by Kenton Berg
If there is one thing that most all ’cross racers suffer from it is wet, stinky shoes. So unless you never race when the mud and rain show up, you’ve had the challenge of drying your Sidis, or whatever you own, overnight to get ready to race or ride in the next day. In the past the methods to achieve this have been less-than-effective and might include ways such as these:
- the “air dry” method whereby you pull the footbeds and let the air do its thing
- the “newpaper stuffing” method (my previous favorite) that delivers you wads of moist comics
- the “put em by the vent” method which is really the “I hope the heat helps dry my shoes” method
- the “I own two pairs of shoes so I don’t care” method, which is very non-standard unless you are a pro or sponsored by a shoe company
- and finally, the “ride em wet” method which means you don’t care too much or you hit the post-race party and forgot to try any of the above methods.
Recently I have come across a better and inexpensive way to both dry and de-stinkify your cross shoes or any other shoes that may be sopping wet; what I found is a product called Stuffitts.
Stuffitts is the brainchild of Mike Heubner, and his company, hailing from Marietta, GA, is helping to give shoes extended life, eliminate moisture quickly and make many mud and/or laundry rooms smell a whole lot better.
The principle of Stuffitts centers on the product’s simple effectiveness. Take a soft, wicking, foot-like form and fill it with aromatic Eastern Red Cedar, and you’ve got a Stuffitt. Shown to absorb 60 percent of the moisture in only one hour, these easy-to-use gems can help the ’cross racer, or dog walker, render their shoes wearable again in very short order.
With these claims I was looking forward to putting them to the test. For the first test I threw the Stuffitts in my road shoes after a 90-minute high intensity indoor workout that resulted in a full body and gear drenching. After the sweatfest I put the Stuffitts into my wet, and quite stinky, shoes and checked them about three hours later. To my surprise they were nearly dry.
The exception was the heel area of the shoe that has quite a bit of padding in it, especially around the top part. While that area was still moist, the rest of the shoe was dry and the usual wet foot odor was missing. In sticking my nose much further into the shoe than I normally would ever do I found a nice hint of cedar to be present. Maybe change was in the air! The bonus was that when I hung the Stuffitts around the bars of my bike, by the handy detachable strap that they come with, my workout room started to smell like cedar as well.
Test two was an incredible mud fest race, which came a week later after Seattle was pounded with rain. The SCX race at Beverly Park was epic. Not just for the racing, but more for the amount of mud and moisture that accumulated on riders and their gear. After a thorough dousing of my ’cross shoes via the garden hose at home, I was left with a completely soaked pair of nasty shoes. In went the Stuffitts and out came the moisture. In this test I left them in my garage overnight to see how a colder, damper climate might effect them. When I pulled the Stuffitts out 10 hours later I was greeted with a nearly dry shoe and, again, one that didn’t smell so bad. This test showed the same as the road bike shoe test in that the heel of the shoe was the one spot that didn’t want to dry easily. Again, the Stuffitts managed to extract moisture easily, even in a cool and damp garage. If I had to go race again in those shoes on that day, I would have had happy feet as they were quite dry.
With all the rain we’ve had up here lately and the epic ’cross conditions that go along with that I was forced into test three after another epic slog in the mud at the SSCXWC and MFG Cyclocross races. I came away from my race a wet, mud covered mess and my shoes fared no better. After sitting overnight in a bag I took the garden hose to them on Monday morning. A full dousing ensued and much like test two, they were tucked away in the garage with the Stuffitts in them to dry out. With these being new shoes the smell test wasn’t relevant, but the moisture test was full on. After the shoes sat for the about four hours, I remembered to pull the Stuffitts out to check on the dryness. I encountered the same results as in the first two tests: Nearly dry shoes, the exception again being the heel area, and they permeated a nice, subtle, cedar odor.
My conclusions about Stuffitts are simple – these things work great and if you are a cyclocross racer, who, like me, has only one pair of shoes and wants to have them dry, and not smell, then a pair of Stuffitts needs to land in your shoes soon. Beyond working well for the ’cross racing shoes they will work for any other shoe that encounters moisture and odor -which is just about all of them. I plan to try them this winter in my ski boots to see just how effective they can be.
My one request for the Stuffitts product crew is to work on a solution for the heel area. While not a huge deal, it would sure be nice to find a way to dry that area effectively as well.
If you take my advice and try some Stuffitts drop a comment below.
For more information: www.stuffitts.com
Available in: Blue, Red, Black, Light Blue, Pink