You’re doing a long run or you’re running a half-marathon. You decided that you wanted a new pair of shorts for the event and thought it would be a smart decision to do so. You start noticing that your thighs start to experience an all-familiar feeling of skin-to-skin friction and irritation. That feeling my friends, is your skin chafing.
I’m sure most of us have experienced this at some point in our lives, whether you’re into sports or not. However, this is an all too familiar feeling for runners and also another reason why you should never experiment with new products before a big race.
There are multiple ways to treat chafing normally, such as having a warm bath or soothing it with some moisturizer or ointments such as paw paw ointment cream. However, how do you avoid chafing, to begin with, and what do you do if it’s not your shorts or equipment but rather your body that always experiences chafing? Well, that’s me.
When I first competed in my trail marathon in January 2020, the training leading up to it was daunting. I started from basically no running to competing in the marathon in as little as 6-months.
Through that period I learned a lot about what it takes to actually reach the finish line. One thing that was bothering me a lot was the chafing between my legs and under my arms when wearing a hydration pack for running.
I decided to look for the best anti chafing cream to assist with my running and came across quite a few products but one of them seemed like it truly sat at the top.
However, in my research, I did go through very extensive research and ended up with the top 5 products. I think they’re all good in their own way (For example some boast natural only ingredients). The below list is the top five that I’ve come up with and I’ve also included a guide on how to find the best anti chafing cream for runners at the bottom of the page.
Best Anti Chafe Cream For Runners Compared and Reviewed
|Body Glide - Original Anti-Chafe Balm||Body Glide||Check Price on Amazon|
|Gold Bond Friction Defense Stick||Gold Bond||Check Price on Amazon|
|Chamois Butt'r Anti-Chafe Cream||Chamois Butt'r||Check Price on Amazon|
|Ruby's Lube Anti-Chafing Cream||Ruby's||Check Price on Amazon|
|Blue Steel Sports Anti-Chafe Cream||Blue Steel||Check Price on Amazon|
#1 - Body Glide - Original Anti-Chafe Balm
When you think of anti-chafing cream or balm, you think of Body Glide. Body Glide has been around for a while and is one of the most prominent players on the market. The Body Glide is made from allergen free, plant-derived ingredients that are Vegan approved and never tested on animals.
The Body Glide will prevent your body from chafing, rashing, and irritating when performing sports or even normal activities such as walking. From one of these sticks, expect to get 3-6 months out of it if you’re a casual runner that goes for a run maybe twice or three times a week.
Most users of the Body Glide report that they don’t have any issues with it even after 2.5-3.0 hours during triathlons. For me in particular (And you’ll see it on my personal testimonial below) I didn’t have any issues with chafing even after a 4-hour race.
The Body Glide also doesn’t feel sticky when it’s applied on your skin but feels like that there’s another layer or film if you will on you. Don’t be afraid though, this feeling is easily forgotten once you start running or exercising. If anything, this is the only thing that I didn’t like about the Body Glide initially. But as I mentioned, after I started getting into the activity itself I didn’t even notice this small annoyance.
These creams aren’t only useful for runners, a lot of people that have problems with chafing such as those who are curvy or overweight use it as well. It’s a very well-known product overall and it has made the top of my list as it is also my personal preference for running.
What do I think of the Body Glide Anti-Chafe Balm?
“I used these for the training leading up to my first trail marathon as well as the marathon itself. I used them in more areas than I please to remember, but throughout the entire race (Which took me 4 hours, being my first marathon and all) I didn’t experience any chafing and neither did I in any of my training regimes. Because of the fact that Body Glide works, I didn’t go ahead and test any other products and it’s my go-to resource now for anti-chafing cream regardless of if I’m running or doing another activity” Marko R
Great, what do others think about it? Check out the video below, from a customers testimonial taken from Body Glide:
#2 - Gold Bond Friction Defense Stick
The Gold Bond stick is another popular choice among runners as well as other athletes. One of the great things about this brand is that it has been around for over a century since 1908. They also focus on baby powder as well as products for a baby’s first bath so they’re well aware of how to prevent irritation on the skin through their history.
