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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm a newbie. 54 years of age, 5'11" 240 lbs., in reasonably good shape but carrying a few eatra pounds. I bought a 27 speed road bike this year with pedals and toe clips with a pair of Adidas El Moro III MTB shoes. The toes of these shoes are wrapped in rubber. My feet are fairly wide, EEE.

The problem is my toes and balls of my feet hurt when I ride a "long" distance. I don't know if the toes hurt because 1) the shoes are a little tight, rather snug, in the wide part of the foot but loose enough in the toes that I can wiggle them or 2) when I ride my feet swell or 3) I'm using regular pedals rather than clipless pedals & cleats or 4) I'm not use to riding a long way or 5) I should have gotten road shoes instead and I wouldn't have this problem 6) I should have bough wider MTB shoes.

When I bought these shoes, the salesperson said you want them to feel a little snug because you don't want your feet to move inside the shoe. He said you want them to feel snugger than a regular sneaker. In the store, they felt snug, but not tight. They didn't hurt me and they still don't when I walk around the house or ride short distances, they just feel snug. They feel snug around the top of my feet and slightly on the side, they don't feel tight on my toes. I have enough room to wiggle my toes.

I just put the shoes on this morning, and they feel great. They certainly don't feel tight, just snug around the top and side of my foot, about 3" above the toes.

When I ride 15 miles, no problem, my feet don't hurt. When I ride 20 miles they hurt (bother me) just a little and then it clears up in a few minutes. When I ride 25 miles, they hurt a lot more, I can hardly walk until I get the shoes off and then I have to be careful when I walk, you can tell by watching me something is hurting, this lasts for a little while before I'm normal. At 30 miles (the most I've ridden so far) (at 26 miles I can't wait to get home, I'm almost crying from my feet), when I get home, I'm hurting and "limping" for awhile, my feet hurt me, all my toes hurt, the balls of my feet hurt but my legs, shoulders, neck and back all feel great. I figured if only the toes hurt, then maybe the shoes are too tight but the balls of my feet hurt also.

If I have cleats and those special clip pedals, would my feet feel better or do those type of pedals put more pressure on the bottom of the foot?

Is this normal for a new rider? Should I have gotten wider shoes? Should I buy road shoes? Will my feet adjust? After a long ride, when I get off the bike, should my feet feel great?
 

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This is an easy post to answer: 2,3,4.

I started road riding before they had clipless pedals. I had a lot of sore foot problems. The strap cuts off circulation if its tight, and your foot comes out if it is loose. Clipless pedals are so much better. Road shoes have stiff soles so the pedal does not put pressure on your feet only where the cleat is. Some pedals (Look, Shimano SPD-SL are ones I have used) use large cleats to distribute the pressure. It is critical with clipless pedals to get the cleat in the correct position for your particular physiology otherwise you may damage your knees. I set mine with the bike on a trainer; you may want to get a fitting at a shop.

If you want to walk a lot in your cycling shoes, get clipless MTB pedals and shoes. They won't be quite as comfortable for long rides as road shoes, since they have less stiff soles to make walking easier. Sidi makes some wide (and narrow) versions of their shoes. Lake shoes use a wide last.
 

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I'll agree with the post above, but would also say that the salesman was a moron if he really encouraged you to buy cycling shoes tighter than running shoes. Hopefully, you can deal with that by wearing high quality thin cycling socks and not overtightening.

Otherwise, feet do swell while riding, and platform pedals can definitely make for sorer feet because all of your torque is being applied in one part of the pedal stroke (downward) and only through the sole of your foot.

Going to road shoes would make no difference, and there's lots of reasons that a roadie might chose an MTB setup, including as noted above the walkability of the shoe.
 

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I am a profound believer in loose cycling shoes. You get better ventilation. You're able to lift the soles of your feet off the insole of the shoe, every once in a while, to get an extra blast of fresh air. With loose shoes, if your feet get fatigued because they're moving inside the shoes, you can just tighten the velcro. Better yet, you can go sockless so that your toes will be able to grip the shoe insole.

Anyway, I agree with jtolleson about your shoe salesman. He/she was either a moron or a cold-blooded reptile.

It must be said, though, that eventually your feet are going to get sore and tired, no matter what size or kind of shoe you wear. Bicycling puts more pressure on your feet than you'd first think. Though many on this forum would like to deny it, suffering is an integral part of bicycling...or of any sport, for that matter.
 

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I like my cycling shoes to fit snugger (is that a word?) than regular walking around shoes, but not quite as tight as running shoes. I need to be able to loosen them for long hot rides as my feet swell. For this I like shoes with ratchets or velcro so I can adjust while riding.

I have narrow feet, usually B width for most shoes. I use the regular width Sidi Genius 4s with Peterson footbeds. The Sidi insoles were thin. The Peterson ones take up a bit more room and make the shoe effectively narrower.
 

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Shimano 151's come in wide sizes. So do Sidi Genius and Sidi Zetas. From your description, your shoes do NOT fit. IMO, this problem will continue until you get different shoes.
 

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Ancient wisdom.

...the salesman was a moron if he really encouraged you to buy cycling shoes tighter than running shoes
It's amazing how hard old cycling lore dies. The tight cycling shoe story had some validity many years past when the entire shoe was made from leather, or a leather-wood combination. As you wore those shoes, they got bigger and bigger as the leather stretched. That's why you bought them a little small, especially if you were a 23-year old super-powerful sprinter afraid of pulling your foot out of a sloppy-fitting shoe at 40+ mph at the end of a rainy criterium. None of this applies today, and (I assume) to the original poster.
He needs new, comfortable shoes—and the salesman needs to make good on his BS-fueled mistake.
 

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Fit snug is a bad idea. My rule of thumb is to purchase a shoe sport shoe + 1/2 a size than my regular dress shoes. Same idea for runners.

This gives it room for your feet to expand when you work out and get the blood flowing. Your feet maybe hurting cuz of this.
 
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