First and foremost, I'd like to apologize to Rock for getting this review out so damn late. Please don't take that to mean that I think it's a bad product or not worth your time. Quite the contrary! Time just seemed to get away from me a little, that's all.
From my first few days suffering through physical fitness training at the police training academy almost 14 years ago one thing became clearly evident, I was a sweater! Everybody sweats when they workout. But, my capacity to soak everything and everyone in a three foot radius became the stuff of legend! Gross and embarrassing I know. Me and me academy class suffered through it and graduated somewhat dry.
As an avid distance runner I've tried a lot of different things to deal with this problem. Wicking fabric typically found in running clothing works alright up to a point. If you're running outside and have a slight breeze, it does OK. But, when it's calm or I run inside on a treadmill I turn into a sponge. I remember one particular hot and humid day about two summer training seasons ago where it was so nasty that I had to stop and wring out my shirt. It was like a towel from a car wash. Even I was amazed that I could sweat that much!
Running with less clothing works. But, I've already survived a bout of skin cancer once before. I'm not anxious to repeat it. They don't make a sunscreen strong enough to resist my sweat for very long. So, this typically isn't an option for me. Take the sun serious my fellow runners. It's a deadly thing!
Another problem with running shirtless is that the sweat naturally travels down to your shorts. Once any part of your clothing becomes soaked you run the risk of chaffing. To say that this is one of my biggest problems is an understatement. It's a nasty thing because you don't always notice that it's happening until your run's over. Then it's too late to do anything about it. It hurts like Hell, makes you bleed all over the place and can take a long time to heal. There's several products out there to prevent chaffing. I tried many of them. One that I often use is Body Glide. It works fairly well and is similar to a slightly less gooey version of Vaseline. But, it doesn't do anything other than make you feel like a lubricated, wet robot. Depending on how much you apply, it may stain your clothing too. Forget reapplying it after you're soaked. It won't stick then.
Another big issue for me is soaked shoes. Just like the clothing, when your shoes get wet you can also get chaffing on your feet. Some runners claim that they even provide less support wet compared to when they're dry. There's nothing more disgusting feeling than slipping on your shoes the next day before a run and they're still soaked from the previous day's run. I coat both of my feet in Vaseline for every marathon to prevent chaffing. It's a lovely experience that feels like your putting your feet into mud. Better have a towel nearby for your hands! One way I combat soaked shoes is two train with two pairs. I rotate them after each run. I also use a product called Stuffitts to dry out my shoes. The Stuffitts are a shoe insert filled with cedar chips that absorb the sweat inside a wet shoe. It can get confusing rotating shoes and the Stuffitts only last so long before they loose their absorbency.
One product that many runners use to combat sweat and it's related issues is talc powder. Talc is actually a mineral and is used for a variety of different things. It's commonly put in sports related powders. I've used talc before. But, it doesn't absorb water and has a tendency to quickly clump up. It's messy as Hell too. It lasts only a short time. Not a very good combination for long distance runs! So, that's a no go for me too.
So, since I've got lots of issues with sweating; I'm always on the lookout for new ways to combat this sticky topic. My friend, Coach Jeff of the Running Podcast offered up a chance to grab some free swag a couple of months ago on his show. I was lucky enough to get a free bottle of a product called Squeaky Cheeks. Funny name! He'd been rambling on about it since forever. I was anxious to see if it was as good as he claimed.
Squeaky Cheeks was created by Rock Toone out of Utah. Rock's an amazing guy and a Fireman. If there's anybody who'd know about sweating and chaffing besides runners, it'd be the guys and gals who run into burning buildings wearing 70-100 lbs. of gear!
Squeaky Cheeks resembles talc. But, has none whatsoever. It's composed of an unique mixture created by Rock containing corn starch, bentonite clay, slippery elm bark and other natural ingredients. It's got a pleasant, fresh menthol scent to it.
I've gotta be honest here and say that I was disappointed when I first opened my 5 oz. bottle. It just looked and felt too much like the talc powder that I'd sworn off years ago. But, it couldn't hurt to give it a try. Here's the lowdown after testing it for a while now.
The 5 oz. bottle has a flip open squeeze type lid. Which was really handy when putting the product into my shoes, socks and shorts. Unlike the typical pepper shaker type lids you find on talc powder bottles; this design made it a lot less messy. It helps to stand in your bathtub when squirting it in your shorts. That way it's an easy clean up.
Some people who've used the product claim to be slightly irritated by a tingly sensation. My guess is the menthol component. While it was tingly, it didn't irritate my skin at all no matter how long it was applied. It actually felt nice!
I've tried out the product over several different time frames. It lasted much longer than I remember talc ever lasting. Although, I've yet to test it on anything longer than an hour and a half of running. I did give it a try in my work boots. It did last my entire eight hour shift of walking. It absorbed sweat very well. Something that talc doesn't do at all. It didn't stain any of my clothing like some gels have in the past. It's even effective when you're already soaked and have to reapply.
My initial opinion has gone out the window. It's definitely something that I think I'll use while training. If Mother Nature ever smacks down Old Man Winter here in upstate NY long enough for Spring to arrive, I'll definitely be giving it a try during some longer runs and races. I'll be bathing in it during my upcoming 50K!
My 5 oz. bottle costs $13 US and is marketed to last a month. I've been using mine on and off now for about two months. So, it depends on how much you apply and how often. Rock also sells two other sizes: a carton of 50 single use packs for $45 US and a 28 oz. bottle marketed to last six months for $44 US. Both bottles have the handy squeeze top. No matter what size you purchase, you get free shipping.
I like the marketing, I like the price point, I like product and Rock's very approachable if you have any questions! As you put some miles into your life give Squeaky Cheeks a try. It'll keep you dry, chafe free and smelling like you didn't just run a 50K for 10 hours straight!