Gear Review: Inflatable Foot Rinse

author : DominiqueL
comments : 0

By Dominic Lazzaretto
B.T.com Gear Reviewer

Introduction
Anyone who’s ever considered their first triathlon worries about how they are going to clean their feet after running to T1. We envision stuffing our sand coated feet into our bike shoes and immediately getting the microdermabrasion from hell. So we all come up with the same simple solution: grab a bucket and a gallon of water. Sometimes it’s a plastic cake pan, sometimes it’s a dishpan, and we’ve all seen the mop bucket. But that’s about as high tech as it gets.

Sure, these options work OK (of the three, I would recommend the dishpan – deeper than the cake pan, more stable than a mop bucket), but they have their drawbacks. Because they are rigid plastic, they take up a lot of space in your bag, if they even fit at all. Then there’s the water. They take at least a gallon to get enough to cover your feet. Where do you get this water? If you bring it with you, that’s 8 pounds of water you get to carry from your car to the transition area. If you get it at the race, you have to find a place to fill up and then do that shuffle-walk back to your transition spot, hoping all the way you won’t spill it all over the place. Then, if you have clown feet like I do, there’s the issue of size – most available options are too small to fit my foot, so I get to bend my toes back and shove my foot inside. Ouch.

Enter DT Multisport. This company, known for their transition bags, has quietly introduced the Inflatable Foot Rinse. It’s lightweight, portable, and solves all of the issues inherent in the ubiquitous plastic bucket. But a plastic bucket is only $4.00 you say? I say that $19.99 is a small price to pay for something that makes your race morning approximately 127 times less stressful.

 

The Product

Inflatable Foot Rinse

  

The Maker

DT Multisport (www.triathlonbags.com

The Price

$19.99

The Rating

  (4.25/5)

The Skinny

Highly Recommended. An excellent replacement for the bucket. Lightweight, easy to use, and very durable.

 

First Impressions
The Inflatable Foot Rinse comes in a heavy plastic bag with a drawstring. I don’t know how thick the plastic is, but believe me when I tell you that you couldn’t pull it hard enough to rip it apart. It’s thick enough that you don’t have to worry about punctures when throwing it in a bag with metal parts. The bag, including all contents, is about the size of a large grapefruit and weighs 10oz.

Taking the parts out of the bag, you find a small yellow foot pump, a blue hose, and the Inflatable Foot Rinse. The Foot Rinse is shiny, heavy gauge PVC and comes in black, red, yellow, baby blue, and purple. The bag, by the way, will be the same color as your Foot Rinse, which is a nice touch. Could the colors be more sedated? Sure, but they can be easily spotted from a distance, which helps you locate your transition area. I don’t know if this was the intent, but it’s a nice feature anyway.

Everything about the Foot Rinse looks like it’s very well constructed. The PVC is thicker than you would expect, the pump is more than adequate to quickly fill the little air chambers, and the hose doesn’t look like it’s going to break any time soon. Around the perimeter of the Foot Rinse are several logos from the company in two different sizes, which are nicely done. That being said, there are two hokey things about the design: the sticker on the pump and the “footsies” on the inside of the Foot Rinse.
 

 

All the parts, with the Foot Rinse inflated

The pump is probably an off-the-shelf item and DT Multisport simply adds a sticker to brand it. That’s fine, but the sticker on mine was installed kind of poorly and it begged for me to rip it off, which I would have done immediately if it weren’t a loaner. Truth be told, it’s a nice sticker. I would love to take it off and affix it to my wall o’ stickers in the garage. It just is a bit big for the pump so it wrinkles and hangs awkwardly over the edge (you can see what I mean if you look closely at the pump image below). Does this matter in the slightest? Absolutely not, but you should know by now that I like to dwell on minutiae.

Which brings us to the “footsies.” I know you noticed them already, so I don’t need to go into detail, but I say they’re so goofy that they’re kind of cool. Some would say that they’re just plain goofy, but they remind me of the old Hang Ten logo (if you grew up anywhere near Los Angeles in the 1970’s you remember Hang Ten). Anything that makes me remember my childhood fondly, I’m all for, so DT Multisport gets extra Cosmo points for the footsies even if they are hokey. It’s my review. You can’t stop me. If you don’t like it, write your own review. Or, better yet, post a comment on the bottom of this article. You can do that, you know.

