Proper Clipless Pedal Cycling Shoe Cleat Alignment

The other day a friend of mine brought over some clipless shoes asking me to help her mount SPD cleats in them. She has a million different kinds of shoes. I was amazed at how many different kinds of shoes she has: Specialized, Sidi, Carnac, Nike, and Shimano – it was mind blowing.

She seems to have an issue with getting the cleat forward enough or something.

After I took a look I noticed she did have a point about having trouble getting the ball of her foot over her pedal spindle. I think the problem was she had old shoes.

But her new Shimano shoes, the ones we were putting the cleats on will hopefully solve her problem once and for all. These days are a lot easier than the old days as far as shoe compatibility goes.

Back in the 90s shoes and pedals had a hard time matching up. But now as long as you have a recent pair of pedals a new pair of shoes will likely match up with them. DMT, Carnac, Shimano, Sidi and Adidas all work well. The amount of cleat problems out there are getting fewer and fewer.

The main thing you want to double-check is that the center of the cleat is in alignment with the ball of your foot, and the cleat is straight in the shoe. The bone we are looking for in your foot is called the metatarsal. Some bike fit geeks call it the met-bone for short — you can feel it through your shoe.

Getting your cleat centered over the ball of your foot is key to preventing knee pain. It’s no fun having knee pain after a ride, it will keep you from riding.

If you have any questions when setting your cleats in new shoes I suggest taking a trip to your local bike shop and having them help you. It never hurts to ask.



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