Feet First

Bikes Etc - - HEALTH -

While your feet are prob­a­bly used to wear­ing reg­u­lar shoes, there is some­thing truly spe­cial about slip­ping into a pair of form­fit­ting cy­cling shoes for the first time. They cos­set your foot in all the right places, with a stiff com­pos­ite sole and com­pres­sive up­per, hold­ing your foot snugly cap­tive. You could eas­ily imag­ine they’d be un­com­fort­able, like ski boots, and yet a good pair of cy­cling shoes will wrap around your foot like noth­ing else. The clos­est com­par­i­son is prob­a­bly slip­pers but that’s kind of the wrong end of the fit spec­trum, al­though it does give you an idea of the close­ness and com­fort that’s pos­si­ble. So when you’re shop­ping for a pair cy­cling shoes you need to make sure the ones you’re buy­ing are ac­tu­ally the right size and shape for your foot, not some­thing you try to squeeze into be­cause they’re on spe­cial of­fer or lan­guish­ing in a bar­gain bin. The key ar­eas to get right are those of length, width and vol­ume, and it’s this last one that of­ten gets over­looked, mostly be­cause it’s of lit­tle con­cern in reg­u­lar shoe fit­ting. In cy­cling, how­ever, such a tight fit is needed that it’s a key fac­tor, and that’s be­cause sim­ply pulling the up­per tighter with the laces or straps will tend to cre­ate wrin­kles and there­fore pres­sure points. With the ba­sics sorted and your shoes bought, it then be­comes a mat­ter of cre­at­ing a sta­ble base through which to ap­ply power via your feet to your bike. Be­cause an­kles and knees have quite a de­gree of lat­eral move­ment or roll to them, it’s worth get­ting your shoes fit­ted to take what­ever idio­syn­cra­sies you may have into ac­count. A good bike fit­ter will work to counter varus and vul­gus fore­foot roll. This helps take pres­sure off your foot but more im­por­tantly en­sures your knee is com­fort­able and tracks as straight as pos­si­ble, in line with the an­kle and hips. This is some­thing they’ll ad­just though shims or wedges added un­der the in­sole or be­tween the cleat and the shoe. In­soles don’t es­cape at­ten­tion, ei­ther and are com­monly changed dur­ing a fit­ting. Cus­tom-moulded ver­sions aren’t un­heard of, but most peo­ple find the ver­sions that of­fer var­i­ous de­grees of arch sup­port do the job. Th­ese also of­ten in­clude a small lump or metatarsal but­ton un­der the toes to give the fore­foot a more nat­u­ral spread when un­der pres­sure. If you’re re­ally feel­ing flush,then some firms such as Shimano (see shimano-lifestylegear.com) have cus­tom fa­cil­i­ties where the shoe is heated and formed around your foot for a truly be­spoke fit. .

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