Good bike fitting is a crucial aspect of cycling and not only brings performance and comfort, but also prevents injury. While a bike fit encompasses various aspects of your body's position and measurement on the bike, the foot plays a particularly important role in achieving an efficient and comfortable cycling experience.
When you walk or run, you transition through different phases which distributes your body weight over the different parts of your foot. Your heel touches the ground, your weight shifts through the midfoot, and your toes push off the ground.
However, when cycling, the pedal is only in contact with the forefoot via the cleat. The force applied to the foot is directed through the very small surface area of the pedal spindle. This puts higher pressure on the ball of the foot and toes, and this small focussed point of contact can be the cause of all sorts of discomfort when cycling.
The most common complaints are numb feet or toes, tingling in the feet, or hot-foot or burning feet. Fortunately these can be addressed through a bike fitting process. While the solution may seem simple, the combination of adjustments is intricate involving the right shoe type and size, appropriate insoles adjusted to your unique foot, and the optimisation of your cleat position to better distribute pressure.
It’s obvious that a correct cycling shoe needs to fit your foot properly, in length and width. But these dimensions also impact the position of your cleats. And while you might like a particular brand of shoe (and how they look), if the width doesn’t allow your feet and toes to spread naturally in the shoe, they will squeeze your foot which may restrict blood flow and cause numbness. Confirming the right shape of shoe and toe box also matters to a bike fitter.
They are small and rarely seen, but insoles have one of the largest impacts on pressure distribution and comfort. By design, insoles increase the area for pressure distribution along the foot, by supporting and lifting the foot arch within the shoe. When selected and fitted correctly, insoles help to ensure pressure isn’t directed over one area.
Once you have the correct shoe and appropriate insole, next is cleat position. Cleats are designed to be adjustable so that you can fit them correctly in relation to the ball of your foot, and when optimised, your cleat position will greatly improve your power distribution and comfort when cycling.
Each of these configurations and trade-offs can lead to better cycling and pain removal. Our resident bike fitter Phil (Connect2Perform) is an expert in finding the right combination for you, from finding the right shoe, appropriate insole, and lining it all up. Pop into the MC Clubhouse to chat with Phil or schedule a fitting online to take a load off your feet.