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How to Install SPD Cleats on Bike Shoes

SPD cleats are popular with those bike owners who are consistently doing bike touring and mountain biking. The reason behind it is that most of the shoes using SPD cleats are design for comfortable walking around it.

But how to install SPD cleats on bike shoes? The procedure in doing it is relatively easy, but you need to do it perfectly. Any incorrect placement can have a negative impact on the overall comfort that your biking shoes bring during the ride.

Installing SPD Cleats on Biking Shoes

If your biking shoes come with a two-bolt sole pattern, they should be compatible with SPD cleats. Usually, when a cleat is installed in a biking shoe, it will recess into the hole of the shoes, which provide the comfort you need when walking to different places.

Most of these shoes may come with a cleat cover, but you can always remove them by unscrewing the screw with a regular Philip head screwdriver to remove the cover. Once the cover is removed, you will see the area where the cleats will be installed.

If you are wondering why some shoes come with a cover, it is actually giving you an option to use the shoes without installing the SPD cleats. There are also some shoes that are unfortunately not SPD compatible because of the way they are designed.

Installing the SPD cleats is not difficult at all. All you need is an SPD-compatible shoe, an SPD cleats, and a 4 mm Allen wrench or a hex key. Although the installation can be done without it, I also suggest preparing a grease for some specific purpose which I will reveal later.

A set of SPD cleats contains everything you need to install a pair of cleats. It comes with two cleats, two washers, and four screws. The sliding washer will keep the screws aligned and allow you to adjust the cleat positions side to side.

Please find below the step-by-step guide on how to install SPD cleats on mountain bike shoes:

installing spd cleats on a biking shoes

Step 1:

The first step is to grease the tip of the screw to make it easier for you to remove the cleats when they wear out or to adjust them later if you need them to. Do not worry. It will not be likely that the grease will make the screw and the cleat loosen.

Step 2:

The next step is to snuggle the sliding washer to the oval-shaped groove on the cleat. This part will be the side that faces the pedal when the cleat is installed in the shoes.

Please note that the washer is not long as the groove, which means you can slide it back and forth to adjust the cleat position. In addition, the holes of the washer should match the bevels of the screw so that the slopes are facing out when it is installed.

Step 3:

The next step is to check the thread inserts in the bottom of the shoe and see if the plate is aligned. If not, adjust it accordingly by removing the insole of the shoe and reposition the plate properly before returning the insole back in.

Step 4:

The next step is to put one screw into each hole and washers to line the screw up. Then, you will need to screw the cleat into the threaded insert in the bottom of the shoe. All you have to do is line it up and use the hex key to screw it in.

When screwing the cleat, make sure to adjust and check its alignment before tightening it entirely to the shoe. You can change the cleat forward and back or move the cleat side by side. The positioning of your clean will all depend on your preference.

Step 5:

After you make the adjustment and find the correct position that you want, you can not tighten the screw. Spend each screw some time to ensure that everything is tight on each side until both of them are tight as you get them. Going back and forth to both of the screws will ensure that the tightness is done evenly and properly.

Sometimes, some bikers assume that if they screw their cleats loosely, they can remove them easily, but it does not work that way since using a loose cleat reduces your ability to utilize the leverage of your shoe to clip out fully. In addition, a loose screw also has the tendency to jam your pedal, which is dangerous.

Step 6:

The next step is to repeat the process of installation using the other side of the shoes. Follow what is stated in the direction above to make sure that the cleat is installed correctly on the other shoe.

Once the installation is complete, you can test the biking shoe to see for yourself if it is comfortable enough to be used on the road. Check the positioning of the cleat and its comfort. If you are not comfortable, you can always adjust accordingly.

Step 7:

This final step is what you do to make yourself comfortable the next time you install a new cleat on your bike shoes. If you are satisfied with the comfort and the placement of your cleat, you can use a pen to trace the position of your old cleat.

Doing this action will help you install a new cleat in the same position that you like. Especially if you are using mountain bike shoes, you can always imprint the position of the old cleat for you to install the new cleat easily into the shoes.


Learning how to install SPD cleats on bike shoes is an essential skill that you must learn as a biker. The installation process is easy, but the most important thing is to locate the cleat’s right positioning, which is comfortable on both of your feet.

Always remember that the cleats should be positioned at the middle of the foot to the back. Doing this way will provide enough balance to the stability and endurance of your foot and will train your muscles in biking at a longer distance.

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