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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought a pair of Shimanos to work with basic SPD pedals when I first bought my bike in June. While these shoes fit very well, they cause parts of my forefoot to become sore and/or numb when pedaling. Today I rode with a small group for 60mi and my feet were sore for all but the first 10 miles. As well, my pedals are Wellgo SPD style pedals that are one-sided, but they never rest in the same direction so they are irritatingly difficult to clip into.

So I'm ready to shop for new shoes and pedals. I have a question on each:
- I've seen some other pedals that appear to hang with the heel down, so clipping in appears to be as simple as hooking the front of the cleat and snapping in. Do all of the Look/Time/SPD SL cleats do that? Is this a virtue in a pedal that I should consider?

- I've learned from years of buying shoes/boots/skates to never buy what you can't try on, to try on everything and to ignore the price tags. But I'm having trouble finding shoes in stock at the LBS's. The guys I rode with this morning agreed this is an issue. Is it ethical to buy a set by mail order and return them if the fit is not good?

If you happen to be in the Harrisburg PA area (I'll travel as far as Philly or Baltimore) and know of a well stocked shop that would help too.
 

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I think any pedal you get as long as it is Look/Time/SPD SL, you will be happy with. I use Speedplay and love them, but only have SPD's to compare them with. You may want to look into iClic, they seem to be the hottest thing.

Yes try on shoes. I suggest finding them at one store, trying them on and then asking if they will match an internet price that you find; if not then order them from the internet.

I used Shimano's RD76 and thought they were great. I just switched to Sidi's. I purchased my Sidi's from Performance (on-line) they didn't have them in stock at the stores, even though they advertised them being on sale.
 

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the only bit of advice i can pass on is when buying shoes or amything clothing-wise online, be sure of the retailler`s return policy as it will vary wildly from `returns for proper size` to `zip nada your on your own bub`

for the pedals.. my understanding and experience is after a while they tend to get back to some consistent neutral spot when unclipped.. so i dunno if their just too new or whatever... but maybe hold on that a little bit? at least till you get shoes that dont give you achy feet

hopefully others can chime in on pedals since i`ve never had a set (3rd clipless set) that would constantly dangle in some different spot each time i unclipped unless a bushing or bearring was needing maintenance or was just too new to know better... so to speak

i wish i could suggest a shop in your neck of the woods but im rather clueless not being from your area lol
 

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-yes, yes

-Most if not all internet sites publish a return policy on their web site. Most of them (that I've seen) are fine with and are aware there's a good chance any item where fit matters might be returned. Nothing unethical about it. Just check their return policy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Even with the best of return policies, I can't see myself trying and returning shoes until I have a decent idea of which brands fit well.

I guess I should plan on visiting every bike shop around until I've tried all of the major brands. I'll make sure to sign up for any travel at work that might put me in a big city with a great bike shop too. I hear central pa isn't exactly reknowned for athletic participation and spending.

My pedals do find a position most of the time: directly upside-down. Since they are small that makes them hard to flip and clip in. The bike shop adjusted the pedal bearings a bit snugger so now they don't spin around as freely but it's only of slight help.
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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While it's clear that your present pedals are aggravating you, I'm not sure that it's the shoes specifically causing your discomfort. Cleat set up is an integral part of bike fit, and if it's off even a couple of mm's, knee pain and/ or numbness can result.

Regarding buying shoes online, there's nothing unethical about it (but do check out store return policies) but paying return shipping can get expensive quick. IMO/E it's far better to visit some LBS's and try before you buy.

