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QUOC Gran Tourer XC: When performance meets aesthetics

QUOC shoes have a reputation for their good-looking appearance, and those lucky ones that try them can confirm that the products of the British brand meet the expectations one may have when purchasing them. The new Gran Tourer XC keep the premium look and feel untouched, with features directed towards high performance added on top.

From classic materials to contemporary elements

For those still unaware, QUOC as a brand comes from Quoc Pham, the man. In 2009, Quoc designed for the first time a pair of shoes that he would then wear himself. He got into fashion design already during secondary school, and after graduating he started a menswear label, even if shoes were what he was really passionate about.

When Quoc decided to switch his focus, he incorporated the materials and style of the classic era of cycling shoes, like leather and suede. He was of course aware of the needs of modern cycling, and he soon found the perfect balance, adapting his thinking to design shoes that optimize utility as well as aesthetics.

It wasn’t until 2015 that the brand’s direction shifted towards performance cycling shoes, and one year later the Night Lace-Up, their first road shoe, was launched.

QUOC’s Gran Tourer product range was first introduced as a Kickstarter campaign in 2017. Five years later the Gran Tourer II was launched, with one control dial instead of laces, and other new performance-focus features.

Continuous range improvement

The latest iteration has been made available to the public barely twelve months after the previous one, and with all the updates that the Gran Tourer XC brings, the brand is now clearly stepping into the high-spec shoe market.

Concretely, the most relevant selling points of the QUOC Gran Tourer XC are the dual-dial system and the carbon composite midsole, which is coated with a TPU tread. The use of carbon increases stiffness and reduces weight to please all those with racing ambitions. TPU, a material made of rubber and plastic, is considered to be more hardwearing and durable than rubber on its own.

Unlike most brands, QUOC uses its own dials, with a slightly different way of working than what we are used to. In this case, one tightens the wires by turning the dial anti-clockwise, and instead of pulling for a quick release, one simply has to turn it clockwise.

Additionally, we would like to highlight the degree of customization of these Grand Tourer XC based on both potential use and foot shape. The shoes include replaceable TPU spikes for excellent grip on all kinds of surfaces, and three arch inserts to optimize the biomechanics and prevent any kind of joint discomfort.

Early assessment

We got our hands on these shoes on the eve of The Traka, and although we were very tempted to use them already the next day, we thought about the unwritten cycling rule “never use new equipment on race day” and wore them for the first time during our recovery ride.

The first sensations were in line with what we are used to with road pedal shoes. These Gran Tourer XC are quite narrow and with the new dial system, one can really tighten them if that is the kind of fit you like.

There is barely any change of material throughout the upper, which is nonetheless abrasion resistant and includes organically positioned air holes for enhanced breathability. The shoe is definitely elegant, and if it weren’t for the toe cap protection, looking at them from above one would never think that these Grand Tourer XC are made for extreme off-road environments.

As a start, we kept the default toe spikes and low arch insert, and although these Gran Tourer XC are definitely narrower than the average off-road shoe, we perceived no numbness whatsoever.

The first rides with the Gran Tourer XC were in Catalonia in May so, for better or worse, we haven’t checked how they perform under muddy circumstances yet. Taking into account that we are now back in Belgium, there will be plenty of chances to put them to the test in awful weather conditions.

Some pro gravel riders choose to race with road shoes and pedals if they consider that they won’t need to put their feet on the ground, arguing that there is a better power transfer. These Gran Tourer XC are stiff, and together with the dual dial’s improved fit, you can be sure that no watts will be wasted when turning the pedals.