Thursday, November 1, 2012

Long ranger review of @BRDsports @SimpleHydration and @Skinstrong

You get it, you use it for a week or so, you write up your thoughts and move on to the next latest and greatest product. That’s generally how it goes for product testing and reviews here for Examiner and other sites.

Have you ever wondered, what happened to those products? What becomes of the rest of that skin care product or that tri top?

Here’s your chance to peek behind the curtain and find out. Most products are offered up with no conditions of return for the testing and playing. They are tested, the report is written and the product either goes on a shelf, in the trash for one time use products, or into the rotation for training and racing gear.

it’s good gear, there’s no reason to trash it. Use it to its full extent and run it into the ground and see what happens. That’s what’s currently going on with the Skin Strong Slather, BRD Sports achilles brace, and Simple Hydration water bottles.

See the links for each to see the initial review of the products. For the most part, each product testing was a positive experience and the gear was quality and served a valid function and purpose in training and racing.

Skin Strong Slather

It’s slippery, it’s moist and it lubes like nobody’s business. It’s been a go to anti-chaffing compound ever since trying it out for EMT. They have come out with sunscreen and a few other products, but Slather is the pinnacle. It lubes without being overly greasy. It comes with a fresh minty smell and a little will do just fine. Over the year or more that it’s been in the stable, blisters and bloody toenails have been a thing of the past. Taking showers after long course events are no longer an exercise in water torture with warm water running over chaffed sensitive areas. Using Skin Strong, it’s a lock that you’ll be in good shape to tackle the cubicle job on Monday. The only real drawback was the container was a plastic jar with a screw off lid. It was a bit bulky, but they have corrected that issue with Slather in a tube.

BRD Achilles Sports Brace

Achilles tendentious caused by bad running form has been a staple at this training compound. Thankfully, this brace was not lost in a recent house move and was used in the Kansas City Marathon with great results. By great results, running in it is like NOT wearing an ankle brace and achilles pain was non-existent. It is important to note that in instances of extreme achilles pain, this brace is not a cure all. When it’s time to call it a day and rest the achilles, there’s no substitute for rest and recovery, not even a brace. If you know your limits, the achilles brace is a great edition to your tool bag to get you out when you’re not 100%. The material is breathable, so your foot won’t be in a hot box. It washes well and rarely smells even after not washing after 26.2 miles or 2 hours on the trainer. Hey, you can’t always remember to grab it from your gear bag and throw it in the wash. That’s ok, the brace can take it. And, after more than a year of abuse, the brace is as good as day one. No frays, no tears and no loss of elasticity. It’s solid and does the job, repeatedly.

Simple Hydration Water Bottles

It was something off the beaten path. A water bottle that has a built in ridge that hooks on your waistband and a portion of the bottle fits into your shorts or pants. It doesn’t hold as much as a normal sports bottle, but is comparable to most belt hydration systems as far as capacity. For those of us that look for a minimalist approach to the gear you carry during runs (you could also use this riding as well), it’s a good option. No belt to since up around your waist, but you also lose storage space for keys, phones, energy chews, sports gels, etc by using Simple Hydration instead of a belt system. For the KC Marathon, keys went on the bib belt, energy bites went into the small pocket in the running shorts and Simple Hydration went in the back of the shorts.

Beware that you will need to get some training time on long runs with the bottle. It fits in the small of your back and is rather unnoticeable, but after 26.2 miles with only a 16 mile training run 2 months before the race due to injuries, the bottle caused some bruise-type pain on the small of the back where it was resting. Runners could potentially slide it to the side or other placement, but the small of the back provides the minimal sensation of a bottle stuffed in your shorts. It’s easy to space out getting used to your gear over long spans of time.

Whether you use Simple Hydration or a belt system, depending on your fluid needs, you may need to reload. Why is this an issue? If you are using your special brew, you are then dependant on the aid stations and what drinks they provide. This can be solved by getting a larger belt system or a second SH water bottle. You’ll pay the price with extra weight, but you won’t be dependent on aid stations.


These three reviews items have persuaded this reviewer enough to continue using them after the review and actually spend money on the products after samples have been used up. Notice these are small companies with big dreams of getting a toe-hold in the endurance market. They aren’t the Gatorades, Nikes or Reeboks of the world with large PR departments or the bucks to spend on advertising.

They focus on their product and the market they serve and try to carve out a living. Props to the small guys.

Stay tuned for more reviews and long range follow-ups.

*Writer’s note, these products and companies in no way influenced or requested a long range review.
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