Since I use Shimano SPD-SL's, I can't offer an opinion on others, but yes, the Shimano's fall 'heel down' which does set the pedal in a position that you push front down then click in at the rear. I'm not promoting that you go this route, but I'm always confused by members posting that they prefer to go with an 'easier' set up (like speedplays), because IMO ease of entry and a solid (and audible) click in are advantages to this type of system.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The discomfort is under my toes and balls of my feet, basically the whole part of the foot over the pedal. The shoe I have is a plastic sole with pockets that resemble rectangular grating. I believe that as I warm up the shoe the padded insert is not enough to keep the uneven surface under my feet from making my feet sore. I'm planning to also get a sheet of polyethylene and cutting it to match the front half of the insert to see if having a solid smooth surface underneath the insert solves the problem. If I can get away with this I may hold off on the shoe/pedal upgrade a bit longer.

The bike shop set up the cleats, however it was a very quick basic setup that has not been reviewed since. Are you suggesting then that I move the cleat a couple of mm's forward or backward in case that helps?
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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dgeesaman said:
The discomfort is under my toes and balls of my feet, basically the whole part of the foot over the pedal. The shoe I have is a plastic sole with pockets that resemble rectangular grating. I believe that as I warm up the shoe the padded insert is not enough to keep the uneven surface under my feet from making my feet sore. I'm planning to also get a sheet of polyethylene and cutting it to match the front half of the insert to see if having a solid smooth surface underneath the insert solves the problem. If I can get away with this I may hold off on the shoe/pedal upgrade a bit longer.

The bike shop set up the cleats, however it was a very quick basic setup that has not been reviewed since. Are you suggesting then that I move the cleat a couple of mm's forward or backward in case that helps?
What you describe is common and may be corrected (or at least minimized) with an insert containing a metatarsal botton. There are a number of nerves in the foot and the button serves to disperse the pressure in the areas you mentioned.

More info here:
http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/SBCEqProduct.jsp?spid=40657&menuItemId=9309&eid=4927

Considering the pain is at the front of the foot, if you were to adjust the cleats, you'd want to move them towards the heel of the shoe, which would move your foot forward. Ideally, you want the ball of your foot over or slightly ahead of the pedal spindle. Make small changes, slowly. So 2mm's at a time (with rides in between additional adjustments) to give you time to assess the changes.

EDIT: One afterthought. A shoe that fits too snugly and/ or has the fasteners overly tightened will also cause foot pain/ numbness, so take care to keep a 'barely snug' fit - and readjust straps/ buckles during rides as needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'll definitely try these things. The metatarsal relief is an interesting consideration, but I think I'll play with that after I first try a flat plate to help distribute weight in the sole.

I have loosened the straps and that does not affect the discomfort.
 

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Cycling induced anoesis
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dgeesaman said:
I'll definitely try these things. The metatarsal relief is an interesting consideration, but I think I'll play with that after I first try a flat plate to help distribute weight in the sole.

I have loosened the straps and that does not affect the discomfort.
Gotcha. It might end up that the shoes are a contributing factor, but as you can tell there are other options worth trying before opting for new shoes.
 

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This is a similar issue I had when I first got back on a road bike last year after a long hiatus. I was using Crank Bros. Candy pedals with Shimano M086 mountain shoes, as I was mostly using the bike to commute to/from work.

With the short rides to work - 11 miles - my feet were fine. But once I started doing longer rides - over 20 miles, my feet would bother me. Numbness in the toes, soles of my feet were aching, pretty much similar to what you are experiencing. I played with cleat position I don't know how many times, but could never get ride of the soreness.

I ended up switching to a Look style pedal (Forte' Carbon - uses Look Keo cleats) and switched from the MTB shoes to a road shoe. Specifically the Shimano R132's with a carbon sole.

By switching to a stiffer soled shoe and a pedal with a wider platform. 99% of my issues went away.I still get some toe numbness at times, but its usually due to me realizing that I clench my toes when climbing hills. So thats my problem, not a issue caused by my shoes/pedals.
 

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My Shimano shoes give me the same feeling in my feet, sometimes. I find that different sock material can make the problem worse, or sometimes not so bad. I also adjust my straps and buckle, and find that helps as well. However, the soreness and numbness really doesn't affect me to a point where I would want a new pair of shoes...
 
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