Finding The Right Fit
When you try on cycling shoes, it should not feel as if you are being restricted in your movement. Try to mimic the movements you will do when cycling or spinning. This should give you an idea where the shoes might put unusual pressures on your feet. They should not in any way prevent you from doing your activity, or put you at risk of injuries. The shoes are there for your comfort and to some extent, safety.
Measure Your Shoe Length
Most people assume that cycling shoes are similar to running or training shoes. As a result, they feel that cycling shoes should have ample space at the front to accommodate the forward motion during the cycling exercise.
However, this isnt always the case with cycling shoes. In fact, a few millimeters about 3-5 around the toe area are perfect because cycling doesnt involve a lot of rolling movements.;;
Therefore, ideal cycling shoes with a perfect shoe length should allow the ball of your foot to lie at the widest part of the shoe. This positioning facilitates proper mounting of cleats and power transmission during riding.
To determine your ideal shoe length, stand on a flat surface and draw a line from the back of your foot to the tip of your longest toe. Next, measure the length of the line in millimeters and add 0.5mm to the resulting measurement to accommodate for errors.
With the measurements in hand, you can then use a cycling shoe size conversion table to get the actual size of your shoe.
Fit Your Cycling Shoes Correctly
They are several contact points in cycling and your feet are the most important point because they are responsible for transferring power to the pedal.;Over the years, as a professional bike fitter, I have noticed a reoccurring problem.Athletes are buying their cycling shoes way too big. ;This causes unnecessary movement inside the shoe which consequently wastes power while cycling. ;Other consequential issues of having cycling shoes too big are: ;
- Hot Spots
- Numb feet
Your cycling shoes should feel snug without any lateral movements and shouldnt experience any pressure between your toe and the front of the shoe. Dont purchase the shoe if they feel tight and expect them to stretch. To obtain a perfect cycling shoe fit follow these steps:;
- The shoe must fit comfortably snug
- If you are able to move your foot back-and-forth then the shoe is too big
- Your toe should touch the front of the shoe but without any pressure
- You heel doesnt slip up and down in the shoe
- Wear cycling socks for your fit test
- Try half sizes until you find the shoe that fits you perfect
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Should Cycling Shoes Fit Snug
While its suggested to size up if youre between sizes, cycling shoes are intended to wrap snuggly around the foot. Similar to how running or walking shoes are created to help you excel at said activities, cycling shoes were also designed with a specific purpose in mindpedaling. Cycling shoes are made to be used 99.9 percent of the time solely for pedalingyoure not out and about walking or running around in them, explains Gascon. Unlike high impact running, when you pedal, youre applying pressure to the ball of the foot versus the toe area, so its low impact, and it doesnt cause the foot to move around. Therefore they are designed to fit very close to the foot, almost like a second sock, says Gascon. This helps to minimize foot movement and create more stability.
Shimano has taken over a million impressions of different foot shapes and has a good idea as to where the mass population fall, which has allowed them to build 12 foot-shaped lasts that they use to create their shoes. Most other cycling brands use only three or four lasts for all their shoes.;
Additional Sidi Fit Options
SIDI Mega fit
SIDI has designed its range of Mega range of shoes for those who need extra volume.
The Mega range has 4mm of extra width across the ball of the foot which translates to;an EE-EEE width . The heel cup is also wider and there’s a higher instep.
Women’s-specific SIDI fit
We often get asked if men’s SIDI shoes will fit women. The answer is yes, but only for women with consistently wide feet from the heel right through to the forefront.;
SIDI has been making women-specific shoes since the 1960s. According to their research, women have an entirely different foot shape to men so, for the majority, a women’s specific shoe will fit a lot better.
The mould for a women’s cycling shoe is not simply a smaller and narrower version of the men’s option. The SIDI women’s lasts also have a narrower heel and ankle to accommodate the smaller overall volume of the foot.;;
All the same technologies and fit systems available across the SIDI range have been made available in a women’s fit.
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Other Things To Consider
There are other things to think of when you pick out cycling shoes. Comfort and safety are your primary considerations, but that doesnt mean you should leave out the fashion sense of the shoes, the price, the materials the shoes are made out of, and the compatibility with the equipment that you useyour bicycle.
Do I Need Toe Spikes For Gravel Riding
This very much depends on the type of terrain you’re likely to ride. Toe spikes are generally reserved for racing in cyclo-cross or cross country mountain biking events where running up steep slippery banks is a likely occurrence and time is of the essence.;
The likelihood is that your gravel riding won’t lead to you needing toe spikes, but if you’re regularly riding in wet, muddy and steep conditions, you might find them beneficial.;
The obvious downside to having toe spikes, and even just shoes that allow toe spikes – is that it will be a little bit of extra weight that you’ll need to carry around. How important that is to you will also depend on your riding habits.;
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How To Determine Stance Width
Stance width is the term used to describe the distance between your feet when engaged in the pedals.
