Fatty’s Feet: A Cry for Help

07.29.2014 | 9:24 am

I cut a ride short last weekend. I had to. I was in too much pain to go on. 

You need to know exactly how serious of a thing this is with me: last weekend was supposed to be my last long day of riding before the Leadville Trail 100. And it was going to be my first really long day on the bike I’ll be riding at Leadville: my Ibis Tranny 29, built up as a singlespeed with a Gates Carbon Drive Belt System drivetrain. 

IMG 9343
I’ll be doing a not-live-blog of the story of this bike tomorrow (it’s a surprisingly dramatic story), but here’s the spoiler ending: it’s awesome.

The Hammer and I planned to go up Pole Line Pass, down to the Wasatch State Park visitor’s center to fill up with water (and buy ice cream bars), then climb back up to the summit of Pole Line Pass to hit some rolling singletrack along the Ridge Trail to Mud Springs, reconnecting to Tibble Fork for a fun downhill to the reservoir.

At some point along the way, The Hammer was supposed to take pictures of me riding my new bike, for use in the end of my bike build-up post. 

But we never took the pictures. I wouldn’t let her take them. Because by the time we got back to the top of Pole Line Pass — where the actual fun part of the ride should begin — I couldn’t stand the thought of being in my shoes that much longer. I needed to get down to the truck and out of my shoes. 

And I was in a terrible mood.

That’s right. I — the guy who just never ever ever gets tired of biking, the guy who loves riding more than anyone has ever loved riding, the guy who is pretty much always happy whenever near a bike — chose to skip riding a fantastic long section of perfect singletrack, in favor of getting done sooner and out of my shoes. 

The name I chose to give the ride on Strava pretty much tells the story.

Something’s up with my feet, and I need to get that something fixed. And I don’t have much time to get it done. 

So I’m asking for help. Guidance. Advice. Whatever.

The Backstory

Little by little — over the course of the past year or so — my feet have started hurting after long rides. Especially my left foot. Here, let me show you where:

I fully expect, anticipate, and look forward to the jokes about the hair on my toes and my horrible toenails. Feel free. 

The thing is, this pain isn’t limited to one pair of shoes. I have several pairs of mountain bike shoes.

  • An old pair of Specialized S-Works MTB shoes, which used to be comfortable but aren’t anymore. 
  • A new pair of Specialized S-Works MTB shoes, which hurt so bad I took them to a shoe repair place to have them stretched. It didn’t help.
  • A pair of Sidi Dragon 2s, which I took to get stretched, and which I thought were going to be OK… but which were in fact the shoes that just about killed me on that ride a couple days ago I just described.
  • A VERY old pair of Specialized Expert MTB shoes, which seem to do OK for me, and are my current fallback plan for the LT100. They’re at a shoe repair store right now, getting new velcro attached; the old velcro is all worn out and doesn’t fasten at all anymore.

The thing is, those old Specialized Expert shoes are really worn out, and won’t last much longer even once repaired. I’m going to need some new shoes, ones that fit, soon

What I’ve Tried and Considered

I should have started attacking this problem sooner, but I thought I had things figured out. A while back, I ordered some new Specialized S-Works MTB shoes, this time in wide sizing; I thought they would work. But they took a long time to arrive, and then they fit me really badly — they weren’t just wide, they were tall, and the shoe cut into my ankles.

So I traded them out for regular-width S-Works shoes, but those — even post-stretch — hurt so bad I can’t wear them for even an hour of hard riding.

I’ve stretched my Sidi Dragons — that seemed to help some, but not enough. Four hours into a ride with a lot of hard standing climbing left my feet begging for mercy.

I’ve looked into semi-custom shoes like Shimano and Bont. But the Shimanos seem designed to tighten around your feet, not make room for them. And Bont shoes are difficult to get ahold of; I emailed them and they said they don’t have my size (Vaypor XC 42 wide according to their fitting system) and I’d be looking at a 5-6 week wait for them to make and send some.

I Need a Hero

What I need right now is a heroic shoemaker. A company that can talk to me, hear what’s bothering me, and give me a pair of shoes that I can ride — as a hard-mashing, standing-climbing singlespeeder — for all of the Leadville 100. 

Or someone else, who can achieve that same result — me not being unable to pedal hard due to foot pain — in some other way (inserts? magic repositioning of cleat?).

If you’re out there, help me out. I guarantee you’ll get so much grateful high-profile bloggage in return you’ll need to hire another intern just to cope with the increased social media load.

Please. Help me. I’m begging.


