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Shoe Stiffness and Achilles Pain

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Shoe Stiffness and Achilles Pain

Old 06-12-18, 04:30 AM
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Shoe Stiffness and Achilles Pain

Generally speaking, are Achillesí tendons more subject to inflammation from a stiff sole shoe or one that is more flexible? Or does the sole stiffness have no effect?

on my cx bike I use a mtb shoe that is not very stiff, whereas on my road bike I use a Shimano road shoe with their stiffness rating of 10.

Sometimes I get sore Achilles but thankfully never any real trouble. If it means changing one of the shoe types to avoid this, I will. If itís another issue entirely thatís nice to know.
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Old 06-12-18, 06:17 AM
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Lots of people ride stiff soled shoes without problems.

If you want new shoes then get them but a regular stretching routine is the first step to avoiding problems.


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Old 06-12-18, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut
Generally speaking, are Achillesí tendons more subject to inflammation from a stiff sole shoe or one that is more flexible? Or does the sole stiffness have no effect?

on my cx bike I use a mtb shoe that is not very stiff, whereas on my road bike I use a Shimano road shoe with their stiffness rating of 10.

Sometimes I get sore Achilles but thankfully never any real trouble. If it means changing one of the shoe types to avoid this, I will. If itís another issue entirely thatís nice to know.
Is the cleat placement the same? Also are the soles the same thickness? If one is thinner than the other, you may be riding more toes down, stressing the Achilles tendon more. The same holds if the cleat is slightly more forward than the other.
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Old 06-12-18, 11:07 AM
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I have fewer problems with stiff soled cycling shoes. The tricky bit is cleat adjustment, overall bike fit, and finding the right orthotic doodad.

My usual problem is arch pain, occasionally hot spots on the ball of the foot. The right orthotic device fixed that. The rest was a matter of tweaking the road bike until everything felt comfortable and efficient.

If I had persistent Achilles strain, I'd switch to wide platform pedals for awhile and something like Five Ten or comparable platform cycling shoes until the strain healed. I find centering my foot over the pedal axle/spindle helps reduce any strain while I'm recovering. I don't use clipless on my hybrid so it's handy.

Then, after recovering from the strain, start over with a bike fit to put together an ensemble of clipless shoes, pedals, saddle, etc.
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Old 06-12-18, 12:17 PM
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Do any pre ride stretching?
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Old 06-12-18, 02:33 PM
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tore my achilles hiking once but all biking ever does is make my feet feel better.
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Old 06-12-18, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by phughes
The same holds if the cleat is slightly more forward than the other.
Agreed. I first had some persistent Achilles soreness many years ago due to some toe clips that were a bit shorter than my usual ones. Since switching to clipless SPDs I've always put the cleat as far back as possible in its slot to avoid a recurrence.
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Old 06-12-18, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut
Generally speaking, are Achillesí tendons more subject to inflammation from a stiff sole shoe or one that is more flexible? Or does the sole stiffness have no effect?

on my cx bike I use a mtb shoe that is not very stiff, whereas on my road bike I use a Shimano road shoe with their stiffness rating of 10.

Sometimes I get sore Achilles but thankfully never any real trouble. If it means changing one of the shoe types to avoid this, I will. If itís another issue entirely thatís nice to know.
when exactly does it happen?
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Old 06-13-18, 04:05 AM
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My Achilles Tendon problems had more to do with saddle height than my shoes.
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Old 06-13-18, 04:27 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob
Do any pre ride stretching?
Every time. Same routine. As well as after. For years.

Originally Posted by Troul
when exactly does it happen?
hard to pinpoint. Examples: when riding my stiff road shoes four days in a row early May I didnít have the pain. But the same shoes on the trainer in the winter, when doing hard intervals (erg mode) causes some aggravation. This last weekend I used the mtb shoes on my cx bike on back to back days and had some minor inflammation. Went away a day after.

