Bodyglide? Who the heck recommended this stuff?

2:18 a.m. on June 5, 2007 (EDT)
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Letter I just wrote to Bodyglide:

"I used the body glide on my heel this weekend to prevent a blister, and I got a blister. Shoes are the right size, good Smartwool socks, 7 mile hike. Thought that was odd. Overall, I really cant' tell any difference with body glide, you just rub it on the area right? How much are you supposed to put on there? It really doesn't seem to do a darn thing. Then when you put your sock on over it, I'm sure it's just rubbing it right off anyways...And it didn't seem to lessen the effect of the callus under my toe developing either because I put it on there too. It's as if it wasn't even there. I must be missing something because I've read others rave about it.. I'm ready to take it back unless you can tell me something more.
Thanks,
Mike"

7:14 a.m. on June 5, 2007 (EDT)
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Mike -

I Googled body glide - looks like something you'd use to keep from chaffing during a run or something - where skin meets skin - cannot imagine it doing anything where socks or other materials are involved.

For your blister issues - try a synthetic (like cool max) inner sock (really thin) under your smartwool socks - then the socks will rub against each other rather than the one sock rubbing against your skin - can make a big difference in blister generation.

Also - you say your shoes are the right size - just a question - is that at the end of the day when your feet are swollen from walking OR in the mornings when you first put them on? Makes a difference. You might play around with lacing - if you're getting blisters on your heel then I suspect that your heel is lifting in the shoe when you walk - adjusting the lacing to prevent that lift may help with the blisters as well.

Let's hope that after you return the body glide the store doesn't re-sell it (yech!)!!

7:28 a.m. on June 5, 2007 (EDT)
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I'm sure you applied the Bodyglide correctly, because it would seem impossible not to. You just rub it on. I'm sorry to hear you're still getting blisters. I haven't used the Bodyglide on my feet, but it has worked very well for me for chaffing on other body areas. And I've heard many runners rave about it for preventing blisters and chaffing all over.

In this case I think you still need to evaluate your socks and shoes (I know you've already been down this road). Shoes can be the "right" size, but still not the perfectly "right" fit for you due to the variations in feet (unless you're buying custom made shoes and boots).

First, where are the blisters developing? Knowing this might help pinpoint the cause.

A few things to consider:

Do your shoes feel snug and comfortable? Not too tight and constricting, but no heel movement or sliding forward?

Have you used these shoes any time without having problems? If so, what socks worked then?

If there is movement or hot spots/constriction, you can try a thicker or thinner sock with that shoe. You might also need to try different lacing set-ups.

You didn't mention sock liners above, so if you didn't use them I would recommend buying a pair to use with your socks.

If your feet are really sweaty still I'd try the antiperspirant suggestions given on the earlier thread.

You can also try moleskin or Spenco 2nd Skin or the like. However, this will just help you deal with the symptom (a blister) and not the root cause. And ultimately you need to figure out why you're getting blisters.

Anyway, let us know where the blister is and how it developed and maybe you can get some better suggestions here.

Lastly, if the blister isn't an inconvenience, you might just need a little more time breaking the shoes in. That said, while boots typically need some break-in time, they should always fit properly from the start and not give you grief.

10:46 a.m. on June 5, 2007 (EDT)
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A few things:

Fit: I have a good friend who has worked as a shoe salesman for years - according to Carl, if a shoe doesn't fit when you first try it on don't buy it - while shoes will "break in" to some extent - if they're not comfortable at first there's a very good chance that they never will be.

Blisters: if you start to notice a "hot spot" somewhere on your foot, stopping when you first notice it and applying moleskin or 2nd skin can prevent a blister from forming.

Foot care: I've also found (having lived with very sweaty feet for 48.5 years) that changing socks and doing small things like taking my boots and socks off at lunch breaks so my feet can air out keeps my tootsies happier longer -

Happy hiking!