  1. Comment by ScottyCycles62 | 07.29.2014 | 9:43 am

    Is it hot spots or actual pressure pain? (I am in now way a doctor and haven’t stayed in a Holiday Inn in a very long time). Hot spots could be cleat position (happened to me). Painful pressure could be you foot has widened as you’ve aged (I didn’t call old! lol) and the shoes are just too tight across the forefoot. Your best best might be visit the LBS and try a variety of shoe brands and see how the foot feels. Good luck Fatty!

  2. Comment by Hamer | 07.29.2014 | 9:45 am

    See if Altra can rig some cleats and stiff soles on the bottom of your running shoes.

  3. Comment by Karena | 07.29.2014 | 9:46 am

    Something that might be worth trying on one of the pairs that already hurts too much to wear is to cut a horizontal slit in the shoe at the bunion area. This is a trick some ballet dancers with bunions do with their pointe shoes. If it ruins the shoe, nothing lost–you couldn’t wear it anyway… (Start small and enlarge…not the other way around…) Of course, this presents the opportunity for gravel and such to get into your shoe, but I guess you could stick a piece of duct tape over the cut. Duct tape fixes everything!

  4. Comment by onmarshcreek | 07.29.2014 | 9:46 am

    How are your running shoes treating you? Could Altra bond an MTB sole to an ZeroDrop upper?

  5. Comment by Moishe | 07.29.2014 | 9:50 am

    This is probably a crazy idea, but have you tried platform pedals and shoes like 5.10 Freerides? I switched to these this year and noticed basically no loss of efficiency though they required some practice. I’ve had foot pain for years (I think a result of near-frostbite on some rides in the PNW). However I’m nowhere near the level of rider you are, and there is the practice element. If nothing else this could be a short-term fix to get miles in until you get better shoes.

  6. Comment by Carl | 07.29.2014 | 9:51 am

    Fatty, have you gone to a podiatrist yet? The spots you have circled… are there hard spots there under the skin? If that is what is causing it, I had that and had to apply bunion remover for about a week and then it went away. They can hurt like hell, but you probably would only have time to fix them if you went to a doc because the over the counter stuff takes about a week or so. Hope you get it fixed soon!

  7. Comment by Susan Luhrs | 07.29.2014 | 9:52 am

    Have you been to a podiatrist? Sometimes people get inflammation in parts of the foot that they can relieve with a steroid shot that goes right in the affected area(no jokes, please). I’ve gotten pain on the outside of my foot that was due to inflammation and it eventually went away, but you need extra help to resolve it sooner.

  8. Comment by Steph | 07.29.2014 | 9:52 am

    I think Scotty is right.

    My DH has experienced some foot widening (and arch falling) as he has gotten older. Since I’m clearly not aging, we are blaming my similar issues on bearing children. Regardless, Louis Garneau shoes are nice and wide (and indestructible) and worked well for both DH and I. I have some Mountain Hardware shoes now that are also wide, but they are not my favorite. IMHO, Specialized shoes are on the narrower side so if you stick with them, use a toe spacer and consider surgery on them to create more ease.

    Here is a link to my blog post about creating bunion windows in your running shoes. The same theory should apply to your bike shoes. http://www.stephbachman.blogspot.com/2010/03/dancing-in-running-store.html

  9. Comment by Jenni | 07.29.2014 | 9:52 am

    Perhaps we’re witnessing the world’s best sandbagging before a major race?! Maybe everything’s actually just fine. Or more than fine?

    I’m guessing not, so I offer:

    How’s your back? Have you been sleeping well, have you hurt it recently, spending too much time hunched over the keyboard, or doing something repetitive that is somewhat new to you?

    In addition to whatever else you try, get yourself to a chiropractor. It seems certain you’re out of balance. If you’re experiencing pain on the left side, the cause is almost always on the opposite side.

    Good luck Fatty.

  10. Comment by Matt | 07.29.2014 | 9:54 am

    I would first try the Shimano SH-XC90. Easy to get and easy to mold to your feet. I purchased a pair and I like them just as much as my custom D2 mountain bike shoes at a fraction of the cost.

  11. Comment by onomastic | 07.29.2014 | 9:57 am

    Probably no help for Leadville, but you may want to check out D2 Shoe. My feet have a 2cm+ circumference difference and a length difference, so any off the shelf purchase leaves me with one shoe that is too tight or too loose. D2 shoes are custom built to my feet. They are expensive, but worth it to me.

    The lead time is significant, however, at least for the hoi polloi. If I were a world famous and beloved cycling blogger and biking paraphernalia opinion leader perhaps I could get expedited results.


