Monday, October 10, 2005

Do your feet a favor

Do your feet a favor and lose the stock sock liners that come with the shoes, and get some decent inserts or even orthotics. Feet along with your hands and butt are the only contact points on the bike. A lot of your influence to the bike is transmitted to them, as well as a ton of force. Hence the importance.

There has been a ton written on cleat setup and shoe setup, yet most people buys some shoes and accept the fit of the shoes as is without any modifications except for different socks. And even more people spend way too little time messing with their cleat position

For years and years I had hotfoot. That hot, numb tingly sensation you get in your feet after riding bit. And for a time I became the Imelda Marcos of shoes ebaying shoes after shoe to find a better fit. I tried tighter shoes, bigger shoes, shoes with more ventilation, shooes with no laces, shoes with laces. I tried stiffer shoes, I tried less stiff shoes, thin socks, thick socks...

I also tried moving the cleat farther back which helped a little.

After a while I realized that it was in my feet and not my shoes. If you look at my feet from the rear it is pretty clear that I am a serious overpronater

This does two things. 1) It takes away power from being directed right into the pedal 2) It places a lot of stress on the ball of my foot.

I then tried some aftermarket inserts.
SuperFeet are some of the more popular ones and there are several others on the market.

These helped a lot. And I encourange anyone and everyone to at least get rid of the stock sock liner that comes with your shoes and get some aftermarket inserts. Most sock liners that comes with shoes are just pitiful pieces of foam. Nothing else. Even the ones like the specialized Body geometry soles
Which were designed by renowned bike fit expert Andy Pruit are minimal in my opinion. Any of these aftermarket inserts will do wonders for a pair of shoes, and will make a $20 pair feel as good as some $200+ pairs.

Even after the super feet insoles I still had hot foot. I decided to try the route of custom orthotics and contacted a podiatrist who specializes in cycling related issues.
WellFeet. He sent on of those bio foam boxes. I molded my feet and then sent them back. And in a few weeks I got some orthotics

They are molded for the bottom half of my feet and then have a floppy topcover made of neoprene. It makes it kind of hard to transfer them from one shoe to another other than that they are wonderful.

First thing I noticed when I put them in. IMMEDIATE increase in power. It is basically vectors, but correcting the overpronation allows all the power to go straight down to the pedal.

2nd thing the Hot foot was better. I still get it now and then and it comes and goes, but it is much much better than it used to be. I can recall mountain biking and just tapping my toe against a rock and it just stinging because my foot was a complete ball of needles.

So just some advice that you don't need to spend $200 on shoes to get a nice comfortable shoe. There are many $40 and under shoes that with an added aftermarket sole will feel amazing. And that if you do have foot problems like heel pain, or hot foot that you can do some things about it. Talk to a certified fitter if things like moving your cleats, and trying different inserts or socks doesn't help. And as a last resort there are orthotics.


At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Cory said...

Wow, I haven't checked out your site in a while but it looks as though you've been plugging away with some decent, original content.

Good stuff, esp. this entry. I'll start back to regular reading right away.



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