Hills in Dunlop Volleys

My new Dunlop Volleys

It’s that time of the month again: hill sprints training day. I drive to Cleveland for our tough forty minute session. When I arrive early I go for a short 1km jog down to the water front to try running in my new shoes.

I’ve been running barefoot since I got back into triathlon in July 2011. I ran in shoes for the first few sessions but old injuries caused me pain. Then I read Born to Run, which included some discussion on barefoot running as a natural activity. I decided to give it a go and found that my running technique totally changed. I started to run lighter on my feet and reduced my heal striking considerably.

I’ve been slowly increasing my barefoot running distances, with the Convicts and Wenches half marathon last week being my longest continuous barefoot run to date. However, it also highlighted that there will always be times when I will need to wear shoes due to distance or trail surface. ‘Barefoot’ running shoes are hideously expensive here in Australia. For example, a pair of Vibrams costs around $AU200, which is money I could spend entering two races. Mind you, ‘normal’ running shoes are expensive here too.

I have been thinking about what I need in a pair of shoes. I identified that I need something with thin and flexible flat soles so that my feet have continue to work naturally despite the shoes. I also wanted something lightweight and reliable. The Dunlop Volleys fit the bill in all categories. And at just $30 a pair it doesn’t matter if I kill them. I know I won’t get as much mileage out of them as I would a ‘proper’ pair of ‘barefoot’ shoes but I will still be running barefoot most of the time. The shoes are for emergency situations, such as trail running or half marathons so I won’t really put that many miles on them anyway.

Back at training, I meet my friends at 6am ready for our hill session. We run our four strides: short sprints in which we warm up our legs to get the muscles ready for sprinting. I run my hill sprints, running so hard I am doubled over and gasping for breath at the top of each hill. We don’t get to relax running down the hill either – we have to sprint down to try to increase our leg speed. It’s almost tougher than running uphill. I run my three sprints and then our warm down back to the cars. It’s been a good session and the Dunlop Volleys hold up well. I think I will wear them in March when I run the Twilight Half Marathon.


© 2011 All Rights Reserved Andrew Gills


3 responses to “Hills in Dunlop Volleys

  1. That is very interesting… So you run all your run’s barefoot?? Wow… I couldn’t imagine! I certainly wouldn’t want to be doing that in the snow come back with blue feet like a smurf.. I would like to run in the snow

    • LOL about the blue smurf feet. There’s no chance of that happening here in Brisbane. The coldest we get on winter mornings is about 5’C (41’F) but that’s only for about an hour just before the sun comes up for about 1-2 weeks of the year. For the most our morning temps in winter will be around 10’C (50’F). Our winter really only lasts for 10 weeks through June-August with daytime temperatures around 23’C (70’F). That’s just to give context to my year round barefooting. Yes, I do all my runs barefoot though I have to race triathlon in shoes (compulsory) and I’m thinking of doing the Twilight half marathon in March wearing my Volleys just to help me get some speed and distance happening 🙂

  2. Alan, It’s more than possible for humans to walk and run in bare feet. In fact, it’s quite natural. We weren’t born wearing shoes. My feet are not hard and calloused at all.

    You just don’t do it overnight. Take your time if you want to run barefoot and do some research of the many websites that discuss barefoot running

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