Love Your Feet: They Deserve a Custom Solution

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our feet are a remarkable feat of bio-engineering. While walking and running they need to be a wide range of things:

 

  • A shock absorber to absorb the impact of the foot strike,
  • A energy storage unit to save that absorb energy for later,
  • It then must change from a flexible shock absorber to a solid lever to drive you forward,
  • Finally, it becomes a spring to push that stored energy back into the ground.

For cycling, we only want the foot to be one of those things: a solid lever. A perfect cycling foot would have a hinge joint at the ankle and one bone with a cleat bolted to the bottom of it.

If you have a weak and flexible foot that is not supported correctly, at best you will be using up energy trying to stabilise your foot inside the shoe, at worse your foot will be pronating inside the shoe which drags your ankle out of a neutral position and your knee along with it. This can lead to increased lateral loads on the knee and an increase in the likelihood of knee injuries.

Lack of support can also be a contributing factor to foot numbness as the metatarsals in the middle of the foot can depress, squeezing nerves and capillaries. This squeezing can also happen as the foot tries to spread inside the tight confines of a cycling shoe.  Lack of support also leads to increased pressure on the balls of the feet as you have the same pressure over a smaller surface area leading to decreased comfort.

Finally, all your power must go through your foot to get to the pedal. If your foot is absorbing the power by pronating inside the shoe, the power is not getting to the pedal. Worse still, the foot must dissipate that energy at some point and will push back against the pedal like a spring during the recovery part of the pedal stroke as the foot is offloaded.

Most shoe manufacturers do not offer any support in their shoes. This is probably due to the fear of over supporting someone that doesn’t need the support. There are many cheap stock options for support on the market offering varying levels of support. This is good but assumes that everyone needs the support to be in exactly the same place but this isn’t the case. In the same way that you can have a person with long legs and a short body and vice versa, you can have two people with exactly the same length foot but one has long toes and short mid foot while the other is the opposite way round. This means that the support needs to be in completely different positions. Even within the same person, your feet can be different lengths and require subtly different support solutions to control the energy through the foot.

This is why we are so keen to use our custom Sidas footbeds in our cyclists shoes. With this system, we can take an exact mould of the underside of your foot when your ankle is in a neutral position. This creates a unique left/right solution for your feet. We then heat and compress two blank footbeds until they are soft and compliant and lay them into these moulds. Once they cool, they go hard and maintain the shape of the underside of your foot. We then grind the footbed to fit perfectly into your shoe. This system also allows us to add in any angles to the front or rear of the foot to stop rotations.

“Can I use these in my running shoes” is a question I often get. No is the simple answer. A running orthotic must control the foot front the initial contact at the heel, allow the foot to have some pronation and then become that solid lever as you load the front of the foot. In cycling, we only load through the front of the foot so a cycling footbed must be moulded in this position and are therefore cycling specific.

A pair of custom insoles turns your stock shoes into a unique and personal product and increases comfort and power production. They take 30-45 mins to make and can be ridden away on the day. They cost £100 or we offer a 30% discount when purchased during a fitting or a shoe sale at Primo. For more information, please contact us at 01223 500502 or email bikefitting@primocycles.co.uk.

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