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Stiffening Touring Shoes?

Old 08-28-19, 05:20 PM
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Bianchi84
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Stiffening Touring Shoes?

I have been using my old Avocet Mod 20s "forever". I've loved everything about them for decades. Lately, I seem to be getting some cramping in the sole of my right foot and (maybe my imagination?) I seem to be able to "feel" the pedal pressure more (Campy Records). I was thinking of some type of insert. Any type of insoles I've seen are designed to cushion - not stiffen as would seem to be what I need. Has anyone had a similar issue with Vintage cycling shoes? Have you found some type of stiffening insert that works? I really don't want to replace these shoes because everything else about them rules!
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Old 08-28-19, 05:50 PM
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I work with circuit boards. A .020" circuit board would work well. I have been temped to do this with my street shoes. Just trace the insole and place it in the shoe, then put the insole back on top. I haven't tried it yet.

You might be able to get some material from DigiKey. They have .031" material. You might also find it on Amazon and other suppliers. The copper is anti bacterial. That could be a bonus. Try a search for .031" copper clad pcb material.
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Old 08-28-19, 06:21 PM
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I thought the typical circuit boards were rather brittle. Are there boards that aren't brittle?

I have a Specialized SPD type shoe around somewhere where the cleat plate (half the insole) cracked. I've thought about trying ABS plastic to replace it. ABS should be fairly pliable and easy to shape with moderate heat.
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Old 08-28-19, 06:49 PM
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Thanks, good suggestions; maybe I should do some trial and error fabrication.
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Old 08-28-19, 08:34 PM
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Different pedals? Unless you prefer period and style appropriate quill or other pedals.

Also, check out Profoot Miracle insoles. Only $8-$10, best insoles I've ever used. And with foot problems since I was a kid, I've tried 'em all, including custom made orthotics. The Profoot Miracles are the best. Thin to fit even snug-fitting shoes, ultra-lightweight yet dense and resilient foam, not gel. I have 'em in my Scott and Fizik shoes and bought extras in case Walgreens doesn't have 'em next time I need a set. They're good for at least a year. Prevents hotspots in my metatarsals and reduces arch cramps.

On my hybrids without clipless pedals/shoes, I found larger platform pedals relieved cramps in my arches. Spreads out more of the effort so I could ride with almost any reasonable shoe, even some deck shoes with thin soft rubber.

And looking back at my Strava logs, I'm not much faster now in the two years since going clipless than I was using platform pedals on my road bike. Different technique, maybe a little beneficial over longer rides with hills. I actually do pull up a bit on the pedals for climbs.

Same years ago when I switched from platform pedals to toe clips and cleated Detto Pietros. Didn't really add any power or speed. Just made it a bit more efficient over 50-100 mile rides.
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Old 08-28-19, 09:45 PM
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i actually tried making thin hardwood plywood insoles to stiffen. couldn't get them in the shoes because they don't flex. only way they would go in is if i trimmed them down and that would be unpleasant inside the shoe. I need to find just the right plastic i think.
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Old 08-28-19, 09:50 PM
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Delrin.
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Old 08-28-19, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I thought the typical circuit boards were rather brittle. Are there boards that aren't brittle?
That is a good point and I'm glad you brought it up. The base material is fiberglass and epoxy. It is similar in some ways to wood. If it is thin it is flexible. When thick it is stronger, at the expense of flexibility. At the typical board thickness of .063" it stiff enough that if it is bent with enough force it will break.

This is why my first recommendation was for .020" thick board. It is flexible enough to work. .031" should still be flexible enough to work. It might be stiff to walk in. I'm not sure about that.

Perhaps if if you don't have access to thin pcb material, try the other suggestions first.

perhaps I need to try out the pcb material in my street shoes and report back.
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Old 08-29-19, 04:36 AM
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I've thought about something like this

https://steelflex.com/products/soleg...oles-by-stlflx

For riding my fat bike with my mukluks. Looks like it could work for you.
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Old 08-29-19, 05:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule View Post
I work with circuit boards. A .020" circuit board would work well. I have been temped to do this with my street shoes. Just trace the insole and place it in the shoe, then put the insole back on top. I haven't tried it yet.

You might be able to get some material from DigiKey. They have .031" material. You might also find it on Amazon and other suppliers. The copper is anti bacterial. That could be a bonus. Try a search for .031" copper clad pcb material.
This is interesting. Would you just build up the front part of the insole or would you use a longer length to go under the entire insole?

