QUESTION: I just bought a pair of expensive road shoes online and they’re slightly too large. I know — I should have gotten them from my local bike shop and tried them on first. But the deed is done, so is there any way to make them fit? They’re fine with thicker socks but I want to wear conventional thin cycling socks. — Bailey G.
RBR REPLIES: If the shoes fit with slightly thicker socks, the fix is easy. Simply insert a thin insole under the sock liner that’s already in each shoe. The extra layer will help your feet fill up the shoes so you can pedal without disconcerting movement.
I’ve used the thin insole from a pair of old mountain bike shoes for this purpose. We’ve written about cycling shoe insoles from Bontrager that could work, and there are other brands like Icebug, Superfeet and Specialized.
This trick also works for shoes that have stretched and loosened with use. Adding insoles can make them fit like new again.
If your new shoes are still too big, consider selling them and getting a smaller pair that fits.
Shoes are crucially important to cycling efficiency. Oversize shoes rob energy from your pedal stroke because your feet move inside. But if shoes are too tight, the discomfort will make it hard to apply full pedaling pressure. The longer the ride, the more uncomfortable (even painful) your feet will become.
Bike Fitness Coaching says
Are they heat moldable? Most ‘expensive’ shoes are. If not and as coach Fred recommends, if buying new shoes consider LAKE. They are there best for several reasons. Lars has an upcoming general shoe overview that I put together
Michael Tenzer says
I prefer my shoes a little big then I put these inside. I have Morton’s neuroma or hot foot and these are in all my shoes
Matt K. says
I learned from many years of running and spending lots of money on running shoes, the insoles are often the weak link and least durable component of shoes. Buy some good quality replacement insoles (e..g., Specialized) of the right thickness and discard the ones that came with the shoes. And when those insoles wear out in a year or two, replace them. The uppers and carbon fiber soles of cycling shoes are virtually indestructible.
Richard Stum says
I have one foot larger than the other, so on some shoes I have taken a small piece of polyester three-dimensional fabric, which is about 3 mm thick, and glued it or adhered to the inside heel. Maybe do that on both of your shoes.
Use them as winter shoes so you now have space to wear a couple layers of wool socks.
You can use duct tape to cover the mesh to block the wind.
Brian Nystrom says
After years of using thin cycling socks, I discovered that thicker merino wool socks are more comfortable and now that’s all I use, year-round. I stick with ankle length and they work great (I don’t care if tall socks are all the rage these days; they make no sense to me).