Thanks For A Great Year!

Written by Barefoot Dawsy

It was a year ago today that I hit Submit on the first ever Beginning Barefoot post. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to meet some incredible people, try out some awesome gear, and learn more about barefoot running then I could have imagined.

So, to celebrate Beginning Barefoot’s birthday, it seemed fitting to say a big THANK YOU to all the people who have helped make this year a great one.

First off, I’d like to thank all of those companies and individuals that were generous enough to offer their time and provide samples to review on this site.

Of course, all this wouldn’t be possible without all of you out there reading the articles and following Beginning Barefoot on Facebook and Twitter.

To all of you wonderful people, thank you!

 

Join Beginning Barefoot and Sockwa Tonight on #BareChat!

#BareChatOn Wednesday, November 21st, at 8pm Mountain Time (GMT-6) BeginningBarefoot.com will be hosting #BareChat! What’s #BareChat you ask? Well, it’s a chance for barefoot twitterers to connect with one another, share experiences, answer some questions, and win some prizes! #BareChat will be held every second Wednesday night at 8pm Mountain Time (GMT – 6 hours), starting October 24th 2012. So how does it work? At 8pm on the 21st of November, head onto your favourite Twitter client and search for hashtag #BareChat. @BarefootDawsy will be asking a series of questions about your experiences in barefoot running. To join the conversation, just add #BareChat to any of your tweets, and they’ll show up as part of the search results. Sockwa LogoWe’ve teamed up with Sockwa and will be giving away a fabulous outdoor activity pack! The pack contains a pair of Sockwa G2 or G3s, a Sockwa hat, sunscreen and stickers! All you need to do to enter is to participate in the #BareChat conversation on November 21st! If you have any questions, feel free to comment here, or hit me up on Twitter (@BarefootDawsy). See you there! We’re always looking for new questions to ask during #BareChat, and for sponsors for our giveaways. Please email me if you you think you can help!

Is It Time To Start Running In A Sport Kilt?

Written by BarefootDawsy

Sport KiltIf you’re like most people, then chances are you’ve never had the opportunity, nor the inclination, to run without pants on. I was in the same boat only a few short weeks ago, before the opportunity presented itself, and I was able to try it for myself.

Luckily for the general public, this came in the form of a pleated length of plaid fabric, otherwise know as a kilt! Or, in my case, a Sport Kilt.

When I first heard about kilted running, I thought that the idea was a bit
crazy. I’ve worn kilts before, and the idea of running around with a couple kilos of
heavy wool around my waist was far from appealing. But when I heard that a
US company was making lightweight, sweat-wicking kilts as activewear, I knew
I had to try one out.

The Works Sport KiltAs a barefoot runner, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m a bit different to most people. I take my running very seriously and came to barefooting as a way to improve performance and stay healthy.

It took a bit of a leap to make the transition to barefoot running, but in the end, it has been rewarding and exhilarating. I’m finding the same thing with wearing a kilt.

I live in Australia, where the summers are hot, and winter is only a mild improvement. Finding ways to stay cool is a constant challenge, especially when coupled with the need to stay protected from UV rays, etc. Sport Kilt has given me a great new tool in my arsenal to help with this.

I’ve been lucky enough to have the chance to review 2 different styles of kilt: A Hiking kilt and a ‘The Works’ kilt.

Sport Kilt - Hiking KiltThe Hiking kilt is a lightweight, athletic kilt that’s as minimal as a kilt can be. It’s essentially a piece of pleated fabric that wraps around you and is secured with thick velcro around the waist. The velcro makes it really easy to get on and off, and will come in handy when I have to let it out over the holidays!

Sport Kilt - The WorksThe Works kilt is a slightly thicker, dressier version of the hiking kilt. It has sewn-down pleats which improve the way the kilt hangs, and lend it a more fancy feel. It has lovely leather straps and metal buckles, as well as the hidden velcro fasteners, that make it look more authentic and dressy. On top of all this, it even has nice hidden pocket! I would wear my Works kilt to a wedding or formal occasion just as easily as I’d go hiking in it.

For testing, I’ve worn both, mainly for trail hiking and running, and usually in warm weather.

I found that performance-wise, the hiking kilt was much better for trail running. It’s very lightweight and super comfortable. The only real drawback I’ve found is that I’m reluctant to sit down in it, as I don’t want to get it dirty…though this makes me run more, so may not be a bad thing.

