At Belgianwerkx we spend much of our time making sure riders fit properly on their bikes. A properly fitting bike is very important to rider comfort. During a fit, we interview riders about the type of riding they do and make recommendations on bike geometry, saddle type and position, and handlebar type and width. A properly fitting bike is important to assure comfort and in turn, ultimate enjoyment of your bike.
While we spend a lot of time on pedals, cleats, saddles, and handlebars. and often overlooked aspect of fitting is foot and shoe comfort. Most of our high-performance shoes are optimized for stiffness and weight. While these are lofty goals, our obsession with having faster, lighter equipment often overlooks comfort. Comfort on the bike is important, because if we’re happy on our bikes we ride more and we ride longer.
A longtime saddle and bartape manufacturer, Fi’zi:k has addressed the last of the three contact points with their heat moldable insole. While others have made similar products, I feel as though F’i’zi:k has perfected it. The first thing you notice about the heat-moldable insole is it’s complex construction. A thick dense black pad is positioned under the metatarsals to provide a barrier between the pedals, cleat screws, and pain in the ball of the foot. Much of the insole is made from wheat, EVA and polyester resins. An obvious upgrade over most insoles is the fiberglass heel cup that extends into the arch of the foot. Fi’zi:k developed these insoles in cooperation with Sidas, a wold leader in footbed technology, with over 35 years of experience.
As someone who’s never really thought his shoes were uncomfortable, I’ve was a little skeptical of these high-tech insoles. During medium to long rides however, I would feel a bit of pain under the ball of my foot, under the metatarsals. I figured it was just something that was normal, because of the stiff carbon construction of good cycling shoes.
When I received a set of Fi’zi:k insoles the first thing we did was heat-mold them to my feet. The Fizik insole is designed to fit a wide range of foot types, I have a very low arch and a small-volume foot. The heat molding process consists of heating the insoles in the “Flash-Fit Oven” for less than a minute, then standing on the insoles on a special molded platform. There are 4 different platforms to accommodate different foot shapes and sized. The process only takes a few minutes, and Fi’zi:k claims a 75% “customization” of the insoles.
During my first ride with them, I immediately noticed how much better my shoes hugged my feet. I felt like my shoes fit better, and I felt more connected to the pedals. My old insoles were pretty worn out, so I decided to test them in my new shoes. The new shoes felt better too! The real test was a few longer rides. As I said before, during longer rides, I would feel quite a bit of metatarsal pain. I’d often futz with my buckles and wiggle my toes until I was comfortable again.
After a few long rides with the new Fi’zi:k insoles, I can say that I don’t notice my shoes anymore. I often say that the best equipment is the stuff you don’t notice. If it’s doing it’s job the way it should, you don’t think about it. I never expected a set of insoles to help so much.
Our Mequon store stocks all sizes of Fi’ki:k insoles, and a we provide heat-molding service to anyone who purchases a set. Come pick up a set and get a little more out of your cycling experience.