Another product that’s similar to the Body Glide in the fact that it’s non-greasy and with the Gold Bond, it’s also unscented. The Gold Bond works as both an anti-chafing balm as well as a moisturizer for your skin. Because of this, it’s designed for even the most sensitive of skins so if you’re someone that suffers from irritation from products such as this then they could be a great product to try.
One thing about the Gold Bond is that you would want to apply it before you start sweating as it loses its potency and longevity of lasting if applied when you’re already sweating up a storm. A lot of other customers that have used this product and given their testimonials online have also mentioned that it may need to be re-applied more than once.
In terms of durability, it seems the Body Glide stacks up better however the Gold Bond has great feedback on its non-greasy texture as well as it being very comfortable and non-irritable. A good choice if this is something that bothers you as mentioned earlier.
#3 - Chamois Butt'r Anti-Chafe Cream
The Chamois Butt’r has been receiving a lot of great reviews lately and is very affordable. It contains no artificial fragrances or colors and is easily washed off the skin when you’re done. It’s also a non-greasy cream and is a great choice if you don’t want a roll-on or balm. Using a cream over a balm comes with benefits such as being able to get into the areas that are normally harder however they do come with the messy element of needing to clean it up afterward.
However, as they have mentioned it’s very easily washed off the skin with soap so it shouldn’t be a major problem unless you’re actively applying it during a race. If you then start rubbing your eyes you might end up getting irritated causing a string of whole new problems.
Many users have reported that it does hold up for a couple of hours though so you may not need to re-apply it as much as you might think however it’s worth considering. Not only useful for running, but many cyclists have also reported that this cream prevents chafing on a long ride.
How have others reviewed this product online?
“Chamois Butt’r offers a wide range of products from chamois cream to kit wash. I’m a long-time user of their cream and now an avid user of their Kit Wash. One word of caution, the single packs of the cream and Kit Wash look very similar. So be sure you grab the right pack. As I wandered the CABDA exhibit hall in February, I came across the Paceline booth. I was thrilled to meet, Steve Mathews, founder, president and inventor of Chamois Butt’r. This man’s products have kept my southern region chafe free for years. I’m a big fan.” Sheri R, source: https://www.roadbikerider.com/chamois-buttr-product-line-review/
#4 - Ruby's Lube Anti-Chafing Cream
Here’s an interesting one. The Ruby’s Lube Anti-Chafe balm boasts an all-natural hand-made product made within the USA. The creator of this chafing cream has won Ironman 7 times and it has been tested amongst the triathlon community extensively.
What really gets me hyped up with this product is that they provide a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. What this means is that if you’re not happy after your run or race you can return it for a 100% refund. Not many products will offer this and is definitely worth trying in my eyes.
At the moment I’ve still got a fair amount of Body Glide left so I haven’t taken the plunge to try something new but I’ll definitely be giving this a go and making use of the guarantee in case it doesn’t live up to its name. The product contains 5 ingredients, all of which are safe: Olive Oil, Lemongrass, Calendula, Beeswax, and Benzoin.
The product also says that it is completely water and sweat-resistant. The below statement comes from the creator, 7-time Ironman winner Chris McDonald: “As an athlete, I love that Ruby’s is all-natural, smells great, and above all else works amazingly well. I have competed with this product for 8 years, and I also use it as a diaper rash cream for all our children.”. Well, it’s great that it’s got more than one use case scenario for us fathers right?
If you’re after an all-natural product then this is a great place to start, especially given the guarantee. One thing that I’ve come across after researching anti-chafing creams and balms, however, is that the all-natural products tend to wear off a lot faster than those that make use of other chemical ingredients. However, if this doesn’t bother you then that’s the only flaw I can see with this product.
Check out the below video from Chris McDonald detailing the product even more:
#5 - Blue Steel Sports Anti-Chafe Cream
The Blue Steel Anti-Chafe cream protects against blisters, rashes and saddle sores for athletes. It also contains an added ingredient of Australian tea tree oil to protect the skin. The product has been considered long-lasting and won’t sweat off easily.
The product has also been labeled as not being both sticky and greasy as well as not putting any stains on your gear.
This can be used for a variety of sports such as cycling, running and swimming but can also be used for other fun outdoor activities too such as walking and hiking.
