Making Shimano SPD-SL Cleat Covers Not Suck

When cycling, I use Shimano SPD-SL cleats and pedals. They're great on the bike, but when walking around, if one doesn't use cleat covers, they quickly get torn up and end up looking like this.

So, I use cleat covers whenever a stop involves more than a little walking around...

Shimano SPD-SL Cleat Covers Shimano SM-SH45 -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 560 — image data
Shimano SPD-SL Cleat Covers
Shimano SM-SH45
Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/200 sec, f/8, ISO 4500 — image data
Pop Right On -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/200 sec, f/8, ISO 3200 — image data
Pop Right On

They're easy to pop on, but once on, to pull them off you have to grab a thin tiny little tab of very hard rubber and pull out and away...

Pull Here -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/200 sec, f/8, ISO 2000 — image data
Pull Here

Under the best of circumstances, they come right off. But with the weird angle you have to reach to pull something from the bottom of your shoe, especially when you're tired and using your non-dominant hand (or when it's cold, or you're wearing gloves, or just having a bad day), trying to pull them off can be an exercise in frustration. The little tab is such a stupid design.

But it's easy to fix.

Drill a Hole at an Angle -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1000 — image data
Drill a Hole at an Angle
Hole -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1100 — image data
Hole
Insert a Zip Tie note the orientation of the head... it's (sort of) important -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 800 — image data
Insert a Zip Tie
note the orientation of the head... it's (sort of) important
Trim -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1000 — image data
Trim
Voilà -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 1250 — image data
Voilà

Now it's easy-peasy to pull them off, even when you can't feel your fingers through heavy gloves.... just grab the loop and yank.

There are four possible ways to install the zip tie... inserting from one side of the cover or the other, each combined with facing the opening on the head one way or the other. I've found that the best is the way shown above, because that causes the loop to want to press up into the shoe, flattening itself out of the way. Otherwise, it can drag on the ground as you walk.

Even if you trim the zip tie well, I've found that over time the tie can work its way farther through the head, making the loop increasingly small, and also creating a poky bit sticking out. To stop that, you can just add a bit of tape inside the loop before trimming...

This'll Stay Put -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 450 — image data
This'll Stay Put

Normal zip ties one might have on hand are not generally very robust, especially in the cold, and I've had them crack and break often. So, I'm now using special outdoor cold-weather ties:

Good Down to 40 Below -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2016 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/ -- This photo is licensed to the public under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ (non-commercial use is freely allowed if proper attribution is given, including a link back to this page on http://regex.info/ when used online)
Nikon D4 + Voigtländer 125mm f/2.5 — 1/200 sec, f/5.6, ISO 280 — image data
Good Down to 40 Below

I paid $7.99 for the pack of 100 at Amazon.


One comment so far...

Hi

I thought I’d add I’d like to read your entire website but dark brown with tan writing is very very tough to read. Ever thought about putting white font on a black background or something that is more contrasting? I hope I am not offending you yet my eyes seem weak and I’d love to read what you’ve written..

John Mc

— comment by John M on July 21st, 2016 at 7:05am JST (11 months, 5 days ago) comment permalink
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