  12. Comment by Rob L | 07.29.2014 | 9:59 am

    Strong foot versus weak foot, my left foot takes a LOT more punishment from weight usage versus my right.

    I blame all the running :) I say time to take up swimming seriously.

    Good luck man. Bunions suck if that’s what they are. Hopefully not bone spurs.

  13. Comment by Ed Perrey | 07.29.2014 | 10:08 am

    It may be too late to go back to the WIDE S Works shoes but, if not, here’s a suggestion. I bought a pair of Sidis. The first pair I bought were too tight but the next size up ws too loose. At the suggestion of the LBS I kept the larger pair pair and put In a set of Specialized Body Geometry inserts. These inserts comfortably took up the room that my feet were swimming in prior to adding the inserts.

    I hope you find a solution!! Take care.

  14. Comment by Bob Emmett | 07.29.2014 | 10:12 am

    A short term fix may be to try moleskin around the pressure areas. It’s worked for me bunion/bunionette pressure areas with ski boots and hiking boots in the past.

  15. Comment by El Conquestidor | 07.29.2014 | 10:23 am

    Silly response, but I get the same thing. Have you tried different socks? I have found that my socks have been too small/tight and have caused a great deal of foot pain.

  16. Comment by Kel | 07.29.2014 | 10:32 am

    It looks like you have the start of a bunion. I have inherited them and dealing with them for the last 30+ years rather than have surgery.

    Here is what works for me while biking — using the sandal version of the commuter shoes by Keen. It is the only bike shoe I have found (and I tried many) that does not pinch and irritate my bunion. I bought mine several years ago at REI. Here is an amazon link for a similar men’s pair:


    My only other advice is to (1) wear really thin socks, and (2) try to find the widest pair of biking shoes that you can. By the way — this is why the Atra’s feel so good on your feet when you run. It is because they have the widest toe box of any running shoes I know of.

    Hope that helps!

  17. Comment by Yiannis | 07.29.2014 | 10:35 am

    Hi Fatty,

    I have wide feet and I know SIDI, do the M (for Mega) sizes which means wide-fit, really. On the other hand a visit to a doctor might not be a bad idea. Personally I prefer to have (slightly) larger shoes so I can move my feet inside to relieve from pain different spot(s) every time. (This might not be the recommended thing to do by experts, but it works for me.)

    In the good old days of my serious racing I remember tightening the shoes before the start, then when I would get into a reasonable tempo I would loosen them (a bit) and then before the finish tighten them again for the sprint. That was when I got shoes with velcro. Maybe I got used to it from using toe-clip pedals where you would do more or less the same thing with the toe-clip straps.

    Good luck!

  18. Comment by Ken from Bountiful | 07.29.2014 | 10:42 am




    This is the answer to any foot pain question. Either with platform pedals as Moishe suggests, or clipless. I really like Keens; Shimano and Nashbar also make SPD sandals but I haven’t tried them.

  19. Comment by Ryan Kendrick | 07.29.2014 | 10:44 am


    I hope that Jeff Sherrod with Precision Bike Fit chimes in. He is the best bike fit guy in the state and helped me a ton with some issues I was having.

  20. Comment by Jamie | 07.29.2014 | 10:47 am

    Might not be the shoes Fatty, but Scott makes a very good point about medial an lateral pressure causing similar pains like yours. Might be your feet? You can get your metatarsals adjusted by a competent chiropractor. Maybe someone who specializes in extremity adjusting (Or an ART certified chiropractor). I usually see this more in runners but then again I see that you are running a lot more. Do they bug you while you run?

  21. Comment by Jeff | 07.29.2014 | 10:47 am

    Go see a podiatrist. Inflammation is likely the cause of your foot pain. They can give you a steroid shot to reduce the swelling enough to get through Leadville and it will buy you some time to get your shoes right.

    If you wait (like you already have) it can lead to chronic pain that will take many, many, many months to resolve. Get them patched up and then fix the problem CORRECTLY in the off-season.

    Custom molded inserts can really help if your shoes already a decent fit.

  22. Comment by GenghisKhan | 07.29.2014 | 10:50 am

    Seven! (Okay, maybe not the answer to this particular conundrum, but an answer to some that you may also have.

    Good luck!

  23. Comment by Geo | 07.29.2014 | 10:59 am

    Does it hurt as soon as you put shoes on or does it build over the ride?

    Probably more of a “fixed” problem like bunions, bone spurs, etc. as mentioned. But if it builds as the ride goes then could be something else. We all know our feet swell a bit as we ride, creating hot spots, etc. So it could be a circulation problem making your feet swell more than normal.

