Different Types Of Cycling Cleats

Last update: 2021-11-24

Virtually all necessary bike accessories, such as insurance, will include a cycling helmet, bike shoes with pedals and cleats for each specific case. And cyclists will demand highly not only for race experience, but also for dual technical equipment for side events. We now cover the types of bike bars that you need to add to your knowledge in this section.

Float cycling cleats are known for the back-and-forth movement of the foot when clamped and you can understand it in terms of the toes to the left or right while the shoe is attached to the pedals. Different float levels are now available to suit a wide range of activities or to address biomechanical problems such as lack of flexibility, injury or knee pain.

In fact, floats can help relieve stress on your joints and make pedaling easier, but they still provide less power transmission if the foot moves a lot. In addition, the neutral pin location needs to be understood before selecting and installing the appropriate cleat. In general, the neutral position of the foot is determined from the natural angle or during pedaling. This means that both feet are pointed straight ahead for athletes.

Different Types Of Cycling Cleats

The rest are considered to be naturally pointing inward or outward. In case you have an injury on one side of your body, the neutral position may be different between the left foot and the right foot. Whatever your footing angle, or how you aim to position the club for a neutral footing, this helps reduce stress on your knees and vital joints when cycling. To see the results more clearly, you need a short time to determine the position of your leg and adjust it properly.

For cyclists who will enhance the ride quality, the pedals and cleats system will meet your needs right here. Know that every system lock and pedal has a function and widget. Conversely, for someone who doesn't like to use gears, this becomes more complicated for the pedals and levers of the bike.

All pedals are designed to work with clamp-free pedals and have holes drilled in the soles for studs. The bike bar part attaches to the pedals to make the whole connection. The insoles must be suitable for the type of bike shoes according to different terrain and functions. To better understand each type of cycling cleats, below is an overview of common.

1. SPD cycling cleats

Different Types Of Cycling Cleats

The SPD pedal is a common type of pedal on the market today, except for children's pedals. When starting to cycle, the SPD cleat is preferred for road bikes, also known as trail pedals and mountain bikes.

In essence, SPDs only work mainly on road bikes and triathlons, because they are comfortable to ride. In addition, SPDs are also known as "two-bolt" locks due to their function to attach to the shoe with two bolts. Thanks to them the rider can more easily stay on the pedals, even while cycling.

Most cycling shoes, if compatible with them, will feel comfortable and easy to move, if you want to get off your bike and walk around town, a certain place. The next advantage is that these rails make it easy to clamp when you are stopped, at a stop light or just starting out.

Different Types Of Cycling Cleats

Finally, the combination of pedals and keys is popular at car rentals, so if you want to cycle around town in the fall and winter weather, you should choose a bike equipped with SPDs.

There is a two-hole system on the market called the SPD system. And they are mostly used for riding types such as road bikes, mountain bikes, and sightseeing. Combined with shoes with a concave toe design to help you walk more easily.

As for off-road races, it will usually be structured in the fender groove, where the two-hole slide is applied. Besides, there is one more road-specific type called SPD-SL (3-hole bolt pattern).

In short, this type is suitable for those who prefer a walkable sole. There are still many premium road cycling shoes that are not compatible with SPDs.

2. Look cycling cleats

Different Types Of Cycling Cleats

The Look cycling cleats are quite popular with road bikes, and it doesn't show up much on mountain bikes and spin bikes. As they are known as traditional three-bolt pedals, they often come with a spike to connect to the shoe using three contact points to further create more points.

Look is known to be a well-known brand in the ski industry, but they are upgrading to incorporate bicycle pedals. Currently, they include cleat or pedal combos, and pedals give the impression of side-to-side movement of the foot even when fully clamped. This is easy for the cyclist's knee because the movement is in a natural way.

Different Types Of Cycling Cleats

For Look cycling cleats, the soles of the shoes can be stiff and a bit slippery when going inside. Less common in revolving classes and bike rentals on the road. If you want to participate in cycling or plan to rent, you need to bring your own pedals. Look, cycling cleats work almost like the SPD-SL locks. In addition, the three-hole system is also known as the style system. Used for road cycling as they will provide stability to transmit power while cycling.

In addition, some soles of shoes tend to work more on vehicles than walking with stiff soles and less spikes. The fastener design will be large to incorporate three lanyards, a much safer connection than two lanyards like the one found with the 2-hole type. Perfect for road cyclists who want high performance. And they won't be easy when you don't understand how it works. Not specifically for mountain biking or revolving classes.

3. Speedplay cycling cleats

Different Types Of Cycling Cleats

The Speedplay cycling cleat tends to be for road cycling. Because this type is designed in a circular shape, the size of the cleat is also based on the size of your pedal. Besides, they have good adjustability as clamp and float pressure. Their weight is lighter than those on the market. Because of their many unique features, they have a high price tag.

In addition, the speedway cycling cleats use a four-bolt system. And most manufacturers make soles that correspond to three-pin boots. If you want your cycling to be professional, this is the pedal to choose. The Speedplay has a tightening mechanism on the buckle, not the pedal, like the SPD and Look systems.

This system is manufactured for multiple riding. And they can connect to four lanyards, and will offer plenty of customization options when it comes to connecting feet or pedals. Ideal for road cyclists who prefer a unique, premium pedal and lever system. The Speedplay cycling cleats are not for beginners and intermediates who just want a comprehensive system.

4. SPD-SL cycling cleats

Different Types Of Cycling Cleats

We have analyzed the SPD cycling cleats above, although you see the same name, they are completely different. The design of the SLs resembles Look cycling cleats with a 3-bolt system in a triangular configuration. On the surface they are wide so your feet will have plenty of surface area on the pedals to transfer power. They also have floats that can be moved from side to side for comfort during pedaling.

In fact, although the Look and SPD-SL are nearly identical in construction, they are not interchangeable because the size part can differ by a few millimeters to fit on the lock pedal. Therefore, the SL pedal lock must be combined with the SL pedal. Very suitable for road cyclists, and has shoe compatibility. The SPD-SL is not suitable for all-purpose studded shoes and prefers walking in cycling shoes.


Like the ways to divide the cycling cleats. A pad needs to be fitted to add a connection to the pedal. And all include four types, so the choice needs to be carefully considered to ensure the compatibility of the pedal. For example for SPD cleats they will only be used for themselves and cannot be clamped to any other pedals like Look, Speedplay, etc.

Also, the shoe spikes you choose, should also make a difference. on shoes due to the structure of holes for screws into each type of shoe. Besides, it can be manufactured for two-bolt SPD, or for 3-bolt SL. On the other hand, assembling the studs to the shoe is quite easy and you can do it at home with a wrench. In addition, you can freely adjust the position of the pad to best suit the types of terrain you move. Here is some gearinstant background information about the types of cycling cleats.

Jessie Swift
Jessie Swift

"I'm Jessie, being an author for gearinstant, an office job? No, with internet, I can be a digital nomad everywhere, I enjoyed cycling, running whenever I can. I'd love to share my experience from the gears, useful tips and learned for everybody who have the same passion like me."

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