Ode to Odious Odors

September 6th, 2010 | In Uncategorized

Runners stink. Anyone who has stood in a mass of runners at the starting line of a race or lingered after a large group run knows this to be a simple, irrefutable truth. When you run, you sweat. And when you sweat, you stink. Fortunately, it’s easy for a runner to combat his or her own B.O.: hop in the shower and rub-a-dub-dub, three minutes in the tub, you’re out so fresh and so clean.

Running shoes and apparel, however, seem less willing to relinquish your post-run funk. The moisture wicking capabilities of many technical fabrics (the very capabilities that make them so comfortable to run in) also render them more likely to hold on to embedded bacteria and leave your tech tees smelling a little stinkier. (How’s that for irony?) And we all know how quickly a new pair of shoes can go awry after a particularly rainy run. Fortunately there are several handy pieces of gear (all courtesy of companies with Atlanta ties) designed to help combat the accumulation of running-related odors.

WIN Detergent – WIN touts a “super-oxygenated formula” that “targets embedded sweat molecules and odors that overwhelm the fabric. Simultaneously, these same ingredients also react with soil and organic materials causing them to either decolorize or disintegrate.” Ok, so maybe it all sounds a little over-scientific, but suffice it to say that rather than simple masking odors like conventional detergents WIN is formulated to actually remove the accumulated bacteria that causes odor and discoloration. And it works! In fact, you can actually almost see it working. When you wash a single garment by hand WIN fizzes like peroxide cleaning a wound. It also comes in a fragrance-free, dye-free Green version and was the first laundry product to be selected as an officially licensed product of the US Olympic Team.

Stuffitts Shoe Savers – One of the most commonly asked questions we get is how to properly dry out shoes once they get wet. The best answer used to be to stuff your shoes with pieces of newspaper and a dryer sheet but now the cleaner, simpler solution is Stuffitts, a line of cedar-stuffed, absorbent shoe stuffers. While stuffing your shoes with newspaper is certainly still viable, the process of balling up, stuffing and un-stuffing a shoe full of newspaper can get old after a while (particularly if you’re like me and sweat enough to require a shoe-stuffing after each run).  Plus, newspaper often takes a while to absorb moisture and doesn’t necessarily address the whole stinky feet issue.  Stuffitts knock out much of the funk of wet shoes and seem to absorb moisture more quickly than newspaper or air drying alone. Stuffitts are available in a variety of sizes and colors.

Seat Shield – While the seat shield doesn’t exactly work to remove old bacteria or prevent the formation of new bacteria, it may help prevent excessive sweat from making its way into your car. Currently, if I’m driving home from a run the only thing standing between my precious stock cloth seats and my sweat-soaked shorts is my workout towel, which at this point is so tattered and old it’s often referred to as my “binky.” It barely wraps around my waist, much less covers my entire car seat. Seat Shields offer full coverage, are washable, and (this is probably more important than their sweat-blocking abilities) keep your leather seats from getting scaldingly, un-sittably hot in the summer time.

A runner’s odious odor is an unavoidable, accepted by-product of the pastime we love. Now, fortunately for those close to us, there are ways to keep it from invading the other parts of our life too.

Leave your comments. Let us know if you have had any experience with these products (or any other products, too).

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6 People have left comments on this post

» db

Sep 20, 2010 at 04:09:48

I love Axe Body Spray. And I hear it helps with girls too!

» Jarian

Sep 20, 2010 at 05:09:05

I have been using that new tide with febreeze and that works really great, only reason is that WIN costs alot for a lil amount that you get and I can leave stinky clothes around until I have enough to wash a full load. I also find it helps when you jump in the shower give your clothes a lil rinse too at the same time that way when they dry they dont stink up the place until you wash….

» Jeff

Sep 21, 2010 at 12:09:55

With wicking fabrics, always wash with cold water, rinse with cold water. If you do that, you should not require the expensive sports detergents.

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May 9, 2012 at 03:05:03

Regards for all your efforts that you have put in this. very interesting information. “Either you run the day or the day runs you.” by Jim Rohn.

» Armand Montrose

May 25, 2012 at 02:05:01

Thanks for your hints!

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Jun 3, 2012 at 02:06:24

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