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Shoe fit Revelations

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Shoe fit Revelations

Old 07-15-19, 12:31 PM
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McMitchell
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Shoe fit Revelations

I have struggled with shoe sizes for 65+ years. I thought I would post here in hopes of saving others the trouble I experienced. Hopefully this information will apply to other ‘Bike fit” issues too. One might have hoped It would have occurred to me to question the split toenails on both my small toes sooner. Unfortunately I waited until my feet were constantly cramping.

My foot measures an 8-8.5 via the conventional length measurement. The arch length is actually more significant. My feet measure D-E wide. The width measurement is typically taken at the ball of the foot, which might be fine if the widest part of ones feet is located at that spot. In my case my feet are widest at my toes. My arch length is longer than my overall foot length too. Most shoe store employees do not check arch length, although it is marked on most shoe size measuring devices. The cup, which slides over the ball of the foot, has a little arrow that marks arch length.

I started buying size 9.5-10 shoes. I understand a .5 size increase, adds 1/8”+ to both the length & width measurement. Something a friends father said, back in the day, probably influenced me as well. He said his feet measured an 11, but a 12 felt so good he bought a 13. I finally got rid of the split toenails. I was still having issues with my feet cramping in the “toe box”.

I recently bought size 10, 5-10 bike shoes, after much deliberation and in store testing. These shoes were soon cramping my feet too. I thought I was getting older and had developed Planter Fasciitis’, NOT! I had never experienced the issue ridding a bike, which got my attention. Then it occurred to me that the motion my foot was making on the pedal of the bike placed similar stress on the muscles & tendons in my feet. I searched Amazon via typing; men’s shoes, wide toe box. I was suspicious that my toes were getting jammed into too tight a space causing the tendons and muscles in the arch of my foot to cramp.




The shoes I ordered recently make a whole different set of assumptions. I ordered “barefoot running/water shoes”. Instead of increasing padding, cushioning and arch support they eliminate padding and the foot angle to the ground is reduced to zero, like being barefoot. The theory is feet do not get the chance to build muscle & tendon strength if they are “overly” protected. I used them on an elliptical trainer and around the house before I tried them on the bike. I may still be rebuilding strength in the muscles & tendons in my feet but so far they seem to work on the bike as well.

The lesson here may be that sometimes less is more! Maybe if we took responsibility for our own diets, weight, exercise we would reap rewards beyond that which we may be able to imagine.

Last edited by McMitchell; 07-15-19 at 12:46 PM. Reason: Blank space
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Old 07-15-19, 06:32 PM
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Another simple solution to problems like this is to go clipless and stiff-soled cycling shoes, like Sidi Dominator, and pedal with a level foot, getting much of the pedal force through the shoe's heel cup. My cycling shoes are so tight in the toe it's hard to walk far in them, but on the bike they are extremely comfortable on 200+ mile day rides. Some of that is just the clipless setup, but some is also a bike fit that allows comfortable pedaling.
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Old 07-16-19, 09:37 AM
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I have been wearing minimalist shoes for many years. My favorite pair are from SoftStar shoes. They are nothing but leather uppers, and a thin sole. I used to get shin splints when I ran, but after changing to minimalist shoes, I no longer get them. It's not that they are magic, but I altered my stride naturally to run the way our body is designed to run, lessening the shock to the legs. I love them. I do have other shoes of course, but wearing shoes with less support, allows your body too develop the muscles that support your feet, and the muscles that you use for balance. The shoes I have also have a wider toe box, which prevents issues as well. I have another pair by Merrel which are nice as well.
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Old 07-16-19, 10:02 AM
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Are you talking about clipless cycling shoes or shoes in general? Because buying a normal width cycling shoe two sizes too big to accommodate foot width is not going to allow proper placement of the cleat...it will be too far forward.
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Old 07-17-19, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by phughes View Post
I have been wearing minimalist shoes for many years. My favorite pair are from SoftStar shoes. They are nothing but leather uppers, and a thin sole. I used to get shin splints when I ran, but after changing to minimalist shoes, I no longer get them. It's not that they are magic, but I altered my stride naturally to run the way our body is designed to run, lessening the shock to the legs. I love them. I do have other shoes of course, but wearing shoes with less support, allows your body too develop the muscles that support your feet, and the muscles that you use for balance. The shoes I have also have a wider toe box, which prevents issues as well. I have another pair by Merrel which are nice as well.
Same here. I switched to Vibram 5 fingers about 5yrs ago, and then found Merrill Barefoot and Vapor glove minimalist shoes w/zero heel drop. (Never could get totally used to my toes in individual compartments). I had recurring plantar fascitis that was very painful, and within a few months of switching to minimalist shoes it was completely gone. My feet have never felt better or stronger than they do now. While I wear the minimalist shoes for most activities, I do not wear them for cycling. I like clipless and a firm sole for that.
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Old 07-20-19, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by jadocs View Post
Are you talking about clipless cycling shoes or shoes in general? Because buying a normal width cycling shoe two sizes too big to accommodate foot width is not going to allow proper placement of the cleat...it will be too far forward.
Yes, to both questions. I think the relevant factor here is I have short toes which are all close to the same length. These factors make the arch length of my feet more important than the overall length. My feet fit the arch in the larger sized shoes. The toes are just too short to reach the expected distance in the “toe box”. I will post a picture of my feet below, which may help.

I discovered the zero drop shoes in my search for a better fit. I agree with the two posters above who stated how much zero drop shoes have improved the ligaments and muscles in their feet. I use to get shin splints running too. I was almost convinced I had developed Planter Fasciitis. The “barefoot” shoes cured those problems.

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Old 07-20-19, 08:33 AM
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