A cyclist foot is exposed to a tremendous amount of load and repetition during a bike ride. Because of this it is very important to insure that both feet are well supported and aligned in a neutral position. Most people don’t give their foot/shoe/pedal interface much thought until they start to experience pain or discomfort. This pain or discomfort can be at the feet, knees, hips, lower back, etc.
Because a typical cyclist will average over 5000 pedal strokes per hour, it is very important that they take the time to ensure proper support and alignment of their feet. When the feet are correctly supported and aligned, the knees tend to track more naturally reducing the possibility of injury. Foot support and alignment are typically addressed by the following:
- Correct cleat positioning (fore/aft, rotation, and stance width)
- Cant Wedges positioned between the pedal cleat and shoe (sometimes inside the shoe)
- Supportive footbed/orthotic with correct amount of arch support and possible metatarsal bump
Athough Cant Wedges and footbeds can be used alone to make improvements, typically the best results occur when they are used in conjunction.
Cycling Footbeds are designed to work in ridged sole foot wear. Much like ice-skates or rollerblades, cycling shoes have very little bend at the ball of the foot. For this reason it is typically best to use a footbed or orthotic that was designed specifically for cycling shoes. The cycling footbed is used to customize the inside of the shoe so that the cyclist foot is better supported. Because foot support effects the rest of the body during the pedal stroke, it is imperative that good foot support and alignment be maintained. Think of good foot support and alignment as the foundation of a good bike fit . During our Level 3 and 4 bike fits we perform a detailed assessment of your feet to determine if you would benefit from cycling footbeds.
Cleat Cant Wedges:
Cleat Cant Wedges are designed to fit between the cleat and shoe. They help to align the cyclist shoe so that their feet connect naturally with the pedals. Research has shown that most people’s feet have forefeet that are tilted (canted) either up toward the inside (“varus” tilt) or up toward the outside (“valgus” tilt). Most cyclist feet have a varus tilt. If not corrected with wedging, the cyclist may develop knee pain, foot “hotspots” (uneven pressure toward the inside or outside of the ball of the foot), saddle discomfort, back pain, or reduced ability to generate power throughout the pedal stroke.
Determining the correct number of wedges as well as the correct orientation is very important. We determined if wedges should be introduced based on forefoot measurement, physical foot assessment, knee tracking, and the cyclist feedback. Because visual tracking and the customer’s immediate feedback is a very important part of the cleat wedge process, a wedge fitting is ideally incorporated with a comprehensive bike fit. Both our Level 3 and 4 bike fits address cleat Cant Wedges.