Saturday, July 9, 2011

Product Review: Specialized BG Inserts

Since returning to the bike, I noticed I was having problems with my feet that I didn't have back when I used to race. Right about at 45 miles I was getting what is often described as "Hot Foot" where the balls of my feet were starting to go numb, and it was often getting so bad my middle toe would start to feel like it was being cut off by the time I would reach 50+ miles.

I knew this could be attributed, in part, to being new back on the bike. I was aware there would be different things that I would have to get my body accustomed to other than just the obvious... sitting on the saddle. But this problem with my feet seemed like it was due to something more than that and need to be corrected.

I knew my shoes where probably not the problem. I knew they were good (SIDI Genius 5.5) And as a rider, I have never worn anything other than SIDI shoes. Even with the years that went by, since I last rode, I knew my feet hadn't grown and I was using the same size I always had, so I was fairly confident the fit was good. So I moved my attention to the cleats. I knew that riders often set their cleats back towards the middle of the foot to alleviate these types of discomforts so I checked that as well.

After taking a look at my shoes and cleats (with no significant improvements) I decided to turn my attention to my inserts. SIDI makes great shoes, but they have never been known for having good inserts in them. So, I decided to do some research on some of the different insole options there are out there. I really got the BG Inserts by default. I liked the fact that Esole inserts are customizable and went to one of the LBS in the area and purchased the Esole kit they said I needed. But the guy at that LBS (that is also supposed to be their bike fitter) is a moron and sold me a kit that can only be used with Bontrager shoes, as it only contained the arch wedges and metatarsal pads and no actual insoles to attach them to. This was pretty disappointing, and I returned them the next day and, after they actually did some research they found that the kit (that actually included insoles) was going to have to be ordered AND was going to cost another $30 on top of the $50 I had already spent. I told them no thanks and took my $50 down the road to their sister store to look at BG Insoles.

The reason I didn't want to go with the BG Insoles from the start is they come in three different arch heights, and the shop I was purchasing them from didn't have any of the BG equipment to even tell me which arch height I actually need. (Not really sure how that makes any sense what so ever). So I went in and was asked if I need help. I said I needed some insoles and was promptly taken to the shoe section of the store. I started asking questions and it became very apparent the guy that was "helping" me was just another idiot like the guy at the last shop. I asked how I should decide on the arch height and he said "Well you can see through the side of the package, you can put it up next to your foot and your eye should be able to tell you which one you need." (Seriously???) I then said I notice the insoles come in different sizes, how should I figure out which size to buy because I have SIDI shoes and those are Specialized sizes which I know for a fact are not the same. He said I should just guess. (OK... WTH?) I told him "So I'm just supposed to guess about these insoles that are supposed to help my feet IF they fit properly, and just give you $50?" I then told him what we were going to do, is I'm going to go get my shoes out of the truck and we're going to open the ones I think will fit and see if they fit in my shoe. I also wanted to compare them side by side with the original inserts because if they were too thick they would essentially make my shoes too small. He didn't like that idea, but at that point I really didn't give a shit. They looked to be ok, I found the size that fit best (with minimal trimming) and found the ones I wanted.

I ended up getting the lowest arch (Red) insloes. And the first day I rode with them, I rode 60 miles with absolutely no problems. My feet had some SLIGHT irritation at the end but I'm sure that can be contributed to being new back on the bike. I absolutely think the "Metatarsal button" on the inserts works outstanding for the "Hot Foot" and would recommend these insoles absolutely... I just wish now that I had gotten the Blue (medium) arch support because I think it would fit my arch better (but not much). It's funny because that was EXACTLY what I thought would happen and EXACTLY why I didn't go with them from the beginning.

The moral of the story is... BG Fit Insoles are great overall... the bikes shops in Modesto, on the other hand, are NOT great overall.

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