Set Up
The foot pump has two nozzles, one red, one blue. The blue hose goes in the – yep, you guessed it – blue nozzle for inflation. Putting the hose in the red nozzle will deflate the Foot Rinse (more on that later). The other end of the hose gets shoved in the inflation valves of the Foot Rinse.
 

   

Blue for inflating, red for deflating
 

Yes, I said valves. There are two of them and they are exactly like the ones on every pool toy you’ve ever owned (clear, rubberized plastic). If the pump ever failed, you could easily inflate the Foot Rinse with your mouth, although the lower valve would be a bit difficult to deal with. It seems to me that the Foot Rinse could be get away with a single inflation point. The way it’s designed now, there are separate air chambers going around the top and bottom of the Foot Rinse, with sheets of plastic making up the floor and walls of the container. It would seem to be easy to create a few small vertical air chambers to connect the upper and lower inflation areas. This could also increase the structural integrity of the device. Regardless, the two chambers inflate extremely quickly using the foot pump. After about five pumps in each chamber, the Foot Rinse is fully inflated. A quick tug on the top chamber extends the reservoir to its full height. Shorter folks probably don’t need to do this, but I like having the extra depth. In all, it takes less than 30 seconds to inflate the thing.

Because DT Multisport divides the foot placement areas and minimizes the overall size, you only need to put 20oz of water in the basin for the Foot Rinse to work. The Foot Rinse can hold a lot more water than that, but 20oz is a perfect amount. That’s the same amount of water in your average water bottle. You won’t believe me when you fill it the first time because it looks like so little water, but when you step in, the water level rises around and over your feet. It even got up around my ankles, which was nice. For those keeping track, the water you need for the Foot Rinse is only 1.25 pounds compared to the 8 pounds of water you need for a bucket.

Because you bring the water to the Foot Rinse, there is no need to do the shuffle walk around the transition area. If you do need to move the container when it’s filled with water, it can easily be done. It feels kind of wobbly when you first lift it, but when you get the thing off the ground, the floor sags a bit with the weight of the water, which pushes the water further down and ensures that you won’t spill a drop in transit.

 

 

It may not look pretty, but you’ll never spill when carrying it
 

In Use
The Inflatable Foot Rinse is one size fits all. For most people, it is probably a bit oversized, but my size 12’s were very comfy in there. You could probably have up to a size 14 and still have some wiggle room in the Foot Rinse. When the water rises over your feet as you step in, it pushes most of the dirt and sand quickly off. For tougher jobs, a swift flick of the ankle does the trick. Not once did I need to reach down and scrub the debris off my feet because the Foot Rinse did it for me.

When placed on turf, dirt, or asphalt, the Foot Rinse stays in place nicely; however, on smooth or wet concrete, the slick PVC tends to slide a bit. When I was testing it on my patio, I thought for sure I was going to become a member of the Rob Petrie All-Stars as the concrete became wet. It might be helpful if there was a non-skid material on the bottom so it didn't slide around. In the meantime, just be careful when stepping into the Foot Rinse on slick surfaces.

The rounded air chambers help to keep the water inside the Foot Rinse when it’s shoved about. Step on the edge of the ubiquitous bucket and your water is all over the transition area. Step on the edge of the Inflatable Foot Rinse and a bit runs out, but it is still usable. This is key for very tight and busy transition areas.

The Foot Rinse itself weighs next to nothing (10oz) and takes up almost no space in your bag, but I couldn’t help thinking that the minimalists out there would appreciate a single footed version. It would require even less water, take up even less space in your bag, be even quicker to inflate, and would require less of your transition area. In a tight transition area, you can feel awkward whipping out the two footed version. I got around that awkwardness by telling my neighbors that they could use the Foot Rinse if they wanted.

