PROBLEM: Late during a long ride your feet start feeling like they’re on fire!
SOLUTION: The sensation of heat can be caused by poor circulation. Blood vessels and nerves get compressed when feet swell, as they will after two or three hours of riding. You begin in blissful comfort, but later you feel like dousing your dogs with your water bottle.
Assuming your shoes aren’t too tight to begin with, this fix is easy. At the first sign of foot discomfort, slightly loosen your shoelaces, straps or boa knob.
There’s a trick, though. Let’s say your shoes close with three velcro straps. If you loosen all of them, your feet may move in the shoes as you pedal — a bothersome, insecure feeling.
So, loosen the strap at the front of the shoe the most. It has little to do with security but plenty to do with tightness around the ball of the foot where discomfort is usually the worst.
Loosen the second strap, the one across your instep, a bit less. You want to improve circulation but not encourage foot movement.
Leave the top strap alone or even snug it a bit. That’s the strap, nearest your ankle, that gives your foot and shoe a firm connection — like a toe strap in days of yore. As long as the other straps are right, you can tighten this one without much effect on circulation.
As the ride wears on, stop or reach down occasionally to fine-tune these adjustments. Your pups will thank you!
Rick Schultz says
The REAL problem is INCORRECTLY ADJUSTED CLEATS. As mentioned above, your feet are swelling, why?
Your calves 2 main functions are (1) Plantar Flexion and (2) pumping blood back up from the lower body. By incorrectly adjusted cleats, your calves are not pumping blood back up and instead, you are using your calves to stabilize your feet (i.e., heels) from collapsing during the pedal stroke.
The one common comment every one of my clients tell me is that they are now tightening their shoes several times during a ride instead of loosening them. “What a difference this makes” they say, “No more Hot Foot!”
So get a cleat fit, and, if your fitter doesn’t know how to adjust them (most don’t) , look me up to discuss.
Okay, what is the correct cleat position? Thanks!
What is correct cleat position? What if the cleats don’t have an adjustment like Speedplay Frogs?
Carol L says
There’s nothing wrong with dousing your feet with cold water in the midst of a long hot ride! I remove my shoes but leave on my socks, and soak them with ice cold water if available, then put shoes back on. I call it my spa treatment. It helps greatly. My shoes are loose enough, my cleats are positioned properly, but when my feet get really really hot on a long ride (50 mi or more) from the heat rising from the asphalt, I still get “hot foot” pretty predictably.