How to Clip in SPD Shoes: Step by Step Ultimate Beginners’ Guide

Is how to clip in SPD shoes posing a challenge to you? Don’t worry, because it does not just happen to beginners. It also happens to bikers who need to reinforce their knowledge on the process.

Just like every other not-so-normal process, you require some guidance to perfect the clipping in process. With lots of groundwork and some experience combined, this article will guide you through in a step by step procedure.

What are SPD Shoes?

SPD is the short form of Shimano Pedaling Dynamics, which represents a design of clipless pedals and cycling shoes. It was actually the first production for indoor bikes in 1990.

The cleat system features 2 holes, with the cleat plate on the shoes recessed. This is the most advantageous part of using SPD cleats- a recessed cleat allows you to walk in the shoes, assuring you of safety and bike mat protection. Actually, this is the reason why most spinning studios prefer them over the Look Delta cleats. They are easier to manage.

The SPD pedals can be used on either indoor or outdoor bikes, and all you need are matching shoes.

How to Clip in SPD Shoes? Let’s Have a Look

In order to have your SPD shoes clip in to the SPD clipless pedals, your shoes must, definitely, possess cleats. Cleats are small objects that are fixed at the bottom of your shoes, so that they can attach to the pedals.

This procedure starts with separate cleats, since a wrong cleat mount will lead to problems clipping in and out.

Step 1: Uninstall the Cleats

Uninstall the cleats. If you are already having issues clipping in, your cleats are probably wrongly installed.

 You can use an Allen key to twist the bolts on the cleats anticlockwise. This will loosen the bolts, and you can restart the process of installing the cleats.

Step 2: Re-Install the Cleats in the Correct Manner

Wear your shoe, one at a time. Trace the ball of your foot on the shoes’ exterior, which is the part adjacent to your big toe.

Make a mark on the shoe with a visible pen. Removable ink is best, so that it does not leave a coloring you won’t like on your shoe.

Remove the shoe, and draw a line from the mark across the bottom of the shoe.

Now take your cleat, which has a mark too. Match the mark to the line on your shoe bottom, and start installing the cleats.

Put the bolts onto the cleat holes, and into the shoe cleat plate. Start with one, and leaving it loose, bolt in the other. Then, tighten the bolts completely.

Ensure that none of the bolts is at all loose. Try to rotate them in order to be sure.

Step 3: Clip into the Bike Pedals

Wear your cleated shoes onto your bike. Point the toes down to the center of the bike, onto the pedal surface.  A creaking sound will assure you of a successful clip-in.

Once you are clipped in, pedal slowly at first. This will allow your feet to adjust, while the cleats completely adjust to the pedals.

You are now good to go on the best ride possible.

Step 4: Clipping Out

When you are through with your cycling or spinning, then it is time for you to clip out. Simply slow the bike, until it comes to a stop.

Kick your heel away from the pedals and bike, and you will have clipped out.

Get off your bike.

Step 5: Subsequent Clipping in Process

Once you install your cleats correctly, you do not have to redo the process each time you have to get on your bike.

You will only be checking on the tightness of the cleats occasionally, just to be sure that they are tight. If not, you can tighten them, just that.

Step 3 and 4 will be the norm from then henceforth.

This is until your cleats are worn out or when they break, so that you need to replace them. Even then, the mark on your shoe where the cleats lay remain, so you only have to put the new cleats on the position of the old cleats.

Why Do You Need the Cleats Tight?

If your cleats are loose, they will be difficult to clip out. Naturally, you should clip out of your bike by simply twisting your heel away from the pedals, and off you will be. This will take you less than 10 seconds.

However, with loose cleats, you might spend hours trying to clip out, and still not be successful.

Secondly, when the cleats are loose, your ride becomes uncomfortable. You will neither be confident nor safe, hence the essence of tight clipping in.

What About the Float?

When people are told that their shoe cleats should be tight, they mistake it for float. So then, what is float. Float refers to the amount of foot rotation you get while on the pedals, but then your shoe cleats should not be moving against your shoes. It is the combination of your shoes and cleats on the pedals.

SPD cleats or the pedals will come with the float. It may be fixed, where your feet will not move at all, moderate or with full float. Each cleat color stands for the amount of float that it represents.

Float will determine your comfort on the bike, and a slight difference important. Arch supports, which prevents knee, hip and lower back pain, can be dependent on the float of your cleats or pedals.

Bottom Line

How to clip in SPD shoes is that simple, but as we said earlier, you need these tips for a successful clip in. What are you waiting for? Brace yourself for a great ride on your clipless pedals, whether indoors or outdoors. What’s better? Once you have SPD shoes, you can visit majority of the spinning classes, because they are universal. Few bike pedals, such as peloton, will not be suitable for the shoes.

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