STUFFITTS SHOE SAVERS
TEST SERIES BY JOHN R. WATERS
INITIAL REPORT - February 02, 2010
FIELD REPORT - April 15, 2010
LONG TERM REPORT - June 15, 2010
John R. Waters
White Lake, Michigan USA
5' 9" (1.75 m)
178 lb (80.70 kg)
My backpacking began in 1999. I have hiked rainforests in Hawaii, Costa Rica, and Puerto Rico, on glaciers in New Zealand and Iceland, 14ers in Colorado and Death Valley's deserts. I hike or snowshoe 6-8 miles (10 km-13 km) 2-3 times weekly in Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, with other day-long hikes on various SE Michigan trails. I also hike in Colorado and am relocating there, which will increase my hiking time and trail variety tremendously.
My daypack is 18 lb (8 kg); overnights' weigh over 25 lb (11 kg). I'm aiming to reduce my weight load by 40% or more.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
|Manufacturer: Stuffitts, Inc.|
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.stuffitts.com
MSRP: US$ 24.95
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 10.5 oz (298 g)
Colors Available: Royal Blue, Red, Black, Light Blue, Pink
Color Tested: Red
Sizes Available: Small, Medium, Large and X-Large (unisex) fitting shoes from 5 men's/7 women's to 13+ men's
Small includes kids' sizes 12-6
Size Tested: Large - 10-12.5 men's/10.5+ women's
Other details: 100% natural cedar inserts - 100% reusable
Stuffitts Shoe Savers, Inc. ("STUFFITTS") offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee on Stuffitts Shoe Savers and bags.
|Picture Courtesy of Stuffitts|
From the Stuffitts Shoe Savers' website (hereafter referred to as "Shoe Savers"), I had a good idea of what to expect when the Shoe Savers arrived. The website is simple, but so is the product, and the necessary information for product description, use and sizing were all easily found on the website.
|Stuffitts with Cedar Insert||My red Shoe Savers arrived connected together with a black webbed strap attached to a band of ribbon sewn at the top of the toe box. This band is black with the Stuffitts' logo printed on it. The 35.5 in (90 cm) connecting strap attaches to the two toe bands via snaps and also has a label with the Stuffitts' logo and website URL mid-strap. There is a very small black label sewn into the outside seam of each Shoe Saver with the size designation, in my case - "L".|
The outer covering of the Shoe Savers is a smooth tight knit the manufacturer says is a "technical" fabric designed to "wick" moisture. A 9 in (23 cm) very thin nylon zipper around the toe box of each Shoe Saver opens to reveal a tightly-packed, white insert containing Eastern Red Cedar for "odor control". This insert comprises about 70% of the Shoe Savers' length. The remainder (the toe box) is stuffed; with what, I don't know.
I am able to detect a slight cedar smell from the Shoe Savers, more so when I open the outer cover's zipper.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
The only instructions for use of the Shoe Savers on the Stuffitts' website is a video.
However, on the back of the retail hang-tag, instructions for use of the Shoe Savers are described as: "3 Easy Steps", although it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how to use them.
"1. Insert into shoes.
2. Let Stuffitts absorb moisture and odor.
3. Remove and reuse."
I did not find any washing or care instructions for the Shoe Savers. The red cedar inserts, according to the website, should be replaced every 6 months for maximum effectiveness and are sold on the website for $9.95 each.
|Stuffitts in My Boots|
TRYING IT OUT
|Stitched Toe Box||Thanks to the smooth outer covering of the Stuffitts, the Shoe Savers slid down into my boots without any trouble at all on first try. I simply held the left heel part of the Shoe Savers with one hand while holding the left boot with the other hand and pushed the Shoe Savers into the boot. Taking care to keep the connecting Shoe Savers strap out of the way, I did the same with the right Shoe Savers and boot. The Shoe Savers have stitched anatomically-correct "toes" as well as toe box curvature so putting the correct Shoe Savers (left/right) into the correct boot is obvious.|
The Stuffitt Shoe Savers fill my size 10.5 US boots completely as I would expect so as to enable the drying and de-odorizing process.