Steve

12:49 p.m. on June 5, 2007 (EDT)
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I'm with Steve on this. You need to make sure the shoes/boots fit properly first. If they don't it's not going to matter what socks or other products you try.

That's not to say that your shoes don't fit you, but that you need to isolate the cause of foot problems by starting there. There are some tips on fitting boots here: http://www.trailspace.com/gear/guide/boot-fitting.html

If your shoes really do fit and are comfortable, then you can move on to trying different sock combinations (I am also a supporter of sock liners for keeping feet dry and reducing friction).

Then if your shoes and sock combo are all in proper order, but you happen to be prone to extra sweaty feet, blisters, or whatever you can take extra care to prevent problems with the use of antiperspirant, Bodyglide, frequent airings, and so on.

I hope that helps, because finding well-fitting, quality shoes and boots is so important to enjoying outdoor activities. Good luck!

12:56 p.m. on June 5, 2007 (EDT)
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One more thought, since we keep saying how fit is key. If possible, I'd bring the shoes back to the store you bought them at when their most experienced boot fitter is available (don't forget the socks you want to wear with them). He/she might be able to tell if your blisters are from a shoe that doesn't fit you (and therefore never will) or if your shoes/laces/inserts or something else simply needs tweaking.

2:07 p.m. on June 5, 2007 (EDT)
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I agree with 99.9% of what Alicia says - with one exception - antiperspirant - you really don't want to block the pores in your feet - which is what most antiperspirants do - your feet don't sweat for the sheer joy of soaking your socks - your body is trying to rid the mucles in your feet of excess heat the only way it knows how.

I mention this only because a friend of mine (podiatrist) admonished me when I told him I was applying that stuff to my feet. He indicated that by blocking surface pores I was actually increasing the odds of blistering the skin on my feet.

2:17 p.m. on June 5, 2007 (EDT)
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I will repeat a recommendation I have made before - get a copy of "Fixing Your Feet" and read it thoroughly. It has all the suggestions folks here keep repeating and more. There are detailed discussions of various foot ailments (like blisters) and potential remedies. As noted here in posts, different people require different remedies - feet are very individual, even from right foot to left foot.

The bottom line, though, is that if you are getting blisters, the shoe/boot-sock-orthotic/insole-lacing pattern combination you are using is not properly fit. Things like Tufskin, antiperspirants, foot powders, Zim's, creams and salves, and covers like moleskin and Second Skin can remedy symptoms to a certain extent. But proper fit, with the guidance of a trained boot fitter (running shoe fitter in the case of trail shoes), is the foundation. The fitter will check and adjust not only the boot/shoe itself, but the socks, orthotics or insoles, and lacing method.

Which brings up another question - what insoles or orthotics are you using? Currently boot and running shoe manufacturers just put in a temporary insole, since most people use custom insoles and orthotics these days (Superfeet being the most popular among serious hikers and runners, though they don't necessarily fit everyone).

2:44 p.m. on June 5, 2007 (EDT)
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Thanks for that clarification on the antiperspirant, Steve.

4:17 p.m. on June 5, 2007 (EDT)
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I am using the Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid shoes with the green superfeet insoles in them. I tried on several brands and models of hiking boots but the Merrells had the best fit as soon as I put them on. I even tried several sizes and was able to easily determine that 13 was too big and 11 too small so 12 is my size and it was very comfortable. I picked these shoes up after my Merrell Stretch II shoes started falling apart after only a few months. The first time I used the Moabs was one week prior to this weekend and I did not get any blister, although the hike was quite short, pictures:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7550959@N05/sets/72157600274159937/detail/

The blister that was starting to form on this past weekend's hike was on the back of my right heel. Didn't happen on the left perhaps because my left foot is slightly bigger than my right. Of course my foot moves around a tiny bit in the shoe, otherwise it would be too small. Here are pictures from the longer hike:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7550959@N05/sets/72157600306641683/detail/

And unfortunately no matter what I do, I still cannot stop that callus from happening under my big toes, I think it's just there for good without remedy so I just have to live with it if I want to hike.

