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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Are Running Kilts the New Barefoot?

Some of you that have been running barefoot for a few years may be able to relate to the reactions people gave prior to the "Born to Run" revolution.  When I first started barefoot running, people generally fell into three categories:
  1. They thought it was interesting, contemplated trying it themselves, and asked thoughtful questions,
  2. They reacted with indifference,
  3. They reacted with some degree of disbelief/ disgust/ or other somewhat negative emotion.
Fast forward to today.  I have not received any sort of negative comment for some time.  Now I get A LOT of questions from people that are considering it.  A very small number of people will express some disbelief in the merits of barefoot running, but I no longer experience the negativity of the third group from above.  Barefoot running has become mainstream enough to make it socially acceptable to try it without risk of being social ostracized.

Since I publicly announced my intentions to start running in a Sport Kilt, I am facing the exact same reactions I experienced as a new barefoot runner years ago.  About a third of the people I talk to are enthusiastically supportive and want to try it themselves.  Another third seems indifferent.  The final third reacts with comments ranging from "I could never do that!" to "What the Hell is wrong with you!"  
I started barefoot running because I found it gave me a competitive advantage.  I also enjoyed it more than running in heavy, clunky, smelly shoes.  I find myself attracted to the Sport Kilt for the same reason.  It eliminates some problems created by my previously preferred combination of running shorts and compression shorts, and I enjoy the experience.  

Despite the objections of a few of my peers, I will continue to explore the kilt option.

Most if not all of us have done some things that have cut against the grain of socially-acceptable behaviors... please share in the "comments' section!


  1. Im glad you go against the grain and try new(in the case of the sportkilt and barefoot running, very old, prehistoric things). Some people cling so tightly to running gear that has only been around for the past 20 years or less. Some of them great, some more trouble than they're worth.

    The only thing that comes to mind from my own experience is my tendency to wear buttoned shirts while running. Probably the least "runner-looking" thing imaginable, but I wear them because they are more comfortable for me. I can button it up/down depending on the weather, the collar absorbs my sweat, cooling me off, and sometimes they even have pockets! I look like a farmer according to my running buddies(Im appropriately named "the hobbyjogger"). I grew up stacking haybales and cleaning horse stalls, so if the shoe fits...I probably still won't wear it.

  2. I think the kilt is awesome! I was set to run the Kilted Mile this year in Ohio for the Scottish games festival but a last minute spider bite and blood infection stopped me. If I only had one more day to recover!! I also wanted to run it barefoot but I was still a little new and tender. But next year I can a guarantee kilt, no shoes, and an even more epic beard! Time to show these people how Highlanders get down! By the way you, your wife, and Jesse, are freaking amazing and huge idols to me!

  3. This is just one man's opinion, of course, and I'll note a man not brave enough to go running in a kilt. I've looked long and hard for evidence of Scottish ancestry, and there is none to find in my line. So kilt wearing is not in my future.

    To answer your question: No.


  4. Not even close. Kilts are cool, but I will never run in one. I like my small running shorts, the less fabric the better. I don't care how light the kilt is, it's still alot of clothing. Good luck on the 100 miler, and I would think twice about wearing a kilt for a 100 miler. Make sure you constantly lather yourself up with body glide about 3 inches from the knee caps, I predict some possible chaffing there from the kilt.

  5. I love the kilt and think my hubby is super sexy in his!!
    Its not so "out there" in other countries. Its just in the US really as far as the kilt goes.

    We are used to going against the grain though in my family.
    Some examples would be natural childbirth, in particular our last son was born at home unassisted (our midwife was 30 min late:), extended breast feeding, not vaccinating our youngest 2 boys, no circumcision as well as home schooling 3 of the 4 boys.

    We also have a son with autism and treatments and therapies for that are all fringe at least for now although is becoming more main stream unfortunately since so many more are being diagnosed.
    We are not married, by choice and yet we live in sin and have bastard children.......hahahaha! That always cracks me up.

    Its hard to go against the grain but it honestly works for us and we don't do it on purpose just to get attention. Our choices are very well thought out and its not easy.
    Even when Jaymon suggested I try barefoot running I was so nervous about it and what others would think until I embraced it as being what makes me happy.
    Its funny how hard we will hang onto something for its familiarity alone when the solution to comfort and success is right there but so different we have a hard time embracing it.

    Jaymon did much reading up on kilts and origin ect. I should see if he would post. Very interesting.

  6. Sorry, I don't see how anything other than running butt naked can be called the "New Barefoot". So man up and loose the skirt!

    That's a review I'd chuckle reading!

  7. ummm, my husband runs in jeans. especially in winter and enjoys all sorts of looks. from me as well. guess i am not into bucking trends. again, i would advise against trying to run 100 miles in something that chafes your weiner, but i am not opposed to the skirt for it's inherent skirt-iness. just be sure that the junk is okay...

  8. I guess if a man was rail skinny so his thighs didnt touch like some women it could work. Other wise it just sounds like a the formula for creating a fire down below with lots of "tender" :)

  9. I'd wear it or something like it, commando of course. Not only does it eliminate chafing, it also makes squatting in the woods a bit easier should nature call.

  10. Like they always say, "It's easier to run with your kilt up, than your pants down"

  11. I get those comments just from saying I like to run and am doing a 5K. A 5K?!? For goodness sakes, that distance is so little that it seems shorter than the distance to the refrigerator.

    I told the hubby about your kilt review. He's not a runner but I know he'd love the freedom of one if I could just convince him to ignore the "skirt" issue.

  12. Hi Jason, I am convinced I want to buy one I did leave a question on the review though about where the pockets would be sen on? I bought a sarong on a trip to the far east and even when I still lived in England I loved wearing it in the summer due to the heat. No I am in NYC well I dont wear it out so much but in the house I wear them most of the time they are very comfortable.
    Keep rockin the boat sir

  13. Harry- the pocket is in front... right over the junk. The kilt can be rotated freely. I tried it and it had no effect on functionality.

    The optional pockets look like they are on the sides in the typical pocket location.

    Thanks for the comments everyone!

  14. Become the change you desire. The only other opinion that counts is counts is the Little Man's. You should knit him a small version of your kilt to make up for the last time.

  15. Jason, I'm a barefoot runner in Colorado and I run with a group called the Hash House Harriers (Hashers). We run in kilts all the time. The club even has two registered tartans which are part of the Sportkilt line. This club has chapters all over the world including Grand Rapids. I've run with different chapters around the country and there are always several of us in kilts. They usually have a trail run just about every weekend. There will be a wide range of people from walkers to elite ultras. You should check them out.

  16. Didn't read all the comments but has anyone mentioned the Utilikilt Spartan? They stopped making them but there may be a few out there on the internet. I hear they might start making them again too. They are real basketball shorts. Still....a kilt would be heavy any way you look at it I think.

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