You know those runs where things get a little too sticky? And every body part that seems to brush against a piece of clothing ends up irritated? And after every run that ends with chafing, you curse the running gods and say you’ll never run again? Yeah, I’ve been there too. I’ve been there a lot recently, actually, thanks to the fact that I live and run in New York City, where humidity this summer reached an all-time high. That’s why I spent more than 10 runs—63 miles in total—testing five products to find the best anti-chafe products for runners to avoid that icky, sticky, burn-y feeling.
Ultimately, Chamois Butt’r Coconut Anti-Chafe Cream emerged as the best anti-chafe product on the market. An honorable mention goes to plain ol’ deodorant. Yes! Deodorant.
In order from most to least favorite, these are the best anti-chafe products for runners:
- Chamois Butt’r Coconut
- Dove Advanced Care Caring Coconut Antiperspirant & Deodorant
- Body Glide for Her
- MegaBabe Thigh Rescue
- Squirrel’s Nut Butter All Natural Anti Chafe Salve
The Best Anti-Chafe Product for Runners
Chamois Butt’r Coconut
- Cream formula with finger application
- 8-ounce tube
- Contains organic coconut oil, shea butter, vitamins A and E, aloe vera, and tea tree oil
- Easy and pleasant to apply
- Excellent longevity
- Cream feels better on skin than stick products
- Leaves residue on fingers after application
Chamois Coconut Butt’r is close to perfect for long, hot runs. It uses the same formula as the brand’s brand’s original product, Chamois Butt’r, with the addition of coconut oil and shea butter. This makes it ideal for post-run relief to soothe already irritated areas.
From my initial 6-mile test run to the half marathon I used it for, the product just felt good. And by good, I mean that after applying, I didn’t notice it at all and could focus on my run. To apply it, I simply put a little on my fingers—about half of my index finger of cream did the trick. Then, I rubbed it on my chafing hot spots like my thighs and underarms. You can also apply it directly to clothing or accessories. It feels like a thick moisturizer and went on the smoothest of all the products I tested. It also felt more pleasant than the other products during and post-application, and left no residue on my shorts.
All of the other products I tested took a few miles to settle into my skin. Not the Chamois Butt’r—after applying it, I forgot it was there. Not having to spend those first miles thinking about the Butt’r and how it felt was the ideal way to use it.
But the best part of testing the Coconut Butt’r, for me, was realizing that it does what it claims to do. I walked away from all my test runs with zero chafing. It also delivers on the versatility front. In addition to my runs, I used it for a few 60-minute indoor cycling sessions, and it performed just as well.
The only Chamois Coconut Butt’r qualm I have is that my first experience with it left residue on my fingers. However, I can attribute this to user error. For the second test run and additional indoor cycling sessions, I brought a towel with me and the product came off just fine.
With 732 Amazon reviews that add up to a 4.8-star rating on my side, I’d have to say: if you have to choose one anti-chafe product, this is the one.
Are Anti-Chafe Products Worth It for Runners?
Chafing Cleveland Clinic “Chafing” View Source (sometimes called “chub rub”) is a rash-like irritation or abrasion caused by skin rubbing on something for an extended period of time. For runners, this usually occurs where there’s an extended period of skin-on-skin contact—often the inner thighs, armpits, butt, groin, feet, and breasts—or where running accessories, like sports bras and hydration backpacks, meet the skin. On top of that constant friction, adding liquid like rain or sweat can make chafing worse. Moisture can cause the skin’s surface to become more gelatinous and increase friction and potential irritation, akin to how a blister forms PubMed.gov “The effect of hydration on the risk of friction blister formation on the heel of the foot” View Source . Anti-chafe products are intended to prevent this.
Chafing affects people differently, and you don’t have to be a runner to experience it. Some people start to feel a chafe coming on as soon as they step outside on a steamy day; others can run a 10K with nary a red, angry splotch to show for it. Chafing can also occur with any weight fluctuation, including pregnancy.
If you’ve never noticed chafing before, and you consider yourself a casual runner who averages 3.7 miles per run with no sweaty, long runs on the horizon, you could probably save the money and skip an anti-chafe product. But if you’re chafe-prone, looking to add more miles to your running or cycling game, run in the rain, or just sweat a lot (hi, that’s me!) an anti-chafe product should be in your future.
