Product Review – Sneaker Balls

Posted: September 1, 2010 in Product Review
Tags: , , , ,

Summer in Texas.

Just reading those three words make me feel a little uncomfortable.  I’m not going to sugarcoat it for anyone, it’s hot here in Texas this time of year.  High temperatures above 100 degrees most days, lows in the high 70’s overnight.  For a distance runner there really is no way to totally escape it, unless you are a treadmill warrior.

Here in Austin the hottest part of our day is typically 5:00 p.m.  If you were to wait until 10:00 or 11:00 p.m. you might get a slight reprieve and our temperature may drop from 100 to 93, but it is not as if cool temperatures materialize as soon as the sun goes down.

The alternative, which I choose, is a pre-dawn departure from the house around 5:30 a.m.  The temperature has dropped into the mid-70’s at this point, however the humidity has risen overnight from a low around 35% in the late afternoon to close to 80% at daybreak.  Any way you slice it you are going to have to manage the heat between late May and early October.

These temperatures however finally give way to an incredible winter of training in 45-55 degree temperatures from November to April.  Perfect for a spring marathoner such as myself.  There is not another city in the country I would like to live in more than Austin, TX.

We spend some time adapting here to the temperatures each summer, we take precautions against dehydration and of course have to slow our pace a bit.  We shed our clothing and become “minimalist” runners.  I leave the house each morning with exactly 8 items for my summer runs.

Shoes (2), Socks (2), Runderwear (1), Shorts (1), GPS (1), iPod (1). 

Nine items for runs over 10K if I bring my hydra-belt.

I weigh myself before and after every run so that I can determine exactly how much “water weight” I lost over the course of my run, and how much I will need to hydrate to get back to my baseline.  Most mornings this means a loss of between 3.5 and 4.5 pounds.

So where does all that sweat go?

A lot of it ends up in my shoes.

I have written before about my running shoe “rotation” plan where I alternate between three pairs of trainers at all times.

My number 1 trainers (newest) – are used for runs longer than 8 miles.  Typically Wednesdays and Sundays.  These trainers will remain my “number 1’s” until they reach 100-125 miles.  It is at this point that they become my “number 2’s”.

My number 2 trainers (middle) – are used for my medium length runs that are still “intense”.  Typically Tuesday and Thursdays when I do my tempo runs and hill repeats.  These trainers remain my “number 2’s” until they reach 200-225 miles.  They will then graduate to my “number 3’s”.

My number 3 trainers (oldest) – are used for my recovery runs.  Typically Saturday and the occasional short Wednesday run.  These trainers will remain in my rotation until they reach 300 total miles – at which time they are retired for car washing, grass cutting, working around the house or lifting at the gym.

I’ve found that this schedule allows me to train my hardest in my newest shoes, and also allows them to “dry properly” in between runs.  In the summer months if I do not place newspaper inside my running shoes to accelerate the drying process, it may take 24 hours for my shoes to dry.

One thing my summer rotation schedule does not address however is the “stinky shoe factor”.  Sweat smells people. 

Yes, even mine – just ask Dawn.

To ward off this “unpleasantness” I have found a product that really does a great job, doesn’t introduce aerosols into the environment and also doesn’t irritate my skin.

Sneaker Balls.

Sneaker Balls are air freshners specifically designed for small, nasty little places that other air freshners do not fit.

They are smaller, rounder and tougher – made to work inside of a running shoe a gym bag or a locker.  Truly a great, great product.

Simple to use where you twist the sneaker ball on its axis and the ball “opens up” as you can see in the photo below.

Open Sneaker Ball on Left

I have a pair for each of my running shoes, after the shoes dry and I return them to the closet I simply twist the sneaker ball, drop it inside and forget about it until that pair is chosen for a morning run.

Nasy smells?  Gone.  Great product.  They even come in Dom’s favorite football team’s colors.  Pretty tough to beat for about $4.

So if you have been looking for a product to help you deal with some of this summer running “funkiness” that we have going on – you might want to give these a try.

One final note as I have stated in previous blog postings – I by no means receive any incentives to provide positive product reviews on this site.  I simply pass along my own experiences with various products that I have found helpful. 

Please stop back soon as we will have some exciting announcements coming in the next week about where Run for Dom is heading!  Happy running everyone!

(P.S. – Baby Landry and Dawn are doing great!  Hoping to be going home on Wednesday.  Dadathoner may actually even get a run in later this morning.  Thanks for all the well wishes everyone!)

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Comments
  1. Thanks for the tip Joe, hadn’t heard of these before. Where did you find them?

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Greg – thanks for the visit! I first saw these at the Pittsburgh Marathon Race expo and decided to give them a try. Really, really great product and they have been going strong for a couple of weeks now. Best from Austin! J

  2. you can always trust those high tech running shoes developed by adidas or nike, they are expensive but they are very good :”;

  3. Sara says:

    Sneaker balls are the best invention ever! I use them in my shoes bi-weekly. Without them, I was getting close to gagging when I was tying my own shoes after running through mud and water and in the rain. I get mine from FootSourceMD, which also has a lot of other great information about running and the right shoes.
    http://www.footsourcemd.com/products/detail.dT/40

  4. Harry says:

    Do sneaker balls need to be replaced after a given amount of use?

    • joerunfordom says:

      Hi Harry! I’ve found that they last very well for more than 6 months, then it is a good idea to drop a new pair in those shoes and continue on.

      Really a great product, especially in those hot summer and fall months here in TX.

      Happy trails!

  5. Heather says:

    Hi Joe,
    I bought these for my 3 kids’ shoes, since using them I’ve experienced glandular pain, strange heat sensations and irritability. Because you are running for your friend who died from cancer I would recommend doing some research on the side effects of air fresheners in general. All the cancer causing chemicals that you are exposing yourself too. After reading up on it, I just threw all of our sneaker balls in the trash (wrapped in several layers of plastic bags). Concerned for you health 🙂

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