    A trip to the doctor is definitely in order to help figure out if it is something internal in your foot structure or if something like compression socks or other circulation enhancing means can cut the swelling.

  24. Comment by Vince | 07.29.2014 | 11:12 am

    I noticed you’re in Austin on occasion with your new gig. Jerry Gerlich is a fitter here and he is one of the only fitters in the country trained and endorsed by Steve Hogg.

    He’s worth talking to and they do a shoe/cleat only fitting as an option.

  25. Comment by Paul W | 07.29.2014 | 11:15 am


    I’m with El Conquistedor; try different socks.

    I use thick Sealskins even in the summer. They’ve never been too hot, and provided cushioning without sacrificing stiffness.

    Mind you, I’m not an award-winning blogger, and do NOT do your mileage!

    Good luck.

  26. Comment by Fat Cathy | 07.29.2014 | 11:27 am

    I’ve had very similar issues in the past. I have very wide feet and have some nasty bunions due to wearing ill fitting shoes. Fortunately, my feet are super wide for a woman, but not so much compared to men’s feet of the same size. My problems were solved by finding men’s shoes with a somewhat wide toe box, has a forgiving material over the bunion areas (such as leather) and using SOLE footbeds (http://www.yoursole.com/us) with them.

    As others have noted, your feet tend to widen with age. Also, you have been spending a great deal of time in the Altra shoes with super wide forefoot areas – your feet have spread out wider as a result. That isn’t a bad thing, but your other shoes aren’t a good fit anymore.

  27. Comment by Kyle Bohling | 07.29.2014 | 11:49 am

    Bont shoes have the same idea as Altra shoes. Wide toe box and the Bonts can be molded in your oven at home. I have a pair of road shoes. They are comfy soles of Bonts are very stiff. Sorry to hear about your problems. Hope you can get them fixed.

  28. Comment by Osteo | 07.29.2014 | 12:11 pm

    Hey Fatty, I can imagine your pain and stress, I’ve a buddy doing Leadville also and I’m doing The King Bee at Steamboat the following weekend, I would hate to have this happen in so close a time.

    Only 1 person above mentioned cleat position, but some did mention getting a pro-bike fit. Normally we aim to put the cleat position under the ball of the foot, which if you are careful I’m sure you have done with all your shoes. In placing it under the ball of the foot, this will have the metatarsal heads spread when pushing down on the pedals, widening the foot.

    Your pain seems fairly consistent with all your shoes, although a little less in the oldest worn out pair bringing me back to cleat position. With the time constraints it makes me think of moving your cleat position a bit, possibly back towards the heel a bit, 2-3mm may be enough.

    We know raising or lowering a seat 2-3mm can make a huge difference, same with the foot and mechanics.

    A simple enough thing to try and best of all, doesn’t cost anything and takes 30seconds.


  29. Comment by Rob | 07.29.2014 | 12:12 pm

    I was diagnosed with synovitis in my big toe last year. Insanely painful. Couldn’t walk without a terrible limp for months. Had to get multiple rounds of steroid injections. Yeah, it sucked hard.

    But I could ride my bike all day long. The secret? Flat pedals and 5.10 shoes. 5.10s are nice and wide, and since you are riding flats you don’t need a super-tight shoe.

    If you are the type to obsess over pedaling perfect circles at all times, then flats might not be for you.

    If you are the type to stand up and pedal nice big squares all day long, give flats a try. The key here is the 5.10 shoes. The pedals are, amazingly, not nearly as important as the shoes in this combo.

  30. Comment by DaveT | 07.29.2014 | 12:15 pm

    I have not had issues with bunions, but in the past I’ve had issues with hot spots and sore feet after long rides. This year I got a full bike fit which included changing my cleat position, (moving them back slightly), replacing my footbeds for better arch support (replaced the stock Specialized reds for greens) and added cleat wedges to counter some inward tilt on both legs. Not sure if any of these things would help with your foot issues but these changes have helped me ride without foot pain for the first time.

  31. Comment by HeidiW | 07.29.2014 | 12:25 pm

    I just started having the same issue and I completely can empathize with the pain and wanting to get out of your shoes IMMEDIATELY!! I don’t know what it is, but I did just go back to my Sidi shoes from Specialized so that could be my problem, but for you to be in the same shoes and just start having the problem is perplexing. I know that D2 makes custom shoes that might help, but probably not in time for LT100. The other thought is trying a custom footbed? Sorry Fatty, but I can’t wait for you to tell me what my problem is once you have figured out yours! :) Good luck!

