In praise of the footbed: Why they make a difference

If you’re a cyclist with £80 to spend on something to improve your riding experience, what can you spend it on? A new rear mech? Ceramic BB? A nice, light, colourful set of skewers? Titanium railed saddle? The list goes on.

So why would you choose to splash your cash on something to put inside your shoes that no one ever sees?

A Sidas footbed with a more usual example of cycling shoe insoles

A Sidas footbed with a more usual example of cycling shoe insoles

Well, the human foot is a clever and complex thing. But one thing those 26 bones were never meant to do was to be strapped into a carbon soled shoes and force a pair of pedals round and round for hours on end.

They’ll do it, that much is undeniable. Whether they’re doing it efficiently is another matter.

Every ounce of energy you transmit to the pedals goes through your foot. In almost every case, your foot will deal with those forces better if it has some support. That translates to stability, comfort, a better pedal stroke, less risk of injury and quite possibly a bit of extra power.

Now, take the insoles out of your shoes and have a look; how much support do they give? Some will be better than others – and some very, very expensive shoes will have nothing but a fag-paper thin bit of foam in there – but even the finest generic product will struggle to offer the same advantage as something that perfectly mirrors your foot.

A custom made footbed might not be an obvious upgrade, but it is one that will make a day to day difference to your riding.