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. .