New cycling shoes. Re: cleat position

Hi Chadd.

Just bought new cycling shoes. I went from Specialized Road Race shoes (15’) to Shimano RP9. Basically a lot more comfortable relatively, but I really like the fit.

I have a question regarding cleat position. I’ve moved my cleats downward (further down my feet) and I like the feel. Especially when wattage is high and I’m pulling back. Does positioning cleats more relatively backward have any drawbacks ? And are there less issues (bio mechanical ) the further back you go?

Thanks .


Moving your cleats further towards your heel reduces the strain on your calves and Achilles. I battled an Achilles injury when I first started tri training about 10 years ago…on the advice of my PT, I slammed my cleats as far back as I can go and I am never moving them back.

There is a small but growing trend of “mid-foot” cleat placement, with dedicated shoes or cleat adapters…I don’t think you need to go that far, but moving your cleats back has no drawbacks in my experience and only positives.


Yes, rearward biased cleats relieve calf strain in many cases and is generally recommended vs the old “ball of the foot over the spindle” position from the past.

One consideration when moving the cleat back, is that you may need to drop your saddle a bit. This is because your foot is more “forward” relative to the saddle. A few mmo’s is all that is needed, if st all. It really depends on how much you move the cleats back.


Thank you Chad!

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Thank you !!!


I have found the articles here to be very informative.
I moved my cleats back 5mm and outside to align my knees and it has made an immediate and huge difference. That said, maybe a bike fit is good idea!

Cleat Position:


I’ve brought my cleats further towards my heel fairly recently because I was getting plantar fasciitis type pain on my left foot. A local coach/fitter advised me that my saddle could be a tad too low and my cleats to far toward my toes which would allow my heel to drop and cause the pain over time. I’ve since raised my saddle my move the cleats back a bit and it seems to have done the trick.


So the Lintaman Minimal looks interesting but maybe not practical for a UK winter. :wink:

Shimano shoes have an additional adjustment in their 3 bolt fixing where most other brands have a fixed hole position and rely on the cleat for fore and aft positioning.

What other brands should be considered to achieve a more rearward cleat position?


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Check out the article I posted above. I believe it indicates that a rearward shift of cleat requires a lower seat height. (Assuming good seat height to start with). It also strongly suggests a single adjustment plus riding to determine the effect, then subsequently adjustments.


I also have my cleats fairly far back.

Another thing it does is it pushes your toe position “forward” when your cranks are in the middle-front position, i.e. 3 o’clock for the right crank and 9 o’clock for the left, effectively making your cranks “longer” in the downstroke.

This can be beneficial when running shorter cranks, as you get the downstroke leverage of longer cranks, but the potential aero benefit of shorter cranks (raised saddle, opened hip angle).

Correct, the extent of which is determined by how much you point your toes down at the bottom of the pedal stroke.

I got around that by running shorter cranks, which I wanted to do anyway to open up my hip angle for more comfortable riding in the drops.

I have had multiple calf strains in the past and now use the Speedplay midfoot adapters to push my cleats as far back as possible. Based on my research and experience the midfoot placement may be better for long sustained efforts like climbing or TT.

Before getting the Speedplays I moved from SPD-SLs to SPDs because I was able to get a more rearward cleat with my SPDs on mountain bike shoes.


Generally good video that touches on some good setup points.

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I got some of those mid foot cleat adapters. I got the cleat pretty far back but I am confused because the further back it goes the further away it lifts off the sole of the shoe (not flush). Does this matter and if so is there a way to make the cleat flush with the curve of the shoe? I have a 3 bolt pattern shoe.

I thought I share a pic of my redrilled Sidi’s. The cleat is mounted 15 mm from it’s most rearward position. I made a drilling jig in my 3D printer to make the process simple.

I used to have issues with sore calf’s but that is history.


With sprint running background during younger age I positioned cleat under ball of foot and did not think twice about it. Never had any calf or knee issues, is it still worth considering moving cleat backwards? What are the advantages of this?

My favorite weekend rides are in 4-8hr higher Z2 range (not racing), if it makes any difference for consideration.

For you, probably just that you could lower your seat and therefore your stack, making you more aero. Doesn’t seem worth it if you’re not having any problems with your current setup.

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I have size 50 feet and use the Speedplay plates to extend further back. So much more comfortable.

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Cool, will try to experiment over couple weekends’ long rides, maybe learn something :slight_smile:
Thank you