When assessing the knees and feet that I described earlier, did you naturally stand with your feet wide apart or close together? When you pedal, do you feel like your feet are underneath your knees?
There really is no method for determining stance width. To some extent its just trial and error. Pressure mapping can add a bit of science, but thats a fairly uncommon piece of tech for anyone to have access to.
If you suffer from IT Band issues, increasing stance width can be a useful adjustment.
Thomas McDaniel / Immediate Media
If you move your knees outward at the top of your pedal stroke, moving cleats out can be helpful.
If your stance width is wide and your knees dive inward, try a narrower stance. Note that this isnt a catchall solution and there could be several other things going on.
Aside from fore/aft, float and canting, stance width is often overlooked, or a victim of the other three adjustments.
A Good Insole Makes A Big Difference
All cycling shoes are factory-fitted with a simple insole, the primary function of which is to provide cushioning but which does not perform a biomechanical function.SOLESTAR insoles have a special, patented construction and a stable inner core made of glass fiber or carbon. This optimizes the position of the foot in the shoe and keeps it where it can optimally transfer the force. In professional cycling, Solestar is now standard, but the value of a good insole is of great value to any cyclist as it has a great influence on the rider’s ergonomics.
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Test Your Shoes Both On And Off The Bike
Put your cycling socks on your feet and step into your shoes with the straps loose. Tighten the strap closest to your toes first and work up to the strap nearest your ankle. Snug each strap just enough to keep your feet from sliding around in the shoes.
Ride your bike for at least 30 minutes. If you feel any numbness or hot spots during this time, stop and readjust your straps. If your feet get numb, the straps may be too tight. If you feel your heel slipping or your feet moving side to side, the straps may be too loose. Try riding in both a seated and standing position to get a feel for how the shoes feel in both positions.
Get off your bike and stand in your shoes. Check the distance between your toes and the end of the shoe. If your toes touch the end, the shoes may be too short. If you have more than a finger width between your toes and the end, they may be too long. Check the sides of the shoes as well. If there is any gapping in the material, they may be too wide. If you can barely fasten the straps or your feet bulge over the sole of the shoe, they may be too narrow.
Sit down with the shoes still on your feet and check the length and width again. Youre sitting a lot when you ride a bike so its important to make sure the shoes arent too loose when you sit down on the bike seat.
Between You And Your Shoe
Thomas McDaniel / Immediate Media
Fore/aft and float are simple in comparison to varus/valgus, roll, cant, or whatever name you give it.
If your ankle complex is not vertically stacked, you may benefit from varus/valgus wedging.
If your ankle is not vertically stacked, it is very likely that your entire foot has an angular component, and it will not sit flat on the pedal body. Due to the restrictions of the fixed trajectory, youd be only loading one side of your foot, and this can be problematic.
Trying to decide whether you require varus/valgus wedging is no easy task. I highly recommend professional advice, but the rationale behind cleat wedging is fairly straightforward.
Thomas McDaniel / Immediate MediaThomas McDaniel / Immediate Media
Again, this is an opportunity to complicate things for yourself, and its incredibly difficult to assess your ankle complex alone. With varus/valgus cleat wedging I strongly encourage you to seek feedback from a qualified professional.
Its also important to mention that cleat wedging is not the same as forefoot wedging this is a cleat setup article, so we will not address forefoot wedging today.
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When Can You Take Advantage Of Guaranteed Fit
Buy your cycling shoes on Mantel.com/uk and take them for a test ride. Dont fit as well as youd hoped? A bit too tight or too spacious, or are they narrower than you thought theyd be? No Problem!
With Mantel Guaranteed Fit you can just return your cycling shoes, and it applies to all brands. Youll get the full purchase price back and can then buy other cycling shoes from our webshop.
The only condition is that the cycling shoes that you send back should be in a wearable and saleable state. A splash of mud or marking on the mounted cleats is no big deal, so you can mount cleats and ride with them. But we advise you not to take them out on a rainy day or to go cyclo-crossing with them through a sopping wet forest.
A good yardstick for determining whats acceptable is to ask yourself if youd buy them yourself if you saw them on sale. If the answer is yes, then the chance is good that youll get your money back for the ill-fitting cycling shoes.
How Cycling Shoes Should Fit
Cycling shoes should be snug; not too tight or not too loose. As you know cycling shoes will stretch over time and thats why it should be snug fit. When you fasten the shoe, make sure that it should not pinch your feet and you feel comfortable inside the shoes. Notes: Shoes heel or sole can be stiff outside but insole cushioning should feel you comfortable.
