How To Put Cleats On Cycling Shoes

Cleats are a vital part of any shoe, but they often get overlooked by cyclists who don’t know how to replace them. Luckily, installing the cleats on your shoes is an easy process that only takes a few minutes.

How To Fit New Cleats To Your Cycling Shoes

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Cycling Cleats: How to Put Them on Your Cycling Shoes
Installing cycling cleats can be challenging, but the benefits of doing so are significant.
Cleats provide a more efficient and powerful pedal stroke, as well as increased comfort and reduced risk of injury.
Before installation, make sure you have the correct type of cleats for your bike’s pedals.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and use the correct tools for installation.
Adjust your cleats correctly to achieve maximum comfort and efficiency.

Cut Out The Old Cleats

You can use a sharp knife to cut out the old cleats. Be sure to do this in a place where you won’t be in danger of cutting yourself, or where any spilled pieces of cleat would not become lodged in your carpet and cause injury.

Once you’ve removed the old cleats, replace them with new ones:

Cleats should be replaced every 6 months, or sooner if they are worn down or damaged.

Keeping your hiking boots clean is important to ensure their longevity and maintain their performance. Check out our guide on how to clean hiking boots for some easy tips and tricks to keep your boots looking and feeling great.

Dry Fit The New Cleats

You should also test the shoes on your bike to make sure that you can clip in and out of your pedals without difficulty. If you don’t have a bike, use a stand at home. 

Clip in and out of the pedals, checking for any rubbing or discomfort. If there’s any unwanted friction or pain during this step, you may need to adjust the positioning of your cleats.

If necessary, use a screwdriver to tighten up each individual bolt on one side of each hex-shaped cleat (you’ll see two holes). 

Don’t overdo it! You only want enough pressure to hold them securely in place; if they’re too tight they’ll eventually wear down over time as they rub on your shoes’ soles while riding around town or on trails outside town…

Dry Fitting Your Cleats

1.Insert the new cleats into the slots on the bottom of your cycling shoes.
2.Tighten the screws using the appropriate tools, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
3.Check that the cleats match the cleat retention system on your bike’s pedals.
4.Test the shoes on your bike or on a stand to make sure you can clip in and out of your pedals without difficulty.
5.Make adjustments as needed to ensure proper fit and function.

Place Adhesive On The Cleats

You’ll also need to apply some cleat adhesive. This is a liquid that forms a permanent bond between the cleats and the soles of your cycling shoes.

The adhesive comes in two parts: one tube contains the adhesive itself, and another tube has an applicator brush inside it. 

You’ll use this second tube to apply the glue onto your shoes’ soles. The adhesive is a plastic-based formula that will dry clear once applied, so you won’t have to worry about ruining their appearance.

Place Tape Around Shoe Holes To Protect Hardware

To prevent your cleats from falling out and your shoes from getting scratched, it’s a good idea to put tape around the shoe holes. This DIY solution is easy and can be removed once the cleats are installed.

Protecting Your Shoes When Installing Cleats

1.Gather materials including tape, scissors, and cycling shoes with cleat holes.
2.Cut pieces of tape that are larger than the cleat holes on the bottom of your shoes.
3.Place the tape over the holes to protect the hardware during installation.
4.Place the cleat over the tape and align it with the holes in the shoe.
5.Screw the cleat into the shoe using the appropriate tools, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
6.Once the cleats are installed, remove the tape and clean any adhesive residue off your shoes.

Line Up Cleat Over Holes In Shoe

Now that your cleat is in place, it’s time to make sure it’s straight. To do this, place the shoe upside down on a flat surface and look at the cleat. 

If it appears crooked or unevenly spaced over the holes in your shoes, you’ll need to adjust it.

Turning the pedal over will help you see if your cleat is lined up correctly with all of its holes – sometimes it may be tilted slightly one way or another. 

If there’s an issue here, just use some pliers or wrenches to bend the plate until it sits straight again (but don’t go overboard—it should still rotate easily).

Tying your hiking boots correctly is key to ensuring their comfort and functionality. Check out our guide on how to tie hiking boots for some tips and tricks to make sure your boots fit snugly and comfortably.

Screw In Hardware From Inside Of Shoe With Screwdriver

Once you have the hardware and cleat placed in your shoe, it’s time to start screwing the bolts into place. 

To do this, you’ll need a small flathead screwdriver or hex wrench (a hex wrench is simply a regular wrench with one side of its head cut off, making it more compact). 

Take the tool and insert it into the hole on your cycling shoe, then use your other hand to turn the bolt clockwise until it’s fully inserted.

Your last step will be to test whether your shoes are properly secured by clipping into and out of pedals as often as necessary until everything feels secure.

