Numb feet = saddle issues?

helene Posts: 30
edited September 2008 in Road beginners
I've had my road bike (a Claud Butler Roubaix) for about 6 months, and for as long as I've started riding longer distances (ie this summer), my feet always go numb.

I've been adjusting the bike (back pain solved by raising the saddle, shoulder, neck and wrist pain solved by twisting the handlebars upwards) according to advice from my LBS, but this is one issue I can't seem to get rid of, no matter what I change on the bike.

During the week, I mainly use my bike to commute to training, about 6 miles each way, and work, about 16 miles each way, and there's no difference between using flats or SPDs. I loosen my shoes about 3 miles, but the relief is minimal.

The only thing I can think of is my saddle providing insufficient support, but I'm unsure whether this can cause numbness. I know it's worth going to get measured for a saddle anyway, but has anyone else experienced this and if so, any idea what may be causing it?


  • alfablue
    alfablue Posts: 8,497
    I suppose the saddle being too high could cause some numbness, not sure though. I have had numb toes due to slightly wrong placement of my SPD cleats, possibly you have them a mm or two too far forward. I have also suspected the bump on the insole on my Specialized shoes (designed to prevent toe numbness) doesn't suit me - though on the other hand this may resolve your problem.
  • Crapaud
    Crapaud Posts: 2,483
    Another common cause of numb feet is the shoes being too tight, or strapped too tight, causing reduced circulation to the feet.

    According to Bicycling Medicine, another possible cause is arthritis.
    A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject - Churchill
  • I'm certain my saddle isn't too high (I've dropped it a notch since switching to SPDs, and it isn't yet back up to the height I had it at with flats). Will check my shoes, you're probably right, the cleats did feel like they needed moving forward a little but I might have not moved them enough.

    As for the shoes being too tight, it's happened to me with trainers and other shoes as well, but how do you establish proper sizing for cycling shoes? Mine are 1/2 size bigger than I generally buy, and I normally wear Sealskinz waterproof socks which are fairly thick, but I can walk around in them comfortably for ages. Also, they're MTB shoes, which I'd have thought would be more flexible and reduce numbness?
  • Crapaud
    Crapaud Posts: 2,483
    Sealskinz are quite thick, so try thinner / no socks and don't fasten your shoes as tight for a while before moving your cleats.

    If you decide to move the cleats, Bicycling Medicine suggests, "Usually the cleat needs to be placed farther back, although solutions differ.".
    A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject - Churchill