The Crowded Running Shoe Market

July 19, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Footwear, Sports 

Back in the early 80’s I bought my first pair of running shoes. I went for New Balance, and they coast an amazing $45.00. There were the big names at that point: Adidas, Asics, Brooks, Nike, New Balance, Puma, and Reebok.

That was then. This is now. Shoe companies galore.

  1. Adidas
  2. Altra
  3. Asics
  4. Brooks
  5. Chaco
  6. Ecco
  7. Hoka One One
  8. Inov-8
  9. Karhu
  10. K-Swiss
  11. Merrell
  12. Mizuno
  13. New Balance
  14. Newton Running
  15. Nike
  16. On
  17. Pearl Izumi
  18. Puma
  19. Reebok
  20. Salomon
  21. Saucony
  22. Scott
  23. Skechers
  24. Spira
  25. Topo Athletic
  26. Under Amour
  27. Vibram FiveFingers
  28. VibroBareFoot
  29. Zoot

Twenty nine shoe companies! I faint that amazing and overwhelming. There may be more I missed.

Then of course, each of these companies have different versions of shoes, typically road and trail. Then different types of control and support features. Then “regular” shoes versus minimalist shoes. And zero-drop shoes.

I went to one online website of a well-known company that sells many different shoes and some of the shoes manufactures had 16 or 18 different shoes models to choose from.

Companies that were known for their hiking boots and shoes now make running road and trail shoes. An underwear company makes shoes. It’s a hot market and everyone want a piece of the pie.

What’s a runner to do when they need new shoes? In my mind, there are three answers:

  • First, visit your friendly neighborhood running store. And no, I don’t mean Big 5. I mean a running store with people who actually run, know shoes, and can make recommendation based on your form and gait, foot strike, shoe history, and even injury history.
  • Secondly, use the services of a reputable online running shoe company. They typically offer call-in support to help you select the right shoes or a chat pop-up box to ask a sale person questions to determine the right shoes. Some even have online shoe buying guides.
  • Thirdly, take a chance and just buy or order a pair of shoes on your own.

I recommend the options in the order presented. The running shoe marketplace is too crowded to make an intelligent choice any other way.

Maceration at Western States

Last weekend I worked foot care at the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run.  We had a fairly dry winter with not much snow in the high country and I had heard runners talk of the dust on the trail. Based on that, I did not expect to see high number of runner’s having foot trouble because of maceration.

Working Michigan Bluff aid station, at 55.7 miles, I was surprised by the runners coming in with wet feet, and varying degrees of maceration. For some, it was minor skin softening and maybe a few surface creases. Others had more severe maceration, with creases that were deeper over widespread areas on the bottom of their feet.  A few were really bad – deep creases and skin folding over on itself.  In extreme cases, the folded skin can split open.

While maceration is commonly caused by stream and river crossings, it also happens when runners pour water over their heads and body and it runs down into their shoes. Feet also sweat a lot, some people’s more than others, and this also can lead to maceration.

I also worked the finish line. There I saw even worst cases of maceration.

Severe maceration can manifest itself as a burning sensation, and the feeling of large blisters all over the bottom of their feet. Taking off the runner’s shoes and socks, we found virtually all of these complaints to be degrees of maceration. Two facts are evident. First, as might be expected, the longer a runner is on the course, the worse the feet can become. Secondly, not changing one’s shoes and socks during the race can magnify the effects of maceration.

The photos here are of one runner. My recollection is this runner finished the 100 miles in about 29 hours. She came into the podiatrity area of the medical tent and could barely walk. This is not uncommon. Runners dig deep and finish on adrenalin and then once they stop, the extent of the injuries to their feet hits them.

Photo 1: Macerated Feet WS100

Photo 1: Macerated Feet WS100

Photo 1 shows the bottom of the right foot – it’s worst than the left. You can see the white of the skin, and the creases running over much of the foot. The creases extend down to the mid-foot. Notice the white skin flap on the tip of the little toe.

