I started riding road bikes seriously a couple of years ago at which point I acquired Exustar pedals and shoes. The pedals have kept up well, but my shoes are getting a bit tired and I'm wanting to get new ones. Seeing as I've ever only had one pair of shoes/pedals I don't really know how pedals and cleats compatibility works? Is there a standard shape for cleats? If I buy, Shimano shoes for example, will I be able to use them with my pedals? Or do I take the cleats off of my old shoes and put them on my new ones? How does it all work?!

I would appreciate it if someone could enlighten me!

3 Answers 3


Pedals and shoes come in two basic styles. While there are a few variations inside the style, since what you are looking at is shoes, that means your compatibility will rely one them being:

  1. Road shoes:

    • These use the "Look system", which uses a 3 bolt cleat. Shimano SPD-SL, Look Deltas, Look Keos, ad the Exustar EPS-R and Exustar ARC pedals all fit this system. It looks essentially like this, and although the cleat is specific to the brand and in some cases the model of pedal, the shoes will work for any of them.

      Sidi road shoe

  2. Mountain shoes:

    • With a smaller 2 bolt cleat, and more tread on the sole, these use the Shimano SPD, Time ATAC, or similar 2 bolt cleats.

      Sidi Mountain Shoes

Compare your shoes to these, and buy either a road or mountain shoe to match your pedals. You are not limited by brand at all.

  • 1
    "...although the cleat is specific to the brand and in some cases the model of pedal, the shoes will work for any of them." - this is exactly the info I needed, thanks! Basically when I get new shoes I'll need to order new cleats from Exustar to match the pedals. I have LOOK style pedals, just for completions sake.
    – Darko
    Commented Aug 7, 2011 at 22:15
  • That's it exactly.
    – zenbike
    Commented Aug 8, 2011 at 2:24

Exustar road pedals are compatible with Look cleats, so you need to make sure any new shoes you consider are also compatible with Look cleats. Luckily, shoes w/ Look compatibility are very common, but you will want to check specifically when downselecting which ones you want to buy.

Generally, when you buy new shoes, you should buy new cleats; old cleats which are worn or stressed may crack and cause, at best, an unhappy ride home or, at worst, a crash. If this is not your style (for philosophical or monetary reasons), be sure to inspect the old cleats very carefully or, better, have your Local Bike Shop (LBS) mechanics check'em out.

One consideration when buying new cleats is float; this is how much your heels can move side-to-side without unclipping, and is designed to reduce stress on / fatigue of your knees. Look cleats come with three levels of float: none; 4.5 deg. or 9 deg. Non-Look cleats may have different float ranges. Which is best for you is a personal decision, based on riding style, experience, fitness, physical structure, etc.

Another consideration is the type of Look cleat: the "old" / non-Keo version (Delta?) or the Keo-version. These are not compatible, so be sure to understand which you need. If you are not sure which you have, take your old shoes with you when shopping for new cleats.

The last issue you'll have to deal with is installation; mounting the cleats is easy, but positioning can be very touchy. Here again, unless you have a lot of experience, I would recommend asking your LBS to assist in this; it may cost a little bit, but it should make your riding experience much better.

A few resources which may help in your efforts:

Hope this helps.

  • Since he already has shoes with cleats, and is presumably happy with how they are adjusted, he should carefully compare the mounting of the cleats between the old and new shoes to get the new ones positioned correctly (and to his taste). Just note that cleats can slide forward/backward, left/right (a little bit) and twist a bit, so there's a lot of potential adjustment. Commented Aug 6, 2011 at 11:58
  • thanks for the advice on positioning, I'd never really looked at how the cleats were mounted but after examining I can see what you mean
    – Darko
    Commented Aug 7, 2011 at 22:17

The answers here are a bit unclear about one important point: Look Keo pedals & cleats are not compatible with Shimano SPD-SL pedals and cleats. The Look cleat is 4mm smaller from front to back, and will not properly engage with a SPD-SL compatible pedal.

Shimano SPD-SL cleat Look Keo Max cleat

  • Hi, welcome to bicycles. This is interesting, but doesn't really answer the question, which was about the compatibility of shoes and cleats; I don't think anyone was considering compatibility between dissimilar cleats and pedals.
    – DavidW
    Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 18:15
  • Welcome to the site - this is tangential to OP's question, but you've done an excellent job of describing and documenting your answer so +1. You can browse the tour to learn more about Stackexchange's Q&A format.
    – Criggie
    Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 18:40
  • Maybe my comment should be move to a different question. I had always assumed that the large triangular shaped cleats would fit all pedals, and when I got the Look Keos with a new bike, I was a bit bummed that my old SPD-SL cleats (with shoes attached) wouldn't work with the new pedals. There is conflicting information on the 'web about this.. Commented Mar 8, 2023 at 18:49

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