Mid Foot Cleat position

by smuggers   March 16, 2014  

Just interested to hear if anybody else is using a mid foot cleat position & their reasons for doing so? I've had terrible knee problems for years, due to over pronation & basically faffing with cleat positioning & different pedal systems.. I have seen a guy twice over the past year & he recommended cleat wedges & orthotics, along with a bike fit, which I went ahead with. I've had my bikes on the turbo & been trying to fine tune my cleat position for about two weeks now & I'm getting fed up with being unable to get a comfortable set up. So I've been doing a bit of googling & come across quite a lot of information about mid foot cleat positioning & this link in particular is very interesting & seems quite in depth. https://www.stevehoggbikefitting.com/bikefit/2011/04/power-to-the-pedal-... . I use shimano mtb, spd's for all my bikes & I'm thinking of putting the cleat as far back as it will go. My thinking is, if I have the cleat set further back, will this mean I should eliminate the over pronation in my feet? & I will have to drop my saddle to compensate for lack of heel drop in a mid foot cleat position? Any advice would be appreciated thanks.. Smile


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It does not seem very convincing to me for 2 main reasons. The first is that you only have to look at the professional riders who will try anything to give them a slight advantage over the competition, do you see ANY of them using that position? No. That tells me that it cant be beneficial in any way or in any given condition. The second reason is that if you jump on your bike with non cycling shows on, where do you naturally position your foot? I doubt very much if it is in the mid foot position (unless you ride like the local drunk coming home from the pub after a skinful). But, if it works for you, go with it.

posted by Welsh boy [102 posts]
16th March 2014 - 10:53

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I haven't gone quite that far but did follow Steve Hogg's advice and shift the cleats further back than I had before. It certainly feels beneficial but you need to measure carefully and ensure you get it right.

posted by Jezzag [37 posts]
16th March 2014 - 11:46

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One of my club mates did a lot of work on this (modifying shoe soles to fit cleats mid sole, etc) and he was convinced he got an advantage from it. Joe Friel has investigated it as well, and uses it himself:
The conventional cleat position is used by most people because that's just how shoes are made, and mid sole might cause front wheel toe overlap for some people.
No harm in having a go, but you will probably have to do a bit of DIY on your shoes.

posted by kcr [63 posts]
16th March 2014 - 12:41

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Thanks for the replies guys.. I know lot's of Triathletes use the mid foot cleat position, because it's been proven to beneficial for the run after the effort on the bike. My situation is different & relates to my over pronation at the forefoot, my right foot being quite bad and I have three wedges under this cleat.. I'm just thinking if I set the position further back, I would eliminate some of the over pronation I get from a more traditional cleat position? I no longer ride competitively, so I'm not to fussed about the pros & cons of the mid foot cleat position..I just want to be able to ride more regularly without knee pain..I've not ridden for 5 days, due to pain in both knee's..I've not been pushing that hard really, concentrating more on cadence due to the stop start nature of my cycling at the moment.. Thanks for the link kcr.. It certainly gets you thinking..


posted by smuggers [24 posts]
16th March 2014 - 17:57

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I have the cleats pushed as far back as they will go on every set of shoes I have - road or mtb. It seems the only way to get the cleat just behind the centre of the ball of my foot. I just can't imagine having cleats further forward and feeling like I'm pedalling with my toes

I've recently been having knee problems (well, right knee only) with the road pedals, which I've only been using for about 6 months. Gone back to mtb spd's seems to have alleviated the problem, so I can only presume the increased float is what I need. I've got some Speedplays to try.

I would have thought a comfortable cleat position would help you ride further and faster, regardless of what the pro's do.

posted by mtbtomo [44 posts]
16th March 2014 - 18:18

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Under the big toe joint is best, but most people are spectacularly wrong at judging where that point is when they've got shoes on. So, too far back being the lesser evil than too far forwards, try sliding them back. I don't buy this "mid foot" position theory though, any more than I buy into padded trainers that encourage runners to heel strike.

posted by Nick T [781 posts]
16th March 2014 - 18:47

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Pros don't use it so it can't be beneficial (just like 25mm tyres a few years back) Wink

Let's not confuse assumptions with evidence.

I don't follow trends. Trends follow me.

posted by BBB [178 posts]
16th March 2014 - 23:05

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