Quoc are no stranger to making great shoes with timeless old school flair. Quoc was founded back in 2009, by fashion graduate Quoc Pham, who was born in Vietnam but moved to London as a child. He was always surrounded by cycling and fashion, and his mum was a seamstress, so it’s no surprise there’s so much subtle style with Quoc shoes. The most recent design, Quoc Gran Tourer II, is an off-road shoe which aims to blend style and function seamlessly.
I was pretty excited to hear that these would be coming my way, as I’m a big fan of the previous Gran Tourer. In fact, there’s not been many bikepacking jaunts I’ve taken where I haven’t been wearing them. These have stood the test of time over the years - from backcountry trips to multi-day rides - and are still one of my staples when it comes to shoes for adventures. The latest version of these kicks has a more durable and weather-resistant upper, and a stiffer sole. And, in line with the market trend, they have a new feature: a dial-type closure system. Whilst these new additions are great, the aim is to still offer all-day comfort, which the original lace-up version certainly has.
I’ve now had the Quoc Gran Tourer II for a few months, including a solid period of breaking them in (which involved walking around my house without cleats). Initially, they have a bit more structure and stiffness than their predecessor. They also feel very planted and well connected to the pedals. Regarding the fit, which is often a bit of a nightmare for my rather large plates (high-volume and low arch) they give ample room overall, and especially around the forefoot. It’s a nice change from some of the narrower shoes I have tested before. They’re secure and snug but don’t pinch anywhere, and this is a real treat when riding in them all-day.
The ratchet system works well and does its job. I’m not fully convinced on whether this is better than the previous lace-up model. I mean, they haven’t caused any issues during water crossings, bikepacking expeditions and local gravel jaunts, and they are replaceable. Plus, you can just reach down and dial them up or loosen them on-the-fly. However, with lace-up, you have greater adjustability across the entire foot rather than having one ratchet point. Then there’s the aesthetic of them, too. But there’s advantages and disadvantages to either and, ultimately, you need to decide on what type of riding you’ll be doing most.
On the riding front, these new kicks have been nothing short of stiff and have delivered power without any issue, straight to the pedals. With the supreme fit they sort of disappear whilst ticking the miles away. This was evident when riding a multi-day bikepacking trip recently, in the South Island: they didn’t cause me any issues or aches, even when I was riding most of the day, then spending an hour or two in them around the country pub. And they’ve taken a heap of abuse in the time I’ve had them, and don’t show any sign of wear. This is helped by the uppers being all-weather macrofibre, and Quoc’s sheer attention to detail when using any materials. The previous version is still holding up fine after many years so if that’s anything to go by, these will be robust too.
Overall, these shoes are bloody great. I think they lean towards the rider that’s chasing more stiffness, and they’re a supreme all-day gravel riding shoe. Heck, you could even pin a race number on the back for a gravel or cyclocross race in these kicks, as these Quoc Gran Tourer II come damn close to a regular SPD pedal and road shoe set up. Comfort is up there too but, for me, the previous version is hard to knock off. Quoc once again show that style, performance, and comfort can all be used to describe just one pair of shoes.
Reviewed: Liam Friary
Photography: Jeremy Hooper