Written by BarefootDawsy
If 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.
As 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.
The 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!
The 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 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!
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