The QUOC Gran Tourer II gravel shoe promises to be the ultimate companion on all gravel adventures. To this end, the British shoemakers have taken the silhouette of the popular Gran Tourer Lace and combined it with a stiffer sole and a specially developed closure system. We put it to the test to see what it’s capable of.
Disclaimer: Shoes are a very subjective topic since every cyclist has uniquely shaped feet. What is good for one rider might be painful for another, ultimately spoiling the fun. As such, we always recommend trying them on for yourself!
Unlike many big names in the universe of cycling shoes, you probably haven’t heard of QUOC unless you belong to the inner circle of your local group of two-wheeled disciples. But is this a brand more people should know about, and should we see them on the feet of more riders? That’s what we wanted to find out by putting the QUOC Gran Tourer II through the wringer. Where does the company actually come from? QUOC – the name alone reveals a lot about the British brand’s history. The eponymous founder, Quoc Pham, was born in Vietnam and came to London at the age of five. It’s there that Quoc later attended fashion school and founded QUOC in 2009, setting out to develop bicycle shoes that he wanted to wear himself. In doing so, he decided to go against the technical and performance-oriented bicycle shoes that were available at the time.
With the Gran Tourer II, QUOC aimed to make a robust gravel shoe that performs reliably on gravel tours – even when you’ve got to carry your bike or take a stroll to the cake counter at a café. To that end, the designers chose to rely on the basic shape of the proven Gran Tourer Lace, though replacing the laces with a specially developed closure system. It looks and functions much like a BOA mechanism and can be replaced in the event of damage. The upper of the shoe is made of a microfibre material, which promises to be particularly durable and robust. You’ve got the GravelGrip outsole making contact with the pedal or the ground, which the manufacturer claims should offer optimal grip on a variety of surfaces thanks to its tread pattern and rubber compound. The shoe’s stiffness is said to have been increased by means of a nylon composite midsole to ensure efficient power transmission. Meanwhile, the insole promises to dampen vibrations and increase comfort. To further improve comfort, QUOC rely on quick-drying padding around the heel, and perforations at the front of the shoe for ventilation. This should keep your feet dry and well ventilated. Adding the necessary safety, the QUOC logo on the side of the shoe is reflective and there is a reflective strip on the heel. The QUOC Gran Tourer II is compatible with all standard 2-bolt MTB cleats, is available in whole sizes from 38–47 and is priced at € 275.
The first thing you’ll notice when slipping into the QUOC Gran Tourer II is the fit. It’s best suited for medium to slender feet, in which case it offers a comfortably snug fit in the correct size. The shoe isn’t cut particularly high, which means you’re unlikely to encounter pressure points on your ankles or Achilles tendon. However, you may experience a lack of support when walking on uneven terrain. Otherwise, the shoe feels pleasant: the ventilation and the quick-drying padding performed just as they should during our tests. The lacing dial works perfectly, and it’s got a quick-release function that allows you to undo the laces by briefly turning the dial anti-clockwise, which also worked well. However, since the closure system uses just one dial per shoe, the fit can’t be fine-tuned to the different areas of the foot. In addition, the look and feel of the dial don’t do justice to the hefty price tag of the Gran Tourer II. The sole is stiff enough to put the power down on the pedals when you need to pick up the pace. That said, it still provides enough flexibility to be comfortable when covering short distances on foot. Regardless of the surface, the outsole always generated plenty of grip, and the shoe itself showed no sign of damage during the course of our test, proving to be very robust.
The QUOC Gran Tourer II proved to be a sturdy and versatile gravel shoe that’s well-suited to riders with relatively slender feet who intend to go on bikepacking trips or compete in long-distance gravel events. In these cases, it delivers in terms of durability, grip and comfort. However, if you have wide feet or demand the absolute best in racing performance, you’ll be better off looking for wider shoes or a more performance-oriented model with a stiffer sole.
- superb comfort on extended gravel tours
- good workmanship and quality
- grippy sole for hike-a-bike sections
- pleasant level of ventilation
- lacing dial looks cheap
Duration 3 months
Price 275 €
Weight 730 g (size 42 without cleats)
Manufacturer’s website quoc.cc
Intended use Gravel
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Words: Tobias Hörsch Photos: Mike Hunger