Two Reasons Why Toe Straps Are Important for Track Cyclists
Nov 24, 2017
Regardless of whether you're a beginner or experienced track cyclist, the talk of toe-straps is of importance to everyone!
Here are some reasons why...
1. SECURE FOOT, SHOE AND PEDAL CONTACT
Think of it like this… when you’re following an opponent around the track in a race and it’s time to accelerate quickly, you want to engage and maximise your power line as efficiently as possible. That is, the line in which you can transfer all the power your body generates into the pedals, as fast as possible, so you can quickly accelerate your speed.
An important area that tends to get over looked is your cycling shoes! When you think about your foot in your cycling shoe - is it a snug fit? Or is there room to move your foot up and down, or side to side?
If you are experiencing this type of movement in your cycling shoes, it’s likely that some of the power that you produce when pedalling is going to waste, especially when the materials of your shoe start to stretch when force is applied.
Check out the space shown in the cycling shoe below:
Figure 1: No Straps
As you'll see in the above diagram, this cycling shoe has space where the foot can easily move around the shoe as you are pedalling. Particularly when in the rake and lift sections of the pedal stroke, where the foot has a greater chance of moving or sliding in the shoe.
But there is a great solution if you are experiencing this issue with your cycling shoes, toe straps! Where the cleat focuses on locking your shoe to the pedal, the toe strap focuses on securing your foot in your shoe! Take a look at the diagram below.
Figure 2. With Straps
Having your foot secure in your shoe allows you to direct the power you produce more efficiently to your pedals, which will help you pick up an extra 200-400 watts of free power...without any extra training!
So having a set of toe straps on your pedals, and securely fitted cleats on your shoes will minimise the chance of something else from happening......something that a lot of us have sitting in the back of our minds, particularly when doing time trials.
2. MINIMISE RISK OF PULLING A FOOT
Without a doubt, this is one of the most unfortunate situations to occur in cycling, particularly at the top level where gold medals are at stake. Take a look at the footage below, and observe the unfortunate effect pulling your foot can have on your performance.
Ultimately, when you have cleats in good condition, and your pedals are locked tight, having a good set of toe straps will set you up for a solid and more powerful performance in your event.