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I'm curious whether folks have had success in combating the pain-in-the-ball-of-the-foot condition that I understand is called "hot foot syndrome." I've done some research, and have tried recommended measures like positioning the cleats as far toward the heel as possible, and adding gel inserts, but I still can't ride much more than 30 miles without the pain taking the joy out of the ride. I've bought new shoes, tried keeping them loose and tried keeping them snug. Nothing works. The pain stops soon after I stop pedaling.

Suggestions, please!
 

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Try Superfeet insoles and/or custom orthotics.
http://www.roadbikerider.com/articles.htm#How to Solve Painful Hot Foot
Good arch support ought to spread the load over a greater area on the foot, and thus force you to flex your feet LESS to apply power to the crank.

Also, try using flat pedals and sneakers for a while; lower your saddle a bit so you can pedal on the midfoot a bit more. You can move your feet around a bit as you ride.

My theory on hotfoot (FWIW) is that cleated shoes have to fit and function perfectly to prevent it, because your foot is in the exact same position w.r.t. the pedal each and every pedalstroke. When it works, a good shoe/cleat combo can be like magic. When something is off, it can be torture.
 

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What kind of pedals do you use?

Fwiw, I've found Speedplays (X's) combined with a good carbon sole shoe eliminated all problems with hot spots.
 

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I've gotten good relief with thin socks and keeping shoes loose. Sometimes I'll unclip for a brief moment if I have to. Seems to work for me.
Don't have experience with the icecube approach, but what about maybe dry ice? Certainly seems like it would come out ahead of cubes from a weight-benefit standpoint.
 

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I have had this problem in the past, I replaced my old Shimano shoes and picked up a pair of Bont shoes from my LBS and haven't had any problems. I would have to guess that having a properly fitted shoe solved my problem. In the past I experiments with insole inserts with moderate levels of success.
 

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I know you mentionned trying it but I get this when I tighten the front-most strap on the shoe. This compresses the sides of my feet and after a while I can't stand it anymore. The other straps can be tight (althout I prefer them not too tight) but the toe strap must be extremelly loose, up to the point where it's not compressing at all. In fact to get the tightness just right, I must bend my toes to push upwards on the shoe and then tighten lightly.
 

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worked for me.

I bought Smartwool Adrenaline Light socks. They have just enough padding to alleviate the hot foot problem.
 
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