I'm getting started on road cycling, rode a few times with Shimano R540 SPD-SL pedals and compatible shoes, using the maximum float setting since I'm still getting comfortable with the system.

I've noticed right away that using cycling shoes has given me a great pain in the right foot. More specifically, on the fourth and fifth toes. I think they're getting jammed on the soles or maybe on the sides of the shoes.

I'm pretty sure I've got the right size shoes for me, since it's very comfortable and doesn't feel tight when wearing, so I guess it's a matter of adjusting the cleats.

I should mention that my right foot is the "dominant" one. It's the one I've gotten used to keep clipped in while standing, for instance.

Anybody got an idea for how I can try adjusting the cleats to lower the pain on the two outside toes? Put it more to the back of the shoes? More to the outside?

  • 1
    Are the shoes laced tightly enough? The laces need to be tight enough to prevent the foot from sliding forward to the point where the toes are bearing against the "toe" of the shoe. (And how you position your foot has a lot to do with this -- the more toe-down your foot posture, the more you will have trouble with jammed toes.) Jul 18, 2018 at 1:55
  • They're velcro straps, I adjust them almost to the max. They feel pretty firm but not overly so. But then again, I don't have a frame of reference to compare since these are my first cycling shoes, so I'll try to loosen them next time as well. Thanks Jul 18, 2018 at 2:00
  • If your toes are bumping the front of the shoe then either the shoes are too small or they are not laced tightly enough. Jul 18, 2018 at 2:02
  • If you've got long thin feet, it can be hard enough to get shoes that do up tight enough to stop your feet moving
    – Chris H
    Jul 18, 2018 at 7:08
  • Bike fitting with shoe positioning would certainly help. Otherwise it's trial and error. Find a quiet road, pack the tools required for cleat and saddle adjustments and do a series of test rides. But change only one position at the time.
    – Carel
    Jul 19, 2018 at 9:47

2 Answers 2


Your feet aren't supposed to hurt like that. I'd guess that your shoes don't fit properly. They could be too small and cutting off your blood flow. Unfortunately there's no way for anyone to really tell across the internet. They could be too big and your feet move allowing your toes to hit the end of the shoe over and over.

Given your commment

They're velcro straps, I adjust them almost to the max.

I'd have to guess that your shoes are too small or maybe just tight. But again that's all it is - a guess. You could try riding with the straps a bit looser and see if that helps.

  • So I guess it's a matter of either the shoes being too small or maybe I'm tightening them too much, and my original idea about adjusting the cleats wouldn't have any effect? Jul 18, 2018 at 16:45
  • 2
    @GiulianoVilela Adjusting the cleats might. But again, it's really impossible for anyone on the internet to really tell. Something is wrong - so I don't think you should just keep going hoping for your shoes to break in. You can also try thinner socks, or maybe something like Superfeet insoles - maybe you need better arch support? One thing to be aware of - your feet do tend to stretch out and get larger as you get older. When I was 18, I wore 12D shoes (US size - about a 46.5 or so). I'm now in 13EEs/48s, and just recently some of my wide 48s have gotten tight, so I need to go wider. Jul 18, 2018 at 20:07

I suffer from pain in my feet on long rides. I believe it's caused by lack of blood flow and pressure on parts of my foot. I currently have a new pair of shoes and it is definitely worse when using those. You will probably find the issue improves as your shoes get properly broken in.

  • 2
    Yes (+1),but if pressure on the sole is restricting blood flow, it's unlikely to break in as most cycling shoes are designed to have rigid soles.
    – Chris H
    Jul 18, 2018 at 7:10
  • The only thing with cycling shoes to break-in are self-molding insoles.
    – Carel
    Jul 19, 2018 at 9:49

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