  32. Comment by Cole | 07.29.2014 | 1:22 pm

    You mentioned that you ate a lot of egg white scrambles with mushrooms. Mushrooms are high in purines that can break down to uric acid. You may have gout

  33. Comment by Steve | 07.29.2014 | 1:37 pm

    Short term I’d try a pair of comfortable regular non-cycling shoes with flat pedals with some power grips straps.

    Long term I’d see a podiatrist.

    Also I don’t think stretching shoes made with synthetics will work. One of Sidi’s selling points is that the synthetic Lorica they use won’t stretch.

  34. Comment by davidh-marin,ca | 07.29.2014 | 1:39 pm

    Time to recolor a new Fatty Flag!

  35. Comment by Joel | 07.29.2014 | 1:43 pm

    Is Rocket 7 still in business? You could check with them. There are custom bike shoe makers out there (and they used to be one.)

  36. Comment by Eric L | 07.29.2014 | 2:14 pm

    @Cole. Probably not gout. If it was gout Fatty would be complaining he cannot put any shoes on at all…

    …or walk without excruciating pain.

    Good luck on this Fatty. Breaking in a new pair of shoes just days before a race like Leadville will be another epic race in and of itself.

  37. Comment by chris | 07.29.2014 | 2:21 pm

    I’m a primary care doc so I look at feet plenty. You are sore over the widest part of your feet. Look for callus formation over the bony points. If you have those, work to soften and reduce the callus or have it parred down. A callus will form over an area of wear and pressure. Don’t eliminate it altogether, you may need some extra protection. However, a hard, thick callus can be a cause for sharp pain. The slit idea in your old shoes, (with a loose tape patch to keep the rocks out) to relieve pressure makes sense to me, no time for custom shoes. Try that several days ahead of time and then test it a bunch to see what that does. Racing Leadville in new, untested shoes, custom or otherwise, would be insanely risky, IMO. I raced it once, no time for new gear! A podiatrist eval makes some sense. A well timed cortisone shot a few days ahead of the race if there is signs for arthritis makes sense, although from your description, I’m guessing this is more ligament/bursa injury than arthritic. Doing 1/2 marathon trail runs when your feet are not ready may be part of the problem, as would longer runs in North Carolina beach sand. Bring advil on race day.

  38. Comment by chris | 07.29.2014 | 2:26 pm

    I’m a primary care doc so I look at feet plenty. You are sore over the widest part of your feet. Look for callus formation over the bony points. If you have those, work to soften and reduce the callus or have it parred down. A callus will form over an area of wear and pressure. Don’t eliminate it altogether, you may need some extra protection. However, a hard, thick callus can be a cause for sharp pain. The slit idea in your old shoes, (with a loose tape patch to keep the rocks out) to relieve pressure makes sense to me, no time for custom shoes. Try that several days ahead of time and then test it a bunch to see what that does. Racing Leadville in new, untested shoes, custom or otherwise, would be insanely risky, IMO. I raced it once, no time for new gear! A podiatrist eval makes some sense. A well timed cortisone shot a few days ahead of the race if there is signs for arthritis makes sense, although from your description, I’m guessing this is more ligament/bursa injury than arthritic. Maybe 1/2 marathon trail runs when your feet are not ready may be part of the problem, as would longer runs in North Carolina beach sand. Bring advil on race day.

  39. Comment by Kate | 07.29.2014 | 2:51 pm

    I don’t know the shoes at all, but if there’s any padding in that area can you just kind of carve it out with a pocketknife? Not a long term solution but might get you through the race. Much like what Karena mentioned but without cutting all the way through so that rocks and stuff get in.

  40. Comment by Jill Homer (@AlaskaJill) | 07.29.2014 | 3:38 pm

    Nerve damage might be a possibility. I can’t wear stiff shoes for long periods of time because of frostbite damage, and have runner friends who experience sharp pains in their toes after years of long-distance running. If nerve damage is the culprit there are probably no easy solutions.

    Platform pedals with soft trail running shoes and occasional foot repositioning to relieve pressure is how I deal with my nerve pain. But platform use is not for everyone and probably not idea for a race after training for years with clipless pedals. Good luck.

  41. Comment by UpTheGrade, SR, CA | 07.29.2014 | 3:43 pm

    It looks to me that your right foot is still in Sasquatch mode, while the left has cleaned up nicely. Sasquatch feet were not designed to wear shoes!

    No wonder they are rebelling.

    Just embrace those deep urges and ride barefoot! (a flat pedal may be warranted).

    Can I borrow your bike for Leadville?

  42. Comment by Steven Soto | 07.29.2014 | 4:11 pm

    I have wide feet, and mine tend to hurt in the same places, although only after 8-10 hours in the saddle. I have to buy wide shoes in nearly every style. “Runs wide” doesn’t cut it. My should must be marked “E” or “EE”.

