SPD Bicycle Cleats: Wearout Thereof

Mary decided her cycling shoes were worn out after about four years and maybe 8000 miles. Walking with cleated shoes doesn’t work well (no, we don’t bother with cleat covers), but they’ve seen a few miles of pavement, too:

Worn SPD cleat in cycling shoe

Worn SPD cleat in cycling shoe

A closeup shows that the surface of the old cleat really has worn away:

SPD cleats - new and worn

SPD cleats – new and worn

The rear tang is mostly there:

SPD cleats - rear tang

SPD cleats – rear tang

But the front tang is mostly gone:

SPD cleats - front tang

SPD cleats – front tang

New shoes, new cleats, new pedals… we’re still tuning for best fit.


  1. #1 by hexley ball on 2012-08-09 - 12:09

    If walking is part of the program — maybe on those runs to the grocery store, for example? — then what would Mary say to switching back to toe clips? That’s how I roll on my mountain bike. I wear stiff biking shoes (designed for SPD cleats), but leave off the cleats and use old school pedals with toe clips. The toe clips give that critical ability to pull up on the pedal, plus a reasonable amount of foot stability and security. The stiff shoes save my feet and don’t waste a lot of energy compressing a padded insole. And walking is absolutely no problem since there are no cleats to scrape along.

    The road bike is a different story. It’s set up with LOOK Keo pedals, of which I am a big fan. Lightweight, secure, and strong — hard to beat. But I have to admit that walking around in these cleats isn’t something you want to do much :-)

    • #2 by Ed on 2012-08-09 - 12:43

      switching back to toe clips?

      The problem with toe clips on a recumbent bike is that when your foot falls off the pedal, your heel hits the ground, your foot stops instantly, and (rumor has it) that’s a remarkably painful way to run over your own leg. So we both favor cleats, although I’ve installed asymmetric pedals with SPD latches on one side and platforms on the other: we can ride without clicking in while, for example, hobbyhorsing through crowds on the Walkway.

      That said, our Larval Engineer has been riding with somewhat modified clips forever and hasn’t broken anything yet…