I just wish my feet weren't so darn sore after hiking, oh well..

6:38 p.m. on June 5, 2007 (EDT)
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Alicia and Steve -
The purpose of liner socks (and Wright's double layer socks) is to allow the foot to have something protective that does not slide around on the foot, rather than having your foot slide around in the boot or shoe, generating friction and thus a blister. The liner sock, as Steve said, will slide on the outer insulating sock, and not on the foot. When the socks get wet, your foot slides around in them and a blister develops rather quickly. Interestingly enough, having the boot too tight will develop a blister just as fast as having it too loose (as Goldilocks said ... "just right"). The liner socks (and the inner layer of Wright double layer socks) has as a second purpose keeping the foot dry. Note that - keeping the foot *dry*, so the sock does not get wet and slide around generating friction and hence blisters. Antiperspirants and foot powders are also intended to keep the foot dry, plus foot powders generally provide some lubrication so the foot can slide with reduced friction. The very few times I have gotten blisters have been when my socks got wet, either through perspiration (when walking in ski boots for a few miles to or from the snow line) or in the process of fording a stream or river.

I don't know whether your podiatrist friend hikes a lot or not, Steve, but I got the advice to have *dry* feet first from an MD friend who is the medical instructor for our outdoor courses, then later from a number of runner and hiking medical sources plus books like "Fixing Your Feet." Dr. Dave, my MD friend, has been on literally hundreds of hikes and backpacks over the years with groups like Sierra Club outings (in Kaiser Wilderness this weekend, for example) and scout groups. He has probably worked on more foot blisters than any 2 or 3 other people I know combined. A couple of comments from him - "More backpacks are brought to an abrupt end from blisters than from all other causes put together," and "The majority of blisters show up as hot spots in the first mile of trips, and if untreated, develop into full-fledged blisters within 5 miles." I have to say that I have also observed the wet sock blister problem on many backpacks and expeditions in other people (most of the time, when the person starts complaining about blisters, the socks are at least damp when they pull their boots off), and the short distance before the hot spots start manifesting themselves. We generally teach in our courses to check everyone at about the 1 mile point for hot spots on the feet, pack adjustment, layering of clothes, etc.

dax -
It sounds like to me you could probably solve the problem by a change in your boot lacing. Since it is your heel that is sliding, you want to have a fairly loose toebox, fairly tight across the instep, and looser at the ankle. Since the Moab does not use hooks across the instep, you are somewhat restricted in the adjustments. However, that style of lace loops does allow you to leave the toebox looser (lowest 2 crossovers), then pull the instep crossovers tight (they will lock against each other, so the 3rd and 4th crossings should be tight), with the next (set-back) loop moderately tight and the top hook with the lace back-hooked to lock it, leaving the tie-down a bit loose (1-finger just slides under it). Play with this a bit on that right foot to end up with a tight instep cross-over. You probably will need to double-knot the tie-down to keep it from coming undone during hiking, though back-tucking the tie-down loops back down under the laces keeps the loops from flopping or catching on stuff and pulling loose.

7:13 p.m. on June 5, 2007 (EDT)
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Just minutes ago I happened to read yet another recommendation for using antiperspirant to prevent sweaty feet--this time in "Rock and Ice" about stinky climbing shoes.

Bill, I've added "Fixing Your Feet" to my book buying list.

1:31 a.m. on June 6, 2007 (EDT)
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"The very few times I have gotten blisters have been when my socks got wet"

Then I guess that is my whole problem right there. I thought having sweaty socks was just a result of all the activity and being, well, hot. My feet are always soaked with sweat, and so are the socks when I take the shoes off. I'm kicking myself for spending a lot of money on "special socks" that supposedly wick away moisture. I notice no difference between a regular sock and the expensive smartwool socks. My feet just sweat, period.

