Barefoot Running in the Pentland Hills of Scotland With Vibram Five Finger Shoes

Pentland Hills in Midlothian, Scotland. Photo ...Pentland Hills Scotland

Pentland Hills in Midlothian, Scotland. Photo taken from the summit of Allermuir Hill, looking to the southwest (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On a recent very quick trip to Edinburgh, Scotland, (from Seattle, USA), I travelled super-light taking my Vibram Five Finger shoes as recreational footwear. My brother travelled from Sheffield to meet me on my arrival and we got together with my brother-in-law, who was celebrating his birthday. We joined in the birthday celebrations with plenty of Scotland’s finest whisky and a few beers. Weather in Scotland can often be quite fickle and mostly dreary in late Spring, but we were fortunate to have picture perfect and warm conditions with great visibility. The next morning I had agreed to go for a jog with my brother up into the Pentland Hills just to the south-west of Edinburgh to clear our brains from the previous night’s fog!! I had to borrow a pair of shorts and only had the Vibram Five Finger shoes suitable to jog in. They are constructed of leather with laces and 3mm lugged soles for anti-slip. The Pentlands are soft rolling hills with well worn trails that are mainly compacted earth, where the grass has been worn down by use from hikers, mountain bikers and horse riding. There is very little gravel, rock and virtually no sharp, angulated rock to feel through the soles of the Vibram Five Fingers.

I had never run more than a couple of miles in my Vibram Five Fingers and only on predominantly flat terrain, so I wondered how I was going to perform in the Pentlands. My brother is a hill runner and enters many orienteering races, so he’s always fit. I had just completed 12K Rhody Run the previous weekend so was still fit enough. Again, the weather was picture postcard perfect and we already had our T-shirts off by our 10am start. We walked the steeper sections of the hills and jogged pleasantly on undulating terrain. We had great views in the distance of Arthur’s Seat (Volcano plug) near downtown Edingburgh, Firth of Forth, Forth Road and Rail Bridges and the entire Pentland ridge chain to the south and west. The hills were not crowded, other folks were walking their dogs, mountain biking, hiking and horse riding on the tops and more folks in the valleys attending an orienteering race, plus a group of cadets doing target practice in the woods.

We jogged for one and a half hours covering approximately 7 or 8 miles and I had no problems whatsoever with my feet in my Vibram Five Finger shoes. No socks, no Vaseline, no hot spots, no blisters and importantly, no slips and no damage or tiredness to my feet. I was previously concerned because I am a pronator and normally run wearing support style running shoes; so this jaunt upon the Pentlands really surprised me how well my feet and body were able to cope with Barefoot running.

Enhanced by Zemanta