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Old 01-09-2006, 01:33 AM   #1
RebelINS
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Default Another heel toe thread!

This is kind of an off-shoot of some things that were mentioned in the pedal cover thread. I just started trying to heel toe, but I have alot of trouble doing the method where you are actually using your heel and toe. Instead I was using half of my foot on each pedal. I understand why this isn't the desirable method and would like to do it the other way, but I want to know if it is possible for me. I am about 6' 5" and wear a size 13 shoe. I find that when I try to heel and toe my knee gets in the way of the steering wheel. Is it because I am rotating my leg too much? Let me know if you are tall and if you've had success.

-Wes
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Old 01-09-2006, 01:41 AM   #2
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Can you tilt the steering wheel up some? That'll give you more room to work with. Just thinking about the geometry of the movement, it's all about limiting knee rise. Maybe if you lower the seat and move it a little further back, you could rotate more easily.

Can't help more than that, I'm afraid... 5'8" size 9
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Old 01-09-2006, 01:49 AM   #3
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While I can't help on shedding light on the tall situation (me being 5'8"), be aware that the term heel-toe is actually a misnomer. You're not quite using your heel and toe. Technique varies from person to person and how wide your feet/shoes are.

To be more technical, you keep roughly one-half of your foot to apply steady brake pressure, pivoting your foot slightly, and using the right side of your foot to blip the throttle. Again, this technique can vary based on how comfortably you can pivot your foot. Some people with really wide feet don't even have to pivot, and simply blip the throttle without any trouble.

I'm sure the road racers like Gary and Tom can clarify some of these gray areas and comment on their technique.

(Read: take my advice with a grain of salt, because I'm no road racer...)

Last edited by psg; 01-09-2006 at 01:55 AM.
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Old 01-09-2006, 02:07 AM   #4
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same thing with me but I think its my car's pedals! I'm only like 5' 8-9" I don't know i've grown too much lately, but my pedals are too close and there isn't any possible way my 9.5 Adidas Goodyear shoes could possibly use heel and toe mines more like toe and arch... lol
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Old 01-09-2006, 03:17 AM   #5
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I do a little mix of both the half/half and actual heel toe...and am slowly getting more of the actual heel/toe. I had a lot of trouble with it at first.....but stuck with it. I'd say give the real heel/toe method a solid two weeks to teach your muscles to do that and you'll be surprised with the results.
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Old 01-09-2006, 03:23 AM   #6
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I am 6'3" and wear a size 13. Like I said in the other thread, it was difficult for me at first, but I started out barefoot and then migrated to a narrow shoe and then to my normal, wide Airwalk skate shoes. It took a few weeks of attacking right-hand turns barefoot to get used to used to the contortion required to avoid hitting the steering wheel/column with my knee. I can't say that there is any trick to it. If you can do it with the car parked, you SHOULD be able to do it diving into a turn at 100mph -- it just takes a while to get used to

One thing that was frustrating was that all of the videos I found that showed pedal action (Gary's, BMI, etc.) are of relatively short people that have tons of room at the knee where I had zero. Tall people get the advantage in basketball, football, volleyball and just about everything else -- short people get auto racing

Might also want to pick up a pair of real racing shoes; a lot of people say that that helped them.
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Old 01-09-2006, 03:38 AM   #7
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What I do is that I use the ball of my feet on stepping the brake pedal and then twisting your foot so that your heel hits the gas pedal. If you are tall then lift your foot up more when you are stepping at the brake pedal. Note that your heel shouldn't be hitting the floor.

To practice, on a stop light or in a parking lot, try to step on the brake and then tap the gas pedal. Release and then try again. Your heel shouldn't hit the wall at the right side of the gas pedal. (where the transmission resides).

Driving shoes or like tennis shoes, (anything that doesn't have too much padding at the sole), are recommended since you "feel" the pedals more. Naturally you can do this on a basketball shoes but it's not recommended.
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Old 01-09-2006, 09:28 AM   #8
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I'm just over 6' and I have a similar problem. To get the correct driving position for my upper body, my legs are pretty cramped. I do have the steering wheel all the way up, but I still can't make an easy heel-toe motion because of the angle of my legs.

I do pretty much what the poster above described. I brake with the ball of my foot and then do a strange kinda rotation and lift of the rest of my foot so that I can blip the throttle with the outside edge of the shoe. Shoes really make a difference. Running shoes or anything with a heel make it harder because they add about an inch or more to my leg length. Something supple and with virtually no heel works best.

At your size it is going to be hard, but it should be possible once you figure out the motion that works for you and still lets you brake safely and reliably.
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Old 01-09-2006, 09:44 AM   #9
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I've only been able to get a feel for doing the heel-toe thing after I got some of those 'goodyear' Adidas shoes. I daily wear kind of clunky hiking shoes, and while great for comfort, suck (for me) to drive with now that I know what a nice thin soled shoe w/a low 'heel' can do. I no longer catch my heel on the side of the gas pedal like before. It really made a difference and now I am slowly learning to do this 'the right way'.