How We Got Here
Meet Your Guinea Pig
I’m Nicole Loher. I’ve been racing in triathlons, marathons, and half marathons for nearly seven years. This means I’ve tried a lot of products to prevent chafing over the years. For the last year, I’ve been running for Tracksmith, and I run solo, unsupported half marathons and marathons. Needless to say, a lot of my life consists of running. I am obsessed with finding the best products to make my runs as easy as possible.
Going into this story, I was a bit of an anti-chafe product skeptic. I’d always just used deodorant, so I thought I’d be able to bust the whole chafe-specific product industry. But as I found out, there’s a clear benefit in something developed specifically for sports to enhance runnng.
Our Testing Process
For this story, I researched 25 popular anti-chafe products. Ultimately, I landed on four with the most internet buzz and clout in my own running and cycling communities—plus regular deodorant as a “control.” The Nessie purchased the anti-chafe products, and I used my own deodorant. In total, I ended up testing five products over 63 miles and 10 runs, with each product getting two trials.
For each test, I ran a similar distance in a similar outfit. Each run for this story was between 5 and 7 miles. (I treated top contenders to a bonus race or workout session.) I also wore the same shorts and sports bras for each run. For each run, I applied the anti-chafe products to my inner thighs and under my arms, as that’s where chafing tends to get to me.
The Anti-Chafe Stick and Cream Buying Guide
This anti-chafe stick selection is great for runners who either run frequently in warm weather or sweat often while running, no matter the weather or distance, and suffer from abrasions in chafe-prone areas. I can’t promise anti-chafe gear will make you a better runner, but it will definitely make you more comfortable.
When buying an anti-chafe product for hot weather running, you want to ensure you’re paying attention to these three things:
- Ingredients: It’s vital to choose an anti-chafe that will work well with not only your skin, but your skin plus liquid. Stay on the lookout for coconut butter, cocoa butter and/or Vitamin E oil. These ingredients are key to a good anti-chafe. If you have sensitive, acne-prone skin, you’ll also want to make sure it’s non-comedogenic and mineral oil-free.
- Activity fit: You’ll want to ask yourself, “Is the product I’m choosing suited for the activity I’m about to do?” For someone who puts in a lot of miles, Chamois Butt’r is the way to go. If you want to prevent chub rub while walking outside in shorts, MegaBabe’s Thigh Rescue may be the best product for you.
- Longevity: An anti-chafe product is only as good as the time it stays with you. Ensure the product you choose aligns with how long you intend to sweat.
Other Anti-Chafe Products To Consider
Dove’s Advanced Care Caring Coconut Antiperspirant & Deodorant
- Antiperspirant and deodorant with stick application
- 2.6-ounce tube
- Contains Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex Gly and hydrogenated castor oil and sunflower seed oil
- Great value
- Smells fantastic
- Alcohol-free formula and enriched with 1/4 moisturizers with natural oil
- Only really worked for my underarms and thighs, not ankles or for post-run relief
Dove’s Advanced Care Deodorant has been my go-to anti-chafe product for almost two years. I spent years running and cycling as a triathlete, and could never find a product I loved to combat chafing. After hours on various triathlete and runner forums, I found users extolling the benefits of antiperspirant deodorant (any kind) as a cheap, simple replacement for anti-chafe creams and sticks. I already had a stick of Dove in my medicine cabinet, and the rest is history. It is an antiperspirant stick, after all.
While antiperspirant typically irritates my skin, this product is alcohol-free and contains some natural oils for moisture. And, yes, it also contains aluminum. If you’re a Native or Schmidt’s stan, Dove Advanced Care isn’t the anti-chafe product for you. (That said, there’s also no scientific link between aluminum in deodorant and cancer NIH—National Cancer Institute “Antiperspirants/Deodorants and Breast Cancer” View Source .)
Still, because it is a deodorant stick, it only worked on my inner thighs and under my arms. It did not work on my ankles, or for post run-relief, and I can’t imagine it’d be great for nipples or other common areas that are prone to chafe during a race. And while this has worked for me in indoor cycling sessions before, I wouldn’t try it for other sports. Now that I’ve experienced the sweet soothing power of Chamois Butt’r, I can no longer say Dove Advanced Care is my main squeeze—but it’s still pretty good.
