Getting the right location for the cleat

rob13 Posts: 430
edited February 2011 in Road beginners
I'm new to clipless and the last couple of rides, I keep paying attention to the position of the cleat on my foot. I've tried putting them both in the same place but when I come to ride, it feels as if one is slightly out compared to the other. I know roughly it needs to be under the ball of my foot, but then I dont know what angle to have it at to set it up right for pronation.

Any advice on how to get the best spot for them?


  • Erudin
    Erudin Posts: 136
    edited February 2011

    Set clipless pedal systems up carefully...

    Pedal 'tension' is usually adjusted using a small screw on the pedal body. + or - to increase or decrease tension.

    Fore/Aft Positioning
    Put your shoe on...
    Find the ball of your foot - this defines the front/back position of your cleat. If neccessary, mark the sole of your shoe directly under the ball of your foot. Loosely fit the cleat so the bolt centers are in line with this mark. This will locate the ball of your foot directly above the pedal-axle. On road cleats you should see a line marked on the side of the cleat - align this with the ball of your foot.

    Cleat Alignment
    If you are anatomically perfect, the cleats should point at the front of your shoe.
    This method worked for me (Ed);
    Sit on a table, high enough to dangle your legs.
    Look down at your feet and imagine a front to back straight line running through them. This is the alignment your cleats should take. Fit 'em & tighten 'em real good.
    Go for a gentle ride and pay close attention to how you feel in the first 5-10 minutes of riding. Warm legs are more forgiving of the bad positioning that can cause sore knees. Stop and adjust if you have to.
    I carried the alan key in a pocket for the first few rides and gave them a little tweak at cafe stops until I was happy!

    If you are really not sure get a shop to help set them up or you could get sore knees permanently.


    The key to getting SPD cleats lined up is to ensure that they're not trying to pull your legs in directions that they don't want to go. SPD-related knee issues are generally down to twisting the knee, and the way to avoid that is to accommodate the natural angle of your lower leg. It's tempting to just line the cleat up with the slots in the shoe, but that's unlikely to be a good idea. Sit on a high stool, let your legs dangle and take a look at which way they're pointing. They usually won't be pointing straight ahead - the editorial pins here are quite clearly of the duck-footed persuasion, which is the most common arrangement. It's by no means guaranteed that they'll be symmetrical, either, so you'll need to align the cleats differently on each shoe.
  • I use Time pedals which come with float. As such, I align my cleats 'straight' on the sole of the shoe knowing that my feet will find their 'natural' location - alignment is not life and death for me. As for the fore and aft, it is a case of going out for a couple of hours with an Allen key. Note that the cleat position on one foot will not necessarily be the same as the one on the other foot - most of us have odd feet.

    I believe some pedals come with the option of fixed or float - you get fixed cleats or float cleats.
  • i was told - sit on a table with your legs dangling underneath you....pretty much like you used to when you were a kid. Look at the angle your feet are pointing - i know my right foot points more outwards than my left foot, which pretty much points forward. So, i adjust my right cleat so it compensates for my outwardly turning foot to straighten it up when i'm for position, well, a bit more trial and error for me, but it's usually on the balls of your feet....good lucks
    i like bike
  • For the lateral alignment adjustment you know you've got it right if your feet are in the position they want to be in without them trying to push past the limits of the float available
  • lef
    lef Posts: 728
    i have a similar problem, resulting from one foot pronating more than the other. I have to set them up differently as far as my feet pointing out at different angles. A good judge is cycle for a few moments and slowly come to a stop. You should have some float left both outwards and inwards (at least thats one school of thought). If not then you may not have allowed for your foot angle sufficiently. Ive had ongoing pain for months from incorrect cleat set up, and thats following a bike fit from a specialist. Almost sorted though

    Steve Hogg is a good source of info as far as cleat, wedges set up. there some further reading at