Who has made their own cycling shoes? How?

After reading about Adam Hansen and his homemade shoes I decided to give it a try. Who else has done this? I’m stuck and need some tips!

Hahah hell no but more power to ya.

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Well when you come off of the (assembly) line with a “special” foot morphology you think about these things LOL

Joe

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I’m thinking about getting threaded inserts surgically implanted into my feet, and then bolting cleats to them.

Must save grams, y’know?

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I would go in to a project like this expecting the first 5-10 iterations to be unusable from a cycling perspective but nevertheless valuable learning experiences. Iterate iterate iterate.

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Ya it reminds me of Elf:

:joy: it sounds like a project that would guarantee I never make it to the big time (Santa’s workshop)!

Looking forward to updates, you have skills!!!

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You may be right but it’s making me think $1500 for full custom shoes might not be a bad deal!

Absolutely agree :blush: If you look at it from a purely time/money perspective DIY is going to lose 99% of the time. There has to be something else you are getting from it.

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I hear making carbon fiber in your kitchen oven is a bad idea as it can smell really bad

Titanium I hope - inert in the body, AND saves you weight.

What kind of help are you wanting? Which bit are you struggling with?
I’ve done some work with carbon fibre, but there are good tutorials on youtube. Easy Composites in the UK has a bunch of really good tutorial videos too.
Looking at your photos, it seems you are going in the right direction, but you probably need a few more layers to get the stiffness. The alternative, now you have the hard bit done, is to bond what you have to an existing sole (ie from an old carbon-soled shoe.
In fact, that approach could work for the upper too - get a pair of cycling shoes that you can just fit your new carbon “sock” into, then separate the upper and sole with a craft knife, then glue your carbon sock into the upper. You can probably reshape the upper a lot when you have it off the old sole. Looking at the bend in your carbon sock, I guess you’d have to take a slice out of the inside of the shoe upper to get the shape you need.
Anyways, you asked for some ideas!

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I feel like I can get the carbon “bottom” of the shoe done…not sure how to attach the cleat but I think I can get the bottom half done.

It’s the top half that I’m stuck on. I’ve tried to see how shoes are put together but I’m not getting very far. I could even have just a couple of straps…kinda like a rigid soled sandal…but I’m not sure how to attach it. Adam Hansen made a flexible carbon upper that sorta just wrapped over the foot.

I hear you about cutting off the top of another shoe and putting it on. I’ve got a couple of problems with that…I don’t have an extra shoe to cut up and the uppers don’t fit my foot anyway. But…it’s a good idea.

I’ll keep mulling it over! Thanks for the comments :slight_smile:

This falls into the category of ‘things that impress me but I have no desire to attempt’! Good luck and let us know how it goes!

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I started making my own cycling shoes, not inspired by Adam Hansen, but by James Piccoli. His purpose for making cycling shoes and other components like TT bars, etc was due to the fact that he was in college and wanted to save money. Also to fill that creative side.
If you look back on his Instagram, there are some insights into his building (whether shoes or other). You do have to go back a ways, but for example:
aero helmet cover:


TT bars:

Here are some links to pictures of his shoes (you can find more if you scroll back to his conti/pro-conti days):
https://www.instagram.com/p/BPde8uWBC_y/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BO2NhwWhVCu/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BH5DuyUDJ0F/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BFze4WGoxye/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BCWR8FEIx-8/
https://www.instagram.com/p/BCT1GwbIxz7/

As you can see in this image, and this image, he had done some using kevlar and carbon.
You can look around on there and get an idea of some more…

Anyways… About a year or two ago I had started to make some, but have the feet molds just sitting in a drawer now collecting dust. The total cost was lower than it would be to buy a high end custom carbon shoe, but my wife and I started school, I started a new job, and my son was reaching 1 year old so never really have had the time or space to finish the project.

What I did was buy casting socks from eBay, and put them on my feet. I cut a slit in them and put a rope along the top so I could rip it open if I felt my foot was going to get stuck. I did this for both my feet, taking them out as soon as the casting was getting hardened so I didn’t get my foot stuck.

Then, I wrapped tape around them so they would stay in the proper foot position, and filled with casting putty that I bought from Hobby Lobby for a few dollars.

Lastly, I gently sanded them down so I could have a mold to use (this is where I left off):

My plan from here was to spray them with a few layers of clear coat, then rub PVA PARTALL Film #10 (so the carbon didn’t get stuck to the mold), and then wrap with carbon epoxy and 3k carbon weave.

The real two decisions that need to be made are: cleat bolting, and closing the shoe. Of course, the cleat bolt area needs to be the thickest and a decision has to be made about position and drilling. A few different ways you could do this… Then you could make a separate piece for the foot entry. I have seen people leave little holes in the top piece and then use BOA ratchets, or just use strings to tie it up.

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I feel like Adam Hansen was successful because a) cycling is his job and b) his strong industry connections.

Good luck to you, but my advice would be shell out the cash for a pair of high end shoes that you can heat mould. Bont would definitely be a good start. They have wide and normal width shoes, are highly customizable and are heat mouldable.

This bit I have done. I bought some of these things from ebay. I put masking tape on the bottom of the shoe, positioned the cleat on the bottom where I wanted it, marked, drilled and then put these things through from the inside. It works well, but epoxying them in is best, else they want to spin.

A2 STAINLESS STEEL WELD T TEE NUTS WITH SMOOTH FLANGE METRIC BOLTS SCREWS WOOD | eBay

I should say, I have an insole on top of these, but I can’t feel them through that.

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that hardware looks perfect, thanks :slight_smile:

I think I need full custom to accommodate my foot. This is what I’m up against here…the shoe is a size 48 mega Sidi. Also in the picture is the foot shaped thing I’m building around.

Good luck and let us know how it goes :innocent: :slightly_smiling_face:

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I’ve made my own custom shoes and my advice would be to fork out the cash and buy some. From the look of your feet you would definitely benefit from custom shoes. The ones I’m riding now are the best shoes I’ve ever worn, definitely one of the best upgrades you can do.

If you are just doing it for the shoes, then pay the $2k and get some really good ones. You can justify it relative to the amount you might spend on other bike components. And it really is a performance and comfort upgrade.

If you are doing it for the enjoyment of making things, then keep going and see how far you can get. But it is not easy, there are many challenges to overcome.

Myself and 2 other composites engineers worked on the shoes for a couple of years in our spare time to get decent rideable prototypes. I can’t give you any specific tips, as our design and process are a closely guarded secret. We used flexible carbon fibre for the upper, which was very tricky to work with. Good quality thick leather would work as a substitute, how to secure it is the challenge.

One tip I can give is that the sole will need to be very strong, not just stiff. Walking in the shoes is when they are most likely to be damaged by point loads through the heal and toe. If you don’t care too much about weight then just make it a big slab of carbon and drill holes straight through for the cleat mounts. Bont used to use this method on their old A1 model shoes. They put a wood-working style star-nut on the inside of the shoes and covered it with an inner sole so it didn’t poke into the sole of the foot. To do this you may need to account for the thickness of the inner sole during your molding. That’s a proven low-tech method I’d recommend.

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