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I saw this post by Ji Cheng (Lanterne Rouge) on Twitter. My question is about the apparatus he posts a picture of. It contains (his?) shoes. Simple question, what is this machine exactly doing? Is it to get rid of odors?

Apparatus cycling shoes

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Best guess is that it is a (greatly overpriced) shoe dryer. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 27 at 19:04
    
@DanielRHicks That sounds plausible, but I could not find it. –  Bernhard Jul 27 at 19:11
    
Yeah, I couldn't find it either. But Google images for "drying box" and you will see a number of roughly similar devices. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 27 at 19:22
    
Concievably a shoe dryer does get rid of some odors. –  Batman Jul 27 at 21:03

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

It is a machine used for heating the shoes so that they can be formed to your feet. the shoes are heated. You then put them on your feet and they use a vacuum bag around the shoe to compress it against your foot so it gets the proper shape. Here's an article that explains it. I've had something similar done for hockey skates, although without the vacuum, and the result was quite comfortable skates. Hockey skates are quite hard, so I could see this being necessary to get the right shape. Cycling shoes are often rigid, at least in the sole, so I could see it helping with fit.

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This same concept has been used in ski boots for years. The shoe's upper contains some product that, when heated, softens, and when cooled retains the molded shape. I have a pair of MTB shoes for which this was done and they are extremely comfortable after molding. –  Chris Cleeland Jul 28 at 15:19
    
They should figure out a way to do something similar for saddles. –  Kibbee Jul 28 at 17:14
    
Hah! I don't think you want to sit your taint on a heated saddle and then have a vacuum bag placed around that whole AREA and clamped down. Or, if you do, there are probably other places on the internet that are more interesting than the bicycle area of stackexchange ;) –  Chris Cleeland Jul 28 at 23:54
    
@ChrisCleeland your weight would probably be enough to make a proper mold, you wouldn't need a vacuum bag. And it doesn't really get that hot. Otherwise the process would burn your foot. –  Kibbee Jul 29 at 0:50
    
my foot is a bit less sensitive than my taint, but I understand your point. –  Chris Cleeland Jul 29 at 3:32

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