Plantar fasciitis and road bike shoes

I’m stunned, and wondering what others have experienced.

I have two pairs of Fizik’s Vento Infinito Knit Carbon 2’s, and one is just making my PF so much worse. One is 43.5, and they seem to be just about perfect. (I also have a pair of older knit Fizik shoes that are the same size, the upper is much stiffer, but they work really well too) I ordered a pair of 44’s last year, and they wore pretty well in the beginning, but once the PF set in, they seem to inflame it, which is surprising. How can the smaller seem to be so great, but the larger have turned so evil all of the sudden? I’m using the same insoles, which are a-mazing so far.

I’m at a loss. +0.5 and that much pain suddenly? There’s no major foot or heel movement. The larger size feels good; I’m not getting any pain during the ride, just after. (Asking my podiatrist about cycling shoes was like asking my dog, sadly)

I was also strongly advised to avoid injections in my foot by my surgeon and PA, so having pain, but doing ‘self-healing’ exercises to try to get over it. (Know something that works well for therapy? The podiatrist is all injections, injections, injections)

It’s just been interesting. What is igniting this PF. Wow. Is this common, shoes that worked great turning on you?

Is cleat placement a thing that can piss off plantar fasciitis?


Have you tried an insert with arch support? I use the Giro footbeds and it worked for me.

Using Abeo Performance insoles. They fixed some metatarsal pain I was having almost immediately. I also have ‘really high arches’, and the Abeo seems to provide great support.

EDIT: The insoles have been swapped between the two shoes for quite a few months. (I got the larger size because the smaller feel ‘snug’ across the metatarsal area).

When I had PF, cycling never bothered it, so I can’t really comment on that.

But I spent months and months struggling with PF…two things finally got me straightened out. 1) Really working on my glutes. The leg is one long kinetic chain…chances are your root cause is someplace else, and for cyclists, that is usually the glutes. SIngle leg squats, monster walks, balance pad work (single leg), bridges, etc. 2) finally getting a stress fracture diagnosed…it has was largely healed by the time it was diagnosed, but I had to be completely non-weight bearing for 6 weeks. That finally gave my PF a chance to calm down and relax.

Sleeping in a night splint also helped relieve the pain first thing in the AM. You can also try rolling your heel and foot on those small spiky therapy balls, or even just a golf ball. I used to really dig into them…hurt like a MF’er, but it helped relieve symptoms.

I would also roll my foot / heel on a can of frozen beans. Forget about using a frozen water bottle, use a can of beans. It stays frozen much longer and you can really dig into it since it is harder than plastic.

Injections never helped me…


I had a Morton’s neuroma, and the injections worked exactly once and the next one he ‘hit a nerve’ (it was the third one) and OMG!! That HURT! So when my ‘medical staff’ said avoid injections, I was all in. I was wondering if using a golf ball would help. The DPM commented on that, and said that he didn’t recommend it because of the incredible pain it can cause. Yeah, like I’m having now? I have been working on my hip flexors and psoas and general flexibility. (Had a hip replacement on the other side, and the presurgery life took a tole on the other side. Yeah, it’s definitely a thing. The wife gave me one of her splints, she’s suffered on and off for many years, and OMG, it was hard to sleep, and get it to fit right. It’s a large so it should also fit my foot, but I had a hard time adjusting it to me. The DPM sold me a ‘PT Sock’, and the first/last night with that thing was awkward, the pain from it pressing on my heel was excruciating the next morning.

Sorry if this feels like I’m pissing on suggestions, but I’ve tried a few, and just saying what I experienced. I have actually thought about saying WTF, and getting ‘just one shot’. The pain has been that intense…

Thanks for your post. Looking for a golf ball… (I got a special roller for my foot at the local running shoe temple, and the dog ate it! You can’t make this stuff up :person_facepalming:)

Oh, started working on squats, and that was interesting. People should be doing squats every day!! People should be doing a lot of exercises every day!!

It takes a while to get used to sleeping in a night split…I preferred that to the PT Sock.

You could consider talking to your doc about a sleep aid to help you while you adjust to sleeping in it. I already had a Rx for Ambien (for international travel) and it made a difference…mostly it allowed me to get to sleep, which was always my challenge with the splint.

I have exactly the same shoes and a fitter pointed out that they’re fairly narrow. I was getting some crazy cramping in one foot and hoping that moving to a wider shoe will help since it will support my whole foot.

