Foot placement on pedal

Should one pedal with the ball of the foot or under the arch?

Ball if the foot

Depends on the type of riding. For climbing, I prefer the ball of the foot. For MUni and biggish drops, NEVER on the ball of feet, but always in the center of foot! Otherwise there is a high risk of ankle sprain when the back of the foot over extends downward at impact. I know there’s a term for it, but I can’t remember. oh yeah. PAINFUL!

Best for beginner

Just like I said. I depends on the type of riding you’ll be doing. Technique is important, and will improve with time and practice. Unlearning bad habits is difficult. try to learn the right way from the start, which also means adapting to the situation as necessary.

You will also find that changes in saddle height, psi and other things will need adjustments depending on your situation. It’s good to find out early on which is your dominant hand/foot, and get in the habit of holding the lift handle, and hopping to the side of your free hand.

Btw, welcome to the forum!

I think I read in some other thread here that doing drops on the center of your foot can lead to knee injuries or something like that, I’m not sure though. Now I always ride on the ball of my foot anyway, as long as I focus on flexing my ankles the over extending thing doesn’t happen, it’s gotten me a couple times though and it definitely hurts!

I drop with ball of foot also. When I drop with center of foot it hurts but dropping with the ball doesn’t.

This is why you don’t do drops with the ball of your foot on the pedal


But if I do them with my arch on the pedal it hurts. If it’s over 3 feet I use it between the ball and arch it works well.

Most of not all of the other hardcore MUni guys I know use center foot placement. I do usually reposition more to the ball of foot for steep climbing, but 80% of the time it’s over the arch. Believe me, if your doing 5 foot+ drops on the ball of your feet, you’ll find out right quick it’s a bad idea! When you land you want your weight to be evenly distributed on your feet.

If there’s no support for the majority of your foot (behind the ball area) that is not over the pedal, it can easily be hyper extended backwards and result in a bad sprain. Shoes are also a crucial component, along with the right technique. Doing big drops with really thin soled or over flexy soles is also a no-no for serious MUni, and is not good for big drops. Thick, stiff soles, like 5.10’s is the way to go.

I use 5-10s and thick DVs leather skate shoes. I have only done 2 5ft drops and both went good.

You were lucky!

I may have been haha. I am going to try drops it way and see how it works for me.

I think this 7 set might be the biggest thing I’ve jumped, as you can see I was on the ball of my foot and it was fine. That other drop only looked about 2 feet tall, maybe your technique was off or something?

I’m a bicyclist who started unicycling last year. On a bike, I’d never think of pedaling without the ball of my foot directly over the pedal axle. It’s the most efficient, and gives the best shock absorption. That’s also how I uni, although sometimes I’ll shift my foot slightly forward. When I started, It was easier to ride with my foot shifted slightly forward and tilted down:

This helped smooth my pedal strokes. Now that I have more practice, I think pedaling the same way I do on a bike is much easier, and is definitely best on the local muni trails. However, the guys I ride with (who aren’t bicyclists, and have been unicycling 7x as long as I have) like hopping; they ride with the ball of their foot in front of axle. Because of this they have to lower their seats to leave more room to absorb the bumps.

There have been many threads on foot position. You will find a wealth of knowledge in the archives as well. In general, the older, more experienced riders concur with arch over pedal for drops. Bottom line, just do whatever works best for you. :slight_smile:

as a street rider i prefer riding with my foot in the middle, i find that it hurts my ankles much less. I have never had any knee pain from this either, but then again i try to roll out all the hard landings i have.

If you are just learning how to ride just do what feels good to you.

I ride muni with my feet like this, and if I get to long flat sections or road, I shift back to the balls of my feet. Highest drop I have done in this unicycle foot position was 3.5 ft. And at just about that point, I could see that if I were jumping from any higher I’d need to shift the pedal back further. Luckily I’ve been doing it a lot, and slowly worked up to it, so I’ve been careful. But when I was learning I overextended my ankle a few times, and it is NOT fun. Just don’t do it.

I went out and did a 4foot drop i had in my backyard and did it both ways and if ur rolling it is easyer to do it with the ball but if your doing it static the arch is better.

Short answers:

Beginner: Balls (or where nordicnoel suggests)

Intermediate: Balls

Advanced: There are some cases not to use the balls

Moving your feet forward on the pedal protects your ankles/achilles tendons in big drops, and also may help keep your feet from losing the pedals in rough MUni.

But 99% of the time: Balls