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Exploring Belle Isle

by Christine Skelly » on Jun 22, 2011 4

There are few places where you can go running, biking or even hiking in woods while the busy city roads buzz above and around you. Even few options are available if you add ing swimming and sunbathing on smooth rocks. My recent expedition took me through all of this and more, and it was not even a ten minute drive from the heart of Richmond, VA.

And this is how I put my feet and VFFs through the many surfaces and terrains of Belle Isle in Richmond. VA.

The trip to Belle Isle with my comrades began as a casual venture as I had few expectations beyond a relaxing day lounging by the river that I had often heard about from friends. I was soon informed that we were going hiking that day. An impromptu hiking trip? With FiveFingers in tow, we set out crossing a bridge below the heavily trafficked roads, crossing the river, and soon coming to a park area where bikers, runners and speed walkers utilized the rare natural trails found in the heart of Richmond. We dove into the woods, climbing rocks and hills ‘til we reached a trail that wound through the forest and into the heart of the park.

The trails were moist and slippery on inclines. We sat at “Pride Rock” as it has been coined, a large set of stones that overlook another trail, and after more winding through vegetation we came to the river where I could not help and think of the Pride Lands. Smooth stone lay before us reminding me of the Sahara, inviting us in, pock marked with holes that held water and scribbles of water ways cutting through the terrain. We shed our shoes and set out.

Hopping along, climbing, and carefully calculating, my comrades and I made our way across the stone landscape. Belle Isle had already put my FiveFingers through pebbled trails, slippery mud and grass, and had held up pretty well. My feet were then by themselves to truly experience this foreign land and stretch.

There is no better feeling than being barefoot with a stream running over your hot feet and between your toes, and it was thoroughly deserved after using all of the muscles to get there and traverse the rocks.

The way back pitted my FiveFingers against a field of mud (which made me cringe when I stepped into it) but all in all my FiveFingers served me well and allowed me grip, sans slip for most of the day and left me with some great shots.

What FiveFinger friendly trip have you taken before? Where did you go that made you glad to wear FiveFingers? Post a picture or leave us a comment and let us know where to go next with our TOES!

Tell us the most extreme situations and tightest spots you’ve gotten into with your FiveFingers.


  1. Dan

    June 22nd, 2011 at 11:18 am

    For me, I usually head to Great Falls Park in Northern Virginia.. Its a few miles outside DC but its great. Has rock climbing, trails, creeks, and of course beautiful waterfalls.


  2. Aaron

    June 22nd, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    I put my KSOs to the test in Tough Muddders and other adventure/obstacle course runs. Those are definetly the most “extreme” places I’ve taken them.

    I put my brown leather Treks to the test by wearing them to work regularly as my “business casual” shoes of choice. Extreme? No, but it does let me challenge what business folks consider appropriate foowear! :)


  3. Jackie

    June 22nd, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    Nice! Love the pictures. It’s just a shame the graffiti on the rock…


  4. Jon

    March 17th, 2015 at 5:32 am

    I hiked the entire Belle Isle yesterday, totally barefoot. It felt great, and my feet were able to handle it just fine. Glad you enjoyed it, next time try it totally bare!


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