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  1. #1
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    Narrow shoes may be causing my hot spots

    I think I figured out what has been causing a hot spot under the ball of my left foot—narrow shoes. I have been living with a hot spot under the ball of my left foot for well over a year now. I’ve tried to remedy the problem by moving my cleats back behind the ball of my foot, purchasing Specialized BG++ foot beds/orthotics, loosening up my shoe straps, purchased a new pair of shoes last year with stiffer soles (2011 Specialized Mountain Sport shoes with a stiffness index of 5.0) and switch to Time Alum pedals with a large platform. None of these changes listed above has cured my hot spot. Three weeks ago, I swapped out my BG++ insoles with the stock BG+ insoles that came with my shoes because my left arch was starting to ache and went on a 20 mile ride. That small change left my left foot numb and in pain for two and a half weeks.

    I brought my Specialized Shoes and BG insoles into my LBS and the fitter recommended purchasing custom FootBalance insoles that heat mold to your feet. While I was there, I also tried on a pair of Shimano shoes, which rubbed against the outside of my big left toe. I went home and put on my left Specialized shoe and also noticed that my big left toe also rubs on the inside of the toe box. I pulled my sock off and discovered a thick callus on the outside of my big left toe that protrude past the side ball of my foot. I put the left shoe back on my foot and noticed if I rotate my foot out on the heal in the shoe than my big toe barely touches the inside of the toe box. However, if I step down in the shoe, the side of my big left toe gets pushed into the side of the toe box bending it slightly inward. I believe this is what is causing the nerves between my first and second metatarsal to get pinch and thereby creating a hot spot. What is interesting is that my right foot is wider and about one size smaller than my left foot and luckily I have never had any hot spot issues with this foot. The reason seems obvious now, my right foot’s toes never get jammed in the toe box because they sit behind it in the foot bed.

    What other shoe brands offer a wide shoe box, run a little wide in width and have a semi-circle landing footprint (e.g. a semi-curved footprint not a straight footprint) in an EU size of 47 or 48? Sidi, Lake? The other option would be to buy a larger pair of shoes say EU 49 or 50, which would probably help my left foot and possibly create problems for my smaller right foot.

  2. #2
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    ... and if we just ...

    I don't know what brands make wide sizes but Italian made shoes are generally narrow. My feet are wide too and I have Specialized shoes in a wide size. I had the same issues you have and had to put my left foot on ice one day after a long ride.
    I thought my then shoes, were wide enough until my LBS showed me the ones I have now. A year later, never had another problem.
    Both my feet are identical in size which is rare, so in that respect I don't need to mix and match shoe sizes.
    The most important thing to do with your shoes is to put them on properly. The only semi tight strap should be the top one.. The top strap should keep your foot from moving up and down inside the shoes thus preventing blisters.
    The other straps should in no way tighten up the shoe and cause the foot to 'deform' inside the shoe. If you feel the straps on you feet they are too tight. The toe box especially, should be loose to prevent that burning sensation.
    Hope that helps....YMMV
    Current ride(s) 2011 Santa Cruz Blur LT

  3. #3
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    I tried a pair Specialized Primo shoes on in a size EU 48 yesterday and my left big toe does not rub on the inside wall of the toe box. I purchased a pair of Primo shoes two years ago in a size 47 and used them for commuting to work. These shoes have flat rubber soles, a mid forefoot plate embedded in the front of the sole and soft sued uppers. I found that Specialized casual biking shoes like the Primo, Sonoma and Tahoe models all run a size larger and have a slightly bigger toe box than their hard soled counterparts like the sport, comp and pro models. For example my size 13 left foot fits in a 47 Primo but not in a 47 Mountain sport. The EU48 Mountain Sport is long enough for my left foot but not wide enough. Also all hard soled bike shoes have a concaved fore foot to either allow for cleat engagement or walking. The concave contour of the forefoot section of the sole creates a hill or high section in the mid part of the sole. I also had my feet measured on a Bannock device which measured my left foot at 12 ¾”D and my right foot at 11 ½”D+. So my feet are not unusually wide. So maybe my solution to my left foot problem is to purchase 12 ½” for my right and 13 ½” for my left foot.

    Note; I also tried on a pair of Sidi Mega (i.e. wide) road shoes in a EU48 and my left toe slightly rubbed on the pointy toe box. So if I went with Sidi Dominator 5 megas I would need to get a EU49.

  4. #4
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    It sounds you are on a quest for some good shoes!! If you do find them you may want to invest in an extra pair in case that model is going to be phased out...
    I do have the Carbon Fiber soles in my shoes and this works well for me as more power comes down to the pedals rather than flexing away in a soft sole...Something to think about...
    Good luck!!!
    Current ride(s) 2011 Santa Cruz Blur LT

  5. #5
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    I don't know how old you are, but your feet can get wider with age. Until a year or two ago I wore a 10.5 in a regular width. I went to go buy just a new pair of every day shoes and they just killed my feet (hot spot). After trying several other pairs of shoes, I eventually discovered that I now wear an 11 wide. Getting a actual wide size fixed the problem and my shoes don't hurt my feet. I have have flats for pedals and wear Merrel shoes when I ride so can't really help with a specific bike shoe recommendation though.

  6. #6
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    I went to Big 5 yesterday to try on wide running shoes. The only brand they carry in wide sizes is New Balance, which have pointy toe boxes. NB's standard 13-D were to tight around both of my feet, their 13-4Es were too loose and their 13-2Es seemed to fit the width of my foot very well. Unfortunately NB’s pointed toe box still rubbed on my left toe but not as bad as their standard width 13-D shoes. I think the only solution I may be left with is buying two pairs of shoes--14s for my left foot and 13 for my right foot. Or find a make of bike shoes that run a little wide and long with rectangular toe boxes.

