Foot pain in cycling shoes - any cure?

ai_1 Posts: 3,060
edited May 2011 in Road beginners
I got my first pair of cycling shoes a few weeks ago. They're Shimano R087 with SPD SL cleats and R540 pedals. The shoes are sized 43 Wide and feel perfect until I start cycling. It only takes about 3km before I'm feeling lots of pain along the outside of my foot. I'm pretty sure the pain is due to my feet expanding as I warm up and the shoes being a little too narrow (I've really wide feet!) Since my first ride with these I've been leaving the straps relatively loose but the pain still arrives after a few km - just not so bad. However loose straps, even if they solved the problem completely aren't the answer because my feet aren't really held securely enough in the shoe so that my foot moves around if I apply power in the up stroke.
I assume I just wasted a chunk of cash on the shoes but thought I'd ask in case there's any work around using insoles to rasie my foot above the sole which is the narrowest part.....
Alternatively - what other options are there for wide fit shoes?
Do other brands do wider shoes than Shimano? I'm pretty sure going up a size won't work since even the 43s have a little extra length in them.

thanks for any help you can give me!



  • mrwibble
    mrwibble Posts: 980
    what ever your foot size is its a good idea to buy half a size up for expanding feet and foot moving forward while pedalling. Have you got the position of your cleats correct? The angle your toes point should be taking into consideration when aligning the cleats.

    Wide feet could be a problem tho...
  • I recently switched to clipless pedals too, and couldn't go more than a couple of miles without pain down the outside of my right foot. I found that moving the cleats worked, for me having them as far forward as they go is the most comfortable but I guess it's different for everybody.
  • ai_1
    ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    I've tried some adjustment on cleat position and it didn't make any noticable difference to the foot pain. May try a few more tweaks but I doubt this is the problem. I have pain in both feet but much more severe on the right foot which I'm pretty sure is a fraction bigger than the right foot so that would seem to support the theory that width is the problem.

  • Duffer65
    Duffer65 Posts: 341
    You don't have 'flat feet' by any chance? I do, and suffer from foot pain when riding. Insoles to support the arches may help if this is the case.
    Where would you be if you fell down a hole?.. Stuck down a hole... in the fog... Stuck down a hole, in the fog, at night... WITH AN OWL!
  • Dmak
    Dmak Posts: 445
    I have a similar problem with my left foot. Pain/numbness on the outside, lots of fiddling with the cleat and no fix.

    Just ordered 3 of these;

    They might be the answer. They go under the cleat to angle it slightly to accommodate for slightly wonky feet.

    Wider shoes might be better too, specialized shoes are typically quite wide. Problem is the things are not cheap!
  • rogerthecat
    rogerthecat Posts: 669
    Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but, I had / have the same issue, after a bike fit, two pairs of new / different shoes, different shims, cleat movment different socks I still get the problem with my beautiful SIDI shoes, not so much on my Spec shoes and not at all on an old beat up pair of shimarnos R087 the black and white ones. the SIDI nothing I can do to help, the Spec I loosen them off and I am okay, the weird thing is with the Spec it's not all the time, the SIDI it is the Shim not at all.

    I have read so many differnt threads I give up in the end and am looking at another pair of shoes, :wink: seriously though I think it's the width of the shoes, oh yes I have tried differnt pedal systems also, Speedplay and Look Keo. So good luck to you.
  • lef
    lef Posts: 728
    +1 on the cleat wedges. You can also get them here ... and-screws

    Also research into valgus and varius with regards to foot / ankle alignment so you understand the concept. However I have had this problem and for me it was narrow shoes - shimanos were the worst but I dont I think had wide fit shoes. You could try stretching the uppers a little but if synthetic they wont be stretching much. I have spesh s-works shoes and I get pain in the left foot, though its got better as the shoe has stretched, helped along by manually stretching them. Ive had a cycle fit and my foot width measured which confirmed my left foot is wider.

    You should also check that the cleat position respects the natural angle of your feet when standing. Do they point out or in and by how much? I would recommend that your foot position on the pedal reflects this angle. [/b]
  • andrewjoseph
    andrewjoseph Posts: 2,165
    I had this for some time after starting riding on the road (as opposed to riding mtb for several years). Feels like the bokes on the outside of my foot are breaking.

    After trying different pedals/shoes/insoles/shims. I realised the pain eases if I spin faster. So I got a cadence monitor, found that under 50-60 rpm the pain started (depending on pressure on pedals). i changed cassette and inner ring on road bike so I could spin up hills over 60 rpm and the pain has mostly gone away.

    I still use spesh flat foot insoles (red) and the plastic shims.

    This may not be the problem for you, but changing your cadence may be a partial solution.
    Burls Ti Tourer for Tarmac, Saracen aluminium full suss for trails
  • Dmak
    Dmak Posts: 445
    Well the 3 wedges I ordered arrived today. I've fitted 2 of the 3 to my left shoe and I'm just about to get out for a swift 25 miles. Hopefully they'll resolve the issue.


    Back, hmmmmm better I think but not solved, not yet.
  • ai_1
    ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Thanks for all the replies guys. I'm pretty sure foot/shoe width is the problem but I'll have a look at the other possibilities too just in case. Excessive pedal force/low cadence shouldn't be the problem as I've been using a cadence sensor and my average cadence is typically around 90rpm, rarely dropping below 80 during the ride. I've already tried some variations to the toe-in/toe-out angle of the cleats but didn't notice any significant impact on foot pain.

  • Kneesaway
    Kneesaway Posts: 56
    Have a look half way down the page here

    Best of luck