Also, how do you cut it? With a cut-off wheel? Do you glue it to the bottom of your insole?
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Old 08-29-19, 08:09 AM
  #11  
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At .020" thick, you can use tinsnips. At .030" a Dremel with a cut-off wheel might be better (dust mask required). I would cut it to fit the entire insole. If needed later on some more material can be added under the ball of the foot.
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Old 08-29-19, 08:19 AM
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I had a set of Cannondale shoes- they had what looked like a wood insole in them and then a separate foam insole to go over that.
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Old 08-29-19, 10:37 AM
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No one has said it but I will.

BUY SOME NEW SHOES.

Really, do it. There are a lot of great options out there right now (unlike 5-10 years ago).
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Old 08-29-19, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Bad Lag View Post
No one has said it but I will.

BUY SOME NEW SHOES.

Really, do it. There are a lot of great options out there right now (unlike 5-10 years ago).
I was looking for a solution; not a PRACTICAL solution!!!
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Old 08-29-19, 12:27 PM
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Try Kydex, maybe 1/8". Flexible but not too flexible. Easy to cut with tin snips. Can be heated and shaped if needed to fit into the shoe.
Takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'.
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Old 08-29-19, 12:40 PM
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so you could get some hard plastic orthotic inserts. I have these in my cycling shoes. They are custom made. I think they cost about $400 bucks.

they really help !

Mark Petry
Bainbridge Island, WA USA
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Old 08-29-19, 01:29 PM
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How much are you willing to spend on a stiff insole?

If the answer is “plenty”, then consider the Solestar BLK. Carbon fiber from heel to toe.

Review here
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Old 08-29-19, 05:14 PM
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Hard to believe there's not a $10 cut-to-fit solution out there.
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Old 08-29-19, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Hard to believe there's not a $10 cut-to-fit solution out there.
My guess it is a fairly narrow market.
Nobody will do anything custom for 30 year old shoes.

There might be some market for stiffening non-cycling shoes for use with flats. But, since cycling shoes can also be used with flats, there would be no big need to do it.

And, for cycling shoes, one likely chooses the shoes with the desired characteristics.
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Old 08-29-19, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by terrymorse View Post
How much are you willing to spend on a stiff insole?

If the answer is “plenty”, then consider the Solestar BLK. Carbon fiber from heel to toe.

Review here
Carbon Fiber? Pfft. Yeah, if ya want yer feet to asplode!

The insoles clearly need to be made from a high grade chrome-moly or manganese-molybdenum alloy steel!



In all seriousness, I'm a pretty thrifty guy, but even I would bite the bullet and buy some new shoes. New shoe day is, after all, usually a good day.
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Old 08-29-19, 07:53 PM
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I used some Kydex to stiffen my Vans thinking they might be the ticket for toe clip shoes. There was not enough height in the shoe for the 1/8 inch kydex insole and my foot was cramped. If I find a wide shoe with room for them, I still have the kydex onsoles. Kydex can be purchased on eBay for about $10 for two 12x12 inch sheets. Try it. Before that I tried 1/8 inch plexiglass and it broke after about 35 miles.

to the op: will your feet bother you on any ride, or only the longer slow ones? I find that my feet will be bothered if I just cruise.
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Old 08-29-19, 11:26 PM
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I wish I could find some of the old 5-10 Dirtbags in my size.
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Old 08-30-19, 01:15 AM
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Personally, I prefer a steel shank in the sole instead of any of the plastics or fiber composites mentioned.
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Old 08-30-19, 04:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Classtime View Post
I used some Kydex to stiffen my Vans thinking they might be the ticket for toe clip shoes. There was not enough height in the shoe for the 1/8 inch kydex insole and my foot was cramped. If I find a wide shoe with room for them, I still have the kydex onsoles. Kydex can be purchased on eBay for about $10 for two 12x12 inch sheets. Try it. Before that I tried 1/8 inch plexiglass and it broke after about 35 miles.

to the op: will your feet bother you on any ride, or only the longer slow ones? I find that my feet will be bothered if I just cruise.
Thanks for the suggestion! To answer your question, I haven't seen much of a "pattern ". I am more of a higher-gear vs. "spinning " rider I guess so maybe that's a factor. I've tried to change that, but I think some cyclists are either one or the other by nature (?).
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Old 08-30-19, 09:24 AM
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This thread certainly makes me miss my old Avocet Touring and Touring II shoes, which are still my favorites among all I have ever owned, although my Giro Rumble VRs come pretty close.
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