 

Photo 2: Macerated Feet WS100

Photo 2: Macerated Feet WS100

Photo 2 is a close up if the toes. You can see the large skin flap on the little toe. This flap of skin was very white and looked as if the skin on the tip of the toes had been pulled outward and pinched. It was about ¼ inch in length. It runs from the toenail to the bottom of the toe.

 

Photo 3: Macerated Feet WS100

Photo 3: Macerated Feet WS100

Photo 3 shows the side of the forefoot. You can see the large fold of skin of the inside of the ball of the foot. This can be very painful and can split open under pressure.

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for maceration. Typical treatments include warming the feet, moisture-absorbing powder, dry socks, allowing the feet exposure to air to dry, and time. In talking to this runner, she did not change her shoes nor socks during the 100 miles. I don’t recall the type of shoe, but my guess is that it did not allow water to drain.

Athlete Applying Hipoglos

Athlete Applying Hipoglos

There are several ways to manage possible maceration. Several years ago I watched as an adventure racer coated the bottom of his feet with Hipoglos, a European version of zinc oxide. The compound helps control moisture on the skin, whether zinc oxide or Desitin or a similar product. RunGoo, Century Riding Cream, and Blue Steel Sports Anti-Chafe Cream are similar products. I may have another product to announce early next month.

Another helpful tip is to make sure your shoes drain well. Whether that means mesh uppers, mesh or a draining material down to the shoes upper sole, or making drain holes with a heated nail, draining water out of the shoe is important. Then of course, changing your shoes and socks is also important. Most 100’s have aid stations with drop bags and it’s easy to put a pair of shoes in one or two drop bags, or have your crew have them ready.

Maceration can be cruel. It ruins the race for some runners. It’s painful. It can take days to heal fully.  But there are ways to minimize its effects.  If you are running a 100 or a multi-day race, and there is a chance of water on the course, plan accordingly.

Good Luck WS100 Runners

June 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Footcare, Sports 

Years ago, back in the late 80′s, I has the good fortune to run the Western States 100 Endurance Run four times.  While I never earned the silver buckle, I had respectable times: 26:32, 26:00, and 24:32. The fourth time, I pulled myself at Rucky Chucky. I always did my training in the Ohlone Wilderness, Lake Chabot, and Mt. Diablo.

My third time, when I missed the silver buckle by 32 minutes, I never should have finished. My training for the six months before the race was only 750 miles! I was 250th into Robinson Flat and 100th at the finish line. Between the two,  no one passed me and I passed everyone I could. My pacer and I had a great night run, picking people off as we ran. I thought I had a shot at 24 hours, but when I got to Highway 49, I knew I would fall short.

So it is with those memories that I wish everyone at Western States the best of luck for a safe and fun run.

I’ll be doing foot care at Michigan Bluff and then Sunday morning at the finish line. I hope some of you crewing will have the opportunity to stop by medical at Michigan Bluff and say hi. If you are running the race, I hope you can run past with great looking feet.

But if you need help with blisters or any foot related care, I’ll be there.

Runners Should Pay Attention to Foot Care

June 16, 2014 by · 1 Comment
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Footcare, Health, Sports 

I’ve been on vacation much of the past two weeks and given my time away, have turned to a good friend, Alene Nitzky, an experienced and well qualified ultra runner who wrote an article published at the Coloradoan website. You have heard me go on and on about the importance of god foot care. Here’s another slant, from an ultra runner who has run Badwater and many other ultras.

Alene Nitzky

Alene Nitzky

Runners spend all kinds of money on entry fees, clothing, travel to races, nutritional supplements and race foods. They spend all kinds of time on training, body work, stretching, weight training or cross training.

They worry about their weight, hydration, nutrition, sleep, and preparing for race-day conditions. And most of all, they obsess about finding the right shoe.

But in all this obsession, the two things they forget are the most essential tools they have to carry them from start to finish and go into those expensive running shoes.

Their feet.

Your feet are your base of support. They are the vehicle that carries you forward and through the distance. You can’t run without them. So why do so many runners neglect them?

