Road Gear

Technical FAQ: Speeplay cleat wear and foot biomechanics

Do I need wedges under my cleats?

This foot will ruin any pedal.

This foot will ruin any pedal.Photo:

When I wrote about Speedplay cleat issues, I did not consider that the wear issue could have to do with pedaling mechanics of the rider. But Paul Swift, the guy behind Cleat Wedges wrote to set me straight on this. Perhaps this explains why I got so much mail from Speedplay users who never wear out springs, as well as those who do.

Dear Lennard,
As Richard suggests, I also have never seen a broken spring that was not dry; but there is more. I have never seen a broken cleat spring with a person who is connected to the pedal with a neutral forefoot. What do I mean? Every single case in which we found a broken spring, the person also displayed a forefoot Varus condition. Add some Cleat Wedges and, voilà, your cleat now meets the pedal flat, yet allows your foot to remain in its natural (not neutral) tilted position.

This foot in the photo obviously wants to be tilted. Of course this person has a significant amount of foot Varus. He is on Zero pedals and the cleats and spring are holding up. I’m not sure if the X series is as tough, but I am not the one to say. He does not have wedges (pre wedges) but does have an orthotic. Notice the orthotic did nothing to help flatten the connection to the pedal. Orthotics alone and/or inside-the-shoe wedges alone will not help this person.

This person needs wedges. This person will wear out all pedals. Keos will wear out fast for him as well. You can easily see pedal wear on Keos. The pedal will tell you a story.

A properly placed wedge will correct the problem.

A properly placed wedge will correct the problem.Photo:

Shimano SL — the smaller platform would accommodate some of this tilt but the new wider platform would just make the body take up more of the misalignment. Hence some people switch to the SL for the large platform and suddenly have more pain or pressure.

People who have pressure at the outside of the foot will wear out pedals more quickly than people with even pressure at the ball of the foot. One of the pedals that will help assure more misalignment than any others is the SL with the larger platform. Bravo for Shimano to realize people wear out the outer edge of pedals. Interesting that they choose to ignore why it wears out.
Paul Swift