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  1. #1
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    Do I need flat soled wide shoes to cure my hot spot?

    Last year I got a hot spot under the ball of my left foot while I was training for a Century. I was wearing a pair of two year old Specialized Tahoe mountain shoes in a size 47 (12 1/2"-13") when I developed my hot spot. My next ride, I rode in a one year old pair of Specialized Sonoma’s in a size 47 and this time got hot spots under the balls of both of my feet. The following week I purchased Specialized BG++ (medium arched) orthotic foot beds, adjusted the cleats back, loosened the two lower Velcro straps on the Sonoma shoes and walked around every time I got off the bike. One of these changes cured the hot spot under my right foot and reduced the numbness under my left foot. The following week I did more research on the subject and read that a stiffed soled shoe was better suited for longer rides because they utilize the whole foot to transfer your pedal stroke into the pedal and better distribute the pressure across your foot. With the Century two weeks away, I purchased a pair of Specialized Mountain Sport shoes, inserted the BG++ insoles and kept the straps loose. These shoes did not completely cure my left foot’s hot spot but they seemed to be better than the Sonoma’s with their steel plates under the forefoot(s).

    Anyway fast forward to present day and I have been mountain biking in my Mountain Sports and the Left hot spot has come back. Luckily I have no issues with my right foot only with my left foot. The one thing I noticed is that the area around the ball of my left foot does not stay planted like my right foot does during a down stroke. The shoe’s injection molded sole and or foot bed pushes up on the front side of my left foot’s arch preventing the ball of my foot from making contact with the foot bed. Last weekend I used the BG+ (small arch support) in soles that came with the shoes, which made the hot spot worse. My left foot is about 1” longer than my right and has a medium arch. My right foot has a high arch and is about ¼” wider than my left foot. The injected molded soles of my Mountain Sports have a wavy contour that my be causing my foot issue. The sole’s heal bed starts off low, ramps up and back down in the middle of the foot at the arch and dips down under the ball of the foots and ramps back up under the toes. I had to get a size 49 (two sized bigger than my previous flatter shoes) because of the contour. Do all stiff soled bike shoes have a wavy contoured foot bed? The toe contour is so steep that my big toe feels like it is slightly bend back on these shoes. The hard non-compliant foot beds force your foot into a position that it may not like. Should I try another make of shoe or try to build up the concaved foot bed under the ball of my left foot with rubber? Do Sidi’s, Shimano’s or Lakes have flatter soles?

  2. #2
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    Continuing my research on shoes, I looked at another LBS in town who carries Shimano and Sidi and both of those brands also seem to have deep concaved contour under the forefoot section of the soles as well. The salesman said to bring my Specialized shoes in to evaluate if they fit properly. If they fit correctly then he recommended getting fitted with a custom orthotic by Feetbalance, which will properly locate the arch support and the metatarsal bump in the right locations under my feet. The cost of the foot scan and the custom molded orthotics is $80.00, which is refundable if it does not cure my hot spot. Has anybody tried these custom Feetbalance orthotics? I have read that a custom orthotic used for a bicyclist is different than a custom orthotic that a runner uses. Is there any truth to this notion because I did not see anything about bicycle orthotics on Feetbalance’s web site.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwalton View Post
    The cost of the foot scan and the custom molded orthotics is $80.00, which is refundable if it does not cure my hot spot. Has anybody tried these custom Feetbalance orthotics? I have read that a custom orthotic used for a bicyclist is different than a custom orthotic that a runner uses. Is there any truth to this notion because I did not see anything about bicycle orthotics on Feetbalance’s web site.
    I can not speak to the particular brand of orthotic/fitting system that you are talking about, but as far as custom orthotics go, I have had very good success with them in sports shoes. I have had custom orthotics in ski boots and cycling shoes, and I suspect they share more common ground than cycling to running shoes.

    Properly supported, your foot will stay in position and will not "rock" or move under the forces associated with cycling movements. This means that you might have good luck keeping your hot spot under control. I think the guarantee alone makes this an easy decision. I have had similar foot issues in my ski boots and the custom orthotics make all the difference. I never really had any issue with my cycling shoes, but then again I started right out with footbeds in them.

    Running orthotics have to deal with impact force and the tendency of the foot to pronate and suplinate through the stride. I am by no means a foot expert but I would suspect that means that the running orthotic would have to serve a different function to the foot: supporting it while it also flexes through a stride. Cycling shoes (and ski boots) are very stiff, therefore there is no flex of the foot (I suppose I mean foot-bed of the shoe) through the cycling movements and I suspect that a footbed for these activities would be different to a running or walking orthotic. Of course, I don't know for sure, this is all speculation based on my experiences, and hopefully either an expert will chime in or maybe you can go speak with one in person if you're unsure about the decision.
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    Do you use your Ski Boot orthotics in you bike shoes?

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    Quote Originally Posted by bwalton View Post
    Do you use your Ski Boot orthotics in you bike shoes?
    No, I have a very expensive (multi hundred) pair of orthotics in my ski boots and a basically generic orthotic in my cycling shoes. Before I got the job I have now, my job had me 100+ days per year in my ski boots standing and skiing all day with hardly any time off my feet. Footbeds became very important both in being able to be on my feet and properly control my skis.

    These days I usually run flat pedals with skate shoes, but I'm looking to upgrade to a 5.10 shoe with a mid-level custom orthotic next season. I would really like to find an orthotic as you are describing in my area, most of what I know of is well beyond the $100 range and I just don't need that level of support for my cycling shoes.
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    Here is a link to Footbalance's web site, which will locate a retailer in you area: Find a Store | Footbalance Custom Footbeds

    The one thing I do not understand is how the custom orthotics are fitted to the soles of the shoes. For example, the bottom of your feet are scanned on a flat peice of glass and and the orthotics molded to that digital negative taken on a flat surface. The soles of bike shoes are not flat, which means the orthotics will be out of wack when they are installed in the shoes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bwalton View Post
    Here is a link to Footbalance's web site, which will locate a retailer in you area: Find a Store | Footbalance Custom Footbeds

    The one thing I do not understand is how the custom orthotics are fitted to the soles of the shoes. For example, the bottom of your feet are scanned on a flat peice of glass and and the orthotics molded to that digital negative taken on a flat surface. The soles of bike shoes are not flat, which means the orthotics will be out of wack when they are installed in the shoes.
    For most orthotics, the surface of the orthotic that touches the foot is curved but the side that would sit on the base of the shoe is either flat or roughly matched to the shape of the shoe. The existing footbed that comes with the shoe is taken out and that leaves a roughly flat surface on which the new footbed will sit.
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  8. #8
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    The inside surfaces of my Specialized Mountain Sport shoe's soles are not flat--they are contoured like a wave--low at the heal, high at the arch/instep, low under the fore-foot (i.e. around the ball of the foot) and high under the toes. The thin Specialized insoles sit flat on the table when removed from the shoes. I will bring my Specialized shoes into my LBS after work tonight and compare the inside sole contour with other makes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bwalton View Post
    The inside surfaces of my Specialized Mountain Sport shoe's soles are not flat--they are contoured like a wave--low at the heal, high at the arch/instep, low under the fore-foot (i.e. around the ball of the foot) and high under the toes. The thin Specialized insoles sit flat on the table when removed from the shoes. I will bring my Specialized shoes into my LBS after work tonight and compare the inside sole contour with other makes.
    I wouldn't stress too much about it, a footbed can be shaped to any shoe/foot combination if the fitter is any good at what they do.
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