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Retrofitz retrofittable cleat system promises classic shoes… with cleats

Ever had the desire to turn your favourite trainers into clipless cycling shoes? Well now you can courtesy of Californian company Retrofitz who have just released a retrofittable cleat that turns any footwear, be it trainers to smart shoes (although possibly not slippers), into a clipless cycling shoe. We can hear hipsters fainting at the prospect of being able to clip in their black Vans for the ride to the Clerk & Well.

Retrofitz developed the product after the questions “can any shoe be a cycling shoe?” popped into their collective heads - which does make them sound a bit like The Borg, although we're sure they're not like that at all. Clearly ready to assimilate the challenge (I'll stop now), they set about developing a special nylon plate that can be fitted to just about any shoe.

The plate lets you attach any mountain bike cleat that uses a two bolt design, like Shimano’s SPD, Crank Brothers, Time or Speedplay Frogs. We know a lot of road cyclists (particularly touring cyclists and commuters) prefer mountain bike cleats because of the ease of walking and clipping in with double sided pedals - we're fans. Two bumpers stop the cleat from hitting the ground, so you can walking normally without skating about… although the proof of the pudding is probably in the eating on that one.

You can buy a conversion kit for $50 if you’re confident of taking a knife and drill to your shoes and fitting it yourself. Retrofitz do admit that it takes time and craftsmanship to implement successfully if you're going the DIY route. Otherwise they’ll sell you a pair of trainers with the cleat already installed. They offer six shoes, with prices ranging from $80 to $180, including Converse Chuck Taylor Hi-Tops, Adidas Samba and Adidas XCS Cyclocross Race Day shoes.

So if you want to re-purpose your favourite trainers for cycling, or you want some classic trainers cyclingified you can have them. Find out more at www.retrofitz.com

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

19 comments

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falls offlots [90 posts] 3 years ago
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Finally my lifelong dream of owning a pair of SPD Wellies becomes reality!

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Sandy_l [25 posts] 3 years ago
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or you can take the sole of an old pair of shoes and fit it into any shoe. Cut a hole in the bottom and viola! Save yourself $50

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notfastenough [3679 posts] 3 years ago
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I like the sound of this. I'd be tempted to buy a pair of the Mavic Podium yellow trainers and convert them to cycling shoes just to confuse people...

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robert_obrien [118 posts] 3 years ago
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There is presumably a reason why the soles of cycling shoes are prized for their stiffness whereas other sports' shoes go for flexibility.

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wilhay [71 posts] 3 years ago
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another project for my 3d printer  1

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ubercurmudgeon [169 posts] 3 years ago
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Personally, I find it much easier to get cycling shoes in my size (13) than "normal" shoes, so I'd be more interested in a system that did the reverse.

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davidtcycle [62 posts] 3 years ago
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Put me down for a pair!

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Gkam84 [9086 posts] 3 years ago
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YES, I can turn my old trainers into SPDs like I wanted to years ago  19

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Colin Peyresourde [1724 posts] 3 years ago
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Prepare to ruin perfectly good shoes. How many will withstand a good twist out at a traffic light? I also second the stiffness aspect. I just think the connecting plastic will pull out the bottom and you'll just have very holey shoes.

Well that's enough poo-pooing. I like the idea and I hope to do this to a pair of Charles brogues.

Perhaps I'll even live to an age where I can insert a protective dome into my woolly hat so I don't have to wear a conventional bike helmet.

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Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 3 years ago
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The original version of the Pearl Izumi Boulder was basically a trainer with SPDs in that it had a much flexier than normal sole and was great for walking around in, but also took cleats - my favourite pair of cycling shoes ever. Super comfortable, great for commuting or general messing about in and you could walk about in them all day and never feel the cleat. Lots of journos had 'em and I've never met one who didn't say much the same.

Course Pearl changed 'em the very next year one 'improvement' was a stiffer sole.

If you're hopping on ad off your bike riding round town, you don't need a super efficient sole on your shoes. Of course you probably don't need cleats either  39

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jova54 [653 posts] 3 years ago
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Clipless flip-flops Yeaahh!  16

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denzzz28 [29 posts] 3 years ago
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oh dear, cycling shoe makers will not like this...  102

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pwake [376 posts] 3 years ago
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Expect to see Wiggo riding in Clark's Desert Boots very soon.

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jezmellors [7 posts] 3 years ago
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Nonsense.

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therevokid [948 posts] 3 years ago
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jova54 wrote:

Clipless flip-flops Yeaahh!  16

just laughed so hard I hurt myself  1

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meehaja [24 posts] 3 years ago
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took my lovely handmade brouges to be re soled the other month, and was asking the cobler chap about fitting spd cleats (as a joke). He suggestd I buy some cheap cycling shoes, and when my brouges are past their smartest I he would stitch/glue the the SPD soles to the leather uppers creating some very impractical and sexy looking cycle shoes!

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Rob 105 rider [9 posts] 3 years ago
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my cycling shoes have been hiding inside overshoes and socks for months, i can't wait to show them off when it gets warmer let alone mess about with non cycling shoes i own.
converting trainers would probably be wasted on me as stiffness of shoe is key to performance but recreational use, then fine.

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Baldy1alex [55 posts] 3 years ago
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Ye Ha I must get this Kit an try it out on My old 70's Platform's cerca SLADE / MUD / T REX foot lifts  13

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steviemarco [132 posts] 1 year ago
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Reebok pump SPD's, there is a God and he is watching over me!  24