And just in case you think you might lose some power from not being able to use your ankle and calf muscles to push and pull, this study (J.R. Van Sickle Jr, M.L Hull/ Journal of Biomechanics 2007) showed no difference in power or economy between the ball of the foot and the mid-foot position…which means that the ball of the foot isn’t “better” or it would have won. At worst you won’t lose anything by using the mid-foot position.
However, it did show an important difference in how that power was produced. They found that driving through the ball of the foot placed more stress on the calf muscles and Achilles tendon, while the mid-foot placement took that stress and put it on the hips.
This is interesting when you consider that the hips – and not the quads – have been shown to be the major drivers of the pedal stroke (ELMER, S. J., P. R. BARRATT, T. KORFF, and J. C. MARTIN. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2011). Taken together, all of this points to a pedaling platform that optimizes the mid-foot placement to best recruit the hips, which are the main muscles used to power the pedal stroke.
Which is exactly what I did with the Catalyst Pedal. By providing a platform that lets you support both ends of the arch of your foot, the Catalyst Pedal supports your foot the same way the ground would, allowing for a more balanced, stable foot position and increased power transfer into the drivetrain.