I tried using the right-edge of my foot to blip the gas (before the 'new shoes') and that never seemed to work very well for me anyway.

To each their own I guess...
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Old 01-09-2006, 10:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RebelINS
I am about 6' 5" and wear a size 13 shoe.-Wes
Shouldn't your sport involve a large orange ball?! Someone pointed you in the wrong direction...

Don't worry about what "method" you are using. If you have found a way to cram those sticks down there and work both pedals with one foot, then stick with it.

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Old 01-09-2006, 01:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psg
While I can't help on shedding light on the tall situation (me being 5'8"), be aware that the term heel-toe is actually a misnomer. You're not quite using your heel and toe.

Whoa, buddy!


I'm only a size 8 shoe, so you'll have to figure it out for your size. But there are 3 ways to do heel and toe that I'm aware of. I'm self taught so learned the least common way. However, I'm an instructor and drive a couple dozen students cars every season. I've only had problems with early 2002 and 911's with the floor hinged brake/clutch pedals.

Most common way. Left side of foot on brake, right side of foot blips the throttle.
2nd way: Heel on gas, toe on brake.
My way: Heel on brake, toe on top of gas pedal.

Here's what I personally like about the method I'm using. I use my heel to brake on the track all the time now, even when I'm not downshifting. So my brain is used to this. Try braking with your heel in normal driving. It's very weird until you do it a lot. With your foot twisted, the toe now can modulate gas at the top of the gas pedal quite easily. So as you're doing this, you have a good, firm "I ain't slipping off" grip of the brake pedal and can modulate the top of the gas so it's not the "on" "off" feel of hitting the bottom (hinge) part of the pedal. I'll add that I do double clutch during this and it's quite second nature, but I've been doing it for a lot of years.

Another thing I like is that I really don't care how close/far away the brake pedal is from the gas. Height really isn't important either. I can span far distances pretty easily. I've had other racers tell me that my pedals are setup impossible to do heel and toe in my racecar. Never had a problem.

Give each of the 3 methods a shot. Your feet are twice as big as mine but one method is bound to work. Oh.....driving shoes help.

jack
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Old 01-09-2006, 01:25 PM   #12
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The only times I've ever truly used heel and toe were when the brake pedal went too far past the throttle to effectively use the side of my foot. It's good to be prepared to do it either way.
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Old 01-09-2006, 01:30 PM   #13
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Gary pretty much hit it on the head... find whatever way you can to make it right.

The technique probably started out when pedals were far apart and the only way to reach was with your heel on one pedal and toes on the other.. (or with modern Porsche GT cars, which have an extention of the throttle below the brake pedal) Now with more emphasis put on pedal placement we have to figure out new ways of "heel-toe"

Depending on the car I am in, pedal distance, and pedal height, I will use the sides of my foot on each, or even roll over to where my ankle does the throttle blip. (5'8" size 9 shoe)

On a related note, in my Stock Class CRX i stopped wearing driving shoes and would wear a regular running shoe because it was a legal "pedal extention", and helped with downshifts. While in the Neon SSC car, with driving shoes required by the rules, I end up using more of my ankle at times to actually blip the throttle during heel-toe.

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Old 01-09-2006, 03:04 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack ffr1846
Whoa, buddy!


I'm only a size 8 shoe, so you'll have to figure it out for your size. But there are 3 ways to do heel and toe that I'm aware of. I'm self taught so learned the least common way. However, I'm an instructor and drive a couple dozen students cars every season. I've only had problems with early 2002 and 911's with the floor hinged brake/clutch pedals.

Most common way. Left side of foot on brake, right side of foot blips the throttle.
2nd way: Heel on gas, toe on brake.
My way: Heel on brake, toe on top of gas pedal.

Here's what I personally like about the method I'm using. I use my heel to brake on the track all the time now, even when I'm not downshifting. So my brain is used to this. Try braking with your heel in normal driving. It's very weird until you do it a lot. With your foot twisted, the toe now can modulate gas at the top of the gas pedal quite easily. So as you're doing this, you have a good, firm "I ain't slipping off" grip of the brake pedal and can modulate the top of the gas so it's not the "on" "off" feel of hitting the bottom (hinge) part of the pedal. I'll add that I do double clutch during this and it's quite second nature, but I've been doing it for a lot of years.

Another thing I like is that I really don't care how close/far away the brake pedal is from the gas. Height really isn't important either. I can span far distances pretty easily. I've had other racers tell me that my pedals are setup impossible to do heel and toe in my racecar. Never had a problem.

Give each of the 3 methods a shot. Your feet are twice as big as mine but one method is bound to work. Oh.....driving shoes help.

jack
Jack,

Your way may work well for you, but it is not the optimal way to use your brakes. I've covered this before, but it's worth another post.

