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  1. #1
    Senior Member spectastic's Avatar
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    racing with toe straps

    my "experienced" group ride was impressed that I was able to keep up with them with a toruing vintage bike, and toe straps when I first rode with them. I've been told that cycling shoes would add at least 1 mph to my top speed, and improve my performance overall. But I've been experimenting with clipless systems since early March, and I still haven't been able to figure out why this foot pain starts to creep up at mile 4. It's pissing me off that I can't use my cycling shoes because of this, and I've been wanting to race for a while now.

    Also, to be honest. I actually feel slower riding in clipless shoes. I don't know why, I just feel more free in toe straps and tennis shoes. But anyhow, if you were in my situaiton of not being able to use clipless shoes, and having to race with toe straps, what are some things that you would do?

    In the mean time, I will do my best to get this stupid foot pain bullsheet solved ASAP.
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  2. #2
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spectastic View Post
    , if you were in my situaiton of not being able to use clipless shoes, and having to race with toe straps, what are some things that you would do?

    .
    Put cleats on a pair of cycling shoes that fit. Toeclips, used with cycling shoes, and cleats work as well as clipless pedals, just harder, and less comfortable to use.

    Seriously, though, you've got clipless pedals, use them. Find a pair of cycling shoes that fit.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
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  3. #3
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    I have not used toe clips on the road since 1986. I won the Wheat Thins Mayor's Cup junior race in Oak Park, IL and took my $120 to the shop that next week and bought my first pair of Looks. Unfortunately, I bought the black instead of the white Looks - I think the cheaper white Looks ended up being better.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Did you adjust your saddle height when you made the pedal change? I recently changed from SPD-SL clipless to clips and straps on my track bike; I had to raise the saddle by over half an inch in the process.

    If you have vintage shoes, the sole of the shoe might be fairly flexible compared to modern standards. Modern shoes have to be stiffer because the contact area of the cleat has gotten smaller with the advent of clipless. This might be contributing to your foot pain. If you did change shoes, it might simply be that your new shoes are not a good fit.

    If you are not used to cycling shoes in general, you might simply be cramping your foot pushing against the much stiffer sole (compared to normal walking shoes). The key there then is to learn to relax your foot and let the shoe do the work.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
    "If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter

  5. #5
    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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    Find a shop to work with you on this. I had foot pain for a while, tried many shoes, and eventually went and had orthotics made. Would have saved lots of time and money had I just done that in the first place.

  6. #6
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Tennis shoe foot pain would be b/c of the flex in the sole as it folds around the pedal. That creates local pressure points every pedal stroke. This is a bit of a problem even with modern plastic cycling shoes, which is the main reason for the popularity of carbon fiber soles -- they don't wrap around the cleat by any amount you could ever feel.

    Note that the strap and the clip also often create local pressure points, but these are much less of a problem with a decent cycling shoe -- I'd recommend one with laces if you're going to use track pedals -- just easier in and out, and lack of velcro straps makes one less pressure point from contact with the toe clip.

  7. #7
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    What kind of pedals and what kind of shoes? Also where on the foot and what kind of pain? It's absolute nonsense to say you will increase your speed by 1mph. There is no way to determine any number like that. Pedals with clips and straps work just as well as clipless only if you have the proper cleated shoe. The main reason for any type of foot restraint is to keep your foot on the pedal so it doesn't slide off as well as to aid in pedaling circles. A pedal system with clips and straps using tennis shoes is less then ideal. You are much better off with modern clipless pedals for a variety of reasons so you just need to figure out whats wrong. Did you place the cleat in the proper location? Do your shoes fit? Does your bike fit?
    If you don't talk to your cat about catnip, who will? =^.^=

  8. #8
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    From what I can tell clipless only helps in hard efforts, typically climbing and sprinting. Until that point I found that I didn't really put a lot of force into the upstroke. On the downstroke toe clips and straps have no disadvantages. In terms of long term comfort clipless pedals offer the potential for more comfort, depending on how you adjust your shoe tightness.

    When I went to clipless I found a few things, some of which may be affecting you:
    1. Toe clips and straps don't load the shoe in terms of upstroke. You pull up against the strap, the clip keeps the pedal from spinning under your foot. The shoe upper, as long as your foot doesn't fall out, doesn't do much.

    2. With clipless the shoes take the upward pressure. Early generation clipless shoes were designed to work with straps. Therefore they had nice, supple uppers which, when combined with clipless pedals, made for a super stretchy, super inefficient upstroke. Current shoes are much stiffer, don't flex that much when pulling up from the sole, and work really well with clipless.

    3. Conversely if you over-tighten a clipless-pedal shoe you'll introduce massive hotspots to your feet. I have 2 cable things and one clicker strap thing on each shoe. The toe cable thing is super loose - anything less than that and my toes go numb. The instep cable thing is only slightly tight, probably barely 1 Nm. I exert minor pressure on it, it clicks once or twice, and I leave it. If I haven't ridden for a bit and my feet are a bit swollen then I'll loosen them a lot and repeat. I do use the clicker strap over my instep - that's pretty snug. It's a bit higher than where a toe strap goes.

    I think the third thing is affecting your foot comfort, meaning you're over-tightening your clipless shoe. It's nowhere near how much you tighten a toe strap.

    I used to pull out of clips and straps. I had a Duegi wood soled shoe with a deep slotted cleat. I used two leather/nylon straps (Bindas, one of each type), I used toe strap end buttons that were held in place by a screw driven through the strap, I pulled on those buttons literally as hard as I could on the last lap, my toes were numb within 20 seconds, and I'd still wrench out of the pedals consistently in sprints. I went to three toe straps briefly but I don't think I ever sprinted with 3 straps. Using the same technique, the same shoes (albeit with an extra nylon strap around my instep), same bike, I didn't pull out of the clipless pedals. To me this security is the biggest benefit of clipless.

    The second biggest benefit is the comfort a well adjusted clipless pedal+shoe combo offers. Instead of pinpointing all the upstroke-stress in one 3/8" wide area (aka the toe strap) you spread the same force across all of the upper of the shoe. You can have more tension overall holding your foot to the sole but less peak tension.

    The third biggest benefit is being able to get in and out of the pedals quickly. When the racing world started going to clipless the dichotomy was fascinating. I was an early adopter so I had clipless with maybe 6-8 other racers in a typical field of 60-80 racers. When the official said go the half dozen of us would be pedaling, fully clipped in, about 20-30 meters ahead of the rest of the field. You'd hear just those half dozen "clacks" as we clipped in. I commented to the others that in a year it'd sound like a broadside when everyone clacked in (it does). I also joked that if we were all good time trialers we could win the race just by attacking at the gun. We had such an advantage leaving the line it was ridiculous. For real world stuff it's handy at stop lights, stop signs, etc, esp if they're on an uphill.

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