MTB Cleats Advice needed

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
Posts: 4
Joined: 17 Jun 2017, 3:59pm

MTB Cleats Advice needed

Postby Willj90 » 3 Mar 2019, 10:47am

I am new to the world of MTB and SPD shoes and despite my research I still am not confident on how to proceed.
I'm a short to middle distance commuter looking to be more efficient with my riding and I was advised in a cycling shop that MTB shoes are the way forward as walking around is easier and unclipping at junctions also.
I am basically looking for someone who is the same position who has found a good Pedal/Cleat/MTB shoe set up they can share with me?
The MTB shoes I've been looking at sometimes look a bit boxy and I simply don't want to waste my money.

Posts: 36822
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: MTB Cleats Advice needed

Postby Brucey » 3 Mar 2019, 11:00am

the fit and durability of the shoes is the important thing, not whether they 'look boxy' or not.

FWIW I like SPD pedals (tip; buy genuine shimano ones; many of the others have rubbish bearings in) and they work well for commuting. Most of the half-decent shoes at a reasonable cost are indeed MTB shoes.


Posts: 180
Joined: 28 Sep 2017, 10:10am
Location: Berks, UK

Re: MTB Cleats Advice needed

Postby busb » 3 Mar 2019, 11:09am

I've been using SPDs since the 1st Shimano shoe/pedal combo way back when. For the 1st time user, it's sensible to adjust all the cleat release tension screws for easy release - 4 screws in all on most pedals. My hybrid has XT pedals & my road bike has XTR so don't have to swap shoes & can walk in them without looking like a swan out of water without slipping & sliding like I've seen folks do who wear road shoes do.

User avatar
Posts: 3641
Joined: 31 Jan 2016, 1:35pm
Location: London

Re: MTB Cleats Advice needed

Postby Gattonero » 3 Mar 2019, 12:25pm

One word of advice: foot retention is great for efficiency, but don't take it as a substitute for fitness. Often I am overtaken by people riding plastic flat pedals :lol:

The main advantage you have by the SPD system is the reliability, longevity and choice of parts. For a start, the cleats last many thousand miles as opposed to other type of pedals (like Crank Bros or Time) and are widely available worldwide. Also the SPD system can be adjusted to offer a very easy release of the foot, you can also have multi-directional release cleats.

The selection of shoes also can suit any taste. My favourite for commuting are "plain" type, Shimano shoes have a very good Q/P and some will look just like trekking/leisure shoes, let alone the affordable prices (those are less than £50)
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...

Posts: 2888
Joined: 28 Nov 2009, 9:44pm

Re: MTB Cleats Advice needed

Postby mattsccm » 3 Mar 2019, 12:56pm

Default nowadays is SPD. Other types eg Time, Speedplay, exist but are much less evident. You chose Shimano or copies. The latter can be fine but Shimano are bomb proof and cheap. Just get some basic 20 quid ones. Alternative is SPD one side and flat the other. Handy if you pedal in normal shoes but a tad less handy to clip into in that you have to flip them.
Shoes. Trainer type like those pictured often have rubber soles and are thus less slippery on wet hard surfaces. Also less full of ventilation holes etc. Stiffer, racey types have harder jagged plastic soles. Slippery but tend to be more rigid and thus efficient. Whether you notice or care is up to you. More likely to have lots of ventilation. Dead handy in Britain :lol:

Posts: 322
Joined: 7 Aug 2018, 9:59pm

Shimano SH56 cleats recommended

Postby zenitb » 3 Mar 2019, 7:44pm

If you are just starting with clipless pedals consider using the easier Shimano SH56 "multi-release" cleats rather than the standard SH51 model. SH56s can be "yanked out" in an emergency and I found them easier when I was first learning SPDs (see diagram) Move to the firmer SH51s once your body has learned the "twist out" reflex. Also slacken off all four adjusters on the pedals when you are learning..tighten them up as you get more confident.

Once you have mastered SPDs my guess is you wont go back to flats in and be happy!!
Image Attachments

Posts: 37486
Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: MTB Cleats Advice needed

Postby reohn2 » 3 Mar 2019, 7:52pm

Shimano do a range of touring shoes basically they're similar to MTB shoes but with a less aggressive sole,which may suit you better if you don't plan on doing any MTB or off road riding.
I cycle therefore I am.

User avatar
Posts: 4755
Joined: 5 Mar 2012, 6:39pm
Location: Horwich, Lancs.

Re: MTB Cleats Advice needed

Postby RickH » 3 Mar 2019, 8:05pm

I mostly use shimano M520 SPD pedal but I do have a pair of T400 Click'r pedals which I've been pleased with. The main differences are the bigger platform, complete with reflectors, & easier clipping in & out.
There are quite a few pairs of "normal" looking shoes out there but I would recommend trying some as they can be quite different fits for a nominal size. I've been pleased with the Giro Rumble VRs that I got a couple of years ago. I've found they work well both on & off the bike.

User avatar
Posts: 2190
Joined: 8 Mar 2010, 8:58pm

Re: MTB Cleats Advice needed

Postby Redvee » 4 Mar 2019, 1:58am

M520 pedals on the commute bike here with M780 on the better bike, M520s can be had for around £20 if you look around though the spare pair currently hiding in the cupboard cost me £16 but didn't come with cleats. I started with SH51 cleats back in 1991 and stuck with them ever since on road and MTB bikes though I only ride road now and prefer the dual sided SPD as getting away from lights and clipped in can be done with half a turn of the cranks and within 2 bike lengths, having the cleats in the right place in the sole helps with this I don't need to look at the pedals, just stamp my foot onto it and be clipped in.

User avatar
Posts: 3580
Joined: 12 Jan 2007, 11:43pm
Location: Sussex

Re: MTB Cleats Advice needed

Postby squeaker » 4 Mar 2019, 10:38am

Willj90 wrote:I am new to the world of MTB and SPD shoes and despite my research I still am not confident on how to proceed.
Er, I thought the trend in off-road MTB riding was for grippy soled shoes and pedals with pins (eg Nukeproof). Using pinned pedals with lightweight boots has certainly improved my MTB experience (both on and off the bike), albeit at the expense of a few scars on my shins :roll: For on-road then M520 is a good starting point, IME.

Posts: 905
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:39am

Re: MTB Cleats Advice needed

Postby alexnharvey » 4 Mar 2019, 7:35pm

Certainly the trend in mtbing is currently flat pinned pedals. Often pedals that put a premium on appearance and particularly thinness over serviceability and efficiency.
There are many mtbers still happily and unfashionably clipped in.

User avatar
Posts: 3580
Joined: 12 Jan 2007, 11:43pm
Location: Sussex

Re: MTB Cleats Advice needed

Postby squeaker » 4 Mar 2019, 9:25pm

alexnharvey wrote:...There are many mtbers still happily and unfashionably clipped in.
Can't argue with that: ditto 559 wheels :roll: (Not trying to make a point, just saying what helped me :wink: )