Removing the Shoe Savers is simply a matter of grabbing the heels of each Shoe Savers and pulling them out. For now though, they will stay put in my oldest, most broken-in, smelly boots.
The Stuffitts Shoe Savers is an interesting product with great possibilities for my boot care box. I suspect I will not be using them in the field as much as in my gear closet. I plan on taking the inserts with me on a trip or two if wetness is going to be a problem and I'll definitely have the Inserts in constant use at home after hikes.
This concludes my Initial Report on the Stuffitts Shoe Savers. Please continue to read below to see how the Stuffitts worked for me.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
All of my hiking trips since early February have been in the immediate surrounding mountain ranges of Canon City, Colorado. This includes the Cooper, Fremont, Wet Mountain ranges as well as the lower reaches of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Most of the time, I backpacked in the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) land behind my property - the Cooper Mountains.
Elevation ranges upwards of 5600 ft (1700 m) to 5800 ft (1770 m). With temperatures from 38 F (3 C) to 65 F (18 C), the weather was very sunny to very cloudy and no precipitation. Trails, when there were any, were very hard packed and bushwhack terrain was rocky hills to muddy grassland, broken up by lots of juniper and cactus. I did sometimes encounter patchy snow and ice.
Since I did not plan to encounter excessively wet conditions on any of my treks, I did not packed up the Stuffitts to carry out on day hikes and/or overnights during this time period.
The Stuffitts were therefore always engaged in testing stuffed in one or another pair of hiking boots or trail runners. The boots or shoes would be stored in my gear closet at an average temperature of 67 F (19 C) degrees with very little humidity.
The aforementioned boots or shoes were never soaked from the outside, but were often damp from perspiration; some smelled worse than others.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Stuffitts Shoe Savers have been in constant use since I first took them out of the box. I have been using them in two different pairs of trail runner shoes, inserting the left Stuffitts in one pair and the right Stuffitts in the other pair. The mates to each pair of shoes have been used as my control group.
Every night, when removing whichever pair of shoes I was wearing, I've inserted the appropriate Stuffitts into the appropriate shoe. The Stuffitts continue to glide into my shoes without any pressure needed. Each morning, I remove the Stuffitts from the shoes I had not worn the day before. By alternating my shoes every other day, I give the shoes a 36+ hour rest period and a good long time for the Stuffitts to do their thing.
The trail runners I am using to test the Stuffitts are each almost a year old. One of the pairs really reeks when worn all day; the other doesn't smell bad at all when worn.
After a day of rest, the stinky feet smell in the shoe treated with the Stuffitts has vanished while its untreated mate is still really unpleasant. I can clearly detect a faint cedar odor in the treated shoe. Unfortunately, the fresh smell doesn't last very long. By the time I remove my shoes after a hard day at work or on the trail, the foul scent returns.
I've yet to figure out the purpose of having the connector strap attached to a band at the toe of the Stuffitts. I can't use the strap to pull the Stuffitts out of the shoe because there is no leverage with the toe strap. Is this just for hanging them up?
I have not had an opportunity to see how well the Stuffitts dry out shoes as I have not encountered any running water or overly wet snow. Spring will change all that and in my next report, I will be sure to comment on how the Stuffitts worked for me then. I'll go wallow around in some mud pools.
So far, I like the way the Stuffitts render my shoes fit for the closet rather than being relegated to the outside steps. My wife appreciates them, too. I'm a little disappointed they don't appear to be able to permanently remove the odor from my trail runners that quickly get though. Perhaps, it's time to give those shoes a bath and see if Stuffitts can keep them fresh afterwards.
