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How to achieve a toes-out stance

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How to achieve a toes-out stance

Old 01-17-23, 11:14 AM
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How to achieve a toes-out stance

My preferred foot position on the bike is very toes-out. The way I've achieved this is using pedals with a lot of float: Bebops, then Speedplays.

I'm not super-thrilled about the Speedplays, but they're the best option I know of. I'd prefer to use SPDs: I don't really need all that much float, but I can't get the SPDs angled far enough over that I'm really comfortable in the float zone of normal SPDs. I've read that Eggbeaters and Time ATACs have more float, which might do it. I'm happy to throw money at the problem, but don't want to squander it.

Alternatively, I could take a Dremel to the slots on my shoes to let me mount the cleats at a sharper angle, but that seems less than ideal.

I'd appreciate hearing y'all's advice and experiences.
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Old 01-17-23, 08:50 PM
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There's no rule that you have to mount them straight. Simply twist the cleat, front toward the inside, and move the cleat to the inside of the sole so your ankle clears the crank. This should work, unless you're trying for something more like a full plie stance:
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Old 01-17-23, 10:11 PM
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With SPDs, I do of course rotate the cleats as much as I can. It's not enough.
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Old 01-18-23, 09:22 AM
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I too need a lot of heel in, toe out and used to use Speedplays as well. I am just using run of the mill SPDs on all my bikes sometimes with some pedal washers so I can get more heel in without hitting the crank. For me I have been able to get plenty of angle out of the normal SPD adjustments and did not have to modify the slots at all.

That is what I would do because it is free.

Don't forget that it's not just about the rotation, remember the lateral adjustment in the cleat and slide it all the way over the the appropriate side of the shoe, then do the twist.

Sorry I cant speak to different pedal systems but it seem to me you can only go so far (and not very far at all) without your heel or ankle hitting the crank or chainstays. There will be no full plie on a bicycle without attaching cleats to your heals! Again pedal washers will give some more clearance and therefore more heel in will be possible. Obviously you can only shim out your pedal,so far, maybe 1 or 2 mm before it becomes unsafe as in pedal yanking out of the crank threads unsafe! Hope that makes sense.

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Old 01-18-23, 11:05 AM
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I have the opposite issue. My knees must have toe-in. My pedals must force my feet. I ride the black LOOK Delta compatible pedals and cleats. They allow more toe-in (and I presume toe-out though I've never had reason to check that) than SPDs and, because of no-float, you do not lose any of that position with sloppy foot placement.

I ride one bike with SPDs forced as far as I can get them. It works, sorta. OK for a bike that does about one long ride a year and the rest no further than the farmers market. I know "no-float" scares people off but I started riding a decade and a half before the term "float" was coined. My racing days,the only float anyone had was with very worn, tired cleats. (And fun, little discussed fact - the reason Lance Armstrong rode LOOK pedals through most of his Tour de France victories despite riding for Shimano and being otherwise all Shimano equipped? He refused to ride with float which was the only option Shimano offered at the time. (I strongly suspect LA was the driving force behind Shimano's development of the SPD-SL pedals. No, not LA doing anything but Shimano realizing that some consider float a no-go.)

LOOK has discontinued the Delta series. I believe the KEOs have the same no-float feature, you can use black cleats and no-float, feature as the Deltas but check. Or do what I would do again in a flash. Buy the Wellgo made Delta compatibles. Use either their black cleats or LOOKS. (The LOOK cleats are snazzier, have additional features (wear, walkability ...) but as cleats I cannot tell the difference (after about 40,000 miles of riding on both). And I always use KoolKovers so walking traction and wear mean little to me. Wellgo - a Taiwanese company that makes quality stuff, mostly under the brand names of others. Those Delta pedals - Performance and Nashbar and probably a few others.

Another reason to go with non-SPD systems - the cleat material. That hard SPD steel does wonderfully for wear but is a bear to file. The plastic Delta cleats can be filed for more twist with a round file in a flash. And trick - they wear faster and you will be replacing them. When the time comes, outline the cleat with tape on the shoe sole before you take the cleat off. Now just twist and slide or file, twist and slide until the cleat matches the tape, tighten and ride. My knees insist on this kind of accuracy.
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Old 01-19-23, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by adamrice
With SPDs, I do of course rotate the cleats as much as I can. It's not enough.
What you have to do is a matter of how far away from the crank arm the pedal needs to mount in order to clear the crank arm with your heel, as well as what this might do to your other leg joints. The extreme is the full plie, but there the pedal needs to stick out about as far as the length of your foot since the foot is rotated 90 degrees. But can your legs even cycle with your hip ball joint so far out of position?

