I recently got SPD cleats for my road bike and have watched a number of videos and read articles on how to set them up as best as I can. I seem to have them set where I can comfortably pedal with the ball of my foot, but after about half an hour or so I start feeling some pain in both of my feet, where my pink toe connects to my foot.

The red circle here indicates where I am feeling the pain:

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My feet naturally toe out quite a bit, so I set up the cleats accordingly, but is this area hurting because I've set too much toe on the cleat? Or not enough? Or is it something else completely?


  • 6
    Probably your shoes are a hair too narrow. Commented Mar 25, 2015 at 12:13

2 Answers 2


Assuming that your shoes are wide enough and your front strap is not too tight, try moving your cleat sideways towards the crank arm.

This will move your foot out a little towards the outside of the pedal and reduce outward pressure. It worked for me when I had a similar problem.

Also make sure that cleats are not too far forward. They should usually be positioned so that the pedal axle is under or slightly behind the ball of your foot.

  • Actually, you want your cleat lateral position set so that your legs are moving straight up and down as you’re pedaling. Moving the cleats out may disrupt this mechanic, assuming the cleat lateral position was correctly set to begin with. Over time, a cleat that’s misaligned like this can cause joint pain.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Commented Dec 30, 2020 at 18:34
  • Of course, but in this case I am assuming that cleats may have been set too narrow which could be the cause of the problem (assuming that everything else is ok). Commented Jan 13, 2021 at 15:41

I'll agree with Daniel's comment, there is some chance your shoes are a bit too narrow. Most manufacturers seem to think the Italians are the ones to copy for shoe design (think Sidi). As it turns out, their designs tend to be quite narrow. Personally, I have a bit wider forefoot and require more room "up front" in my shoes. I usually purchase Specialized branded shoes from my LBS and had similar issues for sometime until I started only buying the "wide" versions of their sizes. Since then, I haven't had issues.

All that being said there are other possibilities as well. Your stroke could be a bit off and you are pressing out (against the toes) instead of simply spinning in a circle. It could also be your cleat adjustment.

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