Friday, December 14, 2007

More on Midsole Cleats

One of the athletes I coach, Jim Vance, a pro triathlete from San Diego, found a pair of cycling shoes that were already drilled for a midsole cleat--the Sidi T-1. In the top picture you can see the sole of the T-1. In the lower picture you can see a sideview of the shoe with the cleat in position.

The holes are positioned perfectly on his size 45s in terms of position on the longitudinal axis--dead center. They are even lined up correctly--perpendicular to the long axis. The only confounding element is that the bolt receptacle holes are spaced slightly wider than the standard drilling for 2-bolt cleats. But this problem was resolved by using a cleat with greater hole width to allow for lateral adjustment.

I noticed in searching the web for information on the T-1 that not all of the models are drilled like this one. I don't know why. The price I found for the T-1 is about US$200.

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At December 15, 2007 11:22 AM , Blogger Bryan Burns said...


Based on your recommendation several months ago I went ahead and modified my shoe for a midsole placement by flipping the "triangle" of my cleat upside down. In that way, the cleat can only be attached by 2 of the 3 bolts, but I've found that there is little play in it. I've been riding that way since your post with no issue.


At December 15, 2007 8:50 PM , Blogger Eric & Lissa Johnson said...

That's an interesting way to get around the problem, Bryan. I might give that a shot.

Have you personally found your power to be improved since making the switch?

At December 16, 2007 11:14 AM , Blogger Bryan Burns said...

As Joe indicated in a prior post, it seems logical that we shouldn't rely on the smaller muscle of the leg to channel all the power of the stroke into the pedal. If your calves aren't fatigued, I suspect that there would be little power advantage. But after over an hour of pounding the pedals in a crit, road race, or triathlon, I think that there may be a slight advantage when it comes time to sprint or when it's time to put the running shoes on.

Honestly, I can't say as I do not have a power meter and haven't actually raced with this setup yet. However, I've become so accustomed to the feel of it that I don't think I'll be flipping them back around unless I run into technical difficulties. I use speedplay pedals, so I also needed to flip right and left.

At December 24, 2007 11:06 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently switched to a mid-foot cleat position and did some pretty rigorous analysis with a power meter to judge my results. I found that with the mid foot cleat position I improved on average by 4% for 1 minute intervals, 11% for 5 minute intervals and 4% for 20 minute intervals.

I think that the jump in performance is definitely explained by the fact that with the mid-foot cleat position you are bypassing the quicker fatiguing calf muscles. This would explain why my greatest jump in performance was at the 5 minute mark. At one minute intervals my calf muscles could maintain the stress. At 20 minute intervals my entire leg was fatigued. But at 5 minutes I was at a state where my calves would have fatigued but my cardio system / the other muscles in my legs wouldn't have yet. On one work out i did alternating sets of 5 minute intervals with mid foot and regular cleats. It was amazing. I could hold 330 watts for about 2 minutes and then with the regular shoes I could feel my calves give out and my power would head south to 290. But with the mid foot position i could hold 330-340 watts throughout.

The thing I can most liken it to is doing leg presses on the balls of your feet vs doing leg presses flat footed. With the balls of your feet you are only going to be on them for so long until your calves give out.

I'm a crit racer, so it will be interesting to see how my cleat position translates to results this year. I'm a bit scared to race because of the wheel overlap issue, and i do feel like it takes a hair longer to get up to speed - but lets see how it goes. Hopefully i'll be fresher at the end and this will compensate for any disadvantages.

At January 4, 2008 12:28 PM , Blogger Adam said...

I also tried this and my feet rubbed on the crank arm.(I used SPD style with a NIKE 10.5 shoe and ultegra 660 crank) I am surprised that more people have not had this problem. I also think that you have to be even more careful of any leg length discrepancies that you may have as well.

At January 7, 2008 6:50 PM , Anonymous paul said...

Ya I had a problem with my 48cm specialized s works shoes not clearing the cranks with look pedals. I barely cleared just slamming the cleat all of the way back on the shoe. I had to put washers between the crank and the pedal. Having said that, the rearward position with my huge foot felt outstanding and makes good power.

At January 19, 2008 11:15 AM , Blogger Andrew said...

what kind of cleats are those in this picture? crank bros?

I have been experimenting with mid-sole cleats, and like the feel & results so far... but finding what cleat/shoe pedal combination works best for explosive sprint/centric road & track riding, that is going to be an experiment in itself..