    Specialized, Bontrager, Shimano and Sidi toe boxes all rub on my outside left big toe. Does anybody know of any other make of shoes that have large non-pointed and roomy toe boxes, which may resemble Frankenstein’s Shoes?

  7. #7
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    Like stated above, check out the Sidi MEGA ...spendy though.

    If you want to spend less, Lake makes a nice wide shoe. Great value.

    I have both. The Sidi is lighter and stiffer. The Lake is heavier but has a nice rugged Vibram sole.

  8. #8
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    Client_9 what models of Sidi and Lake shoes do you own?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwalton View Post
    Client_9 what models of Sidi and Lake shoes do you own?
    Lake MX190-w
    They've been discontinued. You can probably get a great deal on the MX165-w - which is basically the 190 without the ratchet.

    Check out the Lake website .... shoe models ending in "W" are wides.

    The wide Sidi shoes I have are the Dominator 5 mega. I didn't pay retail! ouch.

    FYI - my foot width is 2E

  10. #10
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    Wait, you need shoes w/ cleats right? (SPD, etc)

    Cause if you just have platform pedals, DVS makes some nice "skate" shoes that are wide and super sticky.

    I have these for when I'm just using platform pedals (no cleat) :

  11. #11
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    I finally ordered a pair of Shimano SH-M087GE (wide version) last year for the very same reason. I've been going for decades in narrow bike shoes and narrow XC ski boots knowing they were a bit snug, but not realizing they may be doing damage. It's unfortunate it's so difficult to find products like this for wider feet.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  12. #12
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    Yes, the shoes I'm looking for need to support SPD cleats. I ride on Time pedals with a wide platform. Last week I tried on a pair of EU49 Shimano SH-M087G in a standard D width and the outside of my left toe rubbed on the inside of the toe box. Jenson USA has these same shoes in a wide E size for about $100.00, but I’m reluctant to order shoes online that I haven’t actually tried on. Shimano also has a more relaxed “last” shape shoe with a flatter sole and a bigger toe box—the SH-M162, which I would also like to try on. Other than my toe rubbing, the Shimano SH-M087G’s felt very comfortable to walk around in.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwalton View Post
    Yes, the shoes I'm looking for need to support SPD cleats. I ride on Time pedals with a wide platform. Last week I tried on a pair of EU49 Shimano SH-M087G in a standard D width and the outside of my left toe rubbed on the inside of the toe box. Jenson USA has these same shoes in a wide E size for about $100.00, but I’m reluctant to order shoes online that I haven’t actually tried on. Shimano also has a more relaxed “last” shape shoe with a flatter sole and a bigger toe box—the SH-M162, which I would also like to try on. Other than my toe rubbing, the Shimano SH-M087G’s felt very comfortable to walk around in.
    I've been happy with my SH-M087GE (E is for the wide version). They're not super wide, but a definite improvement over the standard width shoes I've been using for the past 15+ years. I'm not sure you have much choice but to risk the fit and order online. It's hard enough to find wide SPD shoes online, it's probably near impossible to find them in a bike shop.
    Warning: may contain sarcasm and/or crap made up in an attempt to feel important.

  14. #14
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    Last weekend I tried on a pair of Sidi Dominator Megas (road versions) in a size 48 and Shimano SH-087 (standard width) in a size 49 with my insoles and the Sidi Megas fit both of my feet really well. Unfortunately I can’t get over the $260.00 plus hurdle that I would need to jump over to get myself a pair of Sidi Dominator 5 Megas. So instead I ordered a pair of Shimano SH-087-E (wide) from Amazon for $94.00, which should arrive any day now. I sure hope they fit, otherwise I will need to keep a close eye on the Sidi close-out models.

  15. #15
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    My Shimano SH-087G-E shoes finally arrived and they seem to be the right width for my feet. The only complaint I had with them is that the ratchet buckle rubbed on the outside of my left foot, which luckily wore in and conformed to the shape of my foot after one six mile ride to work. As far as my hot spot under my left forefoot is concerned, it flares up in the morning after my compute to work but goes away after my ride home in the evening. My metatarsaliga (or hot spots) under my left foot is located on the ends of my 1st, 2nd and 3rd metatarsal bones. Hopefully over time my left foots metatarsal bones will spread out to allow the nerves and tissues between them to heal so they don’t become inflamed if I step on my foot wrong.

    The build quality and the materials used in these Shimano shoes seems to be better than all of the Specialized shoes I’ve owned over the years. First off the rubber that Shimano used on the soles is hard and sticky. Meaning they grip and they transmit your power into the pedal bodies very well. The cleat slots are located in the right spot and are wide enough to rotate your SPD cleat to the angle of your foot’s gait. Finally they are very comfortable to walk in so hopefully the rubber on the soles and on each side of the cleat will last for a few years.

    So far I have only used Shimano SPD cleats and pedals with these shoes-this weekend I will try my Time pedals and see how the engage and disengage in this SPD system.

  16. #16
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    It sounds like you have found the right shoes.
    Current ride(s) 2011 Santa Cruz Blur LT

  17. #17
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    i have been riding in specialized road shoes for years they are very nice shoes. But after trying Giro factors rd shoes i will never go back. they are truly amazing shoes. Fizik also makes a very nice shoes worth looking into.

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