The Gumdrop came into my life via Twitter – the Kickstarter campaign popped up and I was instantly interested! Over the last few years I’ve explored the benefits and drawbacks of every soft tissue tool I’ve come across, at last settling on the lacrosse ball as the most portable, cheapest, and most versatile option around. We’ve recorded how-to videos with the lax ball, and anyone who’s ever done a soft tissue/mobility clinic with me knows my love of getting a team in a circle and watching them commiserate as they work out knots in their quads. I asked Phoebe Evans (the mastermind) to send us a Gumdrop so we could field-test it with the ultimate athletes we work with at RenFitness, and also so that our Wizards (myself, Bert and Kira) could try it out – short answer is that we love it! Here are the particulars:
Travel & Portability 4/5
One of the taglines of the Gumdrop is that it’s portable, and it certainly is! Not quite as portable as a lacrosse ball due to its larger size and non-uniform shape, but still incredibly easy to fit into a field bag or luggage. A helluva lot easier to tote around than a foam roller for sure. It’s slightly heavier than a lax ball but not as heavy as you’d think!
Materials & Durability 4/5
The Gumdrop just…feels nice. It’s a little bit squishier than a lax ball, but not collapsible like a tennis ball. The texture is pleasant, and it’s shown no sign of getting dingy or losing its color (though we haven’t had it for long). You can freeze the Gumdrop, which makes it an amazing tool for something like plantar fasciitis. The only thing we’ve noticed is a little bit of scuffing of the rubber since we’ve had it – this might very well be something that would be addressed in subsequent production (the one we have is from the first run).
The Gumdrop is incredibly good at what it does, which is getting into a tight spot and tacking it down while you mobilize the area around it. Each of our Wizards picked their favorite use to share with you:
Kira: I like the Gumdrop because I can easily vary the intensity without having several sized soft tissue devices. It also stays put, making it easier to target the muscle that needs help. It works really well to get into all the various spot on my glutes and hip that tighten up when I am working out and running on the field. Also it’s pretty! I would choose the Gumdrop over a lacrosse ball any day.
Ren: My favorite use for the Gumdrop is to get into my tight pecs! I train a lot of Krav Maga and play ultimate, and I struggle with maintaining good posture…I used to put a lacrosse ball on a squat rack and lean on it while moving my arm around to loosen things up. But I had to hold the lax ball with my other hand to keep it from squirting off and rolling away – the Gumdrop stays in place so I don’t have to tense up my other arm while I’m trying to relax! Also, having more targeted focal points makes it easier to switch up the intensity of the soft tissue work.
Bert: I like using the Gumdrop around the margins of my shoulder blade. Since getting a concussion, my shoulders have been riding high, as I carry the tension and trauma in my traps, neck, and chest. The Gumdrop allows me to get pinpoint release in a way LAX balls can’t provide since it stays put!
The reason for the giving the Gumdrop a 3 in this category is that even though it’s great for pin-and-stretch and not rolling away from you (or pulling up all the grass at afield like a lax ball), it doesn’t do anything else. Sometimes you need/want something that rolls around, either a foam roller or a lax ball, in order to work out your issues! But that being said, I think everyone should have the Gumdrop as a part of their field bag, or at least as part of a team sideline care kit.
Okay, so real talk: the Gumdrop is COOL. It is, as the tagline suggests, adorable – every one of our gym members who’s seen it has immediately said, “Wow, that’s neat, what is it??” It comes in a bunch of different colors (she sent me a pink one, obvi) and they’re all gorgeous. It stands out in our little basket of soft tissue tools as obviously the most interesting thing.
At this point, there’s no way to manufacture such a high quality and distinct product as cheaply as industrial machines can crank out lacrosse balls! That means that the price point for the Gumdrop is more comparable to a good foam roller ($25-$30) than a lacrosse ball ($2-$3). This is the one area where I feel like the Gumdrop loses out to a lacrosse ball, but it’s still a very reasonable price for something so helpful and useful, and I’m a huge fan of supporting small businesses run by ultimate players!
The only places where I struggle to wholeheartedly recommend the Gumdrop in regards to versatility and price – even though it’s great at what it does and as affordable as a foam roller, the lacrosse ball beats it in both categories. But OMG, this product is AWESOME. I want a million of them for the gym, and I’d like to add them to our sideline care kit at some point as well! Huge props to Phoebe for creating something so great for our community!!