Common sense tells me if I use a liner sock and add another layer like that, it'll just make my feet more hot and sweat even more. Just like wearing multiple layers of clothing you're warmer, or do I have this wrong? Can you tell me a specific brand and model of liner sock to buy?

Well I did have the boots very tight, I thought they were supposed to be as tight as possible without being contricting. If the boot is looser in general, doesn't that cause more movement inside the shoe, which is friction ?

7:09 a.m. on June 6, 2007 (EDT)
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Bill is absolutely right about needing to keep your feet dry to prevent blisters. Sock liners not only reduce friction, they also wick moisture away from your skin to keep it dry.

You should find a pair of lightweight (think silkweight) liners. REI, Fox River, Thorlo, Wigwam, Bridgedale, and others all make liners. I'd pick up a pair at your local outdoor or footwear store so you can see what you're getting. You want to get the lightest ones available, not thicker ones that double as light socks in warm weather and liners in cold weather. Two examples of lightweight liners are the REI Silk One Liner Socks and Wigwam Gobi Polypro Liners (both available online from REI), but I'd look in a store if possible so you can see your choices.

You shouldn't kick yourself about buying the Smartwools. They'll also help wick moisture away (something cotton does not do) to help keep your feet drier and cooler. You just want to make sure you buy light to medium weight hiking socks, not anything heavy weight like for colder temps.

And despite what Steve's podiatrist told him, I'm going back to recommending you try some antiperspirant on your feet if your feet are constantly sweaty.

7:39 a.m. on June 6, 2007 (EDT)
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My podiatrist buddy doesn't believe in clogging the pores of your skin anywhere - but hey - try the anitperspirant - I'll admit to bashing his "rules" when going sockless in boat shoes (it stops office mates from looking for the rotting cheese late in the day!) -

I love smartwool socks - in fact I love all wool socks - so don't kick yourself for wearing them. They're doing the best job they can at wicking - if you're getting blisters wearing smartwool you'd be one miserable putz in cheap cotton blend socks!

Try a pair of cool-max liner socks - they're really thin - they wick the moisture into the outter socks and keep the boundary layer between the coolmax and your foot fairly dry - plus they'll hug your foot and slide against the smartwool - so the friction will be sock on sock, rather than sock on skin. I've been a "two pair of socks" hiker for 37 years - I've had my share of blisters BUT I attribute them to inappropriate / ill fitting boots (back in the old days we were stuck with gawd-awful heavy leather mountaineering boots for backpacking - stiff enough for front-pointing - it was like hiking in ski boots!) - the multi-sock system just might help your big toe issues as well (again, sock on sock friction rather than sock on toe) -

If your feet are really sweaty you might be overtaxing the ability of the permeable liner in your boots to expell moisture - especially if its humid where you're hiking OR if you've treated the outside of your boots - something to consider. Also - if you're a gaiter wearer - give it a rest for your next hike and let your feet breathe through the tops of your boots - I mean it looks cool and all to wear those knee high gaiters (at least I hope it does!) but they do seal up the only really open part of your boots - the tops -

Take a couple pair of socks on your next hike - if your heel even feels slightly warm - stop - strip to bare feet (leave the rest of your clothes on) - let your feet air a bit - perhaps put some moleskin over the hot spot - put on clean/dry socks - put your boots back on and continue - by nipping it in the bud you'll have a much happier hike -

Insoles - I've got a pair of leather insoles that have followed me from boot to boot for about 30 years - they slide around a bit on the inside of the boots (easing friction), they fit my feet to perfection, they breathe - I made them myself (traced my foot on a piece of thick leather, cut it out with an xacto knife, inserted to (at the time) Lowa Alpspitz mountaineering boots - your mileage may vary!