You can do all the right training and preparation, wear the right shoes and gear, but if your feet fail you, it can ruin months of hard work.

The problem is lack of foot care. Blisters are just a symptom of the problem. Friction and moisture are the two culprits in creating blisters. Improper hydration plays an important role, too.

Blisters are caused by layers of skin and fabric or debris trapped inside the shoe or sock, combined with friction from running motion. Creases in socks, rough edges inside shoes, and dirt contribute to these rough spots. Calluses that are allowed to develop on feet and are not removed can lead to deep, painful blisters. Rough or jagged toenails can catch on socks, causing the fabric to bunch and rub against the toes.

The role of hydration, especially too little sodium relative to fluid intake, also contributes to blistering. Fluid travels out of the blood vessels into the tissues and separates layers of skin, making shoes tight and contributing to more friction. Check your hands while running. If your hands are swollen, your feet are swollen, too. Popular sports drinks often don’t have enough sodium to replace what is lost during long, hot weather events.

Regular pedicures are helpful. If you don’t want nail polish and all the extras, you can do much of it yourself. Softening and removing calluses over time reduces the likelihood of blisters under these trouble spots. Soften rough, dry spots with lotion when you’re not out running. Keep your toenails trimmed and filed. Underneath the ball of the foot, most people don’t realize they have callouses, and these are a common trouble spot.

Moisture is another problem, even in our dry climate. If you are running trails with stream crossings or crossing snow banks at high altitude, you are also at risk for developing blisters. But even without water crossings, your feet sweat, and moisture in socks and shoes can become a problem.

Keeping your feet as dry as possible helps. If you have a dry pair of shoes and socks to change into after the stream crossings are behind you, that will help.

Use a good sock that wicks moisture away. There are many different brands at specialty running stores. Keep your shoes and socks clean. If you’re running a road marathon, don’t race in shoes or socks you wore on trails. The dirt will stay inside and cause friction.

A foot kit should be part of every runner’s supplies. You can learn how to give yourself a pedicure, how to stock a foot kit and tips for avoiding blisters and other foot problems by doing some research.

Band-Aids are fine for knees and hands, or even on feet that aren’t being used, but they are not meant for use on feet while running. They don’t hold up to friction, moisture and shearing. The Band-Aid will soon bunch up and crease, and any dirt in your shoes and socks will stick to them, causing more friction.

Two excellent resources for learning how to take care of your feet are John Vonhof’s book, Fixing Your Feet, 5th Edition, Wilderness Press, 2011, and website fixingyourfeet.com. You can also get a free subscription to his fixing your feet blog with helpful tips.

Alene Nitzky, Ph.D.,RN is a health coach and cancer exercise trainer. Her website is Sunspirit Wellness Services.  She has been running ultramarathons since 1991. Her blog is Journey to Badwater

I encourage you to check out Alene’s websites. She’s a great person with a big heart.

Miles on Your Feet

May 25, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Footcare, Health, Sports 

Last weekend I worked the finish line at the Ohlone 50KM Trail Run in San Francisco’s East Bay hills. This is a tough trail, very exposed to the day’s sun, and every step is either up or down. Some people say, and I believe that if you finish Ohlone, you have a great chance of finishing Western States.

One runner who I admire and consider a close friend is Catra Corbet. She has proven herself as the “owner” of this trail. Many years she will run an Ohlone 100 or more just because she loves the trail so much. This year, Catra did 200 miles on the trail!

In talking to Catra after she completed the 200 miles, she mentioned that she had no blisters. I remember years ago taking a picture of her taping her toes. She used to tape every toe. I have a photo of her with a heel blister too. Now though, Catra runs blister free. What’s the difference?

I believe Catra’s success with blister free feet came through the miles of running she puts on her feet. She doesn’t run short runs, she doesn’t run a couple of times a week – she runs a lot. Many of you know Catra, or have heard of her – and know how much she runs. She also has found the right shoes for her feet – Hokas. She also wears Drymax socks – a favorite of mine.

