Foot Pain when cycling?
Welcome to the comfort zone!
problem: HOT spots
Do you have foot pain, when cycling?
The most common cause is the pedal's pressure on nerves and tendons.
If this is your problem, then there is a good chance that the pain can be relieved by simply moving the pedal pressure away from the painful area.
Move the pressure
Usually, the pedal pressure must be moved around ½-1 inch (10-25mm) behind the ball of the foot for an efficient relief of hot spots.
Unfortunately, no cycling shoes offers that much rearward adjustment.
This is where a cleat adapter comes into the picture.
A cleat adapter can add the needed cleat adjustment range.
Reduce the pressure
Cleat adapters can help in one more way.
If your cycling shoe's sole is to the soft side, then it can't distribute the pedal pressure well. Especially MTB shoes tend to be too soft.
A cleat adapter enlarges the cleat support area and adds rigidity exactly where it matters.
Thereby the pressure gets distributed, the peak pressure reduces, and the foot comfort improves.
A cleat adapter is a small bracket that can be bolted onto a cycling shoe's standard threaded holes.
These adapters offer 10-25mm more room for adjustment.
Important! Each type of adapter is designed for a specific kind of cleat. Be sure you order the right one.
Below you will find adapters for Shimano SPD-SL, Look Keo, Time, CrankBrothers, Garmin, and SpeedPlay.
You can also find them on Amazon USA and Amazon Australia.
5 Achilles and lower calves pain
Think of your calves and Achilles tendons as stabilizers, not as power generators. Your cycling power should come from the glutes and the upper leg.
Your calf muscles probably work too hard and there are two easy ways to correct this. First check if your saddle is bit too high. The higher your saddle, the more your feet have to point downwards at the bottom of each pedal stroke, requiring more force from the calf muscle and Achilles tendon. Secondly, move your cleats as far back as possible. This reduces the distance from the pedal to the heel, and so reduces the work needed by the calves.
A huge relief of the Achilles and the calves can be achieved by upgrading with a cleat adapter, enabling a further up to 24mm / 1in rearward cleat setting. Depending on your foot size, this may reduce the lever arm and the energy wasted in the calves by 15-20%.
Most cyclists can lower their seat post when they move the cleats back.
It is common to lower the seat post by 75% of the distance the cleat is moved rearward. E.g. will a 24mm/1in rearward cleat move typically result in a 17mm/0,75in lowering of the seat post.
This seat post lowering opens your hip angle a few degrees, improving upper body comfort.
7 heel drop / foot angle
A note of caution, regarding the above suggestions to lower the seat post. Don't lower too much!
Always try to keep your feet mostly perpendicular to your legs or pointhing slightly downwards 5-10 degrees. Heel drop, i.e. toes pointing up, stresses the calves and the Achilles, and likely causes tendonitis over time.
8 Endurance and speed
The benefits of moving the cleats far back are not only related to comfort.
Your seated power and endurance increase, both for flat cycling and hill climbing. Sparing the calves frees up energy and oxygen for more net power to the pedals. Opening the hip angle (see above) adds stamina.
Your drag is reduced and your speed increases. Horisontal feet have less drag than nose-down feet. A lowered seat post reduces the drag. Sustained, seated cycling is much more efficient than partly standing power, which is mostly lost due to increased drag.
Lastly, you will run better. Sparing your calves on the bike is crucial for triatletes. Imagine doing the bike-to-run transition, put on running shoes and feel the power of calves that have had to work 15-20% less on the bike. This matters.
patrocleats founded 2020
Hello, I'm Niels Erikstrup, M.Sc.Mech.Eng., 2 x Ironman, and former ultra-distance-MTB cyclist.
All this cycling would have been much more fun, if my feet had not hurt so bad.
Some years ago, I started designing and testing the first cleat adapters for my own use. The results were instant: My front foot pain vanished!
This led to the development of my present range of cleat adapters which since 2020 has helped cyclists world wide.
I am now dedicated to make the best possible cleat adapters and pedalling solutions for fellow sufferers.
Welcome to the Comfort Zone,
What the users think
"I was actually thinking of giving up cycling this year because whats the point of doing the sport that I love doing and suffer every single time after doing it. Until I came across your mid foot adapter. I am very glad I've taken the chance and tried it. Got the product on the 10th, installed it and used on my bike using an indoor trainer. Not only that I was able to hold my cadence at zone 3 for over an hour, 1:20 to be exact. But its the first time ever that I had no pain or soreness on the problematic spot after getting on the bike. Change my mind, I'm keeping my bike and continue on enjoying cycling. Thank you very much, I'm really really glad I've pressed the order button.!"
"I have been using these on the turbo for 6 months and outside for 3 months. As a triathlete with a history of ankle injuries this has worked wonders for me, I can now run off the bike with no ankle pain and all my runs feel easier. Haven't had any loss in power or speed on the bike."
"Just wanted to say thanks, the second set arrived and after a week of rides I am really happy! They work so well for my ankles which have old football injuries . Thank you. I will be getting another set for my other shoes soon!"
"These cleat adapters have changed my life. First ride I did an extra 40 miles pain free no pins and needles. Truly remarkable. Thank you so much"
"Recieved the adapter, tried and tested. What a difference with my fizik shoes that are known to have too far forward cleat placement. thanks again."
"Thank you so much. They’ve actually made a massive difference to my tendonitis so will be spreading the word,"