A1 heel adjustments: How to optimize the heel cup for a custom-level fit.
The A1 shoe offers a fit like no other. Thanks to its patented design, its length, heel height & angle adjust dynamically for a precise fit to your exact foot. Beyond the adaptable heel, the fit can be further tuned to optimize the overfoot fit and tightening direction of the tounge straps - for more info on that aspect see this blog post.
Read on, or click here to see pricing and availability of A1 shoes (opens new window)
A1 delivers a custom-made-fit in a single off-the-shelf value, high performance product. In contrast, a regular shoe with a static heel does not adapt to your specific foot shape; making your foot adapt to the shoe though unbalanced tightening over the top of the shoe to compensate for inaccuracies in the fit - which can lead to numbness, hot spots and discomfort.
Lintaman has always been a leader in shoe ergonomics. We moved on from the marketplace's state-of-art customization technology, years ago.
We didn't develop our current adaptive shoe designs out of nowhere. You probably didnt know our brand name a decade ago, but in 2012 we were making thermo-molding statically-customized shoes. We moved on from this tech (that is still considered a quality customization method today), because we found that it came with inherent limitations and compromises that didn't fit with our vision of offering a perfect fit, every ride.
This is because your feet swell and contract naturally, meaning a perfect fitting shoe one day could be a too tight fit the next. A discouraging aspect of static customized shoes is that just changing your socks can lead to the shoe fitting poorly. Not in the least, the fit you may need for one ride isnt necessarily the same fit you need the next time - and nobody wants to have to re-bake and mold a shoe the before heading out in the morning. A drive for perfection demands constant improvement, so we retired static customization several years ago and developed our patentented, dynamic customization heel cup.
The benefits of a mecanically customizable shoe
The primary and obvious reason you will adapt the A1's heel to fit your exact shape and size of your foot is to achieve a fit tailored to you. An optimal fit will ensure no forward/backward or sideways slip inside of your shoe. It will also mean no heel lift or abrasion will occur. With an A1 shoe, you will be able to ride more time with a better foot hold and greater comfort.
The main reason for the adjustable heel is to find the one postion that offers the best performing, most comfortable fit for most riding you do. Most riders find this personal fit and never feel the need to change it. This is because the shrinkwrap-like allround mechanical tightening of our the shoe design offers a sizing tolerance that accounts for most day-to-day fit variance.
All the same, dynamic customization at the flick of a wrist and twist of a dial allows you to opt for a slightly gentler fit for racking up baseline miles, or a slightly larger size to accomodate extra thick or even waterproof winter stocks. You can also adapt how aggressive the heel hold is; opting for a more agressive heel hold for racing or for sprint / interval training, for example.
The A1's Heel can be adapted to fit your foot perfectly in 3 aspects.
The A1's dynamic heel cup is the key to its unbeatable fit capabilities. The heel cup was designed as a semi-detached element of the shoe, so that it that can be optimized for your foot. Once its optimal position is found, it is then locked solidly in place inside of the body of the shoe using its high-adhesion velcro wings for a quality fit. The customization range of the heel covers 3 aspects fo heel fit, adapting to your:
- Horizontally, for your Foot/Heel length
- Rotationally, for your Heel angle
- Vertically, for your Ankle Height
We'll cover how each aspect of adjustability helps and how they are interrelated, below.
1) Horizontal (shoe length) adjustment.
The range of length adjustment is notable, spanning from extracting the full cup from the shoe, to sliding it a long way forward into the shoe. The image above illustrates the full range of adjustability; however, in reality is is most likeley a rider would opt for a size-down than to set the heel as far forward as this max adjustment allows. We generally advise considering a size switch once the heel has been advanced more than about 10mm, with the image showing ~20mm of advancement.
To set length up, first separate the wings of the heel cup from the inside of the shoe. Pinch the nose of the shoe to the depth of your thumbnail with your less dominant hand. Now step into the shoe while inserting your toes to the depth of your pinched thumb.
Then, use your dominant hand to slide the heel cup it up against your heel while grasping its wings between your thumb and forefinger. It is important to grasp around the heel cup to shield its sides from the shoe's internal velcro lining. Once you have set the correct length, release the heel cup while maintaining gendle pressure from behind the heel with the muscly surface of your hand at the base of your thumb and forefinger. Now pinch the heel wings against both inner sides of the shoe with your less dominant hand (that you were just using to pinch the nose of the shoe).
This will set the heel cup in its correct longditudinal position.
2) Rotational (heel angle) adjustment.
Everyone's heel has a slightly different shape, width and angle. The Adaptive heel cup of the A1 shoe adjusts to fit your foot's profile perfectly.
Whereas setting up the heel cup length is reasonably easy to do with the thumb pinch technique before you ride, the amount of heel grasp you want is something best tested and experimented with when riding.
You will set up heel angle after having set up shoe length. At the first stage, remove the finger pinching the nose of the shoe and place weight on your fott to stop it moving. Now pinch the heel cup again, gently separating it from the velcro wings and rotate it so that it confirms gently and lightly with your heel angle. Next, you may want to tune after a ride. Finding out what your optimal angle should be is simple, and you can tune the support from gentle near-vertical hold, to a tenacious and bity racing grip by cantilevering the heel tab out of the shoe.
Here are some guidelines:
- If at any point you notice the heel digging into your heel too much, rotate it backwards slightly, away from your heel.
- If at any pont in the ride you feel heel lift, or note that the heel fit is a little looser than you would like, rotate the heel forward and double check that the length is ideal (you may want to move the heel slightly forward, but max just a few mm).
3) Vertical (ankle height) adjustment.
Everyone's ankle is at a slightly different height compared to the sole of the feet. The goal here is to have the contoured portion of the heel cup neatly conform around your ankle without causing abrasion or pressure points. You can do this by keeping an eye on ankle clearance from the heel tab as you set up aspects 1 and 2 of the heel cup, above.
There are no hard and fast rules for how this should be set up, but a correct ankle height will offer support necessary to keep your ankle joint stable, particularly in roll (see blue arrows, the roll of your foot inward and outwards from the bike as you ride). If you'd like a little more roll support, a higher heel cup may be better. If you'd like a little more freedom to roll your heels, lower may be better. We say, experiment and find the fit that is ideal for you.
As a side note, classic unadjustable shoes often require heavily shaped heel-cupping insoles to offer the ankle stability the adaptable side flanks of the A1's heel cup give, by simple nature of their static shaped design.
Side view of a low and high position heel cup.
What size do I choose?
Keep things simple. These shoes will fit your foot length perfectly. So choose by your width and these simple points:
- If you know your shoe size and shoes generally fit you well, just order your shoe size!
- If your shoes tend to be too wide, order one size smaller.
- If your shoes tend to be too thin, order one size larger.
- If you want to know for sure how your foot length/with sizes in a lintaman, examine the full sizing table amongst the product images.
- If your feet go outside of the bounds of an existing size, a left/right mismatch sizing program.
Here is a metric, followed by an imperial sizing chart to help you decide which shoe size range your foot best fits into.
Read more or buy a pair of A1 shoes now