But it’s not just Catra. I have worked medical and provided foot care at hundreds of ultramarathons, adventure races, walks, and multi-day races and have seen the same thing.

At the Western States 100 at 55.7 miles, for example, the top 20 to 30 runners come through Michigan Bluff without needing any type of foot care. There may be one of two that get some type of foot care from their crew down the road, but if so, is generally pretty minor. Most often, if anything, they just change socks or shoes.

As the race progresses and more runners come through, we begin to see runners needing help with foot care. The farther back the runners are, the more foot care they need. Not every runner, but many of them. And many of them have multiple issues. Not just one blister, but quite a few. The more problems that have, the more complex the repair, and the longer it takes to complete the fix. This becomes a huge issue if they are trying to stay ahead of the cutoffs at each aid station. I remember a runner several years ago that we patched up. At the next aid station, she need more care and wanted to get out of the aid station quickly to avoid the cutoff. That meant not doing a quality patch job –and she came back to the aid station after going a bit down the road. She knew her race was over.

So the point here is that you need to put lots of miles on your feet in order to train them for long conditions. You can run 10 miles a day, day after day, and then try and do a 50 miler, and odds are – you will have problems. You have 10-15 mile feet – not 50 mile feet.

This applies to walking, running, adventure racing, hiking, – any activity where you use your feet.

It all boils down to how many miles you are putting on your feet.

We all can’t be the top runners. Many runners don’t have unlimited time to train. So what can the rest of us do? Make sure you get some long runs, especially closer to your race. Make sure you have the best possible fit in your shoes. Make sure you wear quality socks. Reduce your calluses. Learn proper toenail care. Change your socks and shoes as necessary for the conditions of your run or race.

Over the years, I have talked to too many runners who think blisters are naturally a part of running and racing. They don’t have to be. Make smart choices and put miles on your feet, and your feet can be blister free.

Foot Care – Whose Responsibility?

May 10, 2014 by · 4 Comments
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Health, Sports 

The other day I was looking around the website for the Western States 100 and came across the picture below. It’s pretty brutal. The feet have been pounded to death and been wet – probably the majority of the race. I see torn blisters; blisters on the heels, bottom of the heel, ball of the foot, the crease by the toes, side of the big toes and the toes; and macerated skin. I have no idea if the runner finished the race or was helped off the trail, but my guess is that he gutted it out to the finish line. Click on the image for a larger picture.

Feet at the finish line of Western States

Feet at the finish line of Western States

My point in showing you this photo is to remind you, as strongly as possible, that there is only so much that I or any other medical person can do to repair your feet and get you to the finish line. You are the one person responsible for your feet, not your crew or anyone on the medical staff. Here are 15 questions you have to answer about your feet:

  1. What are the best shoes?
  2. Will you have additional shoes in a drop bag – the same kind, what size, and where?
  3. What are the best socks – one pair, two pair, double layer, Injinji toe socks, and what brand?
  4. Will you change socks – where and when, the same socks?
  5. Will you wear gaiters?
  6. Do you need lubricant – what kind, where on your feet, how much, and when to reapply?
  7. Have you trimmed your toenail and filed them short and smooth?
  8. Have you reduced your calluses?
  9. What is your plan for managing your feet during the race?
  10. If you get blisters, what will you do?
  11. How will you manage the inevitable water in your shoes and socks?
  12. Do you have a foot care kit?
  13. Do you and/or your crew know how to use the materials in the kit?
  14. If you go to medical for foot care, can you describe what you want them to do?
  15. Have you put the training miles on your feet necessary to run 100 miles?

These are not hard questions – but each is important – and together they make up your plan for your feet. The runner whose feet are pictured above made some wrong choices about his feet. As did many other runners. It happens every year and at races across the country. It’s not just a Western States issue.

The best time to ask these questions is in the months before the race. Then develop a plan. Just like you make up drop bags, find a crew, plan your food, a plan for night running – you need a plan for your feet. I emphasize “You.”

