Gonzo review: Handana wipes out sweat

Ba da da bum bum, ba da da bum…m-m-m-my Handana!

Okay, you probably have to be of a certain vintage to recall The Knack’s My Sharona, a big hit in, uh, 1979.


Anyway, the brand name Handana reminds me of Sharona, which leads me to…oh, never mind.

Ostensibly, the whole point of this ramble has nothing to do with The Knack (if you’re still with me), but rather with a nifty little bit of gear called – you guessed it! – a Handana.

If you’re looking for some highly technical running shoe made of a titanium composite or some sort of hydro-pack with an anti-gravity system, well, then, move along. This ain’t that kind of review.

Handana is extremely simple and fairly ingenious.

I like the way the company founder, Katie Niemeyer, positions her product: “Sweat. Snot. Handana handles it.”

No beating around the bush here: if you have bodily fluids leaking out of pores and holes, then you need a Handana.

I know I do.

I’ve been testing one for a couple of weeks now. During that period of time, it’s averaged around 33 Celsius above  – with the humidity. The latter has been bad enough at times that  it’s taken on a palpable thickness, a wet solidity, that soaks runners in sweat, bathes them in bodily fluids.

I’m not exaggerating.

(I know you think I am because of other posts – which are also not overblown, either, by the way.)

A couple of Sundays ago I ran with a friend who was drenched. With every step, his shoes went “squelch, squelch.”

Now I sweat. I sweat profusely. To the point where it’s almost mortifying.

I used to take a towel with me to hot yoga classes, because the perspiration would flood out of my body like the Mississippi during a flood year.

And when I run, I drip.

I’m not a fan of wearing hats or buffs in hot weather because they just heat me up even more – although they do catch the sweat.  But when I go without a head covering, sooner than later I get that nasty stinging in the eyes, and lifting a corner of my already soaked singlet to dab at my peepers doesn’t really alleviate anything.

That’s where the Handana comes in (about time, you’re all saying, thought he’d never get to the friggin’ point of his extended ramble).

Remember sweat bands? Well, actually even I don’t recall those. But at the dawn of jogging in the 1970s, people in shimmery shorts with big hair wore fleece bands around their wrists. And to the tune of disco, they’d languidly reach up and swipe the sweat from their fevered brows.

Dig it.

Well, the Handana operates on the same principle, but it’s a little more refined.

Made of supplex Lycra, Handanas fit over your hand. You fit your thumb through a hole and the material covers the palm and back of your hand. I received a handsome version in black with the cross-like Handana logo in white neatly printed on it.

The material fits snugly around your hand and is available in different sizes. Always one who’s sensitive to carrying things while I run, I expected the Handana to annoy me – and it did, only briefly.

As with any new gear, I was conscious of it at the start of runs. I could feel the weight on my hand, but within a few minutes didn’t notice the Handana at all. That said, late in some runs, I could feel the weight of the moisture accumulated on the Handana, but not long enough to be a major issue.

I quickly worked out that the most efficient way to use the band was to draw the palm across my head to wipe sweat and reserve the back for snot.

Don’t get confused and mix up the order. Things will get nasty.

Washing the Handana was…uh, no sweat.

Overall, I’m a fan; in fact, not just a fan, but – wait for it – a fandana!




Seriously though (why do half my posts always end with an apology?), I give the Handana a high five. I’ve tested it on road and trail runs and a simple swipe keeps my eyes sweat free.

To purchase a Handana, go here: http://www.amazon.com/Handana-High-performance-sweatband/dp/B007UFV228

To learn more about Handanas, head over here: http://www.myhandana.com/


About subthree

A multiple award-winning journalist, I'm currently a contributing editor with both Canadian Running and Canadian Cycling magazines. My articles have appeared in Explore, Canadian Geographic, enRoute, The National Post, The Globe and Mail, and many other magazines and newspapers. Formerly a competitive cross-country mountain biker, I switched to running in 2006. I've run seven marathons, qualifying for Boston five times (and which I've run once). Generally, I've placed or won in my age group in races, in distances ranging from five and 10 kms to half and full marathons. I've also taught spin classes at a number of leading Eastern Canadian gyms. Sub-three was a 2012 #Runchat finalist for Best Overall Blog.
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4 Responses to Gonzo review: Handana wipes out sweat

  1. Leslie H. says:

    I showed your post immediately to my boyfriend who wears an original, un-sweat-grabbing, ban-dana when he runs and then wonders why he gets sweat in his eyes. I appreciate the ‘My Sharona’ reference… how about this one: do you remember the farcical version that played on the radio stations after the coup deposing the Shah of Iran: ‘Aya-toll-ah!’ (We weren’t PC back in ’79; sorry if that upsets some one. We were just provincial Americans.)

    • subthree says:

      That’s hilarious. As a Canadian, I didn’t come across the Knack parody you mention, but I’ll have to look for that. Thank you for reading. I trust you’ll set your boy friend straight, ’cause I don’t want to come over there…just saying.

  2. Rob says:

    Apparently a marketing genius figured out that if you take a facecloth and poke a hole in it for your thumb, presto! you have a fancy new piece of running gear that people will pay big bucks to own. Gotta love the ingenuity born of capitalism.

    • subthree says:

      Well, I suppose you could do that. But the Handana is actually better made than that, with good technical fabric, some careful thought given to the design and how it wraps around your hand and where the wipe points are, and with some good stitching. But it is an ingenious idea and I find it works better than anything I’ve used to date.

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