What Run Oregon is Trying: YakTrax, ChafeZone, and RAD Roller

Company: YakTrax Product: YakTrax Run Price: Approximately $39.99 (Amazon) Description: "The Yaktrax RUN is the only traction device anatomically designed to meet the needs of runners braving the winter elements. Run naturally on packed snow and ice with the Yaktrax Run's combination of removable spikes and steel coils, providing 360° of unbeatable traction. Continue your training during the winter with the same stability you are accustomed to on dry surfaces. The Yaktrax Run can be worn in temperatures as low as ‑41° Fahrenheit."

The YakTrax Run fit unobtrusively over most regular running shoes.

Impressions: YakTrax are one of those cool, well-designed products that you rarely need but you are very happy to have when you do. My medium YakTrax Run were initially a little hard to stretch onto my size 11 shoes, but once I got them on and positioned properly, they fit well and were very secure. Helpful inscriptions make it easy to figure out how to put them on: "Toe" at the front, and "Right" and "Left" at the back. The size ("Medium" in my case - for men's shoe sizes 9-11) also appears on the heel.

Carbide spikes on the front and steel coils at the rear provide versatile and multi-directional traction.

The rubberized framework forms to the sole of the shoe, with a heel cup and a velcro strap across the forefoot keeping the YakTrax tightly fastened. The YakTrax look good, with reflective accents on the toe and heel, and orange logos on the forefoot strap and heel. A pair of contrasting elements on the bottom of the YakTrax provide traction: Small carbide spikes at the front and steel coils at the rear. It’s like having studded tires AND chains on your feet simultaneously!

Unfortunately, lower S.E. Portland’s annual brief snowstorm came before I received my YakTrax, so I have to admit I haven’t had the opportunity to test my YakTrax on the run yet, but I am really looking forward to it! From what I can tell, they will really do a great job providing much-needed grip on snow and ice, and even if they are seldom used, they will be a highly valued and well-loved piece of running gear.

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Company: MedZone
Product: ChafeZone
Price: $9.99 online (.8 oz); Approximately $17 for 1.5 oz (Amazon)
DescriptionDeveloped with input from special operations forces around the world, ChafeZone® was formulated to last all day. Our unique formula will not break down easily in the presence of perspiration, chlorine, salt water or urine so it provides an effective friction barrier no matter what your activity.

The superior, water-free formulation glides on to prevent rubbing, chafing, and irritation. A quick swipe of ChafeZone® banishes chafing discomfort from running, riding, hiking, cycling, dancing, body armor, heavy packs or new footwear.

Impressions:

Nothing can put the damper on running like chafing. In the bigh scheme of running injuries, chafage seems like the lowest in terms of concern, but it can literally be a pain in the butt (or legs, or arms, or…) when your skin is rubbing raw with every step. I have experienced chafing problems in the past, and my general go-to is plain old vaseline. While this generally gets the job done, it is really inconvenient. From having to lug around a tub, have a cloth handy to spread it on, needing a bag to put that cloth in afterwards, and then cleaning up the goopy mess on my body afterwards – it’s really a lot of work (and mess) for something that shouldn’t be that difficult.

That’s where ChafeZone comes in. It does all the things that vaseline would do in a convenient, travel-ready size. It’s like a deoderant stick for your body. I have been utilizing this periodically for the past few weeks and it’s been a welcome addition to my running bag. The smell is a little medicinal, but I didn’t find it overpoweringly so. I love that I  don’t have to do much more than slide it on and forget about it. No more goopy application. No more gross wash clothes. No more time wasted. I just get out there and run.

ChafeZone could also be used with other running-related ailments, such as cracked heels, chapped hands, and overall dry skin. MedZone also has other products in their line: PainZone (with natural anti-inflammatory agents for joint and musle pain and BurnZone (for assitance with blisters, windburns, and insect bites). This trifecta of products would be all a runner may need for what they could encounter on a run.

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Company: Relief in Motion
Product: RAD Roller
Price: $24.99
Description: 

The Original RAD Roller is where it all began. Its texture is soft enough to use on more sensitive areas like your neck, yet hard enough to unlock tougher muscles like your back, legs and everywhere else you’re ready to roll.

  • Dimensions: 4.9″ x 2.5″
  • Materials: Silicone, latex free
  • Color: Blue
  • Unit weight: 13oz.
  • Comes with PDF guide of exercises

Impressions:

Part of my post-marathon/triathlon gear, in addition to my comfy boots, are a foam roller and a rolling stick.  I have used these a number of times to work out sore muscles and knots following a workout.  I have also discovered foam rollers for larger sore spots, like my lower back.  Both of these tools have worked well for me at various times to relieve the aches and pains we all feel, particularly as we get older.

Now I have one more tool in my bag of tricks for muscle pain – the RAD Roller.  Although it kind of looks like something I would throw for my dog, its small size and odd shape are part of what makes it different from a stick or foam roller.  The idea of the RAD Roller is to target a small area for a short amount of time to help release tension in the muscle.  The RAD Roller won’t stretch out your entire back like a foam roller can, but it is also way more portable than a foam roller – it could easily be tucked into your gym bag and can apply the perfect amount of pressure for a self massage.

 The small size allows you to use it in a variety of ways, including laying on top of it or pressing up against it with a wall to target your specific ache.  By applying pressure either directly or in a rolling motion with the RAD Roller, it can help massage the problem area with some pretty serious pressure.  My husband carries some pretty significant stress tension between his shoulder blades, and he thought the RAD Roller worked great for helping relax his upper back.  He used it by putting it behind his back in a doorframe and using his arms to increase pressure as he rolled it up and down his back.  Because of its small size, it can also be used to target smaller body parts, like a calf or a bicep. I loved that I could roll on top of it and massage my hamstrings and then roll it across my IT Band. It wasn’t nearly as painful as rolling and I could control the pressure.

Like an intense massage, the actual pressure that can be exerted with a RAD Roller can be somewhat uncomfortable or painful while it’s happening, but it does seem to be a great way to relieve muscle tension.  You control the amount of pressure and make it as ‘painful’ as you want. I’m not ready to get rid of my foam roller or my rolling stick – those each have their own purposes as well, but I am certainly happy to be able to add a Rad Roller to my post-marathon/triathlon bag.

About Matt Rasmussen (1553 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.
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