Cleats placed closer to mid foot, lower saddle height?

That’s the topic. My new shoes allow me to get the cleats closer to mid foot, as opposed to the ball of the foot. Ball of the foot position was coming with hot feet, not comfortable or sustainable in hot weather. New shoes allow for farther placement towards mid foot. Question: should I lower my saddle height as my cleats moved further in? And what should be the metrics? 5mm closer to mid foot means 5mm lower seat height?

I know, it’s tricky. Thanks for all who have had similar experiences.



Over the years of my bike fitting experience, I keep finding small (sometimes large) reasons to move cleats back, and very few actual real reasons to keep them under the ball of the foot. In theory, further forward gives you a longer lever arm to produce power, analogous to a bigger chainring. In practice, it never makes a difference except for track sprinters and those types of efforts. All this is assuming you’re keeping the cleats in the ‘normal’ range on most commercially available shoes, and not redrilling for cleats super far back.

But… that wasn’t your question…

Yes, your total extension will have to come down a bit. You can do that by lowering the seat (less that 1:1 ratio), but if you are happy with your current fit besides cleat placement, I would make up the difference in foot position by moving the saddle forward. You’ll have to experiment with the amount, but I’d say a safe amount would be moving your saddle forward by about 60-80% of the amount you moved your cleats back. Since that will result in a slight decrease in reach, you might consider a change in stem length if you are super picky. We are talking about a 2-4mm change in reach, and most stems are offered in 10mm increments, so this probably won’t be an issue worth chasing.

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I can’t answer your question any better than @rickwetherald already has but, I thought I’d share this link to a YouTube video I found interesting.

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The master of mid-sole cleat position:

Proper pedaling action is the same no matter where the cleat is fore or aft. Meaning, your too high when your knee has to extend too much at roughly BDC resulting in knee flicking and/or hip rocking.

Some experimenting can be done and yes read the Steve Hogg info as he talks about his process to determine saddle height.