Hot Foot

Cycling shoes, unlike those for running, are stiff, unforgiving items that offer little shock absorption from hard road surfaces and they are often narrow and constricting — but the benefits of support and power transfer outweigh the use of running shoes as a viable alternative.

Hot Foot?

As a result, cyclists often suffer from a condition known as “hot foot,” caused by excessive pressure on the balls of the feet during hard effort.  Hot foot occurs most often on long rides.

It may develop sooner or more intensely on hilly courses because climbs cause greater pedaling pressure. The pain results when nerves are squeezed between the heads of each foot’s five long metatarsal bones. These heads are in the wide part of the foot (the “ball”) just behind the toes.

Cyclists with biomechanical problems, such as high arches or excessive pronation, suffer more than those with neutral feet.


Insert a padded sock liner into the shoes to help protect against road vibration.  Also ensure that your cleat position is correct (the ball of your foot should be on the center of the pedal).  Give your feet a bit of breathing room by loosening the straps on your shoes — remember that your feet swell the hotter they get, so make allowances as you ride.

For chronic problems, you should see a biomechanist or podiatrist about custom-made orthotics.

With orthotics, your feet don’t absorb all the vibratory energy, helping you transfer more power to the pedal.

Happy pedalling!


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