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Bont is a good option, although the Riot TR does not come in Wide. You could do a Wide in all the other road models - best to do their 'size wizard' after measuring your feet. Their ball width for Wide runs 95/97mm depending on the model of shoe.
If you are running wider than 100mm, with a foot shorter than 240mm, custom likely in your future. Have had two ladies like that - super small length but incredibly wide feet. Riivo or Rocket7 are the go-to for custom shoes.
Lake is not as wide as Bont in Regular (89/90mm at ball), unfortunately the only go down to size 39 for Wide (sad trombone).
Measuring your feet and looking at those brands that list width and not just length will be best. Numbers like "38" and "39" are not the same shoe across different brands. Give me metric or give me nothing! If you are a 38 in Shimano TR9, I'm guessing that your foot length just shy of 235mm, and someone probably sold you the Womens' version. For Bont that is also a 38, in Lake you're closer to a 37.5. Perhaps maybe maybe you've been wearing a shoe too short, as well as too narrow, and your foot length is a 240mm? Now you are a 39 in Bont. Like width, those millimeters add up.
Shimano has "E" widths for the upper level Sphyre and RP3, but those may not be any wider than the Regular Lake or Bont.
Also consider that some moderate foot exercises can be done to improve arch strength and reduce the amount of collapse of the foot (and narrowing of the webspace between the toes/squishing the nerve bundle there).
See your Doc or podiatrist if you haven't already and ask about light tissue massage and foot strengthening exercises.
FIST/SICI/FIST DOWN DEEP
I've got sensitive feet. They're uncomfortable w/o using after market or custom insoles (with the exception of an old pair of specialized boa road shoes I have) and I've often got issues at the little toe joint with any kind of seam or even now glued reinforcement there. (True for running shoes, fashion shoes, you name it).
My initial tri shoes are dead (Exustar, size 39, upper separating from the base, but I still wear them on the trainer).
The LG's I bought at tri camp last year are potentially a smidge long (size 39) but worse, after 1-2 h they suddenly feel much too narrow and I then can't stand them. They are also very hot / not breathable enough.
At camp last year, I slid my foot into Gee's Bonts and they felt amazing in that static test, though that particular model would not suit my fancy for quick transition racing, and I'm not sure I like Bont's tri model.
I've ordered by mail and returned:
- S-works 6 (39) but the upper comes up too high around the ankle bone and is remarkably snug, they were painful.
- Fizik Transiro R3 Infinito (38 & 39), but the lower boa was really uncomfy to my little toe knuckle
- Giro Empire E70 knit women's (39). They seem... comfortable while watching tv. When I walk they maybe feel a bit flexy around the ankle which I wonder about while biking. I got them thinking I could try elastic lacing but the tongue would be a problem as the lacing snugs the upper together and makes the tongue get jammed up as I put my foot in. Hence I wonder if these could be converted with a boa?
In general, my feet are short enough that I think the lower adjustment point offered on cycling shoes is completely un-needed and just serves to introduce bulk / seams into the shoe. I'd like something quick and easy to don / doff as I don't want to lose my quick transition, and I feel the upper velcro strap on shoes is often really bulky and so long as to extend beyond the size of the upper, which I don't really like.
If the boa answer is a No, do you have any other suggestions?
To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive.
Full disclosure: I have been working part time for Lake Cycling so know the product quite well (as well as having sold the brand for ten years).
Agree that closure systems near the front of the shoe is superfluous, but could say this is true no matter the size of the foot. Indeed, the shoe should be fitted to the heel, ie, cinched up from the 'top' of the shoe first.
While it is possible to have a cobbler stitch on the Boa base and Boa closure, you still need to have the wire guides stitched along the length of the shoe as well. By that time...you've made a custom shoe!
It does sound like you have more of a width issue, not a length issue.
If most of the issue is with your pinky toe (perhaps you have a tailors' bunion?) yes the placement of seams in cycling shoes is usually 'right there'. Sometimes moleskin on the inside will help cover it up, but then you lose volume.
Lake offers Wides and Double Wide from size 39EU up. Bont offers Wide from 36EU up but not 2X wide. Interesting to compare a Bont 39 Wide to a Lake 39 Wide as, depending on the last the Lake shoe can trend wider than the Bont. The Bont Vaypor doesn't seem to have any major seams at the pinky area, nor does the Tri shoe.
Do not go by terms like "6.5US" or even "39EU", look at the metric dimensions for each brand. Lake does not use the Brannock scale. And, I wouldn't trust a brand that doesn't publish the width of their shoes.
If you follow the directions and draw an outline of your feet, let me know your measurements and I'm happy to help more. PM me if you don't want your foot size on the interwebnets!
Heel slippage is minor when on the bike, but if you have a super skinny heel, again moleskin can be placed to snug the fit. Or, the Lake CX332 has a moldable carbon heel cup. The ankle bone discomfort can also be addressed by placing a lift in the bottom of the heel area, to clear your bony bit over the ridge of the shoe. Depending on the shoe brand/model, I've also trimmed away material wherever it may poke or impinge the foot (ankle or instep/tibial ligament).
For "problem feet" (and boy, have I seen some!) Lake has introduced the CX241 - the closure around the pinky/5th met head is a soft material called NuFoam, and the Boa is relatively high up on the top of the foot. It is a 'softer' closure around the base of the foot, with the foam being underneath the leather 'fingers' where the Boa attaches. Also the heel cup is moldable.
I know most triathetes have an aversion to Boa for transistion speed, but Boa does not have the degradation of retention properties like velcro does (when it gets wet, or old, or full of dog hair). A Boa is extremely fast and reliable.
FIST/SICI/FIST DOWN DEEP
On taylor's bunions. I had painful bunions on my large toes by age 13. I think I've long had rubbing at the small toe side too, but it didn't bring me to gasping while walking like my right side big toe one did by my early 20's. Correction of that came with an opinion that given my young age and the degree of displacement, I might need recorrection one day. I had the left one corrected many years later.
In grad school one of my classmates was asking the silly question, if you had to part with a body part, which would you choose. His answer was small toe, b/c he thought it was useless. I responded that I used them for balance (and that his question was morbid). I still de-weight my big toe joints and load the outside edges unless I specifically focus on not doing so, and when I run trails I think about speading my forefoot on each contact, to increase stabilization. Orthotic use doesn't seem to change that.
To breathe, to feel, to know I'm alive.