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Our Favorite Things: Gear to solve your peskiest dilemmas on the trail
Trail runners don’t often shy away from discussing bodily functions on the trail, so we won’t either. When our bodies cooperate with us, things are great. When they don’t, things can spiral downhill quickly. Here are a few thoughtfully designed items to deal with some common afflictions.
If our feet aren’t happy, we aren’t either. Of course, there’s the tried-and-true duct-tape method—individually wrapping each toe in tape to prevent friction between them. But when we asked readers a while back to share their methods for combating blisters, two secret weapons rose above all others.
The Fix #1: Injinji Toe Socks
The self-proclaimed “original performance toesock,” Injinji has been delighting trail runners’ feet for over 10 years by offering moisture-wicking fabric around each toe. We love the new Performance 2.0 line, with a more contoured fit and targeted arch support—a vast improvement over the original Injinji line.
The Fix #2: Bag Balm
This tiny box of rub-on cream reduces dry friction between toes. It smells a little funky, but then again, whose feet don’t? Many readers cited the Bag Balm + toe sock combo as the only way to keep their toes blister-free on long runs.
Chafing happens when our skin grows raw (often to the point of bleeding) from repetitive friction. It’s worsened by the presence of sweat, as the salt crystals create extra friction, and it can happen everywhere from to our underarms to our thighs to our, er, private areas. While Vaseline can go a long way in combating this, there’s a better way!
The Fix: BodyGlide Anti-Chafe Balm
BodyGlide, a longtime staple for many runners, now comes in a “For Her” version. The idea of a smaller, “pink-ified” women’s version is a little gimmicky, but BodyGlide claims it contains additional moisturizing properties for delicate skin—and we did appreciate the miniature, portable size (also available in the original version), which tucks into a hydration pack much more readily than a tub of Vaseline.
3. Inner-Thigh Chafing
This gets its own category, since of all the places on our bodies prone to chafing, inner thighs often suffer most. While the afore-mentioned creams like BodyGlide or Bag Balm can certainly help in this arena, the right apparel can also do the trick.
The Fix: Compression Shorts
Many companies make terrific compression apparel (the topic is worthy of an entire gear review), and the snug-fitting shorts can go a long way in reducing inner-thigh friction. Some of our favorites include McDavid compression shorts and the women-specific Aspaeris Pivot shorts (pictured above) we reviewed in our summer gear guide [Issue 89, July 2013], on newsstands now.
4. Bloody Nipples
These are no fun to talk about, and even less fun to actually deal with in real life. Many runners attempt to thwart this nasty effect of chafing by putting Band-Aids over their nipples, but they don’t generally stay put once a little sweat enters the picture.
The Fix: Pro-Tec LiquiCell Nipple Protectors
$10/Pack of 8; www.injurybegone.com
That’s right; this is enough of a dilemma for runners that Pro-Tec specifically designed a product to squelch it. These handy little bandages come equipped with LiquiCell protectant to reduce friction, and the peel-and-stick application stays in place for multiple runs.
5. Sweat-Stained Clothing
Sweat, odors, deodorant buildup and occasionally blood all threaten the longevity of our often-pricey performance apparel, and can lead to those unsightly, yellow underarm stains on light-colored tech tees.
The Fix: Deo-Go Underarm Stain Remover
$11.50/9-ounce Bottle; www.getdeogo.com
One bottle of this magical stuff treats about 15 shirts by removing discolored spots and stains from your favorite running wear. We found it worked better on some fabrics and stains than others, so follow the directions carefully and always test on an inconspicuous part of the garment first.