When Should I Replace Cycling Cleats?

April 08, 2022 5 min read

Cycling shoes are essential equipment for cyclists. They provide protection from sharp objects and rough surfaces, and they also allow you to pedal efficiently. The problem is, they get worn out over time. When should you replace them?

Cycling shoes come in two main types: clipless pedals and toe clips. Clipless pedals attach directly to your shoe, allowing you to ride without having to clip into the pedals. This type of pedal is usually recommended for beginners because it allows you to change direction easily.

Clip-in pedals use a mechanism that attaches to the bottom of your shoe. It's similar to how you would put on a running shoe. Clip-in pedals can be used with both clipless and toe clips.

Toe clips hold onto the front of your shoe, making pedaling easier and more efficient. Toe clips work best when you're going uphill, but they can still be used while climbing.

But what exactly are cycling cleats?

Cycling Cleats

A cycling cleat is a small metal or plastic device that fits on the sole of your shoe. It holds the pedal securely in place so that you don't have to worry about accidentally losing your foot. There are different kinds of cleats depending on which kind of bike you own.

The most common types of cleats include:

  • Clipless Pedals

  • Clipless pedals attach directly to the sole of your shoe. They require no clipping in or out. Some people prefer this style because it makes changing directions easy. However, if you wear thick socks, it may be difficult to fit the pedal correctly.

    Clipless pedals are available in three basic designs:

    1. Fixed – A fixed cleat has one position where it stays attached to the pedal. You must remove the cleat before you take off your shoe.
    2. Free-floating – A free-floating cleat is designed to stay in place even when you're not wearing your shoes. It requires some practice to learn how to properly adjust the cleat.
    3. Locking – A locking cleat locks itself into place when you push down on the pedal. It's a great option for people who like to go fast.
  • Clip-In Pedals

  • Clip-in cleats attach to the bottom of your shoes using a mechanism similar to putting on a pair of running shoes. Most of these cleats will work with either clipless or toe clips.

    To make sure you have the right size cleat, measure the width of your shoe from heel to toe. If your measurement falls between sizes, choose the larger size.

    If you want to buy new cleats, check out our guide to buying cycling shoes here.

    • Toe Clips

    Toe clips are an alternative to clipless pedals. They hold onto your shoe by attaching it to the front of the shoe. Because they aren't as secure as clipless pedals, they're generally only recommended for experienced riders.

    You'll need to purchase toe clips separately. If you already have a set of clipless pedals, you can probably convert them to toe clips.

    When Do I Need To Replace My Cycling Cleats?

    You shouldn't need to replace your cycling cleats/shoes as often as you do your running shoes. However, if you've been wearing the same pair of cleats for a long period of time, you may want to consider replacing them.

    The average lifespan of a pair of cycling cleats is around 3000-5000 miles. That means you should change your cleats every 3 months.

    You should replace your cycling cleats every three months or after 5000 miles (8000 km) of riding. If you wear out your shoes before then, you'll have to spend extra money buying new ones.

    How Do I Know Which Type Of Cleat To Get?

    There are many factors to consider when choosing the right type of cleat. Here are some things to keep in mind:

    • What type of riding do you plan on doing?
    • Do you have any injuries or health problems?
    • How much time do you spend commuting?
    • Are you planning on racing soon?
    • Will you be taking part in road races or mountain biking?
    • Is your current cleat comfortable?
    • How often do you expect to change shoes?

    What Type Of Cleat Should I Get?

    For most cyclists, there isn't a single perfect solution. The best choice depends on your needs. For example, if you ride mostly flat roads and rarely race, then a clip-in cleat might be just fine. On the other hand, if you're looking for something more durable, you could try a traditional cleat instead.

    What's The Difference Between Clipless Pedals And Toe Clips?

    Some people think that clipless pedals are better than toe clips because they allow you to move your feet around freely. This is true, but toe clips also offer flexibility.

    Both clipless pedals and cleat systems are designed to help prevent injury. In addition, both options provide good traction.

    For beginners, clipless pedals are easier to use because they let you quickly transition from walking to pedaling without having to stop.

    However, toe clips can be used with trainers or while standing still.

    Which Cleat System Is Best?

    The answer really depends on what kind of rider you are. If you're a beginner, clipless cleats may be the best option. But if you're a more advanced cyclist, you might prefer a toe clip.

    If you're not sure which one will work for you, it's always a good idea to test drive different types of cleats at home first. You can find these online or at bike shops.

    Where Can I Buy Cycling Cleats?

    Cycling cleats can be purchased at bike stores, sporting goods stores, online retailers, and even department stores like Target.

    Most major retailers sell cycling cleats. Some big names include Shimano, SRAM, and Everbeam.

    If you don't see what you're looking for here, you can search online. There are plenty of websites where you can order cycling cleats directly from manufacturers.

    Can I Use My Old Cleats With Toe Clips?

    Yes, you can! Most toe clips come with adapters that make them compatible with older cleats. Just remember to check the compatibility chart before ordering.

    Final Thoughts…

    Whether you go for clipped or clipless cycling cleats are a very good idea. They increase the overall safety of the ride and reduce the risk of injury by preventing leg slippage.

    Clipped cleats are the best choice for casual riders who want an easy way to pedal. Clipless cleats are ideal for serious athletes. They give you greater control over your movements and improve performance.

    Toe clips are generally considered safer than clipless pedals. While clipless pedals are certainly convenient, there are potential hazards associated with using them. It is important to note that neither method is cleat safe, so it is up to the individual to decide whether to use either type of cleat.

    And it's also essential to remember that while cleats can improve the safety of the ride, it's up to the rider to drive safely and ensure they don't crash. Cleats can only do so much. 

    I hope this article has helped you understand the differences between clipless pedals vs. toe clips. If you have any questions about cycling cleats, please feel free to ask me.