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Can You Put SPD Cleats on SPD SL Shoes?

Can You Put SPD Cleats on SPD SL Shoes?

Introduction – Using SPD Cleats With SPD SL Shoes

Cycling is all about performance. And performance is closely related to comfort. When looking for the smoothest cycling, one of the most relevant factors is our feet. Fortunately, there are some combinations we can consider regarding this.

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But comfort does not only mean on-bike time. It also involves walking around once you hit your destination. So, when considering these facts, we come up with the following question: can you put SPD cleats on SPD SL shoes? Read on if you want to find out!

What are SPD Cleats?

Shimano Pedaling Dynamics (SPD) cleats belong to a system meant both for cycling and walking. By eliminating toe clips, Shimano added control as it increased comfort. The result: more efficient cycling.


SPD cleats are metallic, which makes them robust enough. However, they may wear out in time and require replacement or maintenance. Fortunately, these are not expensive perks. As a plus, they offer some “float.” Thus, your feet can rotate without disengaging, allowing a more comfortable ride.

However, this revolutionary system has caused some headaches as well. By acquiring SPD cleats, riders started asking if it was possible to combine them with shoes that didn’t match this type of cleat. Such is the case with SPD SL shoes.

What are SPD SL Shoes?

SPD SL shoes are those designed for the Shimano Pedaling Dynamics. The SL stands for SuperLight. The main difference between these concepts is that SPD cleats use two bolts to fix the shoe.

These SuperLight shoes add their homonym feature. Comfort, efficiency, lightweight. Shimano seems to be considering all relevant things when creating its products. And they have been doing so for years. Take a look at this review of SPD SL shoes (credits to StylishRiding):

But, contrary to this belief, SPD SL shoes usually use three bolts. That is why it may be contradictory to think that they can work together to get the best out of different sets of equipment.

Can You Put SPD Cleats on SPD SL Shoes?

Can You Put SPD Cleats on SPD SL Shoes?

Even though there is no official word from Shimano regarding compatibility, there is a way to combine SPD cleats and SPD SL shoes. Nevertheless, as their fixing system is different, an adapter is required.

Another thing to consider when using SPD SL shoes is walking. Walking on SPD cleats can be challenging mainly because the metal cleats can become slippery and cause you to fall. And this is without mentioning the noise!

However, you can put somerubber tread pieces on either side of the cleat. Of course, walking on rubber treads is much safer than walking on metal. You also solve the noise problem. The only thing left is to learn how to walk on cleats!

Always remember that using an adapter or walking on cleats can accelerate wear. This fact may cause you to replace your cleats earlier than under normal conditions. So you should consider the budget when combining SPD cleats and SPD SL shoes!