Originally Posted by Machka
My Achilles Tendon problems had more to do with saddle height than my shoes.
i was fit for both bikes. Road bike is custom frame, and the cx bike fit to it as best as possible (get body angles similar as possible). I love riding both bikes and donít have any other complaints. But I sometimes wonder about saddle height.
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Old 06-13-18, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut


Every time. Same routine. As well as after. For years.



hard to pinpoint. Examples: when riding my stiff road shoes four days in a row early May I didnít have the pain. But the same shoes on the trainer in the winter, when doing hard intervals (erg mode) causes some aggravation. This last weekend I used the mtb shoes on my cx bike on back to back days and had some minor inflammation. Went away a day after.



i was fit for both bikes. Road bike is custom frame, and the cx bike fit to it as best as possible (get body angles similar as possible). I love riding both bikes and donít have any other complaints. But I sometimes wonder about saddle height.
Do you do a lot of climbing? If much of your riding is uphill, you'll need to lower your saddle just a touch.
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Old 06-13-18, 07:20 AM
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To me, the firm soles would be best for your needs. Incorporating a pair of high arch insoles would seem to address the achilles discomfort since you likely have a naturally pronounced arch.
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Old 06-13-18, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Machka
My Achilles Tendon problems had more to do with saddle height than my shoes.
I have experienced the same issue. With my seat too high, I am forced to pedal toes down, which caused issues. Of course some people prefer that, I don't. That is one of the reasons I mentioned the possibility of differing shoe sole thicknesses.
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Old 06-13-18, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut


Every time. Same routine. As well as after. For years.



hard to pinpoint. Examples: when riding my stiff road shoes four days in a row early May I didn’t have the pain. But the same shoes on the trainer in the winter, when doing hard intervals (erg mode) causes some aggravation. This last weekend I used the mtb shoes on my cx bike on back to back days and had some minor inflammation. Went away a day after.



i was fit for both bikes. Road bike is custom frame, and the cx bike fit to it as best as possible (get body angles similar as possible). I love riding both bikes and don’t have any other complaints. But I sometimes wonder about saddle height.

If you wonder about seat height, experiment a bit. Mine was set too high, for me, by a two different fitters and I had issues, one of which was Achilles tendon pain, severe, during a tour. Your set height may be perfect, but then again it may not be. If you only have issues with the one pair of shoes though, it may simply be related to that, cleat position perhaps. If your seat is marginally too high, a shoe with a thinner sole could put you past the point of comfort.

If you really want to look into your seat height, you may want to try Steve Hogg's method of determining seat height. https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com...ard-can-it-be/

Check the cleat position though, they may be farther forward on the shoe giving you issues.

A less stiff shoe may be allowing your foot to naturally take up some of the stresses that are being transmitted to the Achilles tendon by the stiffer shoe. Sort of acting like a shock absorber.
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Old 06-16-18, 11:51 AM
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I've had my fair share of achilles issues, not from cycling but from football and running, and it turned out the solution was not in shoes for sport but in my daily shoes. Quite a bit of heel changed the angle of the foot and the stress on the achilles, helping them to relax and recover. That was on top of daily stretching the achilles and calfs.
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Old 06-17-18, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut
Generally speaking, are Achillesí tendons more subject to inflammation from a stiff sole shoe or one that is more flexible? Or does the sole stiffness have no effect?

on my cx bike I use a mtb shoe that is not very stiff, whereas on my road bike I use a Shimano road shoe with their stiffness rating of 10.

Sometimes I get sore Achilles but thankfully never any real trouble. If it means changing one of the shoe types to avoid this, I will. If itís another issue entirely thatís nice to know.
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Old 06-18-18, 08:32 AM
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Decades ago, I started developing ankle pain and Achilles' issues when I used toe clips. I have used platform pedals without cleats or clips of any kind at all times since then and have never had ankle issues from my bikes. I have arthritis in my ankles from other causes, and biking is actually what I do to help recover from flare-ups.
I suspect that how hardness of the soles affects different people differently because feet vary so much. I have pronation, and I find that the harder soles cause the bottoms of my feet to feel less "tired" after a long ride than soft ones, perhaps because the orthotics work better in them..
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