Revisiting Midsole Cleat Placement

A couple of years ago I bought a set of Lintaman Minimal cycling shoes to try out midsole cleat placement. I discovered very quickly that my knees at that time were not at all happy about tolerating this change, and I went back to standard cleat placement after just a couple of weeks.

I did keep using the Minimal shoes over that time however – I just moved the Keo adapter plate forward to the standard position (the shoes cover both options). I like these shoes as they have no arch support at all and just provide a flat plate of carbon with an insole on top. Arch support has slowly assumed the status of ‘evil’ with me over 15 years of Alexander Technique practice. A year later, and after some changes in my legs through AT, I revisited the midsole option on the Lintaman shoes. This time it has all worked out very nicely!

Lintaman Minimal shoes

My rationale for trying midsole again was mainly a comfort thing. After about 3 hours on the bike I start to get numb spots on the balls of my feet which require frequent unclipping and shaking out to keep under control. Sometimes I need to stop and walk around for a minute to get the circulation going again. I wanted to remove the pressure point off the ball of my foot, and midsole cleat position does this quite well. My on-bike foot comfort has definitely improved. I haven’t had a chance to do any really long rides yet so time will tell if it’s a long term change.

In terms of my ability to produce power, nothing has changed. There has been absolutely no change to the power I can produce at any intensity. Some people report a reduction in sprint power but I haven’t found any difference – I set a new peak power number yesterday on the CHR.

I still have an inch of clearance…

One very real benefit of midsole that is particularly useful on the CHR is that by moving your feet ‘up’ into the air by another inch, you reduce the amount of wheel / heel overlap by quite a bit. This means you get away with tighter turns before the wheel hits your foot. Excellent news for when you are trying to slog your way up a 20% gradient and are veering around all over the place. However you do need to bear in mind that you will need to shorten the boom a bit to accommodate the new cleat position. If you are already on the limit for a bike like the CHR in terms of leg length, a change like this may introduce hard interference with the pedal cranks. With a 46″ X seam and 165mm cranks, I can get away with it.

I’m planning on doing a review of the Lintaman shoes soon. Apart from one wear and tear problem on the heel they have been very nice to use. I’ll post something about them in the near future.

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