Learn All Different Cycling Shoe Cleats Types

Looking for information on cycling shoe cleats types?

Well, here is the complete guide with all the different types of cycling cleats that you can find on the current market. It also includes valuable information about cycling cleats and their features.

Cycling shoes keep your feet stuck on the pedals. That way, you lose less energy and can move faster with less pedaling. To do that, cycling shoes have special cleats on their outsoles. Cleats are available in different shapes and sizes. Each model can improve your performance in different circumstances.

Therefore, to get the most out of your cycling shoes, you should be able to choose the more appropriate cleats for you. In this guide, you’ll know the most interesting features of the different types of cycling cleats that you can currently find on the market. That way, can better choose the cycling cleats that meet your requirements.

What are Cycling Cleats?

Cycling cleats are small metal or plastic wedges attached to the outsoles of cycling shoes. The cleat perfectly fits inside a rail on the pedal. That way, the foot never leaves the pedal, getting the most out of each foot stroke.

Clip-less pedals are similar to ski boots. They were first introduced by a French company called LOOK. First cycling cleats forced users to turn their heels to release the shoe from the pedal. However, modern cleats allow you to release your feet in any direction.

Usually cycling shoes have threaded holes below the balls of the feet. These holes allow you to adapt different types of cleats. The shape of the cleat may change depending on the brand and model. Some cleats have exclusive designs that you can only use with a specific pedal model.

Benefits of Cycling Cleats

Certainly, using cleats has many benefits. For example, they improve your cycling efficiency, helping you cover a longer distance with less pedaling. In addition, your legs won’t get tired so fast as it would happen if you were pedaling with regular shoes.

Cycling cleats also make pedaling much safer. For example, when you’re pedaling in the rain, your feet are prone to accidentally slip off the pedals. However, that would never happen if you were wearing cycling cleats.

Using cycling cleats instead of other foot-securing systems is also good for your health. For example, toe-clips tend to exert too much pressure on the balls of your feet. On the other hand, they make pedals heavier. So, you’ll have to try harder to move them.

On the other hand, foot straps force you to use your hands to release your feet from the pedals. In addition, they tend to block blood circulation. That’s why many cyclists who use these systems tend to suffer from numbness and cramps.

Another reason why wearing cycling cleats is a good idea is safety. They allow you to release your feet with a quick movement. This is very important when you’re about to have an accident. In the case of toe-clips and foot straps, your feet would get caught in the pedals after the accident.

Two Cycling Shoe Cleat Types

As said before, the shape and size of cleats can vary depending on the model and the brand. So, there are two cycling shoe cleats types available in the market. However, you can group all different kinds of cycling cleats as follows:

Road Cleats

In this case, the cleat is attached to the outsole with three bolts. They’re not the best for walking, because the cleat excessively protrudes the outsole. So, walking a long distance on a flat surface can be a real torture.

Pedals compatible with road cleats have the rails on a single side. So, the cyclist can pedal on the rail-less side wearing regular shoes.

Off-road Cleats

Off-road cleats are only compatible with mountain-bike or commuter style shoes. They’re also smaller than road cleats. In this case, the cleats are attached to the outsole with only two bolts. In addition, the cleats don’t protrude the outsole. That means the cleats don’t touch the ground, which makes these shoes ideal for walking.

Pedals compatible with off-road have rails on both sides. That means users don’t need to look at the pedals to correctly attach the shoes on the right side.

However, the small size of off-road cleats also makes them less efficient for motion transfer.


Certainly, cycling cleats make you faster and make pedaling a lot easier. For best results, make sure to choose the best kinds of cleats for your cycling style. Also make sure your cleats are made with strong and durable materials. Your safety depends on it.

James Smith

James Smith, along with an army of foot soldiers, personally tries and reviews some of the most revered products and brand in almost every imaginable category of footwear.

Recent Posts