Tuesday, May 6, 2008

On Footbeds

With the increase in mileage new pains or discomforts are bound to occur. I use Northwave Aerator 3 shoes pictured above - mine are the blue and white - and they come with a pretty pathetic flat leather insole over a nicer cork sole. My foot would slide back and forth unless I really strapped myself in which would usually create numbness after a short period of time. So I opted for slippery feet. After a few weeks of this I remembered I had a pair of green colored Superfeet which are designed primarily for hiking type shoes. They are significantly thicker than the stock leather insoles but also about 50 times more supportive. I stuck them in thinking I would not be able to fit my foot in, but to my surprise it was quite easy and only required a slightly adjusting of the straps. I couldn't wear thick winter socks but the normal cycling socks were no problem! So now I have super supportive cycling shoes. Immediately I noticed a significant increase in support, pedaling efficiency, and power. It also seemed to line my legs up better probably because my arch was no longer collapsing under heavy load.
All seemed lovely in footland, but a few weeks ago I did a back to back century over the weekend through very hilly terrain and had some pretty uncomfortable hot spots under the balls of both feet. Back to the drawing board. I thought perhaps it was simply because I was not used to pushing for so long and hard, but figured I should check to see what else is out there.
Shortly after, I ran across Specialized bg insoles. These things sounded ideal. They have the support of the Superfeet but also have a metatarsal button to keep the ball of the foot better cushioned. I went to a local bike shop to see what arch size I needed, and ended up with the ++ or blue colored version. The next day was the 200km brevet so I figured what better way to test them. I'm very happy to report they work perfectly!
I've gone back and forth between the Superfeet and the Specialized over the past few weeks to really make sure which one I like and after riding with the Superfeet each time I always crave the Specialized. They absolutely eliminate hot spots, and the metatarsal button really makes the overall comfort of the foot increase substantially. Settled! Highly recommended for all of you who still use the stock insoles in your cycling shoes.

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