I've been riding with Shimano SPD pedals/cleats for a while now and I really don't like the way the cleats scrape against the ground (or floor) when walking. I have heard that both Crank Brothers and Time Atac cleats are thinner, but I've not been able to verify this. None of the stores around here sell either one (only SPD).

What are the actual thickness measurements of the various cleats? If you have either Crank Bros or Time Atac and a caliper, can you measure it for me?

  • 1
    Sounds like op's shoes don't have enough recess and SPD cleats still scrape the ground. I have never had SPD shoes where the cleat would never touch ground.
    – ojs
    Feb 18, 2020 at 7:06
  • Really? I have two pairs of SPD shoes and the cleats scrape with both of them (albeit much more with one of the pairs than the other).
    – SimonL
    Feb 18, 2020 at 7:08

2 Answers 2


Here are my measurements...

  • Egg Beater: 6.3 mm
  • SPD 2-bolt: 6.8 mm
  • Time Atac: 7.0 mm


  • All measured at the highest point with digital calipers.
  • All were measured unmounted (I had 'em in a parts box)
  • Sample size: one pair of each
  • The Egg Beaters were new, unused and about a year old
  • SPD and Time were slightly used and have been in storage for a loooong time (10+ years???) so they may differ from current cleats.
  • Time cleats have teeth for biting into the shoe's sole that I could not include in the measurement so these may raise the cleat another couple tenths of a mm.
  • SPD measurements included the little bumps used to grip the sole. So effective height may be a bit less when mounted.
  • Awesome, thanks a lot! It looks like changing pedal system probably won’t make a big difference.
    – SimonL
    Feb 18, 2020 at 18:25
  • I measured a fresh set of Shimano cleats I had laying around. I don’t have a digital caliper so I used an adjustable wrench with measurements. Not as precise, so ”just shy of 7 mm” was as good as I could get it. 6.8 mm seems reasonable. Also I tried to measure how much the cleats protroude on my Scott shoes (where it’s a bigger problem), and saving half a millimeter might actually help...
    – SimonL
    Feb 18, 2020 at 18:33

SPDs can be clear of the ground, depending on your shoes.

I use SPDs with Specialized Cadet (discontinued) and Giro Rumble shoes, which are fully recessed. I walk a few km a day in them, and have been known to run in them. On a perfectly flat surface the cleats don't touch the ground when walking on either of them, but they often find bits of grit or uneveness in the ground, which can make them sound like tap-dancing shoes. The only time the cleat is even close to a problem for grip is on tactile paving, especially if running.

Dirty cleats will always risk dirtying carpet; after oiling the clipless mechanism of my pedals I'm very careful to avoid wearing my SPDs on carpet.

With the M424 pedals I use, I've had to file a bit of the plastic cage off; if you had similar pedals and thinner cleats you might need to remove more (though the Cranks Brothers Mallets seem to have grubscrew studs you could remove).

Here's a picture of the cleats on my Giro Rumbles, showing the 2 mm that the cleats are clear of the ground, and just how much rubber would have to wear away to reduce this enter image description here

  • Perhaps this is closer to challenging the question than answering it, but it worked better as an answer than multiple comments
    – Chris H
    Feb 18, 2020 at 8:52
  • I’ve looked at the Giro Rumble. They seem pretty nice. A few questions: 1) how far forward do you have the cleats? It generally seems like further forward means more cleat grinding, and I have my cleats quite far forward. 2) what’s the fit like? Bike shoes are often a bit too narrow for me. 3) how stiff are they?
    – SimonL
    Feb 18, 2020 at 9:07
  • I'm in my battered old Cadets today because the Rumbles hadn't dried out, but I'll try. I have long thin feet (EU47/UK12/US13) so while I like the fit, that's not mych help. I have the cleats all the way forward. Even with worn soles on the Cadets I've got a couple of mm of recess, and the Rumbles have more tread so more recess. Stiffness on the Rumbles is like a middling hiking boot - not great for running in, but they're not meant for it, and I only do it when commuting doesn't go as planned (the Cadets are more like trainers, but not the running sort)
    – Chris H
    Feb 18, 2020 at 9:18
  • It may also depend on how much your soles are used-up.
    – Carel
    Feb 18, 2020 at 12:27
  • @Carel it will, but some of my shoes are almost worn out including on the soles, and the cleats don't hit the ground. I'm only keeping them because I often get wet feet in winter and it takes a couple of days to dry out
    – Chris H
    Feb 18, 2020 at 12:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.