On Fri, Jun 15, 2012 at 4:17 PM, Bill Gobie <b...
> Chris has some good answers. I have a few thoughts of my own.
> I have custom footbeds made by my ski boot fitter, who is also a cyclist.
> They improve my shoes' fit a good deal. The lumps Chris mentions are
> metatarsal pads. They fit beside the ball of your foot, in line with the
> second and third toes. They help keep your metatarsals from collapsing.
> They take a bit of getting used to as your feet adjust to them. They
> ultimately help quite a bit if you have metatarsal problems, which it
> sounds like you might.
> I ditched mountain pedals entirely. Even the stiffest mountain shoes flex
> (so that they are somewhat walkable compared to road shoes). When the soles
> flex the cleats push up into your feet. The bigger contact surface the A520
> pedals offer help some riders, but as your shoes' soles wear the soles will
> flex more to contact the pedals. The oft-heard advice to move your cleats
> back as far as possible attempts to move the cleats away from your
> suffering metatarsals. Yours probably are suffering since you say your
> cleats are under the balls of your feet (metatarsals).
> Since I have to be clipped in on a recumbent, I have gone back to Ultegra
> pedals and cleats with super stiff road shoes. The big pedal-cleat contact
> area, stiff soles, and orthotics has fixed my problems with foot pain on
> that bike.
> On my upright bikes I use stiff mountain shoes with toe cages and straps.
> No cleats. No foot pain.
> My shoes are sized so I can wear thin compression socks and up to two
> pairs of medium weight wool socks, typically a pair of hiking socks and ski
> socks. This gives plenty of room to loosen the shoes in warm weather. You
> might think your shoes are the right size but if you do not have room for
> two pairs of socks then I would say they are too small. The "right size" in
> the shop is probably too small, particularly if the salesperson thinks
> shoes should fit tightly. If your feet are being squeezed that puts extra
> pressure on your metatarsals. Feet tend to swell in warm weather and on
> long rides.
> I can't offer you much hope for the Shimano sandals. They are relatively
> flexible so they will not solve the problem of the cleats pushing up into
> your metatarsals. The relief you are getting from them is probably because
> they are wide and loose so your feet are not being squeezed. Whether that
> is enough to get you through a 1200 I do not know.
> The arch supports are probably not what you really need. Be cautious with
> them; they will tilt your feet which could cause knee problems.
> If you pedal toes-down, you should try to work into a flatter or heel-down
> style. Toes-down jams your feet into the front of your shoes; this will
> make any shoes too tight.
> I think the short-term fix you should try is to take off your cleats and
> use flat pedals with cages and straps. Bend the cages as necessary if your
> shoes do not get on well with them, or don't even use cages. There are
> plenty of randos who use flat pedals with no retention system. Get some
> metatarsal pads for your footbeds, and keep your shoes loose over the balls
> of your feet. Bring your cleats and SPD pedals in your drop bag.
> The cleatless shoes I use are Specialized Tahoe Sports. They are lace-up
> and tolerably toe-cage/strap friendly.