I cannot stress this enough. The medical staff at races cannot fix every big and little problem each runner has. At most races there are too many runners per medical or podiatrity people. And not enough supplies. And not enough time to get everyone patched up to continue on and make the cutoffs. Yes, we are there to help you and we do the best we can.

At Western States there are eight aid stations with medical staff. Each station usually has someone who is in charge of feet. These people have varying degrees of skill and supplies. Did the person above seek help at any of the eight aid stations? I wish I knew. If he did, what did they do?

Of course, looking at the feet above, you might be asking, “What could have prevented this?” or “How do we fix this?” Those are questions for a different post on a different day.

I’ll give you a hint though; the first question is answered in the pages of Fixing Your Feet. And if you have an old edition, you are shorting yourself because these are new information, new techniques, and new products in every edition.

The second question is harder. I have some ideas that other might not think of. This runner will struggle for many days as his feet heal. I pray that he’ll wonder what he did wrong and what he could have done better – and then seek out answers so his next race has a different outcome.

Note: I wish I could credit the photo to a photographer. If I find out, I’ll add a comment to this post.

Listen to me interviewed on Trail Runner Nation

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by Scott Warr and Don Freeman from Trail Runner Nation. I was honored they asked me and we had fun doing the interview. The subject? What else but feet!

Trail Runner Nation

Trail Runner Nation

You can listen to the interview on their website, download the MP3 file, or better yet, subscribe to their podcast series through iTunes. Here’s the link to their webpage: FEET – Injury Prevention and Treatment with John Vonhof.

Here’s what they wrote on their website:

One of your most important tools as a runner is your feet. You need to take care of them or your training/race may be foiled. John Vonhof literally wrote the book on how to take care of your feet: Fixing Your Feet.  This book is now in the FIFTH edition!  John joins The Nation to discuss the basic principles of foot care:

  • How you can have healthy & happy feet
  • Footwear
  • Insoles
  • Gaiters
  • Blister prevention and treatment
  • What to keep in a foot care kit
  • Taping your feet

The interview is 62 minutes in length, but my interview starts about five minutes in. Enjoy the interview and then subscribe to Trail Runner Nation’s podcast.

Thanks Scott and Don for giving me the opportunity to share a bit of my passion for feet on your podcast.

Reebok’s All Terrain Shoe Fills a Need

April 20, 2014 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Footwear, Sports 

How specialized can shoes become? Last year I watched many runners at the Jungle Marathon Amazon struggle with waterlogged shoes. The race went through rivers and swamps, dirt roads, sand on beaches and in the jungle, and through all kinds of rocks, roots, and other jungle junk. I remember one racer whose waterlogged Hoka’s seemed to each weigh three pounds after a day going through water, sand, and jungle. I saw shoes after shoes that were filled with sand and dirt, and were also waterlogged. This makes one’s race harder as you have to lift that weight with every step.

I have run races where my shoes were wet from stream or river crossings, or rain, or from puddles.  Now Reebok has introduced their All-Terrain Series shoe as a solution to the problem with water. The shoes were designed to help runners in the Spartan Race Series of obstacle courses.

The Rebook All-Terrain Series Shoe

Reebok All-Terrain Super

Reebok All-Terrain Super

The Reebok All-Terrain Series shoe is a new shoe made for the popular obstacle races popping up worldwide – but I think they’ll be valuable in any race or event where water is a problem and traction is important. It’s named after the ever-popular Spartan Race Series and was designed and engineered in cooperation with the Reebok Spartan Race community. An important feature is the mesh H2O Drain ports that drain water quickly through the upper and midsole. The Super model has four drain holes on each side. The Sprint model has small drain holes all over the mesh upper.

Reebok All-Terrain Lugs

Reebok All-Terrain Lugs

The shoe has an outsole with square indented lugs and mid-foot teeth offering superior traction to shed mud. There are even lugs on the front toe of the shoe. The shoe is lightweight and breathable, with a rubberized tongue that will not absorb water and has holes to help expel water. Under the foot is a RockGuard plate to provide protection from rocks and other hard or sharp objects. The upper is made of DuraGrip for durability and ION Mask-fabric to repel mud and water. The shoe’s colors are vivid and bright.

