This post came about because of a Backpacker magazine article about skills. One of the items was about endurance and was for, “Blistered feet during a high-mileage trek.”
The tip was to, “… protect against hot spots by applying a skin lubricant like Vaseline to high-friction areas…”
I’m sorry, but I think Vaseline is a bad choice.
When I ran my first ultra, back around 1982, there was not a huge choice in lubricants so Vaseline was commonly used. But I learned very quickly that its stickiness helped it collect dust and grit, sand and dirt, and other things that found their way into your socks and shoes. Once absorbed into my socks, it also became stiff. I looked for an alternative and discovered Bag Balm, which I used for years.
Over the years, Vaseline has been surpassed by lubricants that are slicker without attracting “stuff’ that can cause hot spots and blisters, that last longer, that don’t cake up on your socks, and that are much more effective.
So, here’s my choice for a bad lubricant: Vaseline.
And here are my choices for good lubricants:
- Solid Stick
- Pocket Slick
- The Original Anti-Chafe Balm
- FootGlide Foot Formula
- Ant-Chafe with SPF 25 Balm
- BodyGlide Anti-Chafe for Her
- Liquefied Powder
- WarmFX Anti-Pain Balm
- Anti-Chafe Stick
- Anti-Chafe Stick, Sensitive Formula
Hydropel Sports Ointment
Many of these are available through ZombieRunner. Click on “Anti-chafing & Skin Care.” I you are looking for a new lubricant, or want to try one of these, check them out through ZombieRunner.
Disclosure: Clicking through to ZombieRunner and making a purchase credits me with a few pennies to support this website.
If you have been a runner for long, odds are you have heard of Bag Balm. I used Bag Balm in my first ultras, after tiring of the greasy, stickiness of Vaseline. Bag Balm worked on my feet.
Lyndonville, Vermont is a long way from almost everything. Tucked in the northern corner of Vermont, is a one-room “plant” by the family owned Dairy Association Co., Inc. – six employees, two officers and no sales force – operating in a cluster of converted railroad buildings in this small (pop. 1,215) town.
Petrolatum is shoveled from 50-gallon drums into a large vat and blended with lanolin from Uruguay, then heated to 95 degrees. A machine quickly squirts the goop into metal cans that are cooled, capped and packaged. The familiar green can.
The Associated Press ran a story about Bag Balm. They wrote: The phones are ringing at Bag Balm headquarters. Everyone wants a new tub of the gooey, yellow-green ointment. And all have a story about its problem-salving – they use it on squeaky bed springs, psoriasis, dry facial skin, cracked fingers, burns, zits, diaper rash, saddle sores, sunburn, pruned trees, rifles, shell casings, bed sores and radiation burns. Everything, it seems, except for cows.
Developed in 1899 to soothe the irritated udders of milking cows, the substance with the mild medicinal odor has evolved into a medicine chest must-have, with as many uses as Elmer’s glue.
Athletes have used Bag Balm everywhere. Literally. On feet as a lubricant, on underarms and inner thighs for chafing, under shorts for chafing from front to back, for chapped lips, under waist or shoulder straps of fanny and back packs – anywhere there is rubbing and chafing.
As usual, the a bit of common sense is encouraged. Clean off any old lube before applying a new coating. Be watchful of sand or grit picked up in the lube.
Sold off pet care shelves and at farm stores for $8.99 per 10-oz. green tub (with cow’s head on the lid), it’s made of petrolatum, lanolin and an antiseptic, 8-hydroxyquinoline sulfate – substantially the same formula used since John L. Norris bought it from a Wells River druggist before the turn of the century.
Distributed by wholesalers and sold retail in farm stores, national drugstore chains and general stores, its popularity has grown largely with word-of-mouth advertising as converts becomes users and then devotees.
For all its myriad uses, there’s one place its makers say never to use it. “Never put Bag Balm in your hair, because you will not get it out.”
Never used it? Pick up a small tin to keep in your field bag. You’ll be glad you did. You can typically find it in your local drug store or feed and tack shop.
Blisters are very predictable. Take three elements, moisture, friction, and heat, common to your feet when you run, and the likelihood of a blister appearing is high. The longer these elements exist on the feet, unattended to, the greater the risk. So, what can we do to reduce one or more of these elements?
Proactive or Reactive
You have the option of being proactive or reactive in managing
blisters. The proactive runner chooses to take steps to prevent
blisters before they develop. The reactive runner treats the blisters
after they develop. Many reactive runners simply think blisters are a
normal part of running. Wrong! Working with the blister prevention
options below can help eliminate one of the most troublesome problems
in walking, running, hiking–any sport that stresses your feet.
The first order of business is to recognize that you, and you alone, need to find what will work on your feet. Others can give suggestions, but what works for another may not work for you. What follows is a synopsis of options you need to consider….