Carbon sole - 2 bolt shoes - need shield

Hello all:

I have a two part problem / frustration:

First - with two bolt shoes, once I make the initial lineup and torque the cleats, they dig small “divots” into the sole. I can’t seem to make any micro-adjustments to slightly vary the placement and angle of the cleats after this first tightening.

Second - with carbon soled shoes (I have Lakes) the manufacturer says they must be used with a shield between the cleats and the sole of the shoe. It’s pretty frustrating that they appear to neither supply, nor manufacture, nor recommend a accessory to meet this need. I have bought the metal crank brothers sole shields and I suppose they work. The get deformed by the “teeth” on the cleat and still prevent any small alignment or cleat adjustments.

I can’t be the only person dealing with these problems?

I became determined this year to really sort out good shoes and alignment despite there being not a single shop in my relatively small town that has a variety of shoes to try on (hence the Lakes).

Very open to recommendations!

Thanks Steve.


Agreed. It’s annoying. SPDs have been around forever, but they’re not perfect. In addition to the cleat digging into the MTB shoe, as the cleats themselves wear inside the pedal they seem to index at a certain spot. Micro-adjustments aren’t really a possibility. Using the crankbrothers shields create a gap between pedal and shoe platform. They make my knees sore and wiggle too much. Hardly ideal.


The only recommandation I could give is ditch SPD. It is a popular for their ubiquity and availability and because shimano makes robust and long living pedals but the format itself is rather shitty and imo obsolete.

I used to easily get tendinitis when riding SPDs and switched 10 years ago to Time Atac. The additionnal lateral float makes micro adjustments unnecessary as your foot will naturally be able to position itself correctly even if the cleat is not in totally perfect position. I imagine crank brother pedals offer the same advantage.

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I hope that some / all the designers of major cycling shoes read this. Harping on stiffness factor of soles is ok, but please sort out real world issues.
Steve, (shoot me) but just wondering if you are tightning the cleats a bit too much? And though it sounds horrific and will void watranties, if you have shoes with cleats that are 'not adjustable ', would lightly sanding the indentations work?

I let the spds dig their tracks into my Lake carbon soles. It honestly isn’t an issue to me and the SPD system has sufficient rotational float for micro adjustments to be unnecessary. If I wanted to shield the cleat I would use plastic such as that used by bikefit spd wedges.

Another point on SPDs is that the cleat is so small it also allows medial/lateral excursion of the tib/fib and hip joint. That is, the leg isn’t as fixed in one plane as with larger road cleats.

I think that SPDs are great for those with biomechanical problems in ankle, knee or hip. Very forgiving.

I had carbon soled Shimano shoes at one point and used the Crank Bros shields with Crank Bros pedals but always found it felt a bit slippery with the pedal on metal shield interface.

On my current non-carbon Shimano shoes I use a plastic wedge similar I assume to that mentioned by @Wily_Quixote on top of one of the metal shields to deal with a bike fit issue (functional leg length discrepancy). This is on SPD pedals now.

I have another pair of two-bolt non-carbon shoes with Crank Bros cleats that don’t have the shields but I use just the plastic wedges. They have indentations from the pedals but haven’t cracked after many, many hours of use.

I’ve had the divots too - I guess my suggestion is to use plastic wedges to reduce the initial size of the indentation and then once you’re happy with the cleat position, you could remove them. But agree with others, the system isn’t ideal.

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On the other hand having the cleats dig into the sole allows the next set of cleats to be easily placed in the very same position.

Being new to two hole set ups, I’m finding similar issues with cleat mounting and getting a secure (read less wobble) on my ATAC cleats. I achieved a good fit but filing off the two nubs that do the digging as it drew the sole of shoe closer to the pedal body but now the carbon sole gets a line dug in to them. To me the nubs are kind of stupid given todays stiff soles. Rather see a cleat more modular to accept shoe sole variations. I expected a bit more evolution with off road pedal systems.

A lot of cleats are now supplied with a shield.

Which cleats (plural?) supply a shield? The only shield I’ve seen is Crankbrothers and it’s a separate product not sold with cleats. These shields raise the cleat from shoe by about 1mm, but there is a price to pay. The polished metal material used by crankbrothers creates a slippery feel when pedalling. There is such thing as too much float. Especially on bumpy terrain. Weird that a non-slick shield hasn’t been developed.

Garmin/Exustar, Zeray, El Gallo, Massi, PNK, Rfr and BBB, for instance. I also wanted to say Shimano, but that is a backing plate.

**EDIT: ok, it may all be backing plates. But Crankbrothers sells shields and Five Ten even supplies similar ones with certain shoes **

Why not dremel off the points on the cleats if you don’t like them?


Great suggestion. I would then (carefully) rough up the carbon sole where the interface is to make sure the cleat has a good grippy interface with the sole.

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