My new shoes/cleats seem to have "vertical" movement (not lateral float) and I can't figure out why, or how to fix it.

I recently got new shoes (Shimano XC-7) that use the same SM-SH51 standard Shimano cleat that I have been using until now in my old Giro shoes (probably 3 years on the old shoes/cleats). Same pedals, same set up, but if I pull up on my foot, I can create a clear gap between the shoe and the pedal - it isn't disengaging or coming out (i.e. I'm not unclipping). There is definitely a little more float than w/ the Giro shoes, but I can't tell why.

There are no shims under the cleats that I can see (unless they're inside the shoe, under the foot bed, but that shouldn't interfere w/ how the pedal interacts w/ the sole of the shoe).

Any ideas what causes this or how to fix it? It's a bit disorienting; I will probably be able to get used to just tweaking my pedal stroke, but that seems not optimal.

  • 1
    I am guessing that the cleat recess in the shoes is shallower than the cleat design expects. – Daniel R Hicks Apr 29 at 21:40
  • I have/had the same issue. At first I found it very annoying and made a thin metal shim to completely eliminate the play. Then I had knee issues from pulling on the pedals. By now I don’t think that pulling on the pedals is a good idea. Your legs are not meant to apply force in that direction and I’m not sure it has any benefits regarding total power output or efficiency. I recall a study of professional riders where it turned out that they didn’t pull on their pedals at all. – Michael Apr 30 at 4:47
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    @Michael Pulling on pedals is helpful in short very steep sections and in sprints. But the vertical play is annoying even with just pulling with a very little force, even so small that it could only raise the cleat and not the pedal. – Vladimir F Apr 30 at 8:05
  • @VladimirF: There is lots of controversy around the topic. – Michael Apr 30 at 9:16
  • What pedal or pedals? – Nathan Knutson May 1 at 5:35

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