Shoes are an important aspect of cycling attire. Firstly, they connect you to the bike… but you already knew that! Shoes are also critically important in terms of bike touch-points. And perhaps, more importantly, they emulate your style on the bike. 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 makes sense there’s so much subtle style with Quoc shoes. The Quoc Mono II are the latest addition to their ever growing - but still suitably niche - cycle shoe offerings; and are the premium road shoe from the brand.
I’ve been a fan of their kicks for some time now and have a pair of their Gran Tourer gravel shoes. 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. Naturally, I was excited when these fresh Quoc Mono II showed up on my porch. As the company operates mostly online (direct to consumer) they need to ensure the package is on point when it arrives, as that’s the first ‘real’ point of contact with the company. And, it delivered: beautiful packaging unveiled the fresh kicks. Taking them out of the box they’re super light – weight a measly 249 grams (size 43). Holding the new, unmarked shoe in my hands, the attention to detail and workmanship was evident.
Let’s kick things off from the base: the hand laid unidirectional carbon sole features a matte black outer with etched markings for cleat alignment. Also at the base, there’s a meshed vent port at the front to keep your feet from cooking on those warmer days. Speaking of heat dispersal there’s plenty of perforations inside and outside the shoe, even in the tongue, to help ease the foot from swelling on those hotter days. At the front, there’s a fixed toe protector which is smoothly wrapped around the front end of the shoe. At the rear, there’s a removable heel protector which can be easily swapped out with a Phillips head screw that’s inside the shoe under the removable insole. The finish is second-to-none with an all-season, two-piece bonded upper micro-fibre synthetic leather that features a dual dial closure system and, when tightened, the tongue is pulled evenly across the foot for a comfortable, all-round fit. To assist with comfort, the Mono II come with different arch supports that can be swapped out to your foot’s preference.
I’ve had the Quoc Mono II for a while now and they’ve been well used on the smart trainer and throughout the hills and lanes in my close surrounds. The comfort has been a clear standout from the start, and I haven’t experienced any issues. They’re not just comfortable, they’re uber stiff and transfer power well. This stiffness is evident when out of the saddle on climbs, or when doing a max sprint on the smart trainer. Comfort-wise, the dual dials allow for a micro adjustment either up or down which allows for fine tuning across the whole foot. Simply ratchet up or down on the fly and, as your foot heats up, you can simply just back the dial off a touch. The shoes are made for warmer weather and that’s where I’ve done most of my testing. They’re very breathable and the ventilation allows for good air flow around the foot. I did find, however, they run a little narrow around the toe box, but it wasn’t a concern for me, even though I do have wide feet. I like the fact there’s minimal feel, as there’s nothing but sock against the micro-fibre, except for in the rear where there’s a cushion to keep your heel parked in the shoe. This is not the case with other shoes, so it takes some getting used to, but the upper is very malleable and they fit like a slipper in no time.
Overall, these kicks are a premium road shoe with intricate attention to detail and high-quality materials used throughout. They have a minimalist feel, they’re built with supreme quality, and they are very comfortable to wear and easy to adjust, packed with plenty of stiffness. The Quoc Mono II blend old style with new school flair: a very light, no fuss shoe with effortless style.
Reviewed: Liam Friary
Photography: Jeremy Hooper