I have a confession to make: my skin rubs raw and my shit really does stink.
When summer comes to Michigan, which it finally has with a vengeance, my body begins to show signs of the heat.
My shoes smell like a squirrel died inside. My feet rub raw in all the wrong places, especially while wearing VFF. The inside of my thighs, where the shorts lining meets skin, begin to eat away at that tender skin on longer runs.
A million ailments, what's a man to do?
Fortunately, Alex from Rocket Pure sent along some products for me to try out. These have been sitting on my shelf patiently waiting for summer to fully bloom.
So let's dig in, looking at not only Rocket Pure products, but others I use to help your hurdle that summertime sadness.
My Shoes/VFF/Feet stink
First, if your feet themselves stink when you're done running, I see no need for any sprays. Just go shower yourself you dirty bum. Shoes however are not so easily cleansed.
After 5 runs, a clean pair of VFF smell like an open sewer. If you're wearing sneakers with socks, it may a bit longer to reach the point of disgust. Rest assured, it will come.
When you bend down to take your shoes off after a run and you pass out from the stench -- it's time to act.
I've found that the Foot Deodorant Spray works best in sneakers worn with/without socks.
VFF should be washed gently and hung to dry. Doing this same thing with sneakers seems to reduce their usable life significantly. That leaves the dilemma of rectifying the stink in sneakers.
I'll use my 9 year old son's sneakers as as the worst (or best) of examples, since he insists on wearing his sneakers, without socks, everyday to school.
When he comes home, his shoes stink. Every. Single. Day.
I've tried washing, which makes his shoes fall apart quickly. I've tried using medical smelling foot deodorizers. This leaves the shoes smelling like a "stinky hospital".
I've tried using Gold Bond powder, baby powder, and other talcum powders. Each of these not only makes a ridiculous mess, but leaves a nasty coating in the shoes after the initial wear.
Finally, I've tried the Rocket Pure natural mint foot deodorant spray. Three times now I've applied the spray to the inside of the shoes, the outside of the shoes, then hung them to air out.
The next day the smell was reduced and what did exist was mostly masked by the smell of mint. There remained a bit of "stinky mint" to the air.
This is still the best product I have tried. I'm not convinced there aren't better alternatives. There must be a way to completely neutralize the smell completely. Perhaps I'm looking for the holy grail of odor killers.
For now I'm settling on using the RocketPure as the best available option.
My feet have raw spots/rashes
I'd take a picture of my feet, but I'd rather you not cringe. If you've ever gotten heat rash, or worn a pair of VFF for an hour running in the heat, you know the type of "raw spot" I'm referring to.
The feet don't blister, they don't get a brush burn, it's just a very tender red area. It's almost as though you've worn away layers of the skin and are making your way towards that tender inner layer.
Once this condition manifests, I have to manage both the before run measures to ensure it doesn't get any worse and the after run clean up to protect it for the duration of day.
Pre-Run Raw Treatment
I've tried the Rocket Pure Friction Therapy All Natural Anti-chafe Balm and different types of Body Glide. Neither of these lasted very long during the run before I felt the rubbing pain. This was especially true while wearing the VFF.
The only thing I've found to work during an entire longer run is Vaseline. Applied liberally as a coating to the affected area it last for upwards of 2 hours without allowing any further damage to the raw area.
Post-Run Raw Treatment
Although Vaseline faired very well during the during the run, it is a gooey mess to apply post run. I've tried Bag-Balm as well. The results were better than Vaseline. There is the similar problem though in that it's very goopy. Dirt and hair easily sticks to bare skin. If socks are worn, the sock itself gets rather disgusting.
This is where I unexpectedly found my favorite Rocket Pure product, their Hand & Foot Balm. I apply this amazingly good smelling stuff right into the raw spots on my feet, wait a few minutes for it to dry, and voila! I can then walk around without worrying about collecting a bird's nest of junk on my feet, or if I want to wear socks, they slide over easily without picking up the product and feeling squishy.
I can't recommend this product highly enough, it solves exactly what it sets out to do!
My body chafes in all the wrong places
This is a common complaint with a lot of runners. I'm fortunate in that the only chafing I get comes during the hotter summer weather and oddly at the line where the shorts liner meets the inner thigh. My chafing needs may be much different from yours, so keep that in mind.
To combat this, I typically apply
Body Glide before I head out. A thin coating prevents any problems from occurring for upwards of 3 hours.
Since I already have a product I know works for my needs, I'll be comparing Friction Therapy All Natural Anti-chafe Balm directly against that need.
I applied the Rocket Pure Anti-chafe balm in the same manner as the Bode Glide before the run. The consistency is different between the two, with BodyGlide being more of a wax/deodorant type application and Rocket Pure's version being more of a vaseline type application.
At the end of a 3 hour run in the 70F's I experienced no chafing. If I hadn't applied a product, I know I would have.
This means that RocketPure functions for me as advertised. I'm not sure I'll use it on a regular basis, since the Body Glide is easier to apply and I do not feel it on my skin after application.
There is definitely one area where the Rocket Pure product outshines Body Glide due to its consistency -- if you are already chaffed. I made the mistake of skipping an application before a longer run and came back with a nasty chaffed area. The next day out of habit I went to apply Body Glide to the affected area and I cringed at the pain.
I remembered I had the Rocket Pure product, applied it easily and pain free, and had no discomfort during the subsequent run.
Utilizing these types of products is not going to make you run faster, but they will make your life more enjoyable. Couple that with supporting a small company who are utilizing natural and organic ingredients where ever possible and you can feel good about applying them to your body.
If you're interested in trying out some of the Rocket Pure products, use the coupon code "Shodless14" to get 10% off your order.
Note: RocketPure supplied these products for free a long time ago, with no strings attached. I do not recommend items which I have not extensively tried and truly utilize.