Before You Buy Cycling Shoes, a Few Things to Consider for Finding the Right Pair
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What To Look For In The Best Cycling Shoes
Cycling shoe fastening systems
There are basically four different systems used to tighten cycling shoes: Velcro, ratchets, laces, and dials.
Almost all budget cycling shoes under use Velcro straps for fastening, basically because it’s a cheaper option. For the rider, Velcro straps do a good job of holding the shoe firmly in place but can be difficult to adjust on the move and it can also be a little tricky to get the precise fit you might want.
The other benefit of Velcro straps is that they are light. This means that they can also be found on very expensive lightweight shoes designed specifically for climbers, such as the Rapha Climber’s shoes and the Giro Prolight SLX II shoes.
The next step up in the fastening system food chain comes ratchets, so look out for some of the great cycling shoes that offer these at a lower price point. A ratchet offers more precise adjustability than Velcro straps, gives a really secure fit, and can also easily be tightened while riding. However, loosening a ratchet is not quite as easily, generally requiring two hands. Ratchets are generally found on mid-price shoes, and generally combined with a Velcro strap or two further down the shoe.
The other option on a few other best high-end shoes such as the Giro Empires and Specialized S-Works Sub 6 shoes is laces. For those interested in marginal gains laces are very aerodynamic but are also generally very comfy. However, of course, laces are nigh-on impossible to adjust on the move.
How Much Toe Room Do You Need In Cycling Shoes
Choosing the right cycling shoes is important, especially if youre planning on doing any kind of racing or long-distance riding. Without the right shoes, youll find yourself uncomfortable or even with an injury. You may also notice that your foot slides in the shoe or on the pedal. But the right shoes can take care of that problem and keep you more comfortable and safe. Its all about choosing the right size to start.
So, how much room do you actually need for your toes? The answer is not a lot. A few millimetres is considered the maximum amount of toe space you should have. Thats because you want your toes to touch the end of the shoe but without pressing into it. Your toes should be fully extended in the cycling shoe without feeling like theyre being pinched or pushed back. This doesnt require a great deal of space.
The outer part of the foot should have very little space as well. In general, youre looking for shoes that are going to be comfortable for you but are going to envelop your foot rather firmly. You dont want to have too much open space because that means your foot is going to slide around and thats only really good when youre walking .
If youre really not sure about sizing, go to a nearby store that specializes in cycling and ask for some help. Theyll measure your foot and find you the right pair of shoes so youre going to have a great experience the next time you decide to go out on your bike.
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Do Cycling Shoes Run True To Size
When deciding what size cycling shoes to get, go with your normal shoe size, as bike shoes run true to size. However, if youre normally between sizes, for example sometimes you go with a 9 and sometimes a 9.5, its recommended that you size up. Always size up if you have to decide between two sizes because your foot can swell throughout the day and your foot size changes, says Jessie Gascon, Shimanos lifestyle gear product manager. We recommend trying on shoes and doing shoe fittings in the afternoon for this exact reason. Even hydration throughout the day can affect the size of your feet. Plus, unless youre planning on racing, having a little extra room in your shoe wont affect your riding.
Consider The Shoes Compatibility With Your Activities
A cycling shoe is a specialized kind of sporting shoe. When shopping for a pair, you have to consider if it is compatible with the type of riding you will engage in. For instance, if you are a road cyclist or a professional racer, you should go for stiffer, lighter shoes.
For indoor, urban, and leisure riders, recreational cycling shoes are the best option. The shoes are almost similar to casual ones but offer more comfort, versatility, and efficiency. They also provide the necessary foot support and stability during pedaling.
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How To Find Your Perfect Sidi Shoes
SIDI Cycling Shoes are well known for having a comfortable fit;straight out of the box but if they’re not right, they’re not going to get any better with continued wear.;
If you have the right size, you will benefit from;a snug fit for optimal power transfer but you’ll also have;around 5mm of wiggle room in the toe box for comfort over distance.
How do I know which size to pick?
The Wiggle SIDI size chart can be found on every;SIDI product page to make it easy for you to refer to. There’s 6mm difference between full sizes so half-sizes are also available to ensure a great fit for most riders.
The standard SIDI shoes are based on a ‘D’ width foot.
The optimum fit-test:
Before you start, make sure you are wearing the same kind of socks that you would normally wear for cycling.
Put on your cycling shoes, and stand upright in them; then try to lift your heels up. If there is any gap between the heel and the back of your ankle, then the shoes are too large, and they’ll feel sloppy when you are riding.;
If your toes touch the end of the shoes when you are standing upright, the shoes are too small. You should be able to wiggle your toes.