What are clipless pedals and do I need special shoes for them?
Athletically inclined riders, both on road and mountain bikes, are interested in achieving a maximum power transfer to the pedals. To achieve this, the foot and wheel pedal are firmly connected to each other.
The first “basket pedals”, in which the feet were still attached to the pedal with leather straps, were quickly replaced by so-called clipless systems. Clipless pedals firmly connect the foot to the pedal, similar to a ski binding. Biking shoes are fitted with a system that allows a metal or plastic plate to be mounted on the shoe, which then locks into place on the pedal when stepped on. To release the connection to the pedal, the heel is then twisted outwards.
A characteristic feature of road cycling shoes is that the shoe plates are screwed under a smooth, extremely stiff sole which makes walking difficult. In mountain bike shoes, however, the plates are recessed and the sole is not quite so stiff as to make it possible to walk comfortably. Basically, the stiffer the shoe sole, the more efficient the power transfer is to the pedal.
- Safe grip – you hardly ever slip off the pedal
- Optimum power transfer to the pedal
- Your feet are always in the optimal position
- During the lifting movement of the pedal you can additionally pull with your legs (round kick)
- Special shoes are necessary
- Time needed from accustomation and practice
- Possibility of getting stuck in the pedal when falling down
We integrate the clipless pedal system in our road bike soles as well as in almost all of our MTB soles. The athletic soles are equipped with a flatter, harder tread than the All Mountain outsoles. These feature a grippy, high traction outsole.
Mounting clipless pedals
Mounting the cleats (the metal or plastic plates for the pedals) is basically quite simple. The following instructions should help you to do it quickly and easily – but please also note the specific mounting instructions of the pedal manufacturers.
- Clear the shoe plate area. Unscrew the cover or cut out the rubber wedge.
- Determine the position of your big toe joint. The correct positioning of the shoe plates depends on the position of this joint. Locate this spot on your bare foot (see illustration), and mark it on your skin.
- Mounting the clipless system. The best way to determine the ideal position of the cleats is to step into the shoe and push the adjustable threaded plate in the outsole to the height of the previously marked large toe joint. Then insert the cleat in the center with the tip pointing forward and tighten (max. torque 5 Nm).
- Clipless pedal adjustment. The correct adjustment of the clipless pedal can be found in the mounting instructions for the pedal.