- The most comfortable shoes I’ve ever used
- Tie and forget laces
- Grippy lugged rubber sole has lots of traction
- Once wet they take longer to dry out than some
- The price
Quoc’s Gran Tourer is a unique looking lace-up gravel, touring and adventure shoe. It’s a stylish design, there's a slight pattern to the dark grey upper that contrasts nicely with the traditional rubber-coloured sole and the protective black bumper. While not cheap, they do repay with superb comfort mile after mile.
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According to Quoc, these shoes are aimed at both roadies and bikepackers alike, which means they should have the perfect sole for most of my riding to and from work, regardless of the terrain. The rubber is sealed from the SPD mounting area, so you can loiter outside cafes in puddles right up to the top of that black rubber line without getting wet feet.
Straight from the box, these are a smart-looking pair of shoes. The uppers are made from soft microfibre material that has a very subtle ‘Vietnamese Tiger print blended with a 'topographic map of the UK print’ in it. What? Indeed, I’d call it a very subtle dark camo pattern in dark grey material. It’s so subtle I just thought it was some sort of pre-wear/pre-stressed design so that they didn’t show ageing when used. Whatever it’s called, the shoes have stayed looking smart and are hiding signs of use really well so far.
I’m testing a 44.5 which is the nearest I could get to a stock UK 10 and they have a snug fit. Like most of us, my feet are not exactly the same size but the GT’s fitted well with little to no heel lift at any stage. The slightly padded, gusseted tongue stays put and doesn’t move or create any untoward pressure points when doing up the laces or in use.
The GTs feature Quoc’s patented unique double-lock lacing system, which is designed to deliver an incredibly comfortable fit for your foot and not come undone once tightened. Simply put the shoes on, pull the laces from the bottom up to get the right fit (you remember how to do that, all you Boa and Velcro users?), do the laces up, slip them under the built-in lace garage and you’re away. The laces do not slip or come undone, ever. I haven’t had to readjust the tightness of the shoe on a ride once, no matter how far I’ve ridden in them. It really works and is a major contributing factor in how comfortable the shoes are. A big thumbs ups for that lacing system then.
Quoc has specified its own grippy rubber outsole lug pattern called 'Gravel Grip' which is designed to provide excellent grip and comfort for walking around off-road and not wear too fast. I can attest to the comfort and grip on and off-road. The rubber grips really well – which can’t be said for a lot of my cycling shoes.
Walking around in them at café stops on rides or across town at lunchtime causes no problems with your feet in normal walking and standing positions, no penguin feet impressions or slipping on paving slabs. The rubber sole gripped well to my Time XC 6 pedals when I fluffed the clip-in on a tricky descent, which was comforting but for normal everyday use, clipping in is simple with plenty of space around the cleat for good engagement.
The midsole is made from a carbon composite and provides the perfect blend of stiffness for grinding up super-steep hills in Dorset and suppleness for walking around M&S at lunchtime looking for a sandwich. These Gran Tourer shoes really are great to ride in and walk about in. Quoc has done its homework well, providing a perfect balance for gravel adventures, touring or commuting.
So, the GTs are super-comfortable, good looking and stiff enough to ride 100km without wanting to take them off as soon as possible. Is there a downside? Well, yes and no. I’ve been using them for many months and am very fond of them, with one exception, and it’s to do with water. Quoc says you can stand in a puddle up to that seamless rubber black line without getting wet feet – excellent news for when I decide to stand in puddles – but they’re not so good for riding in heavy British rain. I’m talking a full-on deluge, mind, not a regular shower which they cope with just fine.
Please note, these aren’t waterproof shoes and don’t claim to be, so I have no issue with my feet getting wet when riding through a rainstorm or two; my gripe is that they take longer to dry out than my other shoes. That waterproof footbed means water cannot drain out the bottom, and so it’s a question of insole out, paper in, and upside down on the radiator in order to ride them tomorrow. My lightweight Shimano RP9 shoes get similarly soaked but dry much faster. As long as you have access to a radiator, daily commuting in them is not an issue, but if they get soaked on a long multi-day event you’ll have to deal with soggy shoes on day two.
It’s my only criticism of these GT shoes – once very wet they take longer to dry than most. True, I could wear overshoes on way to work, but on a gravel event, they’d get shredded on the walking bits.
Overall, these are supremely comfortable shoes that provide plenty of stiffness for those out-of-the-saddle lung-busting efforts and still remain comfortable enough to ride in all day, walk around in at rest stops and leave on at the end of the day by the campfire. Their understated design is a masterpiece of subtlety and their lace system brilliantly effective which leaves only the price to consider.
At £219 they are at the higher end of the market but their comfort and quality are spot on in comparison with Rapha’s Explore lace up and Giro V70 Empire Knit tested earlier on road.cc and offroad.cc respectively. At £1 less than those two models, it’s hard to say they are a bargain but their build and comfort are fantastic and they should reward you for many miles and adventures to come.