The Works Sport Kilt BucklesThe Works kilt is a more formal, yet still rugged kilt, that would be well suited to tournaments and spectator sports. I can see highland gamers wearing these, for example. As the weather cools off, I can see myself wearing my Works kilt more and more for hikes as it sits a bit nicer and is slightly heavier than the Hiking kilt.

Running in a kilt is to running in pants what running barefoot is to wearing shoes. It’s cool, and airy and makes you feel alive and in touch with the elements. I’ve yet to try it in the cold, so I can’t comment on the inverse conditions, but for the heat, it’s been a godsend.

There is a perception that wearing a kilt comes with a lot of baggage that may put you off. What if you’re not Scottish, or want to wear something underneath?

The truth is that this stuff is only an issue if you choose to make it one. If you’re Scottish and want to show off your heritage, then go for it, if not, there’s nothing stopping you from picking a pattern you like and running with it. You don’t even need to go plaid, as Sport Kilt also have a bunch of camouflage kilts too. As for what to wear underneath, that’s up to you, and regardless of what you do or don’t wear, it won’t stop people from trying to guess!

The thing is, a Sport Kilt is just like any other piece of running gear. You put it on, and go do your thing. It doesn’t matter if you want to wear compression tights underneath, or if you don’t have a family tartan. If it feels good and you like how it looks, then just wear it!

Sport Kilt Tartan Black Stewart

Altogether, I was really surprised at how well the Sport Kilts felt. They were light and airy, and did the job of keeping me cool beautifully.

Despite being made of high-tech materials, these kilts come in at a fraction of the cost of a traditional kilt (starting from ~$80). If you’re a barefoot runner, the money you’re saving on shoes would be well spent on one of these.

Will I wear it for every training run? Probably not, but it’s become one of my go-to trail running outfits, and will certainly feature prominently in future races!

Beginning Barefoot would like to thank Sport Kilt for providing sample kilts for review. If you’re interested in trying one out yourself, head over to SportKilt.com and check them out! 

All photos taken by Sam Dumworth

Review: Barefoot Running – The Movie

Written By Barefoot Dawsy

Barefoot Running: The MovieOne of the most eagerly anticipated events on the 2012 Barefoot calendar was the release of Barefoot Running: The Movie, a labour of love from the creators of RunBare.com, Michael Sandler and Jessica Lee. I was very lucky to have won myself a copy from barefoot-monologues.com, so thought you all might enjoy a review!

Barefoot Running: The Movie is essentially a video version of their hugely popular Barefoot Running book. It’s beautifully shot in Maui, and features a heap of great stories, exercises, and lessons that will be incredibly useful for the new barefoot runner.

The movie is split up into several different parts that discuss different aspects of barefoot running. My favourite was definitely Michael’s story, in which we are shown just how much Michael had to overcome just to be able to run a few metres. In my opinion, the DVD is worth a look for this section alone.

The running drills and explanations were very well handled, though I think there is perhaps a bit too much of an emphasis on forefoot running. Michael is very much a forefoot striker, and his heel seems to stay well above the ground. Interestingly, Jessica’s landing is much less pronounced, and seems more relaxed to me.

I’ve found that lowering the heel down to the ground level helps with balance and is far more comfortable, but it clearly works for Michael. All I would suggest is to listen to the principles, but play with your own footstrike to find what’s comfortable.

If I had one complaint (besides the somewhat repetitive and distracting soundtrack), it would be the inclusion of Earthing. Earthing is an alternative health term that suggests that we are somehow electrified beings who benefit from being “grounded” with the earth. This means having direct contact with the ground, or at least contact via some form of cunductor, such as metal. Basically, there’s no evidence that it even exists, and what few ‘studies’ have been conducted have been non-peer-reviewed, non-blinded, and reach dubious conclusions.

That being said, there is something relaxing and pleasant about running barefoot. Many of the benefits that Michael attributes to Earthing are present, and may just be the result of getting more sensation from the environment. Whatever you believe, don’t let this dissuade you from enjoying the movie, or reaping the benefits of the lessons therein.

All-in-all I think that Barefoot Running: The Movie is well-worth a watch, especially for new runners. It’s great to see the barefoot community starting to produce well thought-out and executed material to help new barefooters get started.

