Quoc M3 Air review - Breathable, comfortable and good enough for Geraint Thomas

Quoc’s carbon road race shoes set a new performance standard for the brand

Quoc is a brand that has come a long way in the past decade. Founded in 2009 by Quoc Pham’s desire to create cycling shoes that “appealed to the discerning cyclist,” the brand laid down its roots by making leather and suede footwear that took inspiration from the classic era of cycling. Now, 13 years later, Quoc can be seen on the feet of the world’s best cyclists with its new Quoc M3 Air high-performance road shoe, said to be a culmination of “over a decade of research and discovery in performance and innovation.”

The brand’s previous offering for a serious road racing shoe was its Mono II model, and the M3 Air sees radical changes compared to its predecessor. While only slightly lighter than the Mono II (claimed weight is 232g per shoe (size 42), just 17g lighter than the Mono II) , the big improvements on the M3 Air come in fit and support, as Quoc has worked with professional and amateur cyclists alike to collect feedback and implement updates based on this.

It only takes one look at the M3 Air to see how big changes have been made aesthetically to the shoe. Quoc has done away with the tongue of their previous models of road and off-road shoes, instead opting for an asymmetrical design whereby two sides of the synthetic TPU upper overlap, eliminating a separate tongue. In order to aid ventilation, the new upper also features large cutouts and perforations with a mesh underlayer. Quoc’s two own-brand dials cinch the shoe together with one wire loop in each dial. At the bottom of the M3 Air, the sole is the same stiff full-carbon hand-laid UD sole as the Mono II, with three-bolt road cleat compatibility. There’s also a replaceable heel tread block, a vented toe and fixed rubber toe tread.

Big changes have been made inside the M3 Air too, with Quoc claiming that the model now offers increased support around the ball of the foot, as well as extra space in the toe box. An improved insole comes with three adjustable arch inserts and the new design of the shoe’s upper should allow for better adjustments while avoiding pressure points. At £320, Quoc is certainly placing the M3 Air at the premium end of the scale when it comes to price point, and the high-performance nature of the shoe is also reflected in the brand’s marketing: Geraint Thomas of Ineos Grenadiers signed a deal with Quoc to wear the shoe for the 2024 road season.

The ride

With the mesh cut outs and scratch-resistant TPU upper, the M3 Air shoes certainly have a distinct look, and this was something that