I bought this week my first clipless pedals (Shimano A530) as well as some shoes to go with it. After installing one cleat on one shoe, I "locked" the shoe on the pedal, but I do not manage to "unlock". The problem is that I did not tighten enough the cleat to the shoe (thinking that I'd do it afterwards to adjust the position of the clear), meaning that when I try to unlock, the cleat also moves.

Does anyone has an idea of I could unlock the cleat from the pedal without damaging anything?

  • Assuming that you foot isn't in the shoe, have you tried twisting the shoe to the inside (toward the bike) rather than out and away from it? Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 19:01
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    @ChrisinAK I tried both ways without any luck. Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 19:03
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    Well, having a pedal that needs to be put back together, however difficult, seems better than an unuseable pedal with an improperly assembled shoe stuck in it. Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 21:21
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    On the bright side at least you didn't have your foot in the shoe at the time
    – PeteH
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 21:26
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    I wouldn't try disassembling the pedal as it may be under a lot of spring tension. Try the approaches suggested in my answer as I do believe you can get them out after a bit of fiddling.
    – Michael
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 22:55

6 Answers 6


I removed the insole of the shoe, placed the Allen wrench in the hole left by the loosened bolt. I then aligned it with the hole the bolt goes in to the cleat AND THEN turned the shoe and it popped off...


Assuming that the shoe is still attached to the cleat....

Can you not just keep turning the shoe to a wider and wider angle until it forces the cleat to disengage from the pedal? You'll scratch the sole of the shoe, and possibly slightly widen the screw holes in the shoe, but it shouldn't break anything.

Note that it's quite hard to get a shoe & cleat out of SPD pedals using your hands - even when the cleat is screwed on correctly. It's much easier to do when you are wearing the shoe. I'd recommend trying this whilst wearing the shoe, sitting on the bike, but leaning against a wall or fence (or having someone hold you upright).


I had a (improperly tightened) bolt drop out of a SPD cleat while riding which left me in the same predicament (also ended up eating asphalt), I ended up being able to wedge my shoe against the frame to get the appropriate leverage to kick the shoe/cleat combo out of the pedal.

I would try attaching the pedal to a bike (and foot in shoe) and attempting the same move. You can always unscrew the pedal and take off the shoe to get back to where you are today.


You can use a pipe wrench -- the tool you use for plumbing pipes -- to clamp the cleat and turn it. Just be careful not to break anything.


EDIT: I misunderstood your situation hence my original answer. In the case that your shoe is still stuck to the cleat, remove the pedal from the bike first. Keeping the pedal on the bike will just restrict your motion as the crank arm and frame will get the in way.

Put the pedal in a vice grip or between two solid objects which allow you to keep the pedal still. Then simply twist the shoe in the normal unlocking direction until it disengages from the pedal. Having the pedal off the bike will allow you to turn the shoe a whole lot further and allow you to unclip. I don't suspect you would cause any damage this way.

Removal if it's just the cleat stuck (not on shoe)

Firstly make sure that the spring tension on the pedal is all the way down. This is lowered by turning the little hex / Allen screw to the left as much as it will go. Releasing this tension on the spring will make the job a whole lot easier.

Then use a set of needle-nose pliers to twist the cleat, simulating the twisting of your foot as you would when it's attached to a shoe.

If this doesn't work, you can try and use screwdrivers to pry the tensioned 'catch' away from the cleat, hopefully releasing enough pressure to twist it and remove it.

In terms of damaged caused, you may scratch the cleat and/or pedal, but I guess no more than you would by clipping in and out and walking around.

  • I think it will be impossible to get at the spring tension screw with a shoe still attached to the cleat.
    – brendan
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 7:50
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    I misread his answer. I thought the cleat had come off the shoe and remained in the pedal.
    – Michael
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 7:54
  • Turn the shoe the heel towards the front wheel. Then move the heel outwards or inwards. It should unclip. It is very hard to unclip if the pedal is not screwed to the crank!
    – Carel
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 11:16
  • That's why I suggested the use of a vice grip to hold the pedal still whilst providing maximum amount of motion.
    – Michael
    Commented Jan 29, 2015 at 12:14
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    There is no need to remove the pedal from the bike and risk damaging it with a clamp. You can achieve the same freedom of motion by moving the crankarm to the bottom of the stroke and turning the pedal upside down. Additionally, on this model pedal the tension adjust is facing the bottom of the shoe and is inaccessible with a shoe clipped into the pedal. Commented Jan 30, 2015 at 0:16

I had the same problem but it "turned out" (pun?) that I needed to just twist the foot like it was on a turntable with the force of opening a jar. I was trying, mistakenly to tip it out and to the side, like a boat tipping over. The latter doesn't work.

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