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I did get the ‘wide’ when I got an email showing it was available. It actually, ironically, seems ‘too wide’. I seem to get quite a bit of side to side shifting of my foot inside the shoe. There is also a cleat position issue as my knee started hurting soon after I tried them. They are on the back burner to deal with the cleats at a later time. They seem like great shoes, but if they are too wide, that’s not fixing anything, obviously. Maybe I should have gone down a size? My wife has sensitive feet, and I’ve teased her about it a little, and now it’s turnabout. Hah…

These are one of the few shoes that I have had, for road, that aren’t incredibly tight. One pair I tried on wouldn’t fit width wise until I went up 6 sizes. I wasn’t going to buy them that big, I was just curious what size would fit. Wow… Most of the MTP bike shoes I have are usually a bit wider, so I guess I could try SPD pedals on my smart bike, and go with those shoes, but they were really hot too.

(The tightness/cramping/pain was the reason I went larger. Wish I had returned them when I could. Fizik doesn’t want cleats to be used on shoes that might be returned. shrug I’ll get them right eventually. (Thick socks?))

EDIT: But I would have no problem recommending the Vento Infinito Knit Carbon 2’s to anyone. I really like the 2 pairs I have, and hope to get the wides figured out. They are so much cooler on the trainer indoors, and do seem to generally fit great. I just have buggered feet at the moment.

I tried Ambien, the wife did too. She had the crazy night activity stuff going on, and it was pretty crazy. (I’d get into it, but not here. It did some crazy/mostly harmless stuff to her)

I asked my DPM about a ‘boot’, and he said the sock works better and is more comfortable than ‘the boot’. I guess I need to do the sock more, get the boot adjusted, and do the golf ball. (It’s been nearly 6 months) I did get relief from using a vibrating roll, but it seems to not be as effective lately. I really like the can of beans idea. The ice blocks definitely do not last near long enough. Great advice!

I never take a full Ambien…at most, I take a half, usually only 1/4.

There are some night splits that are pretty minimal….I had good luck with this style from Pro-Tec

The upper is the most comfortable and breathes really well but can hide fitting issues because it gives more.

If you have a 44 in wide that you’re looking to offload reach out!

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Agree with @Power13 that the reason for PF is quite often some issue elsewhere. When I had PF long time ago, I was able to get rid of it by doubling the time I used stretching my thighs and glutes.


I have dealt with PF for over a decade and can tell you what worked for me. Cortisone works but it will only reduce the inflammation, if you don’t fix the root cause it will come back. First it was not activity shoes but everyday shoes that really make the difference. Idk if you go barefoot (edit, I mean in the house here, I am not that much of a Florida man) or sandals a lot but those are the two worse things you can do for PF. I live in Florida where both are very common and when my PF flares up I know I have been going Florida man too long.

You need to wear shoes that have firm arch support all the time. The test I was told was to grab the heel of the shoe and the middle sole and try and bend it, the less flex the better.

Additionally as others have suggested, rolling is helpful. Rather than a can or golf ball I would suggest a lacrosse ball. They are hard enough and have the right size to really flex the PF.

Finally as far as cycling shoes go, I found the Fizik Stabilita with it arch support 2.0 to be very supportive. I wear them with only the stock inserts.

I hope you find relief, there was nothing worse than waking up and not being able to walk or having to walk on the sides of my feet.

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Every time I’ve had a persistent injury that I had to see a physical therapist for … calf, knee, back … and I told them I was a cyclist they went straight to my glutes. Monster walks and the like with a resistance band will do wonders if you keep at it consistently. Your glutes are huge muscles that, among other things, stabilize your leg. And if they’re weak (and if you are only cycling, trust me, your glutes are relatively weak) your other muscles will pick up the stabilization slack, but those other muscles in your posterior chain are relatively small compared to your glutes so they get overworked, and that’s when the problems start.

For instance, I have a nagging calf injury that I fixed (initially) through dry-needling and physio work (primarily) on my glutes. It reappears after about a month or two if I neglect my glute work. The reason, in my case, was my calf was picking up the stabilization slack from glutes, and it manifested as a calf strain. Your calves could be picking up the slack and be overly tight, but it could be creating extra pull on your PF.

5 mins of activation work before you ride and 5 mins of targeted stretching/foam rolling after you ride does wonders for me. 10 minutes. That’s it. Once you get it fixed, 10 mins 3-4 times a week is such a low, low, low price to pay for having balance on the bike and being pain free. Also, I will have my wife film me on the trainer every couple months or so … I’m looking for knee wobble, which can be a leading indicator of an imbalance.

Honestly, I feel like day 1, hour 1 of PT school the instructor tells the students, “If a cyclist comes to see you, work on their glutes” lol

Also, once your glutes and hamstrings are stronger you will be stunned how much easier it is to climb out of the saddle.

