Road cycling shoes are a very particular beast. How do you make something completely rigid, and yet, perfectly comfortable for that all day ride? Add to that the issues of making something actually look great within that, and you're looking at a feat that would seem near impossible on paper. None of this though was to deter Quoc Shoes from their quest to provide the rider with elegant, stylish, and, for the first time, high-performing road shoes. Intrigued by the prospect of such a wonder-shoe, we decided to unbox a pair and test them for ourselves.
About the brand
We see a lot of different shoes in our position, scouring the web for the next big product release, but Quoc Shoes have always caught our eye. With a reputation and back catalogue in crafting the finest urban and commuting cycling shoes bar-none, we had perhaps once or twice been caught pawing at our screens in sheer envy of the goodies before us. Often crafted from incredibly supple leathers and resembling the very best in urban shoe making, these shoes made use of classic two-bolt style cleats for commuting, it's no wonder we spotted Quoc as a premium quality shoe brand worth watching.
With their announcement that they were going to make their first ever performance road shoe, we were hot on their heels, and made sure that we got hold of a pair to find out whether they lived up to our exacting standards.
Out of the box
Firstly, and it has to be said, these are frankly a gorgeous pair of shoes. With sleek, clean lines and an uncluttered look, we were taken aback at the brogue-ish chord that these shoes struck - far from the common composition of mesh, plastic and nylon, these shoes offer up a clean matte exterior, and a plush and sumptuous microfiber, which wraps its way neatly around a carbon sole and is finished with a simple lace closure. These shoes look timeless, yet serve that uniquely modern pursuit of high-performance cycling.
The all new carbon sole is set up for three bolt style cleats and offers a good width for support whilst also providing you with a neat little heel rubber pad, assuring you of traction on that all important cafe stop.
The laces attracted a fair deal of attention, not least for the "lace lock" system that we were assured would guarantee whatever tension we put into the shoe, it would remain at this tension throughout our ride. Straight out of the box, it looked a little curious to us - other lace ups haven't felt the need to go so far. Would these extra lace-holes really make such a difference? We'd let the road decide.
On the road
So, cleated up, laced up and clipped in, it was time to put these pedal pushers to use. Having used the two separate tiers of tension retaining built into the lacing system, it was immediately evident that these shoes could indeed provide a tight and close fit, whilst melding more seamlessly to the foot. With a couple of cranks of the pedals, these shoes showed their worth.
From the very first spin, these shoes were evidently light. No, these shoes aren't going to find themselves on a weight weenies forum anytime soon, but, they provided ample features, fantastic comfort, and great construction whilst certainly not being burdensome on the foot.
Also apparent from that first outing was the ease in which the power was transferred through the shoe. With a supremely thin carbon sole and a plush insole, the only bar between your foot and pedal, these shoes offer a low stack height, allowing you to transfer power efficiently and directly into the drivetrain with flex kept at all points to a minimum.
Power though is very different from comfort, and this shoe makes you wary of that by providing you with both and allowing you to feel out the differences. A padded and supportive heel close neatly around the rear of the foot and really leave you feeling secure whilst expansive in your shoes. The microfibre edition that we tested provided a fantastic close fit and, overall, a relatively thin upper, assuring us that these shoes weren't a cage for us to ratchet our feet into, but a responsive and more intuitive wear, for the rider going fast and far.
Though it was a shame to hide these beautiful shoes beneath shoe covers, riding conditions rather demanded it, but it allows us to report that performance construction extends to ventilation also, with the premium upper and insole both highly breathable and comfortable whilst an air channel in the sole leads the Quoc Night Road Shoes to remain cool contenders during even those hottest of rides.
A little further down the road
So, having covered some real ground in the shoes, how would we describe the experience and what were the biggest things to digest? Well, our scepticism about the lace lock system was completely unwarranted. Indeed, at the end of each ride, not only had tension been retained fantastically, but the paired system allowed for micro-adjustment of each section of the shoe, ensuring that all pressure could be evenly dissipated throughout the upper. Truth be told, so well was pressure retained, that even simply undoing the bow on the laces didn't immediately lose your fit - you can pull each strand to your desired tension, this means your fit can be truly tailored.
With a comfort exuding from these plush uppers and a best-in-show styling and class emanating from these cycle shoes, there's precious little to take issue with and certainly a lot to love. The product of a small and independent company setting out to produce a quality and high-performance pair of shoes for your weekend ride, these shoes stand out without shouting, doing the job supremely well whilst assuring you with each pedal stroke of their prowess. Attractive, and certainly worthy of coveting, we're quite avid fans of these shoes, not least for proving us wrong.