Shimano SPD Cleats Demystified – Which Type Is Right for You?

shimano spd cleats

Shimano SPD cleats are a crucial component for cycling enthusiasts, whether you’re a professional athlete or a recreational rider.

These cleats are designed to provide the perfect fit between your cycling shoes and pedals, making it easy to click in and out of the pedals and providing you with optimal energy transfer for a smooth and efficient ride.

In this ultimate review, let’s have a look at the different types of Shimano SPD cleats available, their features, and the benefits they offer for road and mountain biking.

Shimano SPD Cleats Key Features

Here’s a table describing the key features of the Shimano SPD cleats:

Key FeaturesDescription
Cleat TypesShimano SPD cleats come in different types, each designed for specific cycling activities. They provide options for road cyclists, mountain bikers, and other riders to suit their individual preferences.
Degree of PlayShimano SPD cleats offer varying degrees of play, which determine the freedom of movement when cycling. The options range from high degrees of play for comfort to no play for maximum power transfer and control.
Energy TransferThese cleats are engineered to optimize energy transfer between cycling shoes and pedals, enabling riders to achieve greater efficiency by minimizing wasted energy.
Easy Click-In/OutShimano SPD cleats feature a user-friendly click-in and out mechanism, allowing cyclists to easily engage and disengage their shoes from the pedals. This ensures quick and convenient control over the bike.
ComfortDesigned with rider comfort in mind, Shimano SPD cleats offer a secure and snug fit between the shoes and pedals, reducing the risk of foot pain and discomfort during long rides.
ControlShimano SPD cleats provide enhanced control over the bike, allowing riders to maneuver with ease on different terrains. This feature is especially valuable for mountain bikers tackling challenging trails.
Injury PreventionBy promoting proper body alignment, Shimano SPD cleats help reduce the risk of knee and other joint injuries associated with cycling. They ensure that the joints are protected and strain is minimized.
Mounting KitThe Shimano SPD cleat package includes a mounting kit comprising hardware, screws, and rings, facilitating easy installation and adjustment.
DurabilityThese cleats are built to withstand the rigors of cycling, offering durability and longevity to support riders in their cycling endeavors.
VersatilityShimano SPD cleats are versatile and compatible with a wide range of cycling shoes and pedals, allowing riders to enjoy their benefits across various cycling disciplines and setups.

Reach Your Potential: Shimano SPD Cleats Review

Shimano have introduced a lot of new integration in these cleats. Here are some of the best features this cleats will offer:

Advanced Technology Ensured

Advanced Technology Ensured

Shimano SPD cleats incorporate advanced technology to optimize your cycling performance. The different colors represent the degree of play:

  • Red: 0 degrees play
  • Blue: 2 degrees play
  • Yellow: 6 degrees play

In addition to the play degree, the screw length for securing the cleats is standardized at 8 mm. Each set of cleats comes with a pair of cleats, along with the necessary mounting hardware, six screws, and six rings. Remember to grease the screws during installation to ensure easy removal when needed.

Yellow Cleats – Embrace Comfort and Freedom of Movement

Yellow Cleats - Embrace Comfort and Freedom of Movement

Yellow cleats, the standard choice for most Shimano road bike pedals, offer the highest degree of play.

With a generous 6 degrees of clearance, they provide ample freedom of movement while cycling. This feature is particularly advantageous for recreational cyclists who prioritize a comfortable riding experience, reducing the chances of knee pain and other body discomforts.

However, it’s important to note that the play in yellow cleats comes with a slight energy loss.

Blue Cleats – Find the Balance Between Efficiency and Precision

Blue Cleats - Find the Balance Between Efficiency and Precision

Blue cleats strike a balance between play and energy efficiency. With 2 degrees of play, they offer less freedom of movement compared to yellow cleats.

While this reduces energy loss during pedaling, finding the optimal foot position can be slightly more challenging. Precise adjustment is crucial to minimize the risk of knee problems.

Blue cleats are well-suited for riders seeking enhanced efficiency without compromising too much on comfort.

Red Cleats – Unleash Maximum Power and Control

Red Cleats - Unleash Maximum Power and Control

Red cleats leave no room for play, providing a firm and direct connection between your shoe and the pedal. With 0 degrees of play, they enable almost all energy to be transferred into your cycling movement.

Red cleats are the go-to choice for competitive cyclists aiming to ride harder and achieve unparalleled control.

However, their adjustment requires meticulous precision. If not properly aligned, there is an increased risk of discomfort or injury to your knees and other body parts.

Improved Energy Transfer

The design of Shimano SPD cleats ensures optimal energy transfer between your cycling shoes and pedals, increasing riding efficiency and maximizing power output.

Easy Click-In and Out

Easy Click-In and Out

With a simple click-in and out mechanism, Shimano SPD cleats allow effortless engagement and disengagement with your pedals, providing quick control and adaptability during rides.

Enhanced Comfort

Shimano SPD cleats prioritize comfort during long rides, offering a secure and stable fit that reduces the risk of foot pain and discomfort.

Pressure points are minimized, allowing you to fully enjoy your cycling experience.

Better Control on Various Terrains

These cleats empower you with better bike control, enabling seamless maneuverability across different terrains.

The firm connection between your shoes and pedals ensures stability and responsiveness in diverse riding conditions.

Reduced Risk of Injury

Reduced Risk of Injury

Shimano SPD cleats are designed to promote proper body alignment and protect joints, minimizing the risk of injuries.

By reducing strain on the knees, they help prevent discomfort and potential injuries during intense or prolonged cycling sessions.


#1. Why use SPD cleats?

Ans: One of the main benefits of using SPD cleats is their walkability. The small size of the cleat allows for easy walking when off the bike. Shoes designed for two-bolt cleats feature a tread on the sole, and the recessed cleat ensures you walk on a large, grippy area rather than the actual cleat, unlike the SPD-SL design.

#2. What is a SPD cleat?

Ans: SPD cleat is an abbreviation for Shimano Pedaling Dynamics, a clipless pedal system introduced by Shimano in 1990.

#3. Do cleats improve performance?

Ans: Cleats, when paired with the appropriate surface, can enhance performance by optimizing factors like shock absorption and step impact. Research indicates that finding the right cleat-surface combination can potentially improve performance by up to 20%.

Final Opinion

Shimano SPD cleats are an essential component for anyone who enjoys cycling, whether you’re a professional athlete or a recreational rider.

With their advanced features and benefits, Shimano SPD cleats offer improved energy transfer, better control, and reduced risk of injury, making them the perfect choice for any type of cycling.

By choosing the right type of cleat and ensuring that your body is properly aligned, you can enjoy a smooth and efficient ride every time.

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