Good luck🤘

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I think what started this PT ball rolling was running barefoot to try to fill up the Apple Fitness rings. Oh how I wish I hadn’t done that. After a month of the pain, I saw the DPM, and he said that walking barefoot was making it worse, yet some of the shoes I wear are incredibly pain producing. I have a pair of Keen shoes (like a Merrill shoe) and they were great, until now. I was religious on Birkenstock Londons, and they aren’t as comfortable as they once were. Finding ‘good shoes’ is proving to be so problematic.

But back to the stretching. My fear of dislocating my new hip made me reticent to cause that to happen, so I am paying the price for a lot of bad decisions, and need to take this a lot more seriously.

One thing that I did fairly religiously was ‘clams’ with a latex band. I started doing it again recently and it seems to involve the very muscles that are angry in my butt. I stopped doing it thinking that I’m not doing any favors by continuing to work them so much.

But the biggest thing that physical therapy has harped on is ‘stability’. And we ALL need to work on that, and me quite a bit more.

Crazy that the DPM told me that the muscles through the achilles tendon connect the butt and leg to the metatarsals in the foot. Yeah, it’s all tight.

On the 44 wides? I honestly can’t remember what size they are. I put them aside because of the whole mess, the PF, the stretching, the whole mess. I had hoped that they would be ‘the answer’, and provide more support and comfort. It’s a work in progress I guess. But I LOVE their knit shoes, and even though the uppers are so flexible, they are so much cooler. I have a pair of Bontrager race shoes (first pair I have that came with a storage bag) and they were HOT, and I would leave streaks of sweat following the path of the shoes as they traveled the pedal stroke. But many other shoes also are really hot, some are just less able to get the swamp out in motion. (Yeah, the foot/shoe stench is epic!)

Hers is smaller up the back of the leg. The binding was over the top of my foot. 90 degrees off where the PF sock was wearing poorly. I have heard that finding a support structure can be a tedious process as some supports work better for some people than others.

I use Xanax for plane travel. That was after trying Dramamine, sleeping pills and Valium. I love to travel, but hate to fly, like so many others. I actually took private pilot lessons to help handle it actually. My instructor was shocked that I had a fear of flying, and yet was taking flight lessons. It was kind of odd I guess. It was actually fun, but having flown to Europe and Australia, New Zealand several times, Xanax and a red wine works amazingly well, but nothing helps deal with the boredom🤷🏻‍♂️. But Xanax is also getting a lot harder to get now…

Adding to @Power13 's advice…

I’ve had PF for years, and the things that help are anything that lengthens/strengthens the posterior chain. Glute stuff does help to a point, but it also seems to be in my hamstrings and calves. If I do strengthening, lengthening exercises with those, then my feet are tolerable. If I get lazy and stop, the pain returns.

That means doing the “rathleff protocol” all the time and/or heavy heavy calf raises both seated and standing, “elephant walks,” nordic curls, good mornings, rdl’s, single leg rdls.

I’ve never noticed a difference in shoes/cleat position with pain, but for me there’s a correlation between attempting to ride in an aero position (either aero bars, or flat forearms) and riding more upright. If I ride aero, that seems to put stress and tightness into that posterior chain which creates tightness/pain in my feet…If I don’t, then they’re fine.


Gotcha. I did raise my bars on the bike trainer, and pull them back farther. I noticed that riding outdoors isn’t quite as painful as riding inside, and it’s because I STAND more outdoors, but standing indoors is not easy. Even though the trainer is setup well, it seems that I get the seat probe a lot more standing on it. Like it’s not leaving enough room at the nose of the seat. Weird. There was a fitter that would come to peoples homes to setup their smart bikes, but then he quit. Now no one else does fittings in the area, and he supposedly left the state. (Hopefully for a place with more sunny days) Putting my forearms on the bars did nothing for recovery. I’ve been thinking I need to tweak the setup again. For the time I spend on it, it seems like it could fit better.

Some mornings the pain is so sharp, takes my breath away, and with the wife complaining about the same thing, it’s interesting in the mornings around here at times.

Thanks for all the comments! Much appreciated. I need to get on top of this…

Oh, and the wides are 43.5s. I figured if the standard 43.5s were snug, the wides would be, well, wider. I wasn’t expecting them to be potentially ‘too wide’. Didn’t consider that option, but I doubt that the 43s would fit well, being somewhat shorter.

I’ve found that using a theragun type thing, carefully, on the area actually buys me some time, usually a day (once almost 2), without pain. It seems to come back with a vengeance at times, but I do get some relief. I also have used a vibrating foam roller too, and it works really well too.

Tried golf balls, and cans. It’s bizarre that some times the bike shoes make it feel great, and other times, the shoes make it feel just so much worse.