Shoe, Pedal and Foot Placement Tips for Flat Pedals

I get a lot of questions from mountain bikers about how to keep their feet planted on their flat pedals and I have found that it usually boils down to 3 things – Shoes, Pedal Selection and Foot Placement. If even one of these things is wrong you will struggle to feel comfortable on your flats or really maximize their performance.

If you feel like your feet are bouncing off your pedals more than you want – especially if you’ve spent a lot of time on clipless pedals before trying flats – then this is the video you’ve been waiting for. Watch as I reveal what you need to know about shoes, pedals and foot placement to get the most out of riding flat pedals.

-James Wilson-

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  1. John (aka Wish I Were Riding) says:

    I’ve been riding flats since early this year. Both my bikes a rigid. I find that I’m doing all this pretty well. Can you do a post on how to maintain pedal contact when you get airborne? I find I am very comfortable now everywhere I go, but I can’t jump or take a large jump without scaring the $hit out of myself.

    Reply • August 13 at 11:21 am
    • Nathan says:

      I second John’s request – my biggest issue with flats is that when I leave the ground, frequently my feet leave the pedals (using 5.10s and spiky pedals). Have not figured it out in 15 years of riding.

      Reply • August 15 at 10:45 am
  2. Kent says:

    I read about a cool technique somewhere about resetting your feet on flat pedals. First you center yourself on your bike in a neutral position off the saddle. Then you do a slight hop off your pedals and back down. This should re-center your feet on your pedals in prime position for oncoming obstacles and technical terrain.

    The only problem I’ve had with this is that FiveTen shoes are so sticky that it takes more than a “slight hop” to get the shoes to disconnect from the pedal pins. I’m now considering buying some BMX or skate shoes that will hopefully have good grip but not be sticky enough to make foot adjustment a hassle.

    Reply • August 13 at 4:49 pm
  3. Tony says:

    Coach Wilson…I have been using 5/10’s and Wellgo B132s for many years of mountain biking with no foot slipping issues. You are right on with your training tips on this subject.

    Reply • August 14 at 11:19 am
  4. Tal says:


    I enjoyed the video, that’s the setup I ride with. Another advantage to dropping the heels which is worth mentioning is that doing that takes a lot of load off from the muscles when in the “attack position” and also small bump absorption becomes better with the legs being less tense.


    Reply • August 29 at 10:52 am

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James Wilson
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James Wilson