This concludes my Field Report on the Stuffitts Shoe Savers. The results of my final two months' testing are posted below.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
All of my hiking trips since April 2010 have been in the immediate surrounding mountain ranges of Canon City, Colorado. This includes the Cooper, Fremont, Wet Mountain ranges as well as the lower reaches of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Most of the time, I backpacked in the Bureau of Land Management forests behind my property in the Cooper Mountains. We hiked to the top of Fremont Peak in Canon City, Colorado at 7300 ft (2225 m) at about 75 F (24 C) and 20% humidity where the scenery is just magnificent with views to Pikes Peak to the north and way past Pueblo, Colorado to the east. We also finally hiked to the top of a narrow knife-ridge about 3 miles (5 km) behind our 71 acre ranch (29 hectares) at about 6800 ft (2072 m) where the ridge can be straddled between a hiker's legs for quite a distance.
The weather was very sunny to very cloudy with occasional spring precipitation. Trails, when there were any, very hard packed and bushwhack terrain was rocky hills to muddy grassland, broken up by lots of juniper and cactus. We did not encounter any snow or ice during this period.
The Stuffitts were stuffed in one or another pair of hiking boots or trail runners that were worn for hiking and for work. The boots or shoes would be stored in my gear closet at an average temperature of 67 F (19 C) degrees with very little humidity, usually less than 30%. My boots or shoes were never soaked from the outside, but were often damp from perspiration. Some smelled worse than others
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Stuffitts Shoe Savers have been in constant use since I first took them out of the box. I have been using them in two different pairs of trail runner shoes and two different pairs of hiking boots, inserting the left Stuffitts in one pair and the right Stuffitts in another pair. The mates to each pair being left out nearby to air out naturally.
|Stuffitts in Action||Every night, when removing whichever pair of shoes I was wearing, I've inserted the appropriate Stuffitts into the appropriate shoe or boot. The Stuffitts continue to glide into my shoes without any pressure being needed. Each morning, I remove the Stuffitts from the shoes I had worn the day before. By alternating my shoes every other day, I give the shoes a rest period and time for the Stuffitts to do their thing.|
The trail runners I am using to test the Stuffitts are each almost a year old. One of the pairs really reeks when worn all day; the other doesn't smell bad at all when worn. I switched to wearing lightweight hiking boots now that wild grass with burrs and cactus with spines are around. The hiking boots make my feet sweat more now that the temps here are getting up upwards of 90 F (32 C).
I can still clearly detect a faint cedar odor in the treated shoe or boot. Unfortunately, the fresh smell doesn't last very long. Most of the time I really do not smell much of a difference between the shoe or boot with the Stuffitts and the one without. I even tried, on 3 occasions, to stick the shoe or boot under my wife's nose. "Here ... smell this", I asked. "What!" she would say. "Really, please stick your nose in here and tell me which one stinks more", I requested. The results of this smell test revealed that the Stuffitts made little difference. In 3 tests like this, my wife picked the shoe that did NOT have the Stuffitts 2 of 3 times and the 3rd time she picked it only because it had more of a "woodsy" smell. In most cases, I could not tell the difference between the shoes or boots the next morning.
After extended use, I am not sure that the Stuffitts are working for me. I've been sticking my nose into my shoes and boots for weeks now. If anyone saw me they would think I had some kind of fetish. It may be that our humidity here is too low, or that my feet don't stink as much as I thought they did. Yes, I think my feet stink when I sweat. They have a musty, smelly odor that I do not like. But, I have noticed that without the Stuffitts the smell is gone as soon as I give the shoes or boots a few hours of breathing. Likewise, when I remove my shoes my socks stink, but they don't smell after less than an hour or so. I'm wondering if maybe my feet and boots just don't stink enough to really put these Stuffitts to a real test. In this humidity things dry out fast. I guess "smelliest" is relative and is quite subjective and based on how much someone loves you.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Thank you to Stuffitts, Inc. and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this new product.
John R. Waters
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