The problem with braking with your heel is that you are using very large muscles to modulate the brakes with. Muscles in your abdomen and upper legs. These musles are great for strength, but pretty poor at fine motor control. So it will be harder to modulate your brakes at the very edge of adhesion.

It's preferable to use the ball of your foot on the brakes because you're using the muscles that control your ankle and toes. These are much better at very fine motor control and have the sensitivity to add fractions of a pound to brake pedal force. Much more effective for threshold braking.

The last thing you should be worried about while braking and downshifting is modulating the gas pedal. Your focus should be on modulating the brake pedal. You blip the throttle on downshifts, no need modulate it.

I used to brake the same way as you describe it prior to going to racing school, where I was taught pretty much what I've written above.

Gary
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Old 01-09-2006, 03:10 PM   #15
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i personally cant stand wearing teh lightweight thin shoes to drive. i understand that you can feel the pedals more but if you practice using the same shoes all the time then you should become used to using whatever shoe you want. i find wearing my wide a$$ skateboaring shoes work the best for ME. to each his own.
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Old 01-09-2006, 03:18 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnarlyWRX
i personally cant stand wearing teh lightweight thin shoes to drive. i understand that you can feel the pedals more but if you practice using the same shoes all the time then you should become used to using whatever shoe you want.
Till you go roadracing and you have to have nomex/fireproof shoes, or climb in a Formula car and you cant fit your feet down there with the regular shoes on. (got a funrun in a Formula car once and didn't have driving shoes with me.. drove in socks)

Of course fireproof leaves a little open.. leather is counted as fireproof, so you can be like Dave Marcus and drive in wingtips. (Though, from what I understand leather shrinks in heat, and can cause SERIOUS problems when/if there is a fire, so its best to stick to fire retardant shoes and gloves.)

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Old 01-09-2006, 04:17 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by endeavor
I am 6'3" and wear a size 13. Like I said in the other thread, it was difficult for me at first, but I started out barefoot
thats how i started out learning. it was a pain at first but after you get it its pretty simple and became second nature.

First try to do it in like wrestling shoes or in your socks. (unless you have racing shoes) i found that when i toe/heal i roll the ball of myfoot where... (i guess you would call it my big toe knuckle?) for the brake and twist. its not hard to get used to once you get the timing and rythm of it down.

i wouldnt suggest starting out hauling a** down a street and trying to do it when you NEED to make the turn but try it at lower speeds and only when you're coming up to a stop sign or something. the last thing you want to do is have your foot fall off and have you accelerate right into the car in front of you.
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Old 01-09-2006, 04:47 PM   #18
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Forget heel-and-toe. Start learning to left foot brake and clutchless downshift.
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Old 01-09-2006, 05:13 PM   #19
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^^^^ Seriously? I haven't heard that recommended on here before. I'm scared of doing it at all, let alone on a road course.
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Old 01-09-2006, 05:32 PM   #20
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I think the easiest and most readily adjustable way to heel/toe is to initiate braking with your foot relatively high on the pedal, then rotate your right leg counter-clockwise and throttle up with your heel.

There should be no issue with clearing the steering wheel, because your thigh is moving down faster than it's moving in.

Different relationships between throttle and brake can be accounted for pretty easily by changing the position where your foot meets the brake pedal (eg. move your foot higher if the pedals are closer together or if you have a relatively large foot.

This is not a terribly difficult thing to do, it just takes a little practice.
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Old 01-09-2006, 05:39 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by endeavor
^^^^ Seriously? I haven't heard that recommended on here before. I'm scared of doing it at all, let alone on a road course.
I think he was joking

Just make sure you aren't granny shiftin when you're suppsed to be double-clutchin.
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Old 01-09-2006, 05:48 PM   #22
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When I first started to heel and toe downshift, I did it by pressing on the brake with mainly the top section of my foot more towards the big toe, and hitting the gas by rolling my foot over. I found that this worked good for daily driving, but when I pushed hard I would inadvertently hit the gas and send the rpms to redline (size 11s I guess). I had to retrain myself to put a bit more toe on the brake and a little more heal on the gas and once I was comfortable with turning my foot a little more it started working gloriously.
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Old 01-09-2006, 07:13 PM   #23
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Sorry this isn't really adding anything of substance, but...next time you are out at an event take a peek at the pedal layout in some of the older European cars. You might notice that the gap between the brake and gas pedal is much smaller than some of the new cars. In fact I have seen layouts where there is barely 3/4" between the edges of the gas & brake pedals.
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Old 01-09-2006, 07:31 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoomfactor
Sorry this isn't really adding anything of substance, but...next time you are out at an event take a peek at the pedal layout in some of the older European cars. You might notice that the gap between the brake and gas pedal is much smaller than some of the new cars. In fact I have seen layouts where there is barely 3/4" between the edges of the gas & brake pedals.
I'm sure the $hit that Audi had to endure with all the "uninteded acceleration" crap has trickled into most manufacturers risk reduction policies...

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Old 01-09-2006, 07:34 PM   #25
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I didn't mention Audi, but they were on my mind
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