As long as you are talking about BikeFit branded wedges, this is not one wedge against another. Both of the wedge styles offered from BikeFit work extremely well. Each wedge, however, has its place. In most cases, it’s preferential to use the Cleat Wedge.
When to Use In-the-Shoe Wedges
1.) Cleats not compatible with Cleat Wedges
The In The Shoe (ITS) Wedge often is a “fill in” product for types of cleats that are not compatible with Cleat Wedges like Crank Brothers. However, Crank Brothers provide a shoe shield (seen on the left) where you can use Cleat Wedges with their cleats.
2.) Hyper-Mobile Feet
A hypermobile foot would be a good place to use an ITS in combination with a Cleat Wedge. This type of foot needs more support. A more rigid foot tends to be more responsive with less wedging and the Cleat Wedge is a better solution for most rigid feet. This also may be a great option for those who have room in their shoe and would not be affected by the change in volume inherent with the addition of In The Shoe Wedges.
In-The-Shoe Wedges are also great for diagnostics. If you are looking to determine the effects of wedging on cycling mechanics, ITS Wedges provide the ability to make quick changes. This also holds true if you are testing out comfort but do not want to take the time to remove your cleats, add cleat wedges, and realign (time saver). We should mention that this is usually a temporary change. Once the comfort or mechanics are confirmed, the first choice to correct your foot’s natural angle/tilt is almost always cleat wedges.
4.) Fine Tuning
In-The-Shoe Wedges also offer a fine-tuning option for cyclists “in-between” wedge levels or it is tough to tell if 2 cleat wedges or 3 cleat wedges is the better solution. In other words, if 2 or 3 cleat wedges help correct your mechanics and reduce foot pain, try using 2 cleat wedges and add an ITS as the 3rd wedge. Go out on a ride and spend some with the ITS in the shoe and some time with it in your back pocket. Over a period of time, you will usually discover the preferred amount of cleat wedging. For many cyclists, you may require more than 3 Cleat Wedges. Since we do not recommend using more than 3, the ITS wedge provides the extra bit of tilt needed!
Why are BikeFit’s 3-hole Leg Length Shims (LLS) longer and protrude out more than other brands? The additional length is by design.
Cleats are designed to be used on the bottom of a cyclIng shoe (directly in contact with the sole). Take the cleat away from the surface (sole) and it will no longer work as it was designed. Adding length to the front of the LLS is like adding shoe surface to assure the cleat/pedal interface will function properly.
Engagement problems may begin to occur when building up a 3-hole road cleat to as little as 3-4mm in height. Of course, the greater the stack height, the more likely an engagement issue will arise. The front of the cleat may dip into the pedal too far causing a delay or even the inability to clip into the pedal.
Same Size Leg Length Shims = Dangerous
Leg Length Shims of the same size and shape as the cleat contact surface force the cleat to dip too far into the pedal. If the LLS does not extend out in front of the cleat, the increased gap between the shoe and the cleat can cause problematic engagement.
BikeFit Protruding Leg Length Shims
BikeFit’s Leg Length Shims extend well beyond the front of the cleat providing a platform that allows the pedal to facilitate smooth and easy engagement.
Take a look at 2 more examples below of the size differences between BikeFit’s LLS vs. others.
The engagement problems may not occur every time you attempt to clip into the pedal, but it will eventually happen! It only takes one mishap at an inopportune time to cause significant concern. If you are looking for Leg Length Shim Saftey, BikeFit provides you with the best comfort and options.
“I have been indoor cycling (spinning1) for a year. I love it and do it 2 times a week sometimes 3 or more. Unfortunately, I’m experiencing problems with my SIDI bike shoes. I love them but I noticed well into the class that I started to develop a pain/soreness etc. As a result, I placed insoles in my SIDI bike shoes and they didn’t provide relief. The soreness resides on the outer side of both my right and left foot–more on the fattier side of your foot aligned. I’m desperately looking for a solution. If you could help me with some information I would really appreciate it. Thanks.”
Many customers contact us complaining of discomfort or pain on the bottom, outermost part of their foot. The illustration on the left below shows the location of the MOST common “hot foot” or foot discomfort. This seems to hold true with the description mentioned in the question.
The illustration on the right displays even pressure across the entire ball of their foot. Cyclists often describe this as feeling better connected, more stable, even-feeling…etc.
There are 2 ways to look at your own feet and see why there is often more pressure toward the outside of the foot.
With your knees on a chair, ask someone to hold a book or ruler across the balls of your feet. Are they angled up toward the inside?
Foot Fit Calculator
Download the FREE Foot Fit Calculator at the Google Play Store. The App will walk you through the process (you still need a friend to help) to measure your foot tilt. Not only will it help you determine foot tilt, but it will also provide you with the solution to your foot pain! This method is preferred to the manual measurement do to the ability to provide you with the number of cleat wedges you may need to alleviate foot pain.
BikeFit provides the solution for you called Cleat Wedges. They accommodate for your foot’s natural position by creating an angle on your cycling cleat(s) where it connects to the pedal. The number of Cleat Wedges on one shoe in no way dictates the proper number of Cleat Wedges you’ll need on the other shoe.
Each Cleat Wedge contains one degree of slope (or angle) and can be stacked based on your needs (see below for an example of “stacking”).
You also mentioned the insoles you tried did not provide relief. That does not mean your insoles are bad but, insoles rarely (if ever) address the tilt of the foot as described above. Consequently, SIDI bike shoes are not the culprit. Rather (from what you just learned), cyclists experience foot pain in most cycling shoes.
You can order Cleat Wedges by clicking the picture of wedges above or visit a BikeFit Pro or Dealer who carries them.
1Spinning is a registered trademark of Mad Dogg Athletics, Inc.
When the Foot Meets the Pedal
The new BikeFit manual “When the Foot Meets the Pedal” is the foundation for every good bicycle fit. This comprehensive manual teaches you the foot/pedal interface and beyond through rich content and descriptive graphics. This is a “must have” for any fitter regardless of their education or history in bike fitting.
From Max Testa, MD:
Over 30 years ago during my Sports Medicine Fellowship, I was told that you cannot assess a cyclist’s performance or injury without looking at the bike fit. Since then, I have rarely evaluated a cyclist in clinic without checking her/his position on the bike. With practice, I also learned that the foot-pedal interface is a key factor for a successful bike fit.
With their new BikeFit Manual, “When the Foot Meets the Pedal,” established bike fit experts Paul Swift and Dr. Katrina Vogel have completed another step in their effort to educate on the applied science of bike fitting. This easy-to-read, well-illustrated book condenses a lot of information about the proper assessment of the cleat’s positioning and alignment. The readers, from bike fit professionals to the more serious cyclists, will find a lot of valuable and practical information, supported by great illustrations that take them step-by-step from the basics to the advanced understanding of the topic.
I strongly recommend the reading of this book. It will be a fun and productive experience.”
Max Testa, M.D.
Intermountain LiveWell & Sport Performance Ctr, Salt Lake City, UT
Chief Medical Official, BMC Racing professional cycling team, USA
The manual is a standard component in the BikeFit Bicycle Fitting System™
Click here to get your copy of the BikeFit Manual today!
Talk a look at our edu/combo online course with the manual for the best value and education in bike fitting!