There are two models, an All-Terrain Super and an All-Terrain Sprint. The Super is made for longer distance races and is engineered with more cushioning and stability. The Sprint is made for shorter distance races with a light-weight midsole and a low drop.

Reebok All-Terrain Series Shoes

Reebok All-Terrain Series Shoes

This is a serious shoe for obstacle course racers or events were water is a problem. It’s a shoe that can handle any abuse a Spartan Race can give it so you are unstoppable on any course – provided your legs and body don’t quit. I read reviews of Spartan racers who had tested the shoe and all swore by the H2O Drain ports. Having spent a week last October in the Amazon, I saw what wet shoes do to a runner’s feet. I think these would be great in the Amazon or any event with lots of water.

The Reebok All-Terrain Super retails for $119.98 while the Sprint is $109.98. Reebok says they should be in stores the end of April. They are also available through the Reebok website. I’m told they run a bit small so it is recommended to go up a half size. Reebok also offers the option to design your own shoe with a variety of colors for the upper, midsole, laces, tongue, and more.  Here’s the link to check out the Reebok All-Terrain Series shoes.

Of course, remember to try any shoe for a while before committing to wear it in a race or long distance run/hike. Make sure the fit works on your feet. Make sure any shoes you buy for a specific event will hold up through whatever it throws at your feet.

The Spartan Race Series

Spartan Race Series

Spartan Race Series

The Spartan Race Series is an international obstacle racing series with three levels of courses: a 3-mile Sprint, an 8-mile Super and a 10-12 mile Beast. You will run, jump and crawl your way over a dozen or more obstacles. Courses are uniquely designed to test your mental and emotional fitness and push you past your limits. Race as an individual, as a part of a team or both!

Choose your Spartan Race here. There are races in many states, as well as Canada, England, France, and 11 other countries. Spartan has offered a discount to my readers interested in trying a Spartan Race. You can get 15% off any Spartan Race in the continental U.S.

If the idea of an obstacle race interests you, Spartan offers a free eBook, You’ll Know at the Finish Line: The Spartan Guide to the Sport of Obstacle Racing.

A FREE SPARTAN RACE ENTRY: If you are interested in a free entry into a 2014 Spartan Race in the continental U.S., write a comment to this blog post and tell me your thoughts on the All-Terrain shoe and why you deserve a free entry. The deadline is midnight Saturday, April 26, 2014. I will pick randomly pick one response on Sunday, April 27 and send that person the code for a free race.

Maceration is a Huge Problem

February 27, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Foot Care Products, Health, Sports 

Maceration is not limited to runners, adventure racers, and hikers. The other day Deb shared a link on an online forum, which featured some awful looking feet. Actually, truth be told, she called them “fun feet photos.”

Badly macerated feet

Badly macerated feet

I’ve seen feet like these many times over, at many races. Most recently, last October, most of the runners in the Jungle Marathon Amazon had feet like these.

You can read my post about the Amazon race here.

In the link shared by Deb, there are 14 photos of cyclist’s feet – featuring the bottoms of their feet, along with their face. The images were taken immediately after the race ended. The Norwegian photographer Espen Rasmussen says in the piece, “You start in Trondheim in the north, then you go up the mountains and you meet snow, rain, heavy wind, and then you finish in Oslo in the south.” He’s talking about the bicycle race in Norway, which is 336 miles long.

Rasmussen wanted to capture the pain and the hardness these people went through.

Macerated feet with tape

Macerated feet with tape

As you look at each of the 14 pairs of feet, you’ll see maceration is the common thread. Maybe one or two pair has blisters – but these are simply feet that have been wet for hours and hours, encased in wet socks and shoes.

I have captured two of the images on this page and hope you will check out the full story in the link below. It is worth looking at these images and realizing that the same thing can happen to you. You’ll also see the faces behind the feet. It’s a great visual story.