Body Glide For Her Anti Chafe Balm
- Stick application
- .8-ounce stick
- Contains caprylic/capric Triglyceride and Vitamin E, plus coconut and sweet almond oils
- Simple and effective
- Great for sports
- Tends to skip on skin during application
- Feels like taffy on skin before sinking in
I used the original, gender-neutral Body Glide during my first two seasons of triathlon training and racing, and it worked just fine. In this round of testing, I decided to give Body Glide for Her a shot. (It’s unclear what makes this for her, other than a pink container and some added ingredients that may or may not make it better for use around the bra area. It should go without saying that anyone of any gender can and should use this product if it appeals to them.) In tests, Body Glide for Her still worked… just fine. It solves the basic issue of chafing for sports purposes, but doesn’t do much more than that.
Body Glide for Her also doesn’t feel that different from the original Body Glide, and I experienced some friction when applying. It seemed to skip over certain parts of my skin, causing me to apply more than I would have liked. It also had a taffy-like feeling when applying, and I could consistently feel it for the first half mile of every run. Still, once it settled, it prevented chafing in all my usual trouble areas. If you’re looking for a good race anti-chafe stick, either Body Glide or Body Glide for Her will do the trick.
MegaBabe Thigh Rescue
- Stick application
- 2.12-ounce stick
- Contains grapeseed oil and vitamin E
- Balm-like formula allows thighs to glide together
- Consistent presence on cool-kid TikTok
- Not as good for running long distances
- Always felt product during the first half mile of runs
- Product transfers to clothes
MegaBabe Thigh Rescue is the Millennial and Gen Z anti-chafe stick of choice. The search term “thigh rescue” alone has 15.1B views on TikTok, and it boasts near-perfect ratings out of 1200+ reviews on its site. The product, unsurprisingly, is pretty good. Its balm-like formula is easy to apply and creates a barrier that sits on top of skin, allowing thighs to glide smoothly against each other. It’s very much an aesthetic, lifestyle product, which I loved, and I can imagine it’s great for walking around on a hot day.
However, I don’t think this is the greatest hot-weather performance anti-chafe stick for any run that’s more than 3 miles. I really noticed it for the first few minutes of my runs, then forgot about it—then remembered it again about 3 miles in when I started to feel some irritation between my thighs. It also transferred to my clothes, leaving a white, smudgy residue on my nylon track shorts. If you already have this product on hand, or want to get in on the MegaBabe lifestyle, it’s a good stand-in for any of the aforementioned products. For something more hardcore, just glance up the list.
An Anti-Chafe Product You Can Skip
Squirrel’s Nut Butter All Natural Anti Chafe Salve
- Stick application
- 1.7-ounce stick
- Contains coconut oil, cocoa butter, beeswax, and vitamin E oil
- Works fine in cold weather
- Tough to store and apply in warm weather
- Inconsistent application
This product seems to be a fan favorite for those who want a “clean” product. But I’d recommend skipping Squirrel’s Nut Butter if you don’t already have it in your arsenal. The brand makes a big deal about the fact that its formulation is all natural. But I found that it didn’t perform well under warmer weather conditions. (This is a must, as chafing happens most frequently in the heat.)
With the warm weather, the ingredients tended to separate, which led to an inconsistent finish. When I applied it, it somehow felt both greasy and dry on my skin. Due to the sloppy application, I also started to chafe during my runs. However, it seemed to perform slightly better as the weather cooled down. If you are a cold-weather runner and need an all natural anti-chafe solution, this is the right option for you. (With 1,347 4.6-star reviews on Amazon, it clearly has something to offer.) Otherwise, you can skip it altogether.
- Explanation of chafing: “Chafing,” Cleveland Clinic (July 2022).
- Moisture can cause skin’s surface to become gelatinous: “Is Humidity Good for Skin?” Asarch Center (July 2022).
- Effect of moisture can help form blisters: “The effect of hydration on the risk of friction blister formation on the heel of the foot,” Skin Research and Technology (March 2014).
- No link between aluminum in antiperspirant and breast cancer: “Antiperspirants/Deodorants and Breast Cancer,” National Cancer Institute (August 2016).