First-time cycling shoe buyers? Time to retire your old shoes and move on with new ones? How long to break in cycling shoes? You may ask. Let’s check it out!
Some questions that many road bike riders have asked us are: Do you need to break in cycling shoes? How long to break in cycling shoes?
If you have asked the same question, you must know the benefits of a well broken-in pair. As your feet are the contact point between you and the bike, the shoes should hug your feet snugly for comfort and a safe ride.
For the answer to the above questions, there are a few factors to take into account.
How Long To Break In Cycling Shoes?
How long does it take to get used to new cycling shoes? The required break-in periods for your cycling shoes will depend on the materials they are made of. Leather shoes, for example, will conform to your feet after several rides.
Synthetic road cycling shoes almost still feel the same as when you first bought them. It means they are comfortable to wear out of the box. Some might require a few hours for the insole to conform. After that, these bike shoes are good to wear all day long.
If there is room to wiggle, you might need to over tighten the strap and fiddle with the tightness for a few rides. Our advice is not to choose any shoes that are not comfortable or so tight from the get-go.
They should not cause you any blisters and abrasion. In addition, if there’s room for your feet to move around, it’s either because your footwear is too big or you’ve bought the wrong shape for your foot.
This basic rule applies to all types of sports shoes, including running, cycling, and hiking.
Tips On How To Break In New Cycling Shoes
So, how do you break in cycling shoes? Below are a few tips and tricks to follow to make your newly-bought pairs of shoes as comfortable as possible:
- As mentioned, most cycling shoes do not “stretch” or break in unless they are leather. If your shoes feel uncomfortable, wear them and walk around for a few hours. This way, the foam insoles should be well-formed in your feet.
- Alternatively, use the new and old pair interchangeably for the first two weeks. For example, wear new shoes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and leave other days of the week for the old shoes. Doing so will let your shoes break in slowly and nicely.
- Avoid riding with your new shoes on long rides in the first two weeks. The uncomfortable feeling in your feet might result in hip, knee and back problems.
- Should there be any sore spots, use Band-Aid blisters block pads to prevent blisters.
- It is not good to buy a different brand or shoe model before a race to avoid discomfort. If you’re pressed for time, get the same pair and pile on the old insoles, and you’re good to go.
How Should Well Fit Cycling Shoes Feel?
When choosing cycling shoes, it pays to know whether they are well fit so you can avoid any discomfort later. Well-fit cycling shoes should meet the requirements below:
- A proper fit shoe should feel snug in the heel and offer even pressure on the instep.
- Your feet should not press against the end. It’s ideal to have some toe room left at the end. The forefoot should be stable without restricting or pinching.
- The material of the road cycling shoe should not have any folding or gaps.
- The ball of your foot should fit comfortably in the widest portions of the shoe for optimal cleat adjustment.
- The foot should be neutral and stable in the fit cycling shoe. It's best to get a custom footbed as it gives you the right alignment, power transfer, and support for the entire shoe that any rider is looking for.
Can Cycling Shoes Be Too Stiff?
Cycling shoes are specifically designed to be snug, supportive, and stiff. Stiff shoe matter since this sport is all about maximizing the limited power output of the cyclist.
Imagine riding a bike is the same as running upstairs. If your road shoes are made of energy-absorbing foam, running with them is nothing different from running on the sand.
Plenty of power is lost, and your speed is slowed down significantly. In the same vein, if the nylon sole of your cycling shoes is squishy, the power and energy are not efficiently transferred from your foot to the pedal. This not only slows you down but also makes you fatigued sooner.
However, studies have shown that too stiff shoes won’t help you go faster. Even worse, you will be more likely to suffer from increased pain, burning, tingling in your feet due to the undue stiffness and pressures.
Tips To Choose The Right Cycling Shoes
Besides the price, quality materials, and foot shape, you may want to keep the below considerations in mind to get compatible cycling shoes.
Unlike running shoes, there is no need to put aside a lot of room in the front of the cycling shoes. Thus, a few millimetres of extra space would suffice in front of the big toes. With excessive length, you cannot mount the cleats properly, which lead to inefficient power transfer.
Once you have settled on the shoe length, determine the width to suit your narrow feet or wide feet. The forefoot portion should be the widest and fit snugly without pressing in any cases.
Your feet will become wider during the long rides. For this reason, it is wise to leave a little space (some millimetres) in this area to prevent shoes from pressing during extended rides.
The heel section should hug your foot firmly for efficient power output. Check the fit by walking around with the shoes. The right fit means you should not slip out of them or experience any pain, discomfort or pinch.
The upper section, which covers your foot, should give a comfortable enclosure for the foot. The shoe should also sit firmly on the back of the foot.
As mentioned, the best pair of cycling shoes should feel comfortable and firm when you wear them.
Sole And Upper Material
As mentioned, stiff soles are the best choice for cycling shoes. But don’t go overboard because you’ll soon find your power output and comfort suffering.
For non-cycling shoes, something with a flat sole and durable canvas, such as Vans ,is okay.
How long to break in cycling shoes? Since most cycling shoes are now made of synthetic materials, you can wear them comfortably right out of the box. If your shoes need some break-in periods, we hope you find our tips above useful.
Although there are several types of shoes, it pays to go for a dedicated cycling shoe pair instead of casual shoes if you ride frequently. The best advice is to pick up the right fit for your feet right from the start, so your feet won’t have to struggle to conform harmoniously with the new shoes.