shoes, feet, and fit

One thing we’ve learned over the past decade of working with cyclist’s feet is that a “tighter” shoe is not the key to more power and efficiency. Tighter is often a recipe for circulation issues, hot spots, numbness, and in extreme cases, nerve and soft tissue injuries in the foot. Some of us got used to our feet hurting, thinking it was normal. It is not. It’s very important to get sized the right way. Your feet are the primary anchor point between you and your bike. Proper shoe fit, foot alignment, and cleat position are critical. Inaccuracy here can lead to loss of power and efficiency, and to discomfort and injuries. Proper shoe fit, arch support, foot alignment and cleat position are the foundations from which we build an accurate fitting. With a bit of work we can solve most shoe/foot problems.

 

There are three main components to measuring a foot. We use an industry standard tool called a Brannok device; likely you’ve seen one. It measures overall foot length, arch length, and width. Together, these three measurements help determine your correct shoe size. There are other elements such as foot volume, riding style and personal preference to consider as well. For example, two feet that measure the same on a Brannok won’t necessarily fit in the same shoe the same way. Some feet are thicker than others, have taller insteps, narrower heels, and so on. It’s important to be diligent in getting the proper shoe for your foot, and keep in mind that not all brands fit all feet. This is another instance where what a pro rides or what looks cool may not be the right choice for you. Don’t let others (or marketing hype) make decisions for you.

The world of foot biomechanics has come a long way. Proper foot alignment and arch support lead to better overall physical alignment, better knee tracking, increased efficiency, and increased comfort. The right pair of shoes is part of this but proper arch support is the second half of the equation. We use the Master Fit Footbed System. This flexible system provides optimal support and control for everyone from professional athletes seeking a performance edge to the club or casual rider. Master fFt’s Instaprint BioGel Molding System takes a highly detailed mold of your feet to create precision custom form foot orthotics. The right insoles prevent injury while improving fit, comfort and balance. There are a number of stock products out there offering the same thing. The truth is that the majority of them are made so conservatively that while they are fairly innocuous in that they aren’t likely to make things worse, they rarely provide enough support to correct problems.

Putting all this together, we’re beginning to establish our foundation for accurate fit. We’re eliminating causes of discomfort and injury, and we’re increasing power and efficiency. We’re using established guidelines, accurate knowledge, and experience to make sure that you are set up properly and that you understand why it all matters.

Curious? Give us a shout or come by. Sharing what we know, our experiences and helping cyclists reach their goals is what we’re all about.

 

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