    Sidi Dominators worked for me in the Mega range. One tip: All Sidi Megas have a wide sole. The half sizes take an additional step and add more material in the uppers, so they make room for a “higher volume” foot. The half sizes also accommodate a regular foot with orthotics, if that is what a podiatrist recommends.

    The other tip I found useful is to put chamois creme on the places that develop hot spots.

    I hope that you solve your problem. The only thing that should hurt after a race is your legs or (in my case) your pride.

  43. Comment by Andy@wdw | 07.29.2014 | 4:47 pm

    Not an ideal solution by any means, but do you have road shoes that your feet tolerate that you could swap your mountain cleats to? On the plus side, that would sure give you incentive to clean powerline hill!

  44. Comment by Peter | 07.29.2014 | 6:36 pm

    Just duct tape your feet to some platform pedals…it’ll make your transition times at the aid stations really fast since you won’t be able to dap. Also, don’t fall.

    Seriously though, I’d overnight my Sidi Dominators (42 Mega) if you thought they’d work. Nicely broken in and all…

  45. Comment by Evia | 07.29.2014 | 6:59 pm

    Love my Sidi Megas – I have them for road and mountain bike. I unfortunately have beautiful wide flat feet but the Megas get it done!

    Good luck!!

  46. Comment by Edwin | 07.29.2014 | 7:12 pm

    Since you were so looking forward to it I didn’t want to disappoint: stop using Rogaine on your feet! It doesn’t help with the bunions and all your toes get goatees…

  47. Comment by Jonathan | 07.29.2014 | 8:23 pm

    I am a podiatrist in Texas. The pain you describe at the lateral sides of the feet are likely from the narrow nature of the Sidis causing bursal inflammation. I would switch back to a Specialized shoe and add a 2.5 valgus forefoot wedge to counter the built in varus wedging which can increase lateral pressure. The left great toe joint is likely mildly arthritic and would typically respond well to a corticosteroid injection. A podiatrist in your area can X-ray and treat accordingly. Additionally anti-inflammatories and ice. Best of luck.

    Thanks very much! – FC

  48. Comment by Lab | 07.29.2014 | 8:54 pm

    Chiropodist Rock!

  49. Comment by Sunny | 07.29.2014 | 8:58 pm

    Someone mentioned that your cleats could be toed in too much. Turn the cleat ever so slightly. Turn the other cleat the opposite was.

  50. Comment by Jeremy | 07.29.2014 | 9:42 pm

    I like Jonathan’s answer, but if that doesn’t cut it here’s what I did with too tall shoes: add a flat insert under the insole. Sofsole soccer soles with the arch cut of work wonderfully. I have a really low lateral maleolus and most shoes cut in right under the outside of my ankle. That may make your wide Specialized shoes fit, but it will affect your stack height significantly (not being diligent about that probably caused my injuries this year).

    My cross-country coach in high school had bone issues in his foot so all his running shoes were cut out at the joint between his big toe and metatarsals and a leather patch was sewn by a professional shoe repair guy to open up that space.

  51. Comment by CycleMedic26 | 07.29.2014 | 9:51 pm

    NSAIDs, Ice, elevation. Hope you get fixed up before the big race FC!

  52. Comment by Baz | 07.29.2014 | 10:20 pm

    It’s time to talk to Adam Hansen (http://inrng.com/2013/04/thursday-shorts-5/) or shoemaker elves. If the elves ask for t-shirts DO NOT GIVE THEM T-SHIRTS, it’s part of their whole magic deal, offer them beans.

    In the meantime, get a rockin’ chair, set up on the porch with a bubble blowing pipe and offer advice to passing strangers when your feet ache that a storm’s a-comin’.

  53. Comment by DrBryce | 07.29.2014 | 10:42 pm

    I know a great Chiropractor with lots of experience in Metatarsal adjusting, recommended by the top custom bike fitter in the State and who does a standing pressure test for your feet.

  54. Comment by Chris | 07.30.2014 | 5:07 am

    WOW just what I was looking for. Pictures of Fatty’s feet!

  55. Pingback by Fatty’s Ft: A Cry for Assist | Posts | 07.30.2014 | 7:34 am

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  56. Comment by Pam | 07.30.2014 | 8:11 am


    Concur with most of the above recommendations. First, a podiatrist is a great idea. In Los Angeles, I know of an excellent one (I’ve been going to one since I’ve been 15 and always into sports, and many steroid shots and surgeries later). Second, in the interim, not a bad idea to get the Keen sandals (great just as a backup) or I use Keen Newports and platform pedals for ultra comfort (also you inspired me to make the Kona (like Altra) purchase for running shoes. Changed my life. Finally, a great chiropractor (non-force is what I use — look it up. awesome, is probably a necessity considering the amount of biking you do anyway.

