so I'll shut up and go to M&S tomorrow!) Or has someone found a manufacturer / shop who's noticed this gap in the market, and sells trousers and leggings with plenty of room in them to cover the ample behinds of traditional British pear-shapes who aren't super-fit or super-thin, but still like to walk up big hills of a weekend?

[Helen Southall]

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