Having only 20oz of water in the reservoir helps when it’s time to clean up after the race. You could probably just dump it on a hot piece of asphalt and let it quickly evaporate, but it’s just as easy to find a nearby tree well or planter. A little shake gets the last bits of water out and you’re ready to deflate the Foot Rinse. The website tells you to pinch the inflation valves to let the air out. That works well, but I found that it was just as easy to switch the hose to the red valve on the foot pump and suck the air out. It’s faster and gets the last… err… drops?... of air out of the chambers.

The bag for the Foot Rinse is very roomy, so packing everything up is a breeze. I kept thinking that I would dry the thing off before putting it in the bag, but I never got around to it. I also kept thinking I would dry it properly when I got home. That never happened either. Surprisingly, mildew hasnScore Notes’t been an issue at all. I just roll the Foot Rinse up, shove it in the storage bag with the pump, and forget about it until the next race.

Durability
When entering the transition area, you’re tired and you’re rushing to get changed. You need to have a foot cleanser that can handle your stumbling, clumsy attempts to use it and it needs to be able to withstand bumps, scrapes and abuse from bikes and feet passing by. I jumped on the fully inflated and filled Foot Rinse with shoes and without. I dragged it across the dirt and across asphalt. I pulled it. I twisted it. I kicked it. I rode my road and mountain bikes over it. The DT Multisport Inflatable Foot Rinse took all this abuse without showing any signs of distress. In most cases, the water even stayed in the basin (or at least enough of it that I could still clean my feet).

Final Thoughts
Having an Inflatable Foot Rinse is a bit of a luxury item. You could spend far less for something that ultimately works just as well where it matters – cleaning off your feet. In addition, as I do more triathlons, I find that having a foot cleanser is not that important. Only when the transition area is on the sand itself do I really need to clean my feet off (otherwise, running over the paved/turf areas takes care of most of the problem).

That being said, if you are going to have a foot cleanser in your transition area, I would highly recommend spending the extra money for the DT Multisport Inflatable Foot Rinse. The weight and space savings alone are worth the money, but it also outperforms the traditional bucket in other areas such as ease of transportation, durability, and protection against spills. Plus, if you’re trying to justify the extra $15 to your significant other, tell them that you can use it for other things, like to soak their feet after a long, hard work day or to take on camping trips or to put near the back door to wipe dirty feet (and paws!). Plus, the other night, I used the foot pump to inflate my air mattress when we had house guests.

Besides, where else in the triathlon world can you buy the top of the line technology for less than $20? I mean, $20 is the least you can take out at an ATM.

 

    

 

  

DT Multisport Inflatable Foot Rinse
(www.triathlonbags.com)

 

Category

    Score

Notes

Ease of Use

 

Quickly inflates, quickly deflates, easy to carry and store.

Quality

 

I jumped on it, dragged it, and pulled it and it didn't break; sticker on pump was poorly installed and came off immediately.

Weight

 

Adds no noticeable weight to your transition bag and much lighter than a bucket and a gallon of water.

Structural Integrity

 

Sags when carrying it, but you can't make the water spill out; won’t tip over and keeps water in when stepped on.

Cosmo Factor*

 

Foot lines are a bit goofy, but colors are attractive; more high tech than a bucket.

Overall

 

Better than a bucket; needs less water, works better, easier to carry; quality construction where it matters.

 

*based on the fashion magazine, not the sitcom character
 

Random Thoughts That May Only Interest Me

  • I was originally going to start this review with a joke about how you didn’t need to worry that I would write 2,500 words about such a simple product, but then I did it (2,673 at last count), so what’s the fun in that?
     

  • Be prepared for others to use your Foot Rinse when you’re not around. On more than one occasion, I found that my Foot Rinse had been used before I got to T1. That never happened with my bucket. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
     

  • If you want the full selection of colors, the best place to buy the Foot Rinse is through the manufacturer’s website (www.traithlonbags.com); Triathlon Lab sells them, but only the red and black versions.

Technical Data

PVC Construction
One Size Fits All
Available Colors: black, red, yellow, light blue, purple
Total Weight: 10oz
 


 

A Note on the Author: Dominic Lazzaretto has completed eleven triathlons (kind of near the front of the age-grouper pack) and has competed in dozens of road running races, mountain bike races, and road cycling events. He is one of the official gear reviewers for Beginnertriathlete.com

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date: March 5, 2006

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DominiqueL