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Friday, October 22, 2010
Sport Kilt Preliminary Review
Great...another barefoot runner in a kilt talking about how awesome they are.
Well folks, I'm not one to toot a company's horn unless there's something in it for me. There isn't this time...I already asked. Begged really. But I'm writing a review of this product because, although I don't get serious often, I am serious about what hangs between my legs.
I've read reviews on the Sport Kilt before. I never thought I would buy one, much less wear it for running. It doesn't matter how manly you try to make it, at the end of the day this is straight up "dudes running in dresses". I've looked at pictures of a lot of my friends running in kilts. You guys...for the most part you look ridiculous. But then again, you all aren't genetically superior, semi-attractive, 6'7" foot tall, lanky local superheros with amazing legs. Regardless, despite the fact that my male running friends have taken to looking like Catholic school girls, I've been intrigued by the idea of kilt running for some time. Maybe it's because I'm attracted to things that are different, and somewhat wrong. Maybe it's because I'm tired of wedgies. Maybe deep down I'm a cross dresser. Whatever these weird feelings were, I had to explore them further.
My experience with the Sport Kilt began when I signed up for my local Halloween fun run, the Ortho Monster Dash Half Marathon. I'm racing it as a tune up race with Team in Training for the big event: The Honolulu Marathon, this December. And it's a Halloween run, so costumes are optional. I never miss a chance to run in costume, so the search for a half marathon friendly costume was on. Thus my purchase from Sport Kilt of a Firefighter tartan Original Sport Kilt and Highland Shirt for a costume I am entitling "Swedish-looking Scottish Guy".
My plan was to buy the Sport Kilt under the guise of this Halloween costume, so that I didn't have to openly admit that I was buying it because I had drank the kilt running Kool-Aid. Then after the race, I could proclaim with astonishment how comfortable it really was, and blame my kilt conversion on coincidental costume choice. Eureka! What a plan!
But I'll admit, after I ordered the kilt I was giddier than the Jersey Shore kids at a tanning salon. I tracked that package with UPS online from the kilt factory to my front door. Then I rushed home early to get my package before the family got home so I could try it on without any heckling.
Like I mentioned above, I bought the Firefighter tartan Original Sport Kilt. Original meaning that it's like the Toyota Camry of kilts. No frills. Just good, honest plaid skirt-itude. The Firefighter tartan means that a portion of my purchase will be donated toward the National Fallen Firefighters Association. I'm not above running in a man dress for charity, so I was all in. Here's a picture of the tartan:
My first impression of the kilt upon receiving it was that the material looked like it was good quality. I was surprised at how heavy it was though. It felt like it weighed more than my jeans. How was I going to run in this business? My fears were quickly averted however after I tried it on. Most of the weight in the kilt is around the velcro waistband. The rest of the kilt was heavier than my normal running shorts, but not so heavy that I felt like it would affect my running performance.
One feature that I think makes people look especially ridiculous when they run in a kilt is the length. I ordered the men's large kilt, which has a standard seam length of 22.5 inches. Even when hiking the waistband up to Steve Urkel heights, the kilt came down to just above my knees. I imagine it would look like a house dress on you lesser mortals. From what I've seen, Sport Kilt has a lot of options for custom hem length and whatnot. I would suggest looking into those so that you don't look like you're going to a sock hop while running.
On the other hand, a feature I really liked on this kilt was the velcro closure. The velcro on this thing extends all the way across the waistband, so you can customize your kilt's fit. The large size that I bought is recommended for waist sizes 34 inches up to 38. But with all this velcro, I'm guess that Rush Limbaugh could fit into this thing. It really holds the kilt secure around my waist...which is good, because I was contemplating wearing it "traditional" style.
So that evening I donned my kilt for a short 3 mile test run. Before I left for the run I had my wife take a picture of me. I think I look rather dashing. My wife didn't share her opinion. Since I've gone barefoot, I'm fairly sure my wife thinks I've gone off the deep end. So I don't think wearing a kilt added or subtracted anything from that view.
Then I got on all the normal things I wear when I run in the dark: headlamp, reflector vest, etc. After that I thought I looked a little ridiculous...kind of like an Irish miner.
After suiting up, I headed out into a brisk, 45 degree night. I immediately felt the cold in places I've never felt it before....i.e., up my dress. It was like a cool, bad touch from Mother Nature. So I immediately became concerned for the safety of Mr. Tallywhacker. There's a reason that the hockey athletic supporter was invented in 1895 and required in all games, but the helmet wasn't required until the 1990s. Men are serious about their Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones. I'm not about to let my little swimmers play in a cold pool. So I decided that this was not an underwear optional night. The "traditional" test would have to wait.
Actually, once I started out, the fruit platter was fine and well protected. All of that fabric that I complained about earlier actually kept it nice and warm up in the promised land.
I started out at around an 8:00 min/mile pace to see how all this material around my legs would affect my performance, and I was pleasantly surprised. The kilt didn't move much at all as I ran. And, I'm assuming because the material wasn't attached to my leg, the kilt didn't feel any heavier than running shorts.
One thing I really noticed was FREEEEEEEEEEEDOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! My high school basketball coach was right...it really is all about ball movement. This aspect makes it a lot easier to ignore the whole cross dressing thing. It is THE selling feature of the kilt in my opinion. I was so comfortable that I didn't even mind when a group of kids honked and laughed at me. I was comfortable, and that's all that mattered.
In fact, getting honked at made me remember when I read Barefoot Jason's review of the Sport Kilt on his blog. Now granted, he isn't nearly the wordsmith I am. And he is kind of a sell-out (BTW, Jason is a friend of mine...and I'm only half serious about the sell-out thing). But one point he made stuck out loud and clear. That was his comparison of kilted running to barefoot running, at least in terms of the embarrassment/weird factor. Barefoot running is weird and different. You're going to get funny looks. You're going to get things yelled at you. And you're eventually going to get over it because it feels good to you. Then you embrace your weirdness, because it's what makes you awesome. Kilted running is weird in the same way. You're going to get the same reaction. Eventually I think I'll be okay with kilt wearing just as I am okay being barefoot.
I'll keep you posted on my kilted adventures as I wear it more. I'm not sure where this will take me. Hopefully it will take me to somewhere where there is free shit. For now, I'm just going to enjoy the comfort of this kilt until it's too cold in Minnesota to wear a skirt. Adios!