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3DBikeFit.com — Custom Orthotic Footbed for Cyclists
Kevin Bailey at 3DBikeFit is one of the most meticulous people I know, and has a real eye for the kinetic chain on the bike (along with dual video front/rear and side/side and so on—all the stuff). So it should come as no surprise that he installed a mini workroom right in his fitting studio so that custom orthotics could be made right then and there as part of the fit.
Think about what that means in : if there is any asymmetry involving one or both feet, how can a fit be really right until the feet are symmetrically and properly “grounded”? Because the kinetic chain starts with the feet . By being able to make a custom orthotic as part of the bike fit, the entire fitting process is taken to another level.
Thanks to the custom orthotic made by Kevin, for the first time in forever, the big metatarsal (big toe joint) in my right foot now plants my foot firmly as it ought to be, just like the left foot.
This foot placement issue has dogged me forever, but as soon as that orthotic went into place, my right foot felt symmetric to my left in terms of getting the foot solidly and evenly situated into the footbed.
WOW! I could feel it “hook up” like it had never done before. The first few rides I could feel the improved “kinetic chain”—no fidgeting around with my right foot to find a way to plant the foot, just a solidly planted forefoot as with the left. A few days of riding showed me that the muscle development to take advantage of the improved foot “hook up” would be needed—some slight soreness in the right quad that clearly was related to a new kinetic chain which let the leg engage better. I’m looking forward to more watts.
See the discussion after the pictures.
Shown below, the orthotic has been assembled, and is being shaped to fit the shoe, along with tweaks at the forefoot and heal areas, based on examining the foot (the basic shape was already molded to the foot in a prior step).
A final step involves thickness of the forefoot area of the orthotic, and possibly other specifics not related here.
As per 3DBikeFit:
At 3DBikeFit we feel the orthotic is key to proper foot alignment and acts as the base or start of a quality bike fit.
The foot needs to match the pedal interface with the orthotic acting as a perfect gasket between the foot and shoe/sole interface by matching and filling all angles and shapes of the foot due which are effected by tibial skeletal curvatures effecting forefoot and calcareous/heal angles.
Footbeds need to match the foot exactly while also matching the inside of shoe interface which mates the orthotic to shoe/sole curvatures. We have found most custom orthotics throughout the industry are under corrected for support and were never built to match the unweighted arch. In almost in every case the custom was not built to match the inner shoe sole which effects posting of the foot.
The orthotic process really needs to be done prior to fit for best results and while the rider is present with the shoes that they are being built for so it fits top to bottom properly to do its job. This direction also allows tuning orthotic throughout the fit process if needed to correct issues and helps direct the body motion to align knees.
Without the footbed acting as your fit base the body can move in many different erratic ways effecting the skeletal movement from the feet up throughout the entire body. Many types of nagging injures show up due to lack of proper correction.
Building a true custom orthotic that supports can help increase performance while enhancing and improving skeletal symmetry. This gives a cyclist the improved feeling of solidity at the foot/knee/hip connection activating more muscle groups and improves the overall pedal stroke that is very important to feeling good and achieving health longevity on the bike. This is why we have built our own custom orthotic lab within our fitting facility to enhance the bike fit.