Float and Injuries.
The float on your cleats is an important number to know. Float is how much movement the shoe is allowed to make while clipped into the pedal. Some theories suggest that the lower the float, the better the power. However, this theory has been slowly changing from the average local riders all the way up to the pro’s.
Reason is because when the foot, tibia, knee and hips are LOCKED into one position while pedaling, it closes the kinetic chain and does not allow the body to comfortably make very small adjustments. During the pedal stroke, any pressure to stabilze the movement is now extra pressure on the knees.
When looking at the advantages of cleats with no float vs cleats with float, the potential to limit injury with more float far outweighs the **perceived *** slight loss of rider power.
To test if you need more float: Ask someone to videotape your pedal stroke in slow motion. Front, side and back views. Look for lateral motion (side to side motion) in the front view. The ankle moving side to side, the knee moving side to side- the movements may be small which is why slow motion is best. The ankle or heel turning out slightly, or even the knee turning out/in slightly are all signs that maybe you need more float in your cleats.
But beware….to much float is just as bad as no float. There is a sweet spot for each rider, which is where a professional bike fitter comes in. Head to your local bike shop with an experieneced fitter and have a conversation about your float, and if there is anything you can do to limit injury rates and improve your riding.