How are your feet? Are they comfortable, right now? Have you got shoes on or are they feeling the breeze fully sockless?
Don’t worry – this isn’t some sort of weird fetish, I recently got sent an e-mail asking if my shoes fitted me correctly, I thought, “Well, they’re on my feet and don’t fall off when I walk around, so yeah, I guess they do…” However, I took this e-mail as ever with a little bit more cynicism than most, what they were really saying were what sort of profile is your foot? Are you flat footed, have a medium arch or high? And are your shoes fitting your feet as they should?
It’s not the first time I’ve come across this, we’ve all heard the phrase, being flat footed – it’s where your foot is effectively that. More of your foot is on the floor when it’s planted. A high arch means that very little is touching the floor, mainly the balls of your feet and the outside edge of your foot, the inside edge barely touching the floor at all and a medium arch… somewhere in between.
Now I know from past experience I’m like Brian Blessed, a flat footed b*stard. But, how can this affect your cycling?
Well, if your foot isn’t sitting right in your shoe, you’re more than likely causing yourself some extra muscle pain during exercise, your foot could be slipping around in your shoe, moving your joints and muscles all over the place.
I do use a innersole in my shoe currently, made by Curex, these were a purchase I made with my own hard earned cash. The ones I got an e-mail about to try out though, they’re made by Sole and they’re called the Sole Thin Sport Custom Footbeds.
The difference is simple, CurexSole are pretty much pre made, claiming if your flat footed you need the low arch innersole, have a medium arch? You need the medium inner sole and you guessed it, if you’ve a high arch, you need their high innersole. With Sole you have the task of moulding your innersole a to your feet. So, do I prefer the upgrade? Well…
- First off, what’s the point?
Since you asked… When you’re pedalling away, during your downward stroke the power from you leg muscles goes through your main point of contact with the pedals, your feet. The more power you exert the more pressure through your foot, this brings about pronation (your ankles leaning inwards) in your foot, which isn’t great, too much and it twists the bottom half of your leg causing knee pain, ankle pain, more muscle ache and just complete uncomfort.
Innersoles help to reduce the pronation and their job is to try and stop it all together meaning more power through your stroke and less muscle and joint aches and pains.
- Do I need an innersole?
I’ve used one for a good couple of years now, I wouldn’t ride without them. My foot feels more comfortable in the shoe and it helps with aches and pains.
Also – let me put it to you this way, Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Team Sky – they didn’t get to where they were without looking at every single area, making ‘marginal gains’ which then added up to one whole massive major gain and three Tour de France victories.
I’m not saying innersoles are going to transform you in to a grand tour winner, but they could possibly be your secret weapon! Helping you to cycle more comfortably for longer periods time time.
If you’re buying a new pair of cycling shoes, maybe an innersole should be something you consider. Ask the man in the shop.
The Sole Thin Sport Custom Footbeds will set you back a further £38
- So I just put them in my shoe?
These Sole Thin Sport Custom Footbeds don’t just slide in to your shoe, they take a bit of work.
First off, put your oven on and allow it to heat up. Yup, these things are going in to the oven!
To mould them to your feet properly, they have to be heated up, the only way to do this is in the oven, the microwave is not recommended.
While the oven is heating up take out the soul, sorry sole, of your current shoe. Yes, it more than likely will remove without any fuss or glue marks. Match the Sole to your, erm, sole and make sure it’s the correct size and fit. If it’s too big, just trim around the top with a pair of scissors.
Is your oven good and hot? Then you should put the Sole in the oven.
When I did this, there’s a little temperature marker on the sole which tells you when it’s at the correct temperature to mould the sole. The marker indicated they were ready pretty much straight away. I left them in a few seconds longer to be sure but I was worried that they would melt in to a gloopy mess on the bottom of my oven and that the inner soles and my oven would be ruined, forever.
There’s still more to do… I know that a nice expensive pair of carbon fibre shoes are moulded in a similar way. So if I were worried about these Footbeds ruining my oven, imagine what I’d be like with a load of carbon fibre in there!
Quickly take the Sole’s out the oven put them straight in your shoe and then put your feet in to your shoes do them up and stand up straight and still for a good couple of minutes.
This then sets the Sole’s to your feet and gives you the correct fitting for your foot type.
Finally the process is complete. Relax. Providing you’ve not singed your Sole’s or ruined the oven or scolded your toes.
- After all that, do they work?!
Well, I did notice them in my shoe, yes. I felt my feet were in a different position, not necessarily a more comfortable position mind. I did think this is probably just because the new position was likely the position my feet should be in.
During my ride, I can’t say my legs felt more or less comfortable – but my feet! My feet were in pain. I felt like they were being pinched and pushed inwards, they hurt.
I was able to finish my ride and it was a similar similar maybe slightly better ride than usual but nothing significant, maybe just marginal.
My mind isn’t made up here, I mean, my feet hurt a fair bit. Maybe that was down to me moulding them? I possibly could have left them in the oven for a bit longer just to be sure that they were soft enough to mould but they certainly seemed soft enough when I tried them.
- Am I going to buy a pair?
I’m not going to trade my CurexSole in for them, no.
I don’t think they performed very well, all that effort to make sure I’d mould we them correctly and my feet still hurt up to four days later after feeling like they’d been crushed from the sides. Maybe that’s something you get used to but it’s not something I want to put my feet through. I want to be able to perform as best I can as comfortably as I can, not feel like I have to get off my bike just to give my feet a rest.
Sorry, but for me, I’m not going to be buying a pair of Sole This Sport Custom Footbeds.
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