Happy hiking

Steve

12:35 p.m. on June 6, 2007 (EDT)
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Repeating an earlier post of mine -
I use Wigwam Gobi liners with Smartwool outers. The weight of the outer socks is varied according to the weather - light hikers in hot summer, heavy expedition in places like Alaska or Antarctica, in between for summer Rockies or Sierra or for winter backcountry ski or ice climbing in the Sierra, Presidentials, Tetons, Cascades, etc.

For day training hikes and runs in my trail running shoes in the local hills, I have been using the Wright double-layer socks, the inner part of which is much like the Gobi, and the outer is a synthetic that is also wicking.

As others mentioned, the Smartwools do wick somewhat, but the primary wicking is the thin wicking liners.

I might mention, while on the friction question, that in colder areas (below 10 to 15F), I use VBLs between the wicking liner and the heavier wool outer. When I do, the liner sometimes gets very wet. But the VBL (from Integral Designs) is quite slippery, so there is no blistering.

STF mentioned taking the boots off at rest and lunch stops to let the socks dry out, and suggested changing to dry socks part way through the day. This is a good idea, and one I have used particularly when hiking out from a climb that I had to backpack to. For example, when coming down from Denali, we usually go the full 14 miles from the 17,000 foot high camp to the 7200 foot airstrip in a single push. One of the few times I got blisters was when I did the full distance without changing socks. When I have reserved a clean set of socks (at one of the caches so I didn't carry the extra pound up and back unused) and changed the socks half-way down, I have never even gotten hot spots in the plastic boots.

On the tightened boots -- boots that are too tight and boots that are too loose both generate more blisters. Adjust the lacing pattern and tightness throughout the lacing to prevent heel lift, while giving lots of room in the toe box and flexibility at the ankle (that means tight instep).

Oh, yeah, a comment of Steve's on overtaxing the "permeable" liner - I have observed that people who use boots with Goretex and similar liners often get sopping wet socks and blisters on longer hikes. Full leather without such liners and mesh tops (like my trail runners have) seem to work much better in reducing the wet sock problem. Mesh tops, though, have the problem of letting dust through, which can also produce friction and blisters.

Going back to the "breaking in" question - boots and shoes made of synthetics are the size they are. There is no breaking them in. Again, one of the advantages of real leather. OTOH, my trail runners and my light hiking boots are synthetic, and work very well - because I work with a trained, experienced fitter to be sure they fit properly from the start.

8:22 a.m. on June 8, 2007 (EDT)
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A couple of things that comes to mind dax702. I would not recommend anti perspirants on your feet. These products do block sweat pores and are only 50-60 percent effective in stopping the sweat. Your body is by designed to sweat when it gets taxed by stress (mental and physical). Flechter gets pretty hot in the summer time and you SHOULD be sweating. Also, anti perspirants has Aluminum salts which can cause infections onto sores such as blisters and there are some studies being done now on how these products effect a persons health from the chemicals in them. If you have sensitive skin, the anti-perspirants could cause irritation of the feet also. If you do decide to use these products, use them at home and not on a trip to see how the anti perspirant reacts to your feet.

Your feet are a body part that is often the most over looked part until someone decides to start running or backpacking. Then they realize how important it is for foot maintenace. Your feet needs to be cared for just as the rest of your body. From your pictures that you posted, it doesnt look like you had a heavy pack, but it did look like you were working pretty hard hiking. Being physically and mentally ready for a trip is important and is often over looked. Your feet may need to be more accustomed to wearing boots and hiking on uneven terrain.

I would recommend to go see a podistrist that specailize in sport injuries. The doctor should ask for you to bring in your foot wear (boots if you are hiking or your running shoes if you are running) Me and my son both had to see a podiatrist several years ago for our black toes. There is a lot of info that was given to us. As everyone here has stated, foot wear is very important. Interesting enough, only a small percentage of the poplulation needs a special made insole in thier shoes, IF you buy a quality made boot/shoe that fits. By seeing a podiatrist, you can learn a how lot more about your feet from an expert in feet. You may have pronation or supination of the feet which may indeed require insoles custom made. Reading books, internet sites etc is all good, but it isnt always a given to to fix your health concerns.

