The cleats on the bottoms of our cycling shoes are some of the most well-worn pieces of equipment a cyclist has. They get walked on, shoved into a pedal against spring pressure, scraped onto the ground, and are forgotten about until they become a problem. Kind of like tires on your car.

I decided to shoot a little video for this topic. The quality isn’t great so please bear with me as I try something new.

I had to replace mine last week when I noticed my shoes weren’t feeling as ‘solid’ when clipped in. A close inspection revealed some pretty good wear that required replacement. Here’s a couple of pictures of my well-worn cleats.

Clipless Cleat Comparison Broken Clipless Pedal Cleat

You can tell in the second pic that I had a huge chunk missing out of the leading edge of my cleat. No wonder it felt weird.

Why Change Your Cleats?

As your cleats become worn, they lack the surface area to keep them securely fastened to the pedal. A worn clear can cause the following:

  1. Lack of power transfer. The whole purpose of having cleats is to make our power transfer from foot to pedal better. If the cleats are worn then they aren’t transferring power properly.
  2. Injury. If your cleats are worn, and you’re not regularly checking them, your first indication may be when your foot comes unclipped while pedaling. This would be a bad thing if you’re involved in a group sprint or out of the saddle while climbing. Not only could this injure you but you could cause a crash involving other riders.

Tips When Changing Cleats

I mentioned a couple of these in the video but left one out. The are:

  • Use the dirt ring left by the old cleat to put the new one in the exact same spot.
  • If you haven’t had a proper cleat alignment done, now may be a good time to get one done.
  • The one I left out – if they’re not damaged, keep those old allen bolts and washers when replacing your clear. You never know when you’ll need a spare.

When was the last time you replaced your cleats? Check’em out the next time you go for a ride.