    My two cents. Good luck and I hope the pain recedes soon.

    Warm regards, Pammie

  57. Comment by owe | 07.30.2014 | 8:24 am

    I have hallux rigidus in both of my big toe joints and the pain you describe sounds similar. I also ride/race SS and the standing/mashing on climbs really can cause it to flare up and hurt more. Injections, surgery etc were all I was offered bu docs – Good luck – maybe give them a break and train more on the road if that hurts less.. good looking bike btw!!

  58. Comment by Kevin | 07.30.2014 | 8:42 am

    Sidi shoes are great but the insoles are terrible. Try some LaSportiva heat moldable insoles instead of the stock ones. This is easy to do in a short period of time. I us the Dominator Mega shoe now but used the Specialized pro carbon in wide previously. Both were improved with the insoles. I had similar foot pain prior to the insoles.

  59. Comment by sEthanol | 07.30.2014 | 8:49 am

    You may be able to convert your running shoes using the DIY kit from these guys:

  60. Comment by Kel | 07.30.2014 | 9:38 am

    Sandal update if you go that route: It looks like Nashbar sells a version that is reasonably priced. The Keen commuter sandals seem to be hard to find in any size other than the extremes.

    Best wishes! Give us an update and let us know what happens.

  61. Comment by Becky | 07.30.2014 | 9:55 am

    I was diagnosed with hallux metatarsal-phalangeal joint arthritis which affects the ball of my foot. I use a specially placed met pad which should probably be farther back than they are in most commercially available inserts.

  62. Comment by UtahTom | 07.30.2014 | 9:55 am

    It would be pretty epic to finish on the podium wearing biking sandals. Only more epic to finish on the podium wearing socks with sandals. Maybe a bratwurst in hand for added effect.

  63. Comment by Steve | 07.30.2014 | 10:23 am

    I have the same issue. I had my S-Works punched out in those areas. I need my ski boots punched out in order to get a race fit. I can’t just go to a wide boot because everywhere else will be sloppy. Any ski shop should be able to stretch those specific areas to get you some relief.

  64. Comment by Joe | 07.30.2014 | 11:30 am

    Just want to wish you luck in finding something that will get you through the riding season.

    Please go see a doctor as soon as you can.

  65. Comment by Rolis | 07.30.2014 | 12:15 pm

    Seems like you’ve tried it already but I switched because of feet pain, around the same area left foot, from Speciaized to Diadoras and ended up with Shimanos (stock). The Shimanos do feel a bit snug especially the first 15 minutes, but the pain is gone!! Mine are mid level XC50s. I am sure the fancier ones feel that much fancier/comfy. I mixed them up with floaty crank bros candies (my right foot sits at a slight angle)….no pain, I climb a lot. good luck!

  66. Comment by suzanne | 07.30.2014 | 12:43 pm

    Your pressing on a pressure point, move your clips back a smidgen.

  67. Comment by KM | 07.30.2014 | 1:15 pm

    If you’re a 45.5 or 46 shoe, I’ll take one for the Fatty team, and take those SIDI’s off your hands. It’s a lot ot ask but for you Elden I’ll do it.

  68. Comment by Trekjocky | 07.30.2014 | 1:52 pm

    Stopped reading after the first handful but would bear repeating if it has been offered already. Treat it as an inflammation first. Ice baths after workouts 5-15 minutes. If your feet never hurt in other situations, walking, climbing stairs, going down stairs -both barefoot and in shoes….. then blame either the fit or what caused the fit to change such as an overlooked untreated injury that over time has manifested itself into something you are forced to pay attention to.
    Lastly – I would try a metatarsal pad in your cycling shoes. It could take stress off your metatarsal arch as well as make the area you are experiencing pain “less-wide” due to supporting the metatarsal arch. ( not the longitudinal arch everyone thinks of).
    I cut my own out of medical felt that has an adhesive side but there are commercial products you can find in felt, foam, or even gel.
    Best of luck.
    -Certified Athletic Trainer and Cyclist-

  69. Comment by bub | 07.30.2014 | 2:45 pm

    Is it just me or does Fatty look Skinny?

  70. Comment by Monica | 07.30.2014 | 4:35 pm

    Another vote for the Sidi Mega fit (mine are the genius) with an insole. After I switched to altras a couple years ago, my forefoot got wider and my feet got ouchier in bike shoes.

