Audax Ride Long Top Tips and Articles

Ride Long – Foot Comfort

2 minute read

Last week I wrote about having happy hands whilst riding on the hoods, so how about Happy Feet…what a great film. :0)

Seriously though, if you have comfortable feet after a long ride, then you are either fortunate, or have tried a few different pairs and have found something to your liking. Ideally the shoes should fit like a glove, not too tight, and not as loose in the toebox as a pair of running shoes need to be. If for me, hands are a success story, then feet are work in progress.

My personal story starts with shoes that were probably a bit tight. My toes were a bit scrunched up inside the toe box, especially my left middle toe, which has proven to be a real problem child. It belongs to a person with bigger feet and is maybe 5mm longer than it should be. Anyway back to the shoes. For at least a year I rode with constrained toes and I was very aware that over every significant bump I would get a pain in my left middle toe that made me wince. :0(  So I looked for a bigger size of shoe. This isn’t made any easier by the fact that I still ride with either SIDI flat soled touring shoes or SIDI shoes with shoeplates. I use SIDI because they are made on a so-called Italian last which is narrower than usual. If anyone is interested in why I still use shoeplates then just ask. As ever there is an elaborate and well rehearsed reason!

So I did eventaully see a pair of size 44 SIDI touring shoes on eBay, and after a brutal, 12 round fight with another prospective buyer, they were mine. They certainly had more room in the toebox, and my right foot was very happy. Unfortunately my left foot wasn’t. Remember that pesky left middle toe. It now had the room to move more, and over any bump I braced my foot by scrunching up the toes, like making a fist with your hand. The tip of the toe now took a hammering, and I developed a haematoma on the end. For those of you who aren’t regular viewers of Casualty, that’s a scab under the skin, and boy was it painful.

My podiatrist, removed the haematoma at every visit, and it would magically reappear after my next long ride. We tried everything, including a soft pad under the toe (little if any relief), and pulling the toes straight with a bandage (my idea, some success). Finally she made a splint/prop of quick setting rubber which holds the toe in its relaxed position. As the rubber was setting, Ronke kept saying in a strident tone ‘relax the toe’ to which I replied ‘I am’. Anyway I now have a tasteful pink splint which looks like I’ve stepped in a blob of chewing gum. I’ve found that if I put a small blob of creme on the tip of my toe then it stops it getting sore. I rode almost all of the recent South Bucks 200 recently with Happy Feet.

Note the use of the word almost. Towards the end of the ride, the toes on my left foot started to complain becuase I had fitted a full length insole in the shoe, to try to raise my left foot to corrrect a  functional imbalance in leg length. So two steps forward and one step back.

There are times when I think that to be comforatble on long rides you need to be a perfect physical specimen, with the flexibility of a ballet dancer and the strength of a male russian dancer, but for us mere mortals getting comfortable takes persistance. But when you get it right and are riding along smoothly, and pain free, after many hours, it feels great.

For more information on this article or anything Audax, please contact Adrian

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