Whilst this product isn’t as popular as the previous four mentioned it does fit its purpose and if tea tree oil is an active ingredient that you search for in most of your products to protect your skin then this could be a great choice for you. A few people have reported that it does have an odor however it is not overbearing and you’ll likely forget it as soon as you get deep into your training regime.
My Number One Pick
Considerations When Purchasing Anti Chafing Cream For Running
When looking for the best anti-chafing cream for runners you want to make sure that you’ve got all the facts you need to make an informed decision. I spent plenty of time researching which one might be the best, however, I decided to go for the top product on the market which is used by many athletes and recreational fitness freaks alike.
That was the Body Glide Anti Chafe Cream, however, that’s not to say that the others don’t also fit the mark.
Below are what I believe are the key nuances you need to look out for when considering a purchase, and also important considerations you should potentially make depending on your personal situation.
I’m by no means an expert in anti-chafing cream, but the amount of time I’ve put into researching them and testing them out has given me the ability to provide the below information to help you also make your own decision.
Ease of Use
Most anti-chafe cream will come in either a roll-on stick or in cream. Whilst there’s no clear winner on what’s the best method to use, it all depends on your personal preference. I for one use the cream as it helps me get into all of the harder to reach spots. By using a roll-on you might not be able to get into all the nooks and crannies of your body.
These products sometimes come in a natural form, although most of them are based on chemicals as you would expect (alongside some natural ingredients). If you have allergies, I suggest looking at the ingredients to make sure there’s nothing that may irritate you or cause an allergic reaction.
As I’m allergic to Bactrim I tend to look out for all manufacturer’s ingredients in case it appears in there unexpectedly. You could also try to use a little bit on your first trial run and not go all-out just to see how your skin reacts to it after an hour or so.
This goes a bit back to the side effects, some people might be looking for an all-natural chafe balm or cream and that’s totally fine. However, keep in mind that natural products will usually wear off much faster than those manufactured alongside other chemicals. The natural products such as Ruby’s Lube have been rated highly by a lot of individuals and is used by people in Ironman.
Ironman is an event that takes most people between 10-14 hours to complete. It’s a triathlon that involves swimming, cycling and running. So you can imagine if the lube is holding up through all of that then it’s likely a very good natural selection. Just something to keep in mind when making a purchase decision.
You don’t want to be applying your chafing cream every thirty minutes to an hour, you would want a product that will last at least the entire marathon so that you don’t need to constantly re-apply the product.
The durability of the product is just as important as the potency listed above. Unfortunately, this is something that will only come out from trial-and-error as everyone’s body is different. However, for me personally, as someone that sweats and wipes himself a lot, I never had to re-apply my Body Glide for my four-hour marathon.
The product shouldn’t sting when you apply it and naturally it should feel comfortable whilst you’re running. If it feels sticky or is doing something else that is causing a different level of irritation to chafe then the product is not going to be fitting its ideal purpose. You should be feeling like your body is gliding, and not trying to glue itself together!
Of course, other factors such as price should come into consideration. This all depends on your personal needs and requirements, thankfully the anti-chafing creams for runners aren’t as expensive as the running shoes we keep buying every year! Am I right?
Frequently Asked Questions About Chafing Creams And Balms
Q: What is an anti-chafing cream?
A: An anti-chafing cream will prevent chafing from occurring on your skin when rubbing and causing friction. The most common area for chafing is in between your thighs.
Q: Where else can chafing occur?
A: It can happen anywhere, for example, my nipples experience a lot of chafing. Especially when it’s cold and rubbing against your typical running shirts.
Q: Is there a difference between anti-chafing cream and anti-chafing balm or stick?
A: Generally all these products serve the same purpose however have a different use of an application.
I typically always go for the most well-known products, I’ve done this with electrolytes tablets such as the SaltStick’s, and also other products such as trail gaiters with my favorites there being the Salomon’s. The Body Glide number one choice I’ve made here is no exception, and plenty of others seem to think so as well.
I’d like to hear your thoughts though, have you tried one of the chafing creams listed here and think they trump the number or one that’s not in here at all? Why not let me know in the comments box below, and as always – stay hard!
Marko Rakic is a trail runner and fitness enthusiast from Sydney, Australia. He is the lead writer for The Ultimate Primate and believes the best way to live a happy life is to take a holistic approach to fitness and health.