Cycling Shoes and Bunions

Clipless cycling shoes are notoriously tight. This is great for fit, and not so great if you have a wide forefoot or bunions. If you are a cyclist and suffer from bunions or have a wide forefoot, the following shoe-fitting recommendations should help.


  1. If possible, try and find shoes that don’t have a strap that tightens over the bump as seen above. Ideally, you will want to wear shoes that have either 3 straps or an offset strap away from the bump as this image shows.


  1. If you already have a shoe that secures and tightens directly over the bump, simply undo the strap and avoid using it entirely as the following image shows.


6 responses to “Cycling Shoes and Bunions

  1. This is terrific information. Happy Holidays!

  2. I love spin cycling and wore mountain bike cycling shoes in class. I fractured my right sesamoid bone in my foot. Has anyone ever heard of this happening from cycling? I did not clip in–just used the cages. I havent been able to go back to spin cycling since the injury.

    • Sesamoiditis is a common condition where one of the two bones underneath the big toe become inflamed, injured or fractured. This most commonly occurs when there is repeated, constant pressure or force applied to the sesamoids or during a one-time time traumatic event.

      I have treated many cases of sesamoiditis and fracture which happened during spin class. Typically this happens when the pedal rests squarely below the forefoot or when the majority of the class is spent out of the saddle.

      You may need an MRI to confirm the fracture is healed before going back and you will definitely need to modify your cycling form. Less standing and less resistance when you do stand will give your quads more of a workout and reduce the force going through the sesamoids.

      For more information regarding sesamoiditis, here’s another blog post I wrote

      • Thanks so much for writing back! I find very little information and support from the medical community in my town–mostly because broken sesamoids are not a very common ailment. The hardest part is trying to figure out what shoes are healthy for my feet, and what activities I can do without refracturing the already broken- to- pieces sesamoids. The local foot specialist keeps telling me no more flexible shoes, spin cycling, or yoga (or anything that involves flexing of the forefoot). And this is after 2 years. it is like haveing feet of glass!
        Thanks for sharing your expertise. I miss having rock solid feet and being more active.

  3. I have quite a large bunion on one foot and a protruding metatarsal on the other should I consider surgery for either wanting to cycle or grin and bear it

    • I would first make sure your cycling shoe is wide enough. See my earlier post on cycling shoes and bunions Second, do you only have pain when you cycle or during additional activities as well? If you are having pain in all shoes, then surgery is definitely an option you will want to consider – especially if you only have the bunion on one side. At the very least, I would get an evaluation and x-rays by a sports medicine podiatrist. Then you will be able to track the progression over time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s