If you like the sound of Barefoot Running: The Movie, be quick because it’s ON SALE NOW on DVD over at Amazon.com (or PAL version for us international folk).

If you really, really really like the sound of it, Michael and Jessica are holding an UNBELIEVABLE retreat on Maui. How awesome is that?!

As luck would have it, my mate the Barefoot Beginner, is also giving away a copy this week, so go pay him a visit for a chance to enter!

Beginning Barefoot would like to thank Trisha Reeves from barefoot-monologues for the DVD. Please be sure to visit her site for some phenomenal tips, stories and reviews.

Join Us On #BareChat (Win A Pre-Release Pair Of Luongo Footwear!)

#BareChatOn Wednesday, November 7th, at 8pm Mountain Time (GMT-6) BeginningBarefoot.com will be hosting #BareChat!

What’s #BareChat you ask? Well, it’s a chance for barefoot twitterers to connect with one another, share experiences, answer some questions, and win some prizes!

#BareChat will be held every second Wednesday night at 8pm Mountain Time (GMT – 6 hours), starting October 24th 2012.

So how does it work?

At 8pm on the 7th of November, head onto your favourite Twitter client and search for hashtag #BareChat.

@BarefootDawsy will be asking a series of questions about your experiences in barefoot running. To join the conversation, just add #BareChat to any of your tweets, and they’ll show up as part of the search results.

Luongo FootwearWe’ve teamed up with Luongo Footwear and will be giving away a PRE-RELEASE pair of Luongos! That’s right, one lucky #BareChat participant will get the chance to try out a pair of some of the most anticipated minimal footwear of the year before they even go on sale!

All you need to do to enter is to participate in the #BareChat conversation on November 7th!

If you have any questions, feel free to comment here, or hit me up on Twitter (@BarefootDawsy).

See you there!

 

We’re always looking for new questions to ask during #BareChat, and for sponsors for our giveaways. Please email me if you you think you can help!

Product Review: The Handana

Written By Barefoot Dawsy

handanaEvery now and then a new product comes along that makes you think “why didn’t I think of that?”. Such is the case with Handana – the bandana that you wear on your hand.

Handana is the brainchild of marathon runner Katie Niemeyer. The idea came to her after making it through a battle with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, a painful and potentially disfiguring condition that was brought on by a reaction to medication.

As soon as I heard Katie’s story and saw what she had created, I knew that I had to try one out!

Handanas are pretty simple in their concept, but the delivery is beautifully handled. At their most basic, a Handana is a length of material that gets wrapped around a hand. Katie’s design takes this to the next level with perfectly selected materials and high quality craftsmanship.

They are made of supplex Lycra, which makes them feel like stretchy cotton, and not surprisingly, they are excellent for mopping up sweat. They also have the benefit of contouring nicely to your hand without being restrictive or uncomfortable.

The high-quality stitching is for the most part hidden due to the clever way in which the Handana is constructed. This is not only aesthetically pleasing, but I imagine, will greatly increase the Handana’s serviceable life.

They look good, and are well designed and constructed, but how well do they perform? I had a number of great chances to test mine out with the high-humidity weather we’ve been having here lately. After several sweaty outings, I can honestly say that it works beautifully. It holds quite a lot of moisture and even dries out a bit as I run, allowing me to keep using it, even over long distances.

Being a baldy, sweat getting into my eyes has always been a problem. I normally carry a handkerchief in my pocket when running, as I’m not a big fan of headbands or wristbands (I always feel like John McEnroe when I wear them!). From now on, I’ll be grabbing my Handana on the way out for any future hot runs.

I haven’t got enough nice things to say about this product. It’s clever, well-executed, works well, and at $15USD, very reasonably priced.

If you’d like to get your hand inside a Handana, now’s a great time. A new batch have just been made up and are available on the myhandana website. They’re basically the perfect stocking-stuffer for that runner in your life (seriously, I don’t get a kick-back for saying that or anything!)

Insider tip: be sure to check out the Handana Facebook page – rumour has it that there will be some great specials showing up there during the lead-up to the holidays!

Beginning Barefoot would like to thank MyHandana.com for providing samples for review. Help keep us ad-free by visiting/following Handana on Facebook and/or Twitter (@MyHandana).