All it takes is one bad burn from a long run or bike ride to understand how much chafing sucks. Nearly every distance runner or triathlete has a “problem area” that’s prone to skin-on-skin or clothing-induced irritation during long workouts. Whether it’s your feet, inner thighs, or the area just beneath your sports bra band, chafing is annoyingly painful. Not sure if you have a problem area? Go for a long run and you’ll quickly discover it in an excruciating post-sweat shower.
Luckily, there are a ton of products that can help prevent chafing. Check out these 10 anti-chafe brands—all available on Amazon—that’ll help you crush your workout and focus on the good kind of afterburn.
Trail Toes was developed by an Army orthopedic physician assistant while serving in Afghanistan, so you know it’s hardcore. The foot cream comes in a thicker consistency than most other anti-chafe products, making it ideal for blister protection on the feet during a big trail race or long run. “I haven’t had a problem with blisters since I started using this on my feet,” says Bing Kao, a runner in Houston. “It easily maintains lubrication even through rain and sweat.”
Trying to stay on good terms with Mother Earth? Squirrel’s Nut Butter anti-chafe salve is made from just four all-natural ingredients: coconut oil, cocoa butter, beeswax, and vitamin E oil. “I like that this product has a thicker consistency and more staying power than a lot of the others,” says Heather Foley, a runner in Pittsburgh. Plus, it also comes in both gel and stick-solid form.
Chris Phillips, a runner and triathlete in Houston, is a big fan of Bag Balm. “This stuff is great for preventing ‘saddle sores,’ or irritation from a bike seat while cycling in Ironman training,” he says.
In addition to preventing chafing and irritation during long workouts, as an added bonus, this product is known to heal cracked and dry skin, which is great for people training in colder and drier climates. And, yes, there is a cow on the label because it was originally developed to moisturize cows’ udders. If it’s good enough for Bessie, it’s good enough for you.
If you’re generally not a fan of the thicker formulas of most anti-chafing products, 2Toms Sport Shield comes in a roll-on bottle or in towelettes to apply a thin liquid coating to the skin.
“Although this product is kind of greasy, it’s helped me survive marathons wearing the same arm warmers that had previously left me bleeding by the end of the race,” says Lindsay McClelland, a runner in Sarasota, FL.
TriSlide was created with triathletes in mind—on top of being sweatproof and waterproof, this product even claims to help with “wicked-fast exits from triathlon wetsuits.”
If you’ve ever been asked to share your lube at a triathlon transition, you know how potentially weird it could be. “I love this one because it’s applied with an aerosol can, so it doesn’t have to touch any body parts and I can share it without grossing anyone out,” says runner and triathlete Vu Nguyen.
A popular option for those who deal with chafing from chamois or cycling shorts, you can find Butt’r in basically any bike store. Butt’r takes all of the same preventative measures as most other anti-chafe products, so it’s a great choice for runners as well as cyclists. It’s worth noting that they have a women-specific pH balanced version as well, although that probably matters less for runners who aren’t applying it in as many nooks and crannies as cyclists. But hey—what you do before your workout is up to you.
If you’re in a pinch and can’t get to a specialty store, you can usually find a tube of Aquaphor in the skin-care aisle at most drugstores. It’s not necessarily a go-to for making skin slippy and chafe-resistant, but Aquaphor is at the top of the game when it comes to moisturizing, so it’s a great better-than-nothing option.
When all else fails, resort to old faithful. You can easily find Vaseline for just a couple of bucks in most drugstores or online, or you might even have it hanging around in your medicine cabinet. It’s definitely one of the goopier options for lathering all over your thighs or feet, but its healing formula makes Vaseline a great option for treating existing blisters or burns.
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Emilia Benton is a freelance writer and editor based in Houston, TX, whose work has appeared in Runner’s World, Women’s Health, Self, and Pop Sugar, among other publications. An avid runner, she has finished nine marathons (and a couple dozen half-marathons). She also enjoys country music, baking, and traveling.