So the question is what could have been done to prevent or minimize the effects of the moisture. For this type of event, it’s hard to say how often the riders stopped, how often they changed their shoes and socks, or what they might have done to their feet. Unlike runners, who know their feet take a beating, cyclists may not realize the outcome of moisture on their feet and therefore may not take proper precautions.

In the past months, I have reviewed several products that could have helped, and in a week or so will review another new product. Here are the two links to the blog posts:

For a longer informative piece on maceration, check out my blog post in June 2011 called Maceration.

CNN World writer Kyle Almond wrote the story. To read the full story and photos click on this link, Extreme Races, These Feet Don’t Lie.

I also plan to write a blog post about many of these lubricants and how to chose the ones right for your feet. I’d look for that in late March.

 

Foot Kinetics New Blister Prevention Creams

February 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: blister care, Foot Care, Foot Care Products, Health, Sports 
Foot Kinetics

Foot Kinetics

Foot Kinetics recently introduced several new products designed to reduce blister formation. Carl and Rick, founders of Foot Kinetics, developed HikeGoo, RunGoo, WalkGoo, and SilkStep foot creams for preventing blisters and providing moisturization. The products help avoid foot problems by forming a friction-free layer between the skin and sock. This protective layer reduces rubbing and friction, working on a variety of foot problems including blisters, callus formation, soft tissue bruising, and sore feet. Each formulation is different and contains a balance of hard wax, lanolin, and natural vegetable waxes to moisturize and protect feet from abrasion and foot fatigue.

The protective foot creams are formulated for specific activities and footwear. The relative percentage of hard versus soft waxes in each product’s formulation enables it to perform optimally for that activity. The more hard wax in the formulation, the longer the product stays on the skin’s surface and the slower it absorbs. HikeGoo has the hardest wax and will last in the harsh environment of a boot on an all-day climb. RunGoo has the hard wax persistence of HikeGoo but also some added soft wax moisturization. The higher percentage of soft waxes in the foot cream, the greater the absorption and dry skin moisturization. SilkStep has the softest waxes and is optimized for moisturization.

Rather than repelling moisture or attempting to block sweat, the unique formulations actually absorb sweat and moisture to become even more effective in reducing friction between the skin and sock. This is why Foot Kinetics say they are highly effective in both dry and wet conditions to protect feet from blisters, callus formation, and skin damage.

Why it works

How the Goo Works

How the Goo Works

According to the folks at Foot Kinetics,“Our barrier creams stick around much longer than any other blister prevention or anti-chafe product on the market. They contain a high percentage of specialty hard waxes that are blended into the emulsion and make it persistent…. make it stick around all day to provide a protective layer that reduces rubbing, friction, calluses and blisters. Most other anti-chafe and blister prevention products are dimethicone-based. They are OK for thighs and chest but are too thin to stand up in the harsh environment of a shoe and you can’t apply enough to last all day.” Click on the image above for a larger view.

RunGoo

RunGoo

Foot Kinetics put a high concentration of hard wax in the HikeGoo, RunGoo, and WalkGoo emulsions and then figured out how to adjust the ‘rheology’ (deformation and flow) of the product so that it can flow out of a tube. They point out no one else has been able to do this.

They point out the other key to the success of their Goo products is their ability to last over an entire day because of the balance of lanolin alcohol in the emulsion. The balance allows it to absorb water or excess sweat and makes the emulsion ‘slipperier’. Moisture, usually present between the skin and sock, contributes to blister formation, and the lanolin alcohol balance make the skin slipperier to help keep blisters from forming.

RunGoo Protective Foot Cream prevents blisters by providing a friction barrier between the skin and sock. RunGoo contains lanolin and a balance of both soft and hard waxes to create a foot care cream that protects feet from skin damage. It is effective in eliminating blisters and calluses in traditional, barefoot style running shoes, and hiking boots. RunGoo is available in 5.5 and 3-ounce tubes.

