Turn your favourite shoes into clipless pedal cycling shoes

Retrofitz retrofittable cleat system promises classic shoes… with cleats

by David Arthur @davearthur   February 25, 2013  

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

19 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Finally my lifelong dream of owning a pair of SPD Wellies becomes reality!

posted by falls offlots [92 posts]
25th February 2013 - 16:59


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

posted by Sandy_l [25 posts]
25th February 2013 - 17:07


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...

In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice...

posted by notfastenough [3711 posts]
25th February 2013 - 17:11


There is presumably a reason why the soles of cycling shoes are prized for their stiffness whereas other sports' shoes go for flexibility.

posted by robert_obrien [120 posts]
25th February 2013 - 17:27


another project for my 3d printer Smile

wilhay's picture

posted by wilhay [71 posts]
25th February 2013 - 17:33


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.

posted by ubercurmudgeon [168 posts]
25th February 2013 - 17:54


Put me down for a pair!

Get out and ride

posted by davidtcycle [62 posts]
25th February 2013 - 18:23


YES, I can turn my old trainers into SPDs like I wanted to years ago Devil

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9355 posts]
25th February 2013 - 19:13


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.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1592 posts]
25th February 2013 - 19:57


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 Thinking

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4201 posts]
25th February 2013 - 21:17


Clipless flip-flops Yeaahh! Cool

Done Nightrider 2013, 2014 and 2015 for Parkinson's UK. Next year Ride London

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [659 posts]
25th February 2013 - 21:39


oh dear, cycling shoe makers will not like this... At Wits End

posted by denzzz28 [26 posts]
26th February 2013 - 0:00


Expect to see Wiggo riding in Clark's Desert Boots very soon.

posted by pwake [365 posts]
26th February 2013 - 6:52



posted by jezmellors [6 posts]
26th February 2013 - 12:59


jova54 wrote:
Clipless flip-flops Yeaahh! Cool

just laughed so hard I hurt myself Smile

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [922 posts]
26th February 2013 - 13:30


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!

posted by meehaja [27 posts]
26th February 2013 - 14:22


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.

R J Summers

Rob 105 rider's picture

posted by Rob 105 rider [9 posts]
26th February 2013 - 21:19


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 Surprise


Baldy1alex's picture

posted by Baldy1alex [54 posts]
28th February 2013 - 13:23

1 Like

Reebok pump SPD's, there is a God and he is watching over me! Rolling On The Floor

posted by steviemarco [48 posts]
24th June 2015 - 16:43