I do mini and half triathlons and I do use bodyglide on my swimming. I just refuse to shave my legs, chest and arms. I have never tried it on my feet for running or hiking, although I do use foot powders in my running shoes and hiking books for the bacteria.

5:26 p.m. on June 8, 2007 (EDT)
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Well tomorrow we are going to attempt Bridge Mtn. at Red Rock here in Vegas as we are having a break in the heat this week. Let me ask a question - I don't have any sock liners and probably won't be able to get any before tomorrow. I do have these black tight fitting socks that are meant for cycling. Could I use these as a liner?

3:15 a.m. on June 13, 2007 (EDT)
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Just wanted to say thanks to everyone here for help. I went on that hike on Saturday, redid my laces, put a bunch of foot powder in the shoe and on my foot. Used those tight thin cycling socks as liners and placed one of those bandaids for healing blisters on my heels. Happy to report, no blisters after the 6 or so mile hike.

11:08 a.m. on June 13, 2007 (EDT)
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Great to hear that you were blister free! While specific liner socks are best you can use nearly any smooth, light, slick synthetic socks - the main requirements are that they fit nice and snug to your feet and don't bag or sag.

1:58 p.m. on June 13, 2007 (EDT)
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Duct Tape?

Last year there was a guy who walked from California to NY. In the process he lost almost 120 lbs. I watched an interview on Good Morning America and they asked him about chaffing. His response was that he placed duct tape over problem areas. I was concerned that his thighs may have rubbed together causing pain but the duct tape solved that problem. You can buy small rolls at any outfitter and I'm thinking about buying one to throw in my back pack.

6:20 p.m. on June 13, 2007 (EDT)
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Yes, duct tape does work as an emergency cover of potential blister areas. But it is not as satisfactory as products like Second Skin or moleskin. I have seen people develop blisters and sore spots at the edge of duct tape coverings, so I would suggest reserving it for emergencies.

3:57 p.m. on June 14, 2007 (EDT)
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I used moleskin under that problem area of my big toes and it didn't seem to do much at all =(

9:00 a.m. on June 15, 2007 (EDT)
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On the problem area of your big toe try some breathable medical tape - has numerous advantages over duct tape - little things like it breathes and the adhesive is formulated to be in contact with your skin.

You want that toe to slide like a greased pig against the inside of your sock - I suspect the moleskin was clinging to the inside of your sock - which may have actually exacerbated the problem a wee bit.

You may want to evaluate the insoles in your boots - if you're getting hot spots on the undersides of your toes you may want a slicker insole. I've never liked foam insoles (they seem to get really hot, at least for me) and rather prefer a solid leather insole - I made mine years ago - they go from boot to boot - are slick as snot on a glass door knob and fit the contours of my feet to a "T" - I don't know if anyone makes commercial leather insoles any more - but with some thick leather, a pencil to trace the outline of your foot and a pair of scissors or an xacto knife they're really easy to make. If there's a good cobbler near where you live they can probably do it toot sweet.

When I've used moleskin I've always used it in two layers - the first layer had a cutout for the blister - the second layer didn't - but that was a long time ago - perhaps uses and practices change over time.

6:21 p.m. on June 16, 2007 (EDT)
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Instead of Bodyglide, try Two Toms Blistershield Powder

I have a little trouble with blisters as I have very narrow heals and my feet perspire heavily. I was given a sample of Two Toms Blistershield Powder at a road race. This stuff is amazing and has solved my blistering problems. It is a combination of a wax and powder that prevents friction and keeps my feet very dry. I shake a teaspoon of the product in each sock and shake the sock to distribute it before putting them on. I am sold on it. You can buy it on line through the company. I bought mine through the Campmor website.

I use Bodyglide to avoid wetsuit chaffing during long distance swims. I couldn't imagine using it on my feet.

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