Reviewed by: Smelph Date Product Reviewed: 09/05/2011 Product Type: Gear So while my contemporaries such as Jason Robillard and Christian Peterson are out getting free shoes from everyone and their brother for reviews I have decided (some would say I had no other choice) to start with something rarely seen in the product review world: Ointment. Or is it Unguent? Hell, I don't know. Either way the first product review here at BarefootRoot will involve a topical cream. There is a significant back story to this review, and while I think it's important I'll try not to make it take up the entire article. In a nutshell, heel fissures suck. Ok maybe I need to expand on it a little more than that. I have been suffering with heel fissures for somewhere around 4 years now, long before I even dreamed of running, barefoot or otherwise. I have no idea why they decided to plague me with their horribleness, which makes them all the more difficult to deal with (many remedies are largely dependent on the cause). Eventually they developed to a point where my heels were dry, calloused, pitted and ultimately I got fairly deep cracks that were often very painful. Over the years I tried several remedies with little success. I had read they may be caused my athlete's foot so I tried athlete's foot cream. No dice. I heard they were from a vitamin E and Omega 3 deficiency, so I increased both in my diet as best I could (I am allergic to fish). Nada. I tried a couple different over the counter heel creams claiming to "heal dry cracked heels!" Nothing. I even tried pumice stones and microplanes to physically grate the damn things off. Those worked as far as getting rid of the horrible white callouses, but more often than not doing this just made it easier for the cracks to reopen. I even tried using vaseline while putting plastic bags on my feet while I slept. There was a tiny bit of improvement there, but nothing I would consider satisfactory. Then the power of advertising kicked in. I am a sucker for long-lived brands. Any brand or product that has survived a century has to do what it claims or it wouldn't still be with us. A prime example would be my attachment to Carmex, which I used back in high school for my lips (I was a trumpet player and the lips are important!) as well as later on when I spent considerable time working outdoors in the winter. The stuff is still sold in ceramic jars with metal lids for crying out loud! Anyway, the ad I saw one fateful day was for Gold Bond Therapeutic Foot Cream, which claimed to heal cracked heels (just like all the others). What it had over the other products though was a pedigree: Gold Bond has been around since 1908. If their products didn't work they would have vanished years ago, so I was willing to give it a shot. The product itself costs somewhere around $6.50 (I can't tell for sure because Michigan just eliminated a law saying products needed to be individually priced and the tube has no price tag on it), which seems expensive at first blush, but I have used that first tube for just over 2 months now so it doesn't seem so bad anymore. I was pretty generous with how much I used, so it may even last longer if I used a proper amount! The nice thing right off the bat is that it's non-greasy. This is a big plus in my book because if you give it a couple minutes to dry before throwing on your shoes or socks or jumping in bed you wouldn't know it was on there. It also is pretty easy to rinse off your hands, making stuff like Vaseline seem pretty nasty by comparison. So how did it perform? I'm glad you asked! I didn't go in with very high hopes, aside from my superstition involving ancient product branding, so I was pleasantly surprised to see a fairly significant improvement during the very first week! I had been using it in the morning and at night and that was it; no microplaning, no pumice, no nothing. Just the cream. By the end of the second week most of the cracks had disappeared except for a particularly deep and persistent bugger and most of the callouses were nearly gone. After a month of usage the cracks had completely healed and the callouses were reduced to simple rough patches of skin on my heels. I continued to use the stuff morning and night and could see slight further improvement, but I got the feeling I had reached the limits of its mystical powers. It has now been just over 2 months since I first started using it and I still have some rough dry patches on my heels, much like they were a few weeks ago, but they are pretty minor and the cream appears to keep them well under control with a single application each day. All that's left after 2 months of usage All in all I think this is a great product and well worth the $6.50 I spent on it. While it didn't completely eliminate my problem, it certainly took care of the worst symptoms (the cracks and callouses) extremely well. My only regret is not getting before pictures so you could see exactly how well it performed. For the first time in 4 years my heels don't look like total hell! Thank you Gold Bond! This raises an important question for me: what the heck is causing the dry spots on my heels in the first place? I still don't know, but at least now I have a weapon to keep things under control until I figure out the last piece of the puzzle.