At January 31, 2008 8:21 PM , Blogger Steve Neal said...

Hello Joe,

Have you found the T1 at any retailers in the US so far?

If so which ones?



At February 1, 2008 10:18 AM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

Steve--One of my athletes found it at B&L Bikes in San Diego. I haven't looked around anywhere else. But again, realize that not all T1s appear to be drilled for midsole cleats.

At February 6, 2008 9:20 AM , Anonymous Eric said...

Joe and others,
I think I figured out the Sidi T-1 question. The shoe you show in the picture that is "pre-drilled for midfoot cleats" is the T-1 with the all carbon sole. I looked up the Sidi website, under the technology link, and the all carbon sole has two holes in the back of the cleat attachment assembly. I believe these are the holes you used. These holes are not intended to be cleat mountings for midfoot cleats, which explains why they are not spaced correctly. They are simply part of a more complex assembly for installing other types of cleats. I don't know if that means they are not secure enough to be safe for midfoot cleats or not.

I don't know if this is true, but it fits what I have discovered in the past few days. Let me know if it fits with any of your information.

At February 6, 2008 8:39 PM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

Thanks, Eric.

At April 15, 2008 7:05 PM , Anonymous Stival said...

I was wondering about the cyclist position when the cleats are moved to midsole...
Did you fit overall cyclist position to that tests showing power increase? (saddle forward for example)

If you have a triathlon-like position you are stressing more front muscles... However, if the cleats are moved to midsole, you will get a more road-style position, which stress more the back muscles... And it *may* justify the power increase!

Anyway, even if the power still the same... the calf saving argument seems nice!


At April 30, 2009 2:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do you have any recommendations for the positioning of Time cleats. Should the centre bolts line up with the original centre postion? If so, the inner bolt won't fit on the show.

Also, how far back should you position from the current 3 bolt formation on a size 45?



At April 30, 2009 2:56 PM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

Patrick--It really all depends on what sort of shoe and cleat/pedal you are using. When I've modified old shoes I've used a MTB cleat/pedal with 2 bolts only which simplified the whole thing. I just drew a line from mid-toe to mid-heel, found the center of that line, positioned the cleat perpendicular to the line and centered on it, and drilled holes. For many shoes you can't use a 3- or 4-bolt cleat due to the shape of the shoe sole. Sorry I can't tell you exactly how to rework yours. I'd suggest modifying an old pair of shoes before you start drilling new ones too see how it works.

At August 12, 2009 3:13 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Joe,

I used an extra (4th) mounting hole in a pair of old Sidi Genious Mega shoes to mount KEO cleats in the midfoot and so far like the setup; I am doing this due to forefoot metatarsalgia.

Getting ready to send my custom D2 shoes in for midfoot cleat modifications, and D2 mentioned they made a pair of custom shoes for you with midfoot cleat.

Did the D2 midfoot mounting work out for you? What cleats did you use?

Thanks, Hans

At August 12, 2009 3:41 PM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

HI Hans--Yes, they did. They've worked very well. I've used both Crank Bros Egg Beaters and SPD on these shoes. I liked the EB because they were light but tended to lose spring tension every few months and had to be sent back to the factory for adjustment. The SPDs certainly don't have that problem but are twice as heavy. Eventually I want to try the Speedplay Frogs.

At August 13, 2009 7:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Joe!

I am curious if you have a particular reason to use SPD type pedals. Since your shoes are custom I would have thought a wider more stable platform might provide better lateral support? Or do you want less lateral stiffness for midfoot mounting?

At August 13, 2009 9:00 AM , Blogger Joe Friel said...

Anon--Long story. Has to do with available pedals, timing of new shoes and opportunities to research other pedal types.

At August 13, 2009 4:29 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to help out!

At March 11, 2010 8:23 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joel -

Great stuff here and I have been on the Speedplay adapter which is not quite what is discussed here, but a long way from where I was located over the spindle previously. I have my adapter positioned as far back as I can get it in both the plate and the cleat.

In general I have found I needed to both lower my saddle and move it forward. I'm going completely by feel and it feels great, but does this follow what you see in midfoot/arch cleat positions over time?

I actually went to a Thompson 0 setback post and am only running about 6cm of saddle setback, but I do sit on the very back of the saddle. Thanks for the great site and articles!


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