Professional and recreational cyclists all around the world are discovering the benefits of wearing customised foot orthotics in their cycling shoes.
Cycling orthotics help align the foot and lower limb to allow optimal power translation from the foot to the pedal. In doing this cycling orthotics help improve comfort, reduce fatigue and prevent injury.
Firstly, the mechanics of the foot and ankle are quite different to those in walking and running. In cycling the foot needs to act simply as a rigid lever to transmit forces from the powerful leg muscles to the pedal (this is why cycling shoes has rigid soles). In walking and running the foot has to act as both a shock absorber and a rigid lever, depending on the phase of the gait cycle, and so both functions need to be taken into consideration when prescribing an orthotic. Also, as cyclists apply the force to the pedals solely through the forefoot so there is a heavier emphasis on forefoot control than in walking/running.
Secondly, the structure of a cycling shoe is completely different to a walking or running shoe. Space is significantly reduced with the shank or midfoot region in a cycling shoe and the heels are usually elevated. A proper cycling orthotic must mirror the shape of the foot as well as matching the shape of the cycling shoe.