Technical FAQ: Foot movement within cycling shoes

Why do my feet slip inside my cycling shoes?

Question: I recently purchased a pair of Northwave cycling shoes for my road bike, which is fitted with Look KEO pedals. The problem I have has nothing to do with the pedals but with the texture of the shoes. The shoes fit perfectly but when I wear my slick cycling socks, I feel that my feet move and roll inside the shoes no matter how much I pull on the straps. I’ve come to use regular, thick, cotton socks but they are too warm and not to mention, unfashionable.

How can I get some friction between the socks and the shoes so that my feet don’t slide? I guess the tricky part is that most of the uncomfortable movement originates against the top and the sides of the shoes instead of just being a simple manner of lack of grip with the insoles.


An answer from Northwave
: While each shoe manufacturer uses their own proprietary materials and designs to secure the foot, Northwave has taken great steps to ensure comfort, performance and long-term durability of our cycling shoes. First and foremost Northwave introduced the BioMap design concept to direct this philosophy. This idea allows the foot itself to perform and function with regard to blood flow, foot security and temperature regulation for maximum comfort and performance.

The features that are inherent to this design are:

• S.B.S. (step by step) Closing System
• Micro metric buckle with a release “step by step”.
• ASR2 Ankle Strap
• EVA instep pad to control heel movement and secure the foot.
• WLI, Wooden Lasted Insole
• Temperature control and dampening via full length wooden midsole, fully waterproof
• Web Power Cage
• Minimal usage of over-injected materials used with quantities of mesh and no overlapping materials.
• Aerator System
• Strategically placed ventilation to ensure maximum comfort and allow maximum performance.
• Heel Retention
• Using either the Ultra Y or Omega coupled with a “cat’s tongue” material creates perfect retention.

While each of these features cannot guarantee stand alone performance, Northwave has combined these to ensure the best possible combination of comfort and performance. Of course, fit also starts in the bike shop. Most shops have qualified and trained sales staff that can use each company’s fit concept and performance position to help the cyclist choose what is best for their needs. Every foot shape varies in terms of volume (width, length, height) and all of us have different tolerances and expectations of fit. Northwave uses 2 different insoles that are positioned with performance and price point in mind.

• Performance Pro
• Use of maximum perforation,
• 3D construction with a supportive arch support and heel cup
• Superfoam “core” material that gives all day comfort
• Microfiber topsheet that for wicking
• Performance Advanced
• Perforated for ventilation
• Superfoam core
• 3D construction
Either a custom or off the shelf insole system can greatly change the fit for the better. Whether you are looking to stabilize the foot for performance and energy transmission, take up a little volume or create volume by stabilization and reducing elongation of the foot. A different insole may also give the sock some grip for stability and keep it from moving too much in the shoe.

Northwave also recommends a dedicated cycling sock that ensures a close fit and transmission of energy to the shoe and pedal system. Northwave offers a number of different sock models that have a distinct composition and design.

• Comp Sock
• Coolmax material
• Reinforced toe and heel
• Topside mesh
• Tour Sock
• Meryl Skinlife material
• Topside mesh for moisture control and conformability
• Reinforced toe and heel

This hopefully answers your question and gives you a path to adjust your fit. You may also want to go back to the shop for another look at the shoe/foot interface and they can possibly give you some in store advice on the exact scenario and work with your current fit to make adjustments.

-John McKone, 
Sports Marketing and Event, s
Northwave North America