Friday, July 9, 2010

Wedge issues

As others have noted, biking in heels is a lot easier than walking in them.  Not easier?  Biking in platform wedges.  Obviously, right?  I mean, just look:
There's a solid inch of cork under the toe there.  But apparently, I needed to try this out for myself to be sure.

It's par for the course for women's fashion that the rare pair of heels that is actually, miraculously easy to walk in would have to be difficult to cycle in.  Whereas your average pair of high heels makes me feel like the balls of my feet are being continually stabbed with flaming knives if I try to wear them for more than ten minutes, these are notably flame-stabbingness-free thanks to the platforms.  I knew this extra height would affect the ride once I got on the bike, but I seriously underestimated just how much.

The problems were apparent almost immediately.  It felt like I was riding a bicycle that was two sizes too small, and it was hard to really feel the pedals, which was disturbing and uncomfortable.  My legs felt incredibly inefficient; starting from a stop was touchy; and I think my balance was generally a little bit off.  All of that from just one little inch!  Once again, I'm learning how sensitive bicycle geometries can be to the smallest of adjustments, and an inch here is no small thing. 

Still, my ride to work is very, very short, so I didn't want to take the time to go back for other shoes or stop to adjust the saddle height and instead just wobbled along, feeling kind of foolish.  It was non-fun. 

not excited to ride home

The one upside was that I did find it considerably easier to put a toe down at red lights, which was especially helpful for me since I'm trying to train myself to stop automatically hopping off my bike whenever I come to a stop.  I don't know why I started doing that, but it's been a really hard habit to break and it makes me feel amateurish, particularly if I'm sitting out in an intersection waiting to make a left turn.  So then, these were good as "training toes," though that was about it for positives, bicycle-wise.

In short, this is what I learned today: don't bike in platform wedges.  Just don't.  I do not think you will enjoy it.


Ridonkulus said...

details on these shoes? i've been looking for a cute pair of wedges. i had similar difficulty with these ankle strap mary janes. my foot would twist in the shoe if i came down at the wrong angle (i have to get off the saddle to stop). gotta really tighten the straps.

i think for a short distance, i wouldn't bother adjusting the saddle height either.

Amy said...

Well thanks for the heads up! I had thought about trying thicker soled shoes to see if I could touch a toe to the ground. I'm so short that I have never been able to do that, so I thought I might at least experience it once in awhile with thick shoes. I'd rather just keep hoping off than have some clumsy moment in traffic.

margonaute said...

Amy: While it was pretty nice to be able to put my foot down and have the ground be right there, easily within reach, it wasn't worth all of the other discomforts/slight dangers. If only there could be some kind of go-go-gadget platform toes that could be deployed at stops!

R: The shoes are Nine West, but I got them on clearance at a TJ Maxx a while ago, so I don't think they're still available. They do have these though- not wedges, but a similar kind of shoe and half off:,default,pd.html?cgid=101001&itemNum=33&variantSizeClass=&variantColor=LTESPLE

dokinchan said...

timely advice. I was going to wear mine tomorrow and never thought it would be an issue. Shoe rethink.

Ridonkulus said...

alas, those don't look as cute. i personally don't know why people have said you can ride in pretty much any shoe. ballet flats tend to want to fall off my foot. flip flops same thing. but everyone else seems to do fine wearing them!

Velouria said...

I rode bikes in platform wedges last summer and dealt with the height change issues by raising the saddle. I even found the platforms useful for <a href="'>riding my husband's bikes</a>, on which I otherwise can't clear the top tube.

But in all seriousness, of course it is not practical - and I agree with you that it's too bad, considering how comfortable they can be for walking!

margonaute said...

V: Raising the saddle is the obvious solution, but the vast majority of my trips are only about a mile or so, so it rarely seems worth it. (I don't know why adjusting the saddle seems like such a big deal to me! It really doesn't take that long!) I guess the bigger issue was I just didn't like how hard it was to feel the pedals, especially when starting up again after stops. I do really like the shoes, though, so I may have to find a way to get used to it...

D: Hope I helped one way or the other!

R: I mostly wear ballet flats and have never had trouble. Maybe you could try those little stick-on heel pads to help keep them from slipping off? Also, regarding the search for wedges: I think this is a Zappos moment.

MandG said...

Not only are platforms bad but Dasko clogs have the same issue. You'd think they'd be easy to ride in, but noooo, they most certainly are not. They have just enough sole to mess up your foot to pedal perception. Very unsettling!
Glad you made it home OK!

margonaute said...

Pedal perception-- that's exactly the way to describe it!

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