When Neon asked me to write a guest post about my favourite piece of running kit, I thought that it was going to be a difficult task. I really thought I would have to break down the pros and cons of each of my pieces of kit and that it would be a close run thing. It isn’t however.
My favourite piece of kit is not my most glamorous or expensive (my Garmin). It is not the most fundamental (my shoes), nor does it make a fashion statement about who I am (my shorts, tights or tops).
My favourite piece of kit is, I believe, the cheapest piece of running kit I own – and it is this:
Unlike Neon, my feet and legs are really not designed for running. Given that I don’t think they are designed for swimming or cycling either – I’m hoping to eventually discover what my body is actually designed for. At the moment I suspect it might be lazing on the couch. But I digress.
I’ve tried all manner of solutions for a particular malady that I am struck with while running anything beyond 5km, blistering. I’ve tried messing with my shoelaces, changing shoes, band-aids, Vaseline, wearing multiple pairs of socks – all with no success. I wore Hilly Twin-Skins for the first time at the Edinburgh Marathon in 2012 though, and while I wasn’t blister less (which will never happen), I was far better off than I could have imagined. The padding built into the heel, toes and just above the arch provides an extra layer of comfort that regular socks don’t have. This padding also shifts with your foot, reducing any friction within the shoe and thus – the opportunity for blisters to form.
I’ve run with Hilly Twin-Skins in the rain with the same success, however I would recommend that in extreme situations like these that you double up your preventative measures (ie. Use some Vaseline as well). I do this when running longer than 21km or so, as I find that at those distances I need the extra help.
For all of the focus on expensive GPS kit, shoes made of space-age fibres and technical tops that simultaneously measure your heart rate while analysing your blood for irregularities (this doesn’t exist. Yet.) it is reassuring to know that the most effective piece of kit is often the simplest.