Road shoes



Gregory Piccolo

New Member
Jan 13, 2020
4
1
3
53
I am new to road cycling and purchased a Trek Domane AL2 with Look pedals and Bontrager Circuit Inform shoes. My right foot completely cramps up on the right side after about 7 miles. I tried adjusting my cleats to the most rear possible location. I tried cleats wedges and insole wedges. I only had minor improvement. It only effects my right foot. Trek rates this as a stiffness of 7. I am wondering if a stiffer shoe would be better?
Please let me know your thoughts.
 

BrianNystrom

Active Member
Aug 13, 2013
272
32
28
Where are you getting cramps? Is it actual muscle cramps or just a burning sensation? Do your shoes fit properly (snug, but with room for your toes to move)? Are they perhaps too narrow? How would you describe your foot shape (narrow, average, wide; high or low arch; high or low volume, etc.)?

All of these things are important in diagnosing foot issues.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gregory Piccolo

Gregory Piccolo

New Member
Jan 13, 2020
4
1
3
53
The shoes do fit snug, but I can wiggle my toes. I have an average foot with an average arch. My foot was probably average narrow for years but has widened with age now that I am in my 50's. They are average width now but are low mass. The pain is both cramping and burning. I can temporarily relieve and relax the cramp by concentrating and pushing down on the ball of my foot by the big toe temporarily. I can no way ride like that, it was more of an experiment. I went to the podiatrist to get orthopedics, I followed the gradual use instructions but even so my feet couldn't get used to them.
 

BrianNystrom

Active Member
Aug 13, 2013
272
32
28
I've had good luck by just adding some padding under the metatarsal arch (transverse arch). I've also found that shoe width is critical. I've had issues over the years with burning-type pain at the first joint of my small toes, typically later in rides. Wider shoes made a huge difference. I've recently switched shoe brands and I'm now using Lake shoes. They make several different lasts with varying shapes (forefoot width vs. heel width). Their website has a page that explains how to trace your feet and use measurements from the tracings to get a perfect fit. They provide exact dimensions for all of their sizes and last shapes and I found that it worked perfectly. I'm now using their CX241 and MX241 shoes and they're amazingly comfortable for a race-stiffness shoe. They make several less expensive models on the same last, so you have plenty of choices.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Gregory Piccolo

Froze

Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2004
4,712
375
83
NE Indiana
I, like others, think the shoes are too flexible and or too narrow, so you can test the narrowness somewhat by loosening up the straps or ties and open the shoe to as wide as they will get the go riding and see what happens. But I'm leaning more towards the shoe not being stiff enough, and a 7 (depending on how that particular manufacturer determines a 7 over another manufacturer's 7, they are not all the same!) isn't all that stiff.

What you can try doing is swapping the pedals off your old bike and wear your old shoes to see if the problem reoccurs; if not then try to see if you can get Look cleats to fit your old shoes, then test ride and see if the cramping occurs, if not then it's the new shoes, either they're too narrow or not stiff enough or a combination of both.

The other problem could be the pedal isn't large enough for adequate support for the shoe which again would make it important to have a really stiff shoe.

Another issue could be the cleat position, I know you moved it around, but ideally the ball of the foot should be centered with the spindle of the pedal, not getting that right will cause the foot to flex and cause cramping.

http://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/bikefit/2011/04/power-to-the-pedal-cleat-position/
https://bikedynamics.co.uk/guidelines.htm#1
https://wheel-easy.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/bike-set-up-2017a.pdf

The other problems, which probably aren't likely since this is a new problem, but make sure your hydrated; another weird thing you can do, and it's cheap to do, is to drink about 2 to 3 ounces of dill pickle juice, then wait an hour the go riding, if the cramps go away then you have a unbalanced electrolyte thing going on. The pickle test is cheap to do so something you might want to try, but don't try it and also experiment with the pedals and shoe, experiment with one thing at a time.
 

BrianNystrom

Active Member
Aug 13, 2013
272
32
28
Unless he's a particularly heavy and/or strong rider, I doubt that sole stiffness is the issue. A proper fit should be the key. As for cleat position, your feet don't have to be directly over the pedal spindle. Moving the cleats back 3-4mm (moving your foot forward) actually increased foot stability and makes it easier to pedal with your feet relaxed, which reduces any tendency to cramp. This is a pretty common fitting technique.
 

Yojimbo_

Well-Known Member
Apr 17, 2005
1,101
49
48
Many years ago, I discovered my feet hurt in my ice skates if I do them up too tight. So...my suggestion is to not tighten the shoe so much and see if that makes a difference.
 

BrianNystrom

Active Member
Aug 13, 2013
272
32
28
If he's overtightening them, that would certainly help.

I've never found tightening my cycling shoes over my toes to be of any benefit whatsoever, so I leave the straps or Boa cords loose there.
 

cyclintom

Well-Known Member
Jan 15, 2011
1,258
95
48
Unless he's a particularly heavy and/or strong rider, I doubt that sole stiffness is the issue. A proper fit should be the key. As for cleat position, your feet don't have to be directly over the pedal spindle. Moving the cleats back 3-4mm (moving your foot forward) actually increased foot stability and makes it easier to pedal with your feet relaxed, which reduces any tendency to cramp. This is a pretty common fitting technique.
As much as I don't like to do so, I have to agree with Froze. Lace up shoes in particular are similar to the old style basketball shoes and are not nearly stiff enough to protect your foot from the cleat pressure on the bottom of your foot.
 

adityaburk14

New Member
Feb 13, 2022
6
0
1
22
First of all, it would be good to ensure that those cramps are caused by improper footwear for the sport you practice and not by overloading the muscles or a problem with the ligaments. However, for cycling,
 

adityaburk14

New Member
Feb 13, 2022
6
0
1
22
First of all, it would be good to ensure that those cramps are caused by improper footwear for the sport you practice and not by overloading the muscles or a problem with the ligaments.
 

cyclintom

Well-Known Member
Jan 15, 2011
1,258
95
48
I am new to road cycling and purchased a Trek Domane AL2 with Look pedals and Bontrager Circuit Inform shoes. My right foot completely cramps up on the right side after about 7 miles. I tried adjusting my cleats to the most rear possible location. I tried cleats wedges and insole wedges. I only had minor improvement. It only effects my right foot. Trek rates this as a stiffness of 7. I am wondering if a stiffer shoe would be better?
Please let me know your thoughts.
Sore spots are usually from shoes that don't fit properly. Cramps, especially foot cramps after such a short time riding are from shoes that are too flexible. You CAN get used to this but better to get stiffer shoes.