  71. Comment by redrock | 07.30.2014 | 8:35 pm

    I had wonderful new spezialized shoes with a nice and wide toe box – worked really nice in the winter, very comfy. The moment the temperature got above 70 F they mutated to torture devices with hot spots from hell. And that is even below the temperature when feet start to swell…. maybe swelling of your feet during long, warmer rides is an issue? And you can always carry bike-sandals in your camelback at the race…as a back-up.

  72. Pingback by Chainlinks: Best of the Bike Web, July 31, 2014 - Trail & Tarmac | 07.31.2014 | 4:29 am

    [...] Help this man. Fat Cyclist needs some help making his feet feel normal again. Time for a podiatrist? [...]

  73. Comment by 26er | 07.31.2014 | 6:01 am

    Maybe you could take a look at your pedalling style. There’s many different ways of how to transfer power to your pedals. There may be more efficient and less painful ways than the one you’re using now.

  74. Comment by owen | 07.31.2014 | 7:35 am

    maybe your feet are allergic to the new rubber chain your using..are you bringing a spare belt for Leadville??

  75. Comment by wash | 07.31.2014 | 2:28 pm

    Shoes are obviously all about personal choice, but I can tell you that I’ve found both Specialized and Sidi’s wide sizes to be not very wide. After trying lots of different shoes and insoles, I eventually found that Bontrager’s stock shoes fit me very well. Their design is such that you can leave the toe box area relatively loose while tightening down the rest.

    If you have a Trek store nearby, it’s worth at least trying on their shoes.

  76. Comment by wash | 07.31.2014 | 2:29 pm

    … btw I am 47, and have noticed that my feet have gotten wider over the past few years. My guess is that is what is happening to you right now.

  77. Comment by Ben | 07.31.2014 | 4:38 pm

    Before spending hundreds in custom insoles or custom shoes, I would try the Pedag T-Form metatarsal pads. They can be found for about ten bucks online. They have to be put UNDER THE ARCH and they help relieve a lot of pressure on feet. I used them in all my shoes just glued to the stock insoles.

  78. Comment by Jeff Sherrod | 07.31.2014 | 5:20 pm

    This is an easy fix, It’s your feet not your shoes.
    The pain you are feeling on the outside of both feet is from what is called a Varus angle of your foot, your foot is angled out towards your 5th medetarsal (pinkie toe) and you are putting all the weight on that part of your foot causing it hurt. This can simply be fixed by wedging at the cleat or in the shoe. The pain at the big toe is called sesamoditis, it’s caused by to much presure at the 1st medetarsal joint. This more a cleat placement issue and can be fixed by changing where your cleat is.
    Feel free to contact me with any questions.

  79. Comment by Laura | 07.31.2014 | 6:39 pm

    Hi, Fatty. This sucks and I hope it gets better! Lots of people here know more about feet than I do, but I just wanted to mention that my husband found that his feet change very noticeably when he goes off gluten. When we first tried going paleo a few years ago his bunions basically totally went away, and when we started cheating a lot with gluten they came back. If it’s possible that it’s the shape of your feet that are causing the problem, then changing your diet might influence that. But it might not be worth it to you! Good luck…

  80. Comment by Rachel | 08.1.2014 | 8:14 am

    I have tremendous bunions. The only brands of cycling shoes I can wear are Pearl Izumi and Specialized. At least one size larger and loosen as the ride goes on. Try taking Glucosamin/Chondrointin supplements. NEVER!!!! wear Sidis…know specifically for being for narrow feet. Flex feet and curl toes into “fists” during rides. Good luck!!!!

  81. Comment by Brian F | 08.1.2014 | 5:46 pm

    I uses to have terrible pain and switched to Sidi Mega shoes with Superfeet insoles. Nice wide shoes plus good arch support makes all the difference. Plus cleats as far back as possible, of course.

    Good luck.

  82. Comment by retrofitz | 08.11.2014 | 12:38 pm

    Retrofitz is aimed at enabling cyclists to clip in with cool shoes; but coincidentally enables many shoes to be converted to SPD type cleat attachment. Let us know if you are interested.

  83. Comment by Allen | 08.13.2014 | 11:37 pm

    Try relaxing your feet,hot compress and have you tried fish spa? I hope you try those relaxing treats. Have you also tried minimalist shoes?

  84. Comment by Feet Pain | 08.20.2014 | 9:40 am

    When I’ve exhausted my feet, what I do is meditation like yoga and also, I’ve been doing cold compress and it helped me big time. I hope it’ll help you too.



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