How to find the right cycling shoe for you
5 tips on buying cycling shoes from the cycling shoe expert and SOLESTAR inventor Oliver Elsenbach
The range of cycling shoes on offer and the differences between them are great. But when it comes to buying cycling shoes, it counts: The shoe must fit well!
Oliver Elsenbach has been looking after cyclists for many years in questions about cycling shoes and has a wealth of experience that is unique in the world of cycling.
Tip #1: It all depends on the width
The forefoot area is the most sensitive area in terms of power transmission when cycling. The forefoot with the two outer metatarsal heads is the widest part of the foot and must not get too much pressure from the cycling shoe. Therefore, first check whether the shoe fits correctly in the forefoot area. The shoe should fit firmly in this area, but should not press under any circumstances.
Please note that the foot becomes slightly wider during longer training sessions. You should therefore have a few millimetres of room to manoeuvre so that the shoe does not press even after a long period of riding.
Tip #2: Shoe length rather tight
With cycling shoes, the correct shoe length is determined differently from when buying everyday or running shoes. Since there is no rolling movement when cycling as when walking or running, the foot does not need any additional space in the front of the shoe. A few millimetres of space in front of the big toes in the cycling shoe is completely sufficient. If the shoe is too long, the cleats cannot be mounted biomechanically. The result is a loss of power transmission.
Tip #3: Firm hold
The optimal cycling shoe offers a firm fit in the heel area. You should neither slip out of the shoe when walking, nor should the shoe pinch or cause pain. When the heel is correctly seated, the heel must not move in the shoe. The shoe should also sit firmly on the back of the foot. The upper of the shoe, which is the area that covers the foot, should comfortably enclose the foot firmly there. The shoe should feel firm and comfortable when you try it on.
Tip #4: Close well
Pay attention to the locking system. It ensures that the shoe firmly surrounds the entire foot, even under the greatest strain that occurs during the pulling phase of cycling, and provides the necessary support. Buckles and Velcro must not press under any circumstances. With twist fasteners, it is necessary for the deflection points to be correctly positioned in order to guarantee optimum stability. Make sure that the upper material of the shoe does not wrinkle when closing, as this could lead to pressure points on the foot. If wrinkles appear in the upper material when the shoe is closed, this is often a sign that the cycling shoe does not fit optimally.
Tip #5: Stiff soles and firm upper material
A rule of thumb for the shoes sole: the stiffer the better. This applies not only to performance, but also to comfort - even if this may sound paradoxical at first. This keeps the foot more stable and less tiresome. The upper material is different: At points of power transmission the upper shoe should be as firm as possible, but at more sensitive foot areas it should generally be softer padded..
A good insole makes a big difference
All cycling shoes are factory-fitted with a simple insole, the primary function of which is to provide cushioning but which does not perform a biomechanical function.
SOLESTAR insoles have a special, patented construction and a stable inner core made of glass fiber or carbon. This optimizes the position of the foot in the shoe and keeps it where it can optimally transfer the force. In professional cycling, Solestar is now standard, but the value of a good insole is of great value to any cyclist as it has a great influence on the rider's ergonomics.