When purchasing bike shoes and/or pedals, it is important to make sure that the items you are purchasing are compatible with each other. There are two main varieties of cleat types: 2-bolt (commonly referred to as SPD style) and 3-bolt (commonly referred to ask Look style or SPD-SL style). Bike shoes that support clipless pedals systems will typically support one or both of these configurations, with each type offering different levels of performance and walkability.
2-bolt cleat designs are most commonly found on mountain bike shoes and touring shoes, but some entry-level road bike shoes may also support these configurations. Their small size allows for a close connection to the shoe, ensuring great pedalling performance. Shoes that only support 2-bolt systems will usually allow the cleats to be recessed, allowing for improved walkability. The majority of 2-bolt shoes will actually have 4 holes, but you will only use 2 at a time. The extra mounting holes enable you to adjust your cleat position (front or back) to give you the best performance.
3-bolt pedal designs are only found on road shoes. Their design allows for the best stiffness, thus allowing for optimal pedalling efficiency. However, unlike 2-bolt cleats, 3-bolt cleats protrude from the shoe, reducing walkability.
* Please be aware that bike shoes do not include cleats. Cleats are included when purchasing pedals, or can be purchased separately.