The eSoles eFit modular footbed system has been created from research into foot shapes, using eSoles’ own database of over 50,000 foot scans from athletes at all levels, and input from biomechanics experts. But you don’t need your feet scanned to benefit, just buy the correct size.
Of the three styles available, the supportive model (Super Dynamic) is the only one recommended for cycling, as it’s designed for use in rigid footwear, and consists of the insoles, three pairs of metatarsal button inserts, and four pairs of arch supports.
When walking, your foot’s arch acts like a leaf spring, opening on contact with the ground and contracting again to push off. When cycling, this action happens at the pedal’s dead spot, meaning the energy is wasted and the foot creates friction inside the shoe. Supporting the arch reduces flex, increases pedalling stability and saves energy.
The multi-density EVA foam insole has neutral vertical alignment with a wicking polyester surface, and a cutout arch area. The arch supports are colour coded by height, and have a semi-rigid base that’s attached with velcro to the insole’s underside, leaving the EVA foam covered arch support in the right position. Body heat activates this, allowing it to mould to the contour of your arch as you ride, its built-in ribs offering some flex.
Metatarsal pads are designed to reduce the ‘hot foot’ or numb sensation caused by rigid cycling footwear, with a raised section behind the forefoot. It supports the transverse arch and spreads the metatarsal bones a little, giving blood vessels and nerves more space, resulting in better blood flow and less swelling. The eSoles insole has a slight bump that can be carefully cut out and replaced by the firmer varied height metatarsal pads that fix with velcro to the arch support.
Once we’d settled on the ideal arch height and metatarsal pad, it took a while to get used to the feeling of firm support where there had been none, but we grew used to it, and definitely noticed an increase in comfort on the bike and less fatigue afterwards. Changing back to our old insoles highlighted the difference, and now we’re sold. If you need help, arrange a fitting with a specialist, and give your feet a birthday.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.