Quoc Escape Road Shoes review - An innovative and successful approach to an all-road shoe
The trailblazing shoe brand has thought outside the box with its new Escape Road model, offering comfort and versatility at a very palatable price point
Quoc is a brand which has been steadily creeping to prominence in the cycling shoe market for some time now. Originally purveyors of leather and suede footwear that took inspiration from the classic era of cycling, Quoc has since moved into both the road and gravel sphere, becoming a popular choice among riders who want shoes that perform well but look stylish too. In its biggest release to date, Quoc has launched its new Lalashan collection, inspired by the fungi found in the mountains near Taipei.
The Lalashan collection features a range of terrain-adapted shoes, including Escape Road and Escape Off-Road shoes at Quoc’s most accessible price point to date, and a new Gran Tourer XC model, which Quoc explains is a high-performance adaptation of the brand’s popular Gran Tourer off-road shoe. Completing the Lalashan collection is the Lala slide, Quoc’s first entry into athleisure.
The Escape Road shoes are said to be “built for riders who stop at nothing in their pursuit of adventure.” Quoc says that these are shoes made to be used for adventure riding and multi-day bikepacking trips, with a focus on striking a balance between comfort and stiffness, as well as being versatile enough to be used when adventures go beyond the tarmac. We’ve been putting the Escape Road shoes to the test for the last couple of weeks, seeing how they perform on the long-distance rides that they are designed for, but also how they hold up as an everyday shoe for commuting and shorter, high-intensity training rides.
The Escape Road shoes come in three colour options: white, black and amber. I tested the white pair and I really liked both the design and style. The white colour is bright and dazzling, but the reflective black material that holds the boa dials in place through a zig-zag pattern adds a bit of interest and breaks things up compared to the brand’s Mono II shoes which have a solid white colour that could be a bit intense for some. The shoes feature Quoc’s standard signature branding, with the Quoc logo on the side and the ‘Q’ signature on the front of the shoe. They forgo the #quocshoes hashtag and detailing on the inner of the shoe as seen on the Mono II model and I don’t miss this, the Escape Road shoes look simpler and sleeker without it.
Quoc says that the Escape Road shoes aim to “put an end to worrying about scuffs and scratches” with a durable, easy-to-clean PU upper. I put my Escape Road shoes through their paces on some rides which required me to get off and walk and I was impressed by the lack of scuffs afterwards. It only took a bit of soap and water to get them looking as good as new post-ride, too. The rubber guard which protects the toe cap also helps to avoid damage at the front of the shoe and the heel pad is replaceable if it gets worn out after continued use. The black material on the inner of the shoe helps keep them looking fresher for longer too – shoes with a white material here often get dirty quickly.
I’ve used the Quoc Gran Tourer road shoes before, so I was already aware that generally I tend to get on well with the fit of Quoc shoes. The Escape Road model was no exception, I ordered it in my usual size – the same I wear in other shoes such as my Specialized S-Works Torch road shoes – and it was a true fit. However, the Escape Road shoes did feel slightly more roomy around the toe box and along the sides of the foot, which is normal for a shoe designed for exploration rather than racing. Unlike other shoes, it didn’t take me long to get used to riding in the Escape Road shoes, likely due to the minimal padding and relaxed fit.
I like the low cut at the top of the Quoc Escape Road shoes and I was happy to see this feature carried across from the Mono II road shoes. It eliminates any rubbing around the ankle, as does the flapped tongue of the shoe, leading to a comfortable feel around the ankle and an avoidance of the tongue cutting into the foot – a problem I’ve had with other shoes in the past.
The Escape Road shoes feature a single Quoc dial, rather than a BOA system as seen on many of the other leading road shoes in today’s market. After getting used to it, I didn’t have many issues with how this dial worked and it felt durable enough, however I did miss having a second dial in order to get a firmer fit. I’m used to riding shoes with two dials which do give shoes a more secure feel across the whole foot, but Quoc markets the Escape Road shoes as made for comfort rather than racing, so I can understand the logic behind only putting one dial on the shoe. When I did tighten the single boa, the retention felt even across the whole foot and I think Quoc has done well with placement of the zig-zag wires on the top of the shoe to achieve this.
When it comes to ventilation, the Quoc Escape Road shoes feature structured air holes for breathability placed strategically across the sides and top of the shoes. Admittedly, I’m yet to test these shoes in summer conditions so it’s hard to comment on how they perform in hot weather, though I did use them on the turbo trainer and I had no issues with my feet overheating or any hot spots. I did find the dial a little more difficult to loosen and tighten on the go than I do with a BOA system, which was a bit frustrating when my feet began to swell as they got warmer and I wanted a quick solution to give them a bit more room, although I did find this easier once I got used to the system.
These are far from the stiffest cycling shoes I’ve tried, but this is a good thing for long-distance bike rides and ones that could include a section of hike-a-bike. The carbon composite outsole is thin and drilled for three-bolt cleats and there is also a small vent at the front for added breathability. The lack of stiffness in the sole makes the shoes comfortable to wear over a long distance and to walk in, but Quoc has managed to still keep these shoes performing relatively well when doing harder efforts on the tarmac.
Compared to shoes like the Fizik Vento Infinito, the Escape Road shoes are slightly less responsive in sprints, but they still hold their own in this department and there’s no real feel of flex when out of the saddle. The lack of stiffness only becomes noticeable when directly compared to other pure premium road shoes and when doing the hardest of efforts, something that you likely wouldn’t be doing many of if using the Escape Road shoes for their intended purpose. For my riding needs, I found the Escape Road shoes to be stiff enough and they are extremely comfortable spinning along and when on foot, but these aren’t what I’d recommend if you’re looking for shoes that you might use for racing.
As the cycling world embraces the trend of adventure and all-road riding even more, it is a smart move from Quoc to bring out a shoe directly marketed at those who haven’t yet fully embraced gravel, but are partial to a bit of adventure on long rides. They are comfortable and durable but without sacrificing a nice, professional-looking aesthetic. As a former road racer, I’ve become so used to using stiff road shoes that tighten up to really lock in your foot, and the Escape Road shoes certainly aren’t that, so they took some getting used to. However, when I kept in mind that these are not aimed at those of us looking for high-performance and watt gains, I found myself really enjoying a bit more comfort and freedom wearing the Escape Road shoes, especially on relaxed rides when I was hopping on and off the bike regularly.
It’s a nice option to have a pair of road shoes that can do it all and some that you don’t have to worry about damaging if rides get a little bit wild, Quoc says that the Lalashan collection aims to “facilitate a return to the great outdoors” and I’d say the Escape Road shoes do exactly that. At £150 (compared to £270 for the Quoc Mono II road shoes), the Escape Road shoes are extremely good value for money and are a great choice for a rider who wants a pair of cycling shoes that you can rely on throughout it all – they’re durable, comfortable and cleverly designed to be optimised for the modern bike rider.