Cycling Foot Pain

Putting this out there for anyone suffering foot pain while riding

Over the past 3 years I have been inceasingly experiencing foot pain when cycling long distances. In my Ultra around Switzerland 2 years ago, I was stopping frequently to take off my shoes. In Kona my feet were really hurting at the end of the ride. At Alpen Brevet last year, I considered abandoning as my feet hurt so much (11 hour ride)

I have 2 isses (connected), i have bunnions, couple with naturally duck shaped feet, so they are really wide - wide shoes help with this. The other issue is pain under the ball of my foot, I think its also known as hot toe, this is the worst issue by far.

For my 24 hour Zwift ride yesterday I made a number of changes. I recently bought a second hand pair of Specilized S-Works shoes, which are a little bigger than I normally wear. I also had a set of mid foot cleats that I had on a pair of old tri shoes I don’t wear any more, and finally I replaced the insoles with gel insoles. The shoes are still a little narrow, however, the big problem of pain under the ball of my foot disappeared. This is massively positive for me, with Trans Continental coming up

I suspect that the biggest difference was the mid foot cleats. I think that this will be the future for me


Nothing to add other than I think I speak for most of us, except Fruity, when I say we dont need pics. None at all.


I’ve been wanting to try those midfoot cleats but never managed to get round to it. Interesting feedback. I’m sure my left hip problem is exacerbated by cycling with all my shoes and wonder if that might help.

Might have another look for them.

What do they say about an unprompted denial? Ah yes, that it’s as good as a confession :wink:


I get that pain in the balls of my feet too.

…wanders off to find out what mid foot cleats are …

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Jan frodeno and Daniella Ryf both use mid foot cleats

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You should try heat-moldable shoes that can adapt to the shape of your feet. Cádomotus use their know-how from speedskating shoes to make triathlon bike shoes. The carbon shell sole of this shoe can be molded which is very common for speed skating sports. Check some of their articles about this on the CadoWiki blog. You may find a solution here.


That’s really interesting, will have a look

Wasn’t it Bont or Bontrager that did that too. You had to put them in the oven to loosen them up first.

Right, Bont is coming from speed skating too, with similar boot construction. Theirs are triathlon specific with loops to fly mount your shoes. Cádomotus has a good instruction video on YouTube on how to mold the shoes.


@Matthew_Spooner did you use mid foot cleats for TCR?
If so any comments or revelations?

After the 50 yesterday my glutes were noticeably sore, I suspect they’re just adapting and the low saddle and slightly bigger cleats might have contributed.

Was too fatigued to see if had any impact on my running.

But my L/R imbalance was just as bad :roll_eyes:

I had zero foot pain on TCR, this was really significant for me as I have been suffering foot pain on anything over a couple of hours, for example in Kona I had significant foot pain on the bike. On all my rides over last 3 years, as soon as I stop for a break I take shoes off. On TCR I completely forgot about my feet, kept shoes on whole time, it was brilliant.

I think that it was a combination: mid foot cleats moves pressure point back, gel soles (nothing special just sport shop own brand around 2mm thick), and Lake CX242 wide have an extra wide shoe box that accommodates my duck feet, also, the leather really molds into foot shape


In nearly every long distance race in the heat, i have finished with my feet on top of my shoes…my left foot is particularly prone and if I don’t allow space for the nerves to settle and recover, I carry the pain onto the run…

Fek me it hurts…

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I think some of my pain is caused by a bit of arthritis in my feet. Getting new orthotics has helped whilst walking. Also buying some light weight ‘recovery’ type shoes to wear out and about instead of sandals (as it means I can use the orthotics in summer).

I have had some foot pain cycling if I do a longer ride, especially in hot weather but this has reduced since I changed shoes as the Boardman ones I’m now wearing have more room in the toe box.
I do however, get pain regularly after cycling and I think this is where mid foot cleats might help.

I’ve probably pondered all this for too long but I’m not great at diving into paying for new kit. :roll_eyes:

Mid foot adapters are pretty cheap.

If you are interested i can probably get some and post when I am back in UK. The guy who makes them is 5km from me

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I’ve just ordered a pair.

Will look at the insoles when I’m back from holiday. :slightly_smiling_face:

I have struggled with foot pain for years, I needed a bike fit before it came good.

Went through multiple shoes, Lake, Shimano, Sidi Mega, Bont, none of them solved it.

Ended up with Lake CX 219, and some high arch support footbeds. First few rides felt comfortable but ended with slight pain in the outside edge of my left foot. Saddle was then lowered by 10mm. Foot pain disappeared completely.

I replicated the position onto the S3 I just built, it’s all working fine.


I fully agree with this, there is no magic silver bullet. I also find that lowering the saddle makes a difference, also reduces knee pain and saddle sores. On TCR I think I mentioned it in one of my VLOGs, I lowered the saddle on day 2 by 0.5mm as my right knee was niggling, and imediately pain vanished, also bottom felt far more comfortable… however, lower the saddle too much and you will also get knee issues, so it’s a fine balance