Should I Wear Orthotics in my Cycling Shoes?

G’day, fellow cyclists and foot enthusiasts! Today, let’s dive into the world of custom foot orthoses and how they can revolutionize your road cycling experience. As a podiatrist with a passion for pedaling, I’ve seen firsthand the difference these little wonders can make.


First off, let’s talk about the benefits. One of the primary advantages of using custom foot orthoses in road cycling shoes is the increased contact surface area they provide. Picture this: your foot snugly cradled in a perfectly molded orthotic, spreading the load evenly across the sole of your foot. This translates to better pressure distribution, reducing hot spots and potential discomfort during those long rides. Plus, with improved contact comes better power delivery—every ounce of energy you put into each pedal stroke is efficiently transferred to the pedals, giving you that extra edge on the road.

But wait, there’s more! Custom orthoses also have the ability to manage certain injuries by offloading specific muscle groups and correcting foot position. Through consultation and assessment, your podiatrist will be able to prescribe certain features to your orthoses that will address your specific issues. By providing targeted support and alignment, orthoses can help alleviate strain on problem areas, allowing you to ride pain-free and with confidence.


Now, let’s address the limitations. It’s no secret that most cycling shoes have a narrow, tapered fit with a shallow toe box, which isn’t exactly orthotic-friendly. This can pose a challenge when trying to accommodate bulky orthotic devices, leading to a potentially uncomfortable fit or even difficulty getting your foot into the shoe. It’s a bit of a trade-off—you want the support and performance benefits of orthoses, but you also don’t want to sacrifice comfort or compromise the fit of your cycling shoes. The good news is that orthotics don’t have to be bulky, with the emergence of new materials and manufacturing techniques orthotics can now be slimmer than ever! There have also been many cycling shoe brands such as BONT and LAKE that have become popular recently, offering wider, more anatomical fits to better accommodate different foot types and orthotic devices.

Cleat position

And let’s not forget about cleat position. The placement of your cleats can have a significant impact on the required output of different muscle groups. For example, a cleat position closer to the midfoot will require more hamstring activation, while a position closer to the forefoot will engage the calf muscles to a greater extent. This is where customization becomes key—finding the optimal cleat position for your biomechanics and riding style can enhance efficiency and prevent fatigue.


In conclusion, custom foot orthoses can be a game-changer for road cyclists, offering benefits like improved pressure distribution, enhanced power delivery, and injury management. However, it’s important to be mindful of the limitations, such as shoe compatibility and cleat positioning. By working with a knowledgeable podiatrist or bike fitter, you can find the perfect balance between support, performance, and comfort, allowing you to ride stronger and longer than ever before. At Active Care Podiatry, we strive to meet the orthotic needs of all of our patients and would be happy to help you with your next pair of cycling shoes. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and pedal your way to orthotic bliss!