Position Your Cleats Like a Pro

How do I position my cleats? It’s one of the questions we often get following the purchase of a pair of pedals or new cleats. Many customers want to know how they can ensure the best placement. Some customers admit they haven’t adjusted their cleat position in years and question if it could be wrong.

Lateral Adjustment

Let’s start with the lateral position, often called the ‘Q’ factor. A rider should have their legs and feet in a natural position, not forcing their body to pedal in an unnatural manner. Forcing your legs wider or narrower than is natural will elicit undesirable results. For a majority of us this means moving your cleats to the outside of our shoes, to allow them to get as close to the crank arm as possible. Riders with wider hips will benefit from moving their cleats to the center or even as far as the inside of their shoes to push their feet further out.

Angling the cleat

In many cases riders don’t ride with perfectly straight feet. To compensate for this and to take full advantage of the float, the cleat needs to be angled so that when in the natural position the cleat is centered on the pedal.

Heal out (further away from the crank than the ball of your foot) requires the tip of the cleats to be pointed away from the crank. Heal in will require the cleats to be pointed towards the crank. The amount will vary depending on how far off center the foot is while riding and it is likely different on each foot.

Front & Back

Moving the cleat front and back along the bottom of the shoe will allow you to line the axel of the pedal up with the ball of your foot. The ball of your foot is slightly behind where the foot bends while walking and is considered the best place for power transfer. This will improve the power transfer from shoe to pedal. If the front of your knee has been bothering you, it is likely that your cleat is not centered properly.

Small adjustments often translate into big differences in feel. We provide this as a reference to help you place your cleats properly. We recommend adjusting your cleats on short rides to find the optimal position. Please avoid making changes prior to long rides.