Many cyclists suffer from "burning foot syndrome", pain on the bottom of the feet, particularly during a long ride. After years of this problem, I tried a simple tip from RoadBikeRider, a free weekly newsletter from some of America's best long distance bicycle riders: Ed Pavelka, Fred Matheny, and Lon Halderman. They suggest moving the cleats back as far as possible toward the arch of the foot. All of the other articles I have read and all of the experts I have consulted recommend that you set your cleats on your shoes so that the ball of your big toe is exactly aligned with the axle of the pedal. Following Lon Haldeman's advice, I moved my cleats back last week and my feet have stopped burning. I also think I am riding faster.
This flies in the face of what other experts claim: the further back your cleat, the less power you get from your calf muscle. That's just not true. More than 90 percent of the pressure on your pedals comes from your thighs, not your lower leg (calf) muscles. The pain is caused by the front part of the foot pressing on the pedals. Moving the cleat backward takes the pressure of the forefoot and relieves the pain. As Haldeman states, you actually can be in better shape when you don't have burning feet, and you can train further and ride faster. (To subscribe to their free newsletter go to http://www.roadbikerider.com )