I could see needing to rotate your foot up to maybe 25 degrees or whatever, putting your metatarsal on the pedal secured with the cleat, and then having to use a Problem Solver gadget to move the pedal outboard a centimeter or two! But this would all be fit by hand, and a symmetrical left/right design might not make it right for both feet. You could mess around with this for months or years, running the risk of considerable joint injury.

I think I would get with a fitter who has good PT training or a coach with high reputation and see how far you can rotate outwards and maintain a safe cycling motion. Do what it takes to achieve that foot orientation, then test it and evaluate it. I think I would also get it checked by someone who has the experience to recognize excessive bone/cartiledge stress situations.
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Old 01-19-23, 10:16 AM
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It's the SPD's that you say you can't get your toe out position with?

I'm having trouble trying to figure out why you can't. If I were to put mine in the angle that puts my toe pointed outward, then I'd be hitting the crank arm with my heel every rotation of the crank.

Though I'm also wondering why that doesn't happen with the Speedplays, unless that Speedplay pedal give you a wider stance.
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Old 01-19-23, 12:17 PM
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Not sure what to say to that. My heels do ride very close to the cranks, but I also have my cleats set inboard. I don't have extra-long pedal spindles or extenders.

This is hard to deal with during a fitting session, because my foot angle only starts causing knee problems after I'm about 80 miles into a ride. I happily use SPDs on my commuter because my commute's not that long—although I'd still prefer to have a more toes-out stance there too.
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Old 01-19-23, 01:13 PM
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Question - is the issue for you that you want to be able to twist your foot out the plie position or do you need the pedal and cleat to force your foot to that angle?

As I said in my post above, I must have my feet forced in. My knees love it! but if I ride platform pedals and toe my feet in by conscious effort, that is exactly wrong for my knees and I will pay. (I have chrondomalacia patella (CP) in both knees and have the past 45 years. Breaking the 'rules" means bone on bone wear. And I fully get your issue is different. Just playing engineer here and trying to see what might help. I did play engineer in real life. Accurately assessing the problem was often half the battle.)

I still think you shouldn't be so wedded to the SPD system. Now I had the advantage (disadvantage?) that I knew when SPDs came out that float was a no-go for me. Didn't convert to clipless until the early '00s when I go turned onto the LOOK no-float cleats. I then took my around town 3-bolt shoes that were so miserable to walk in and took them to a cobble and had him build up the sole around the cleat. 10 years later he did the next pair.

In your situation, maybe the best approach would be to use two systems. SPD for short rides set up as best possible with one pair of shoes and LOOKs or other on road shoes. One of the great changes in cycling over the past several decades is easy to change pedals! This could be a perfect place for that.
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Old 01-19-23, 07:59 PM
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My natural stance is toes-out. I don't want to force my feet into an unnatural stance, and doing so will give me trouble. I do want float (I rode for years on Aerolites—never again). As I said in my original post, I am using Speedplays already, but would prefer an alternative that is less fussy about maintenance.
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Old 01-19-23, 08:48 PM
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Does the limited float LOOK offers in its regular cleats work for you? (Assuming the angle challenge can be overcome.) I'd be happy to mount a pair of the regular red cleats on a pair of shoes and measure how far they can be rotated. (And as I said before, they are just plastic so filing and Dremeling them is easy. So you can get a bunch more angle but I'll leave that up to you.) If you wanted to go Delta, all the red cleats I have are yours. I'll never use them.
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Old 01-20-23, 08:46 AM
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I've never tried Look pedals, so no way of knowing. For my purposes, ubiquity is a point in their favor, but I'd also prefer walkable shoes.
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Old 01-20-23, 10:02 AM
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There are two issues to deal with, geometrically speaking, when trying to get your heels in more than normal - one is the angle of your foot, and the other is heel clearance so your foot doesn't hit the frame or crank.

I think a solution could be to drill a new hole inboard of the existing cleat mounting holes and put a threaded insert in to mount the cleat. Here's a diagram to show what I am thinking...

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Old 01-20-23, 11:35 AM
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Do your SPD cleats have slots in them so they can achieve the angles better or do they only have round holes in them for the bolts?
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Old 01-20-23, 12:11 PM
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Another option to consider is to instead train your feet to toe out less. For most people toeing out is a symptom of years of bad posture and walking form.

I used to have my cleats rotated max toe-out but after working on shifting my walking posture for six months I put them straight and have no issues with knee pain.
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Old 01-20-23, 02:07 PM
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not why I can't get this out of my head...

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Old 01-21-23, 06:42 PM
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Have you ever consulted with an orthopedist or podiatrist about your gait? It does sound rather extreme.
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