HikeGoo

HikeGoo

HikeGoo Protective Foot Cream is very similar to RunGoo and provides a friction barrier between the skin and sock that protects feet from blisters, nerve abrasion and foot fatigue all day. High melting point waxes slow its skin absorption to create a protective layer that stays on the skin’s surface and is highly effective in helping prevent blisters. HikeGoo absorbs completely by days end and socks easily wash clean. HikeGoo is available in 5.5 and 3-ounce tubes.

WalkGoo Protective Foot Cream is a thinner compound and is good for feet because it protects and moisturizes during sport walks or while on the job. WalkGoo’s friction-free formulation reduces rubbing by including Jojoba, Mimosa, and Sunflower waxes which stay on the skins surface longer to help prevent blisters, calluses and nerve abrasion while softening and smoothing cracked heels and rejuvenating dry feet. A single application lasts all day and absorbs cleanly. WalkGoo is available in 8 and 3-ounce tubes.

SilkStep Protective Foot Cream has the highest percentage of Jojoba, Mimosa and Sunflower waxes of all their protective foot creams. It absorbs slowly providing a protective layer on the skin.

You can find all their products at the Foot Kinetics website.

The Goo products all have the same basic compound, but the amount of hard and soft waxes as well as hydration varies in each formula. Some are thicker than others and will stay on the foot for longer periods of time.

The Foot Kinetics Goo products are advertised as lasting, “…for the entire race, workout, run or game.” You need to determine if that works for your event. There’s a big difference between a 12-mile hike, a marathon, a 100-mile run and a 24-hour run. Try the Goo to see how it holds up on your skin during your events, reapplying it if necessary. If using it in events with sand and grit, cleaning the foot and then reapplication will probably be necessary.

Applying the Goo

To apply, with one or both hands, squeeze the tube firmly to get the cream started out the hole. You may have to squeeze hard, especially if in cold weather. After this initial squeeze the cream will come out more easily. Continue squeezing the tube while rubbing the applicator over your foot taking care to thickly cover problem areas such as heels, bunions, toes and the soles of your feet. Don’t worry if the coverage is uneven or lumpy. This is normal. Starting at your toes with your sock mostly inside-out, roll or pull your sock on and up over your heel. Don’t drag your sock on as this could wipe away some cream leaving exposed areas. If you are going to be engaged in your activity for a long time (i.e. hours), a thicker layer provides optimum protection.

Foot Kinetics protective foot creams are to be used only on closed healthy skin and not open wounds.

The Foot Kinetics website has a testimonials page describing how athletes have used the their products.

I used HikeGoo on several occasions. The compound is thick. Getting the initial squeeze out of the tube is challenging, as they describe. The design of the applicator gives you a generous amount of the Goo to spread on your feet. That’s how the Goo is meant to be used. If you are used to rubbing a small smear of BodyGlide or other lubricant on your skin, You’ll have to get used to the Goo. The hard waxes keep it thick and that’s how you should use it. Many lubricants go on and you have a hard time knowing they are there. When applied properly, you’ll feel the Goo, and know it’s working.

The Goo reminds me of Desitin Ointment – the stuff used on baby bottoms. The consistency in thickness is almost the same. It’s white so you see exactly where you have applied it and how much is on your skin. I like that aspect of the Goo.

I also like the two sizes of tubes; making it easy to carry a small tube in a pack, while keeping the larger tube in your foot care kit.

There’s always room on the shelves for more lubricants. This is one you’ll want to try. When I try products, I often use one on one foot and another (or nothing) on the other foot. I feel that gives me the best opportunity to fairly test the products. I’ve done that with shoes and socks too.

Give RunGoo or HikeGoo a test. See how the formula works for you. Use your regular lubricant on one foot and the Goo on the other. Then do a long run or hike, and see which your feet like the best. They can be ordered from the Foot Kinetics website and from Amazon.

Disclosure: I was supplied several samples of the Goo products to test. RunGoo, HikeGoo, WalkGoo and SilkStep are trademarked names of Foot Kinetics.

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