Screw In Cleat Hardware with a Screwdriver

1.Look for the holes on the bottom of your cycling shoes where you will insert and screw in your cleat hardware.
2.Align the cleat hardware with the holes, making sure the cleats are in the correct position for your pedaling style.
3.Using a flathead screwdriver or hex wrench, begin screwing in the bolts from the inside of the shoe.
4.Screw the bolts in until snug, but do not overtighten or cross-thread the bolts.
5.Repeat the process for all bolts, ensuring they are screwed in evenly and securely.
6.Test the cleats to ensure they are securely fastened, but also allow for easy entry and release of your cycling shoes.

Tighten Cleats On Shoes With A Hammer

If you’re using cleats that have hex bolts, they should be tightened with a wrench.

To determine if the cleats are tight enough, simply pull on them with your fingers. You should feel resistance in the bolt and should not see any movement as you do so. 

If you’re using hex-style cleats and can’t get them quite tight enough by hand, use a torque wrench for an extra boost of force (make sure to use only as much force as necessary).

Want to improve your cycling speed? Check out our guide on how to get faster at cycling for some easy tips and training techniques to help you ride faster and more efficiently.

Let The Adhesive Dry Without Moving For A Few Hours

Once the adhesive has dried, you might be tempted to walk around in your new cycling shoes and get used to them. 

Don’t do this! The next step is putting the cleats on your shoes, and you don’t want them to move when you’re trying to attach them.

It’s also important to note that you should never ride in cycling shoes that are too small or too big for your feet. 

A good fit is key for safety and comfort during a ride, but if there’s anything wrong with how the cleats are attached (even if there’s no movement), then it won’t matter how well-fitted they are you’ll still find yourself struggling with discomfort while riding.

Remove Tape From Screw Holes

Using a razor blade, carefully cut away the tape from the screw holes. Then, fold over each side of the tape and pull it off of the cleat plate.

Wear gloves to prevent cuts from sharp metal parts. Tuck your fingers into your palm when using a razor blade so that you don’t accidentally slice them open! 

If you do happen to cut yourself while removing the tape, make sure to clean up any blood on surfaces immediately so that it doesn’t get mixed in with your bike’s components (which could cause rust).

I recommend using an old towel or washcloth when removing adhesive residue from shoes because cotton rags are easier to clean than paper towels and can absorb more liquid safely without damaging items (like bikes).

Dealing with sit bone pain while cycling can be a real pain in the rear. Check out our guide on how to relieve sit bone pain from cycling for some easy tips and tricks to reduce discomfort and enjoy your ride.

Try Shoes On And Test Fit By Clipping In And Out Of Pedals

Once you have the shoes, it’s time to test fit them. You want to try on your shoes and clip in and out of the pedals before you put cleats on your shoes.

Put the pedals on your bike, then clip in and out a few times (without cleats). This will give you an idea of how far apart they are from each other and what kind of movement will be required for clipping in.

Clip in and out a few more times with cleats already attached, but don’t worry about where they’re positioned yet you can always remove them if necessary! 

Check whether there’s enough room between cleat and pedal for mounting screws; if not, move them around until everything lines up nicely with no chance of interference.

With socks on so that you don’t cut yourself (or get blood all over your beautiful new cycling shoes), take some measurements off your feet: how far do they stand apart? How high do they sit? How much space is between toes/heel when standing naturally?

If you’re looking to get more out of your cycling workouts, incorporating your glutes could be the key to unlocking your full potential. Check out our guide on how to activate glutes while cycling for some expert tips and exercises to help you engage your glutes and improve your cycling performance.


Now that you know how to put cleats on your shoes, you can go out and ride! First, test the fit by clipping into your pedals. If they feel good, then all is well. If not, then go back through the process of installing new cleats until they do feel right.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources on cycling cleats if you want to learn more:

How to Install Cleats on Cycling Shoes: A step-by-step guide for installing cleats on your cycling shoes.

Cleats explained: how to set them up correctly: A comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about cycling cleats, including how to set them up correctly.

How to install and adjust cycling cleats: An article covering how to install and adjust cleats on your cycling shoes to achieve a comfortable and efficient position on your bike.


What are cycling cleats?

Cycling cleats are small attachments that are screwed onto the bottom of cycling shoes. They allow the shoes to securely clip into the pedals on a bike, providing a more efficient and powerful pedal stroke.

Why are cycling cleats important?

Cycling cleats are important because they allow the rider to apply force throughout the entire pedal stroke, rather than just on the downward part of the stroke. This can result in a more efficient and powerful pedal stroke, as well as increased comfort and reduced risk of injury.

How do I know what type of cleats to get?

The type of cleats you need depends on the type of pedals on your bike. Make sure to check the compatibility of the cleats with your pedals before purchasing.

How do I install cycling cleats?

Installing cycling cleats typically involves screwing them onto the bottom of your cycling shoes and adjusting them to the correct position. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the correct tools for installation.

How do I adjust cycling cleats?

Adjusting cycling cleats involves positioning them correctly on the bottom of your cycling shoes for maximum comfort and efficiency. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and adjust them in small increments to avoid discomfort or injury.