A few years back I bought some Bontrager RXL road shoes at the St. Louis Swap Meet for 10 bucks. I’ve never really used them because from day one they felt too narrow and caused pain on the outsides of my feet. If you’ve experienced pain on the outside of your feet while riding you may be like me and need cleat shims to correct a Varus tilt in your shoe to pedal interface. I’d highly recommend checking out Lewedges or some other kind of pedal shim on the market.
With pedal wedges the shoes were better but still felt too narrow and uncomfortable and didn’t get much use. I decided to start using these this winter while riding the trainer just to see if I could break them in a bit. After a few rides that we were uncomfortable I got an idea, I put the shoes in the oven and baked them at 250 degrees for about 5 minutes.
Some shoes are designed to be heated up and worn to get a custom fit around your foot, its very common in the world of inline skating and becoming common on highend cycling shoes. I’m certain that these Bontrager shoes don’t have that feature, but I thought, “What the heck.” After the first heating they felt incredibly comfortable for the next ride. A few days later I wore them again and the left shoe felt tight and constricting again, while the right shoe felt much better.
I’ve now given the Left shoe 3 more heatings and am finding it 90% as comfortable as the Right shoe.
So what’s going on here?
Either the mostly plastic materials of the shoes are stretching a bit and forming a better fit while they are warm on my foot or I’ve just worn them enough to stretch them out naturally. I think that the heat treatment helped alot and they shoes felt really good while they were warm.
If you have a pair of shoes that you just have never been able to get to fit, you might try heating them up. The procedure couldn’t be simpler. Turn on the oven, place the shoes in the oven for about 5 minutes, then put the shoes on your feet and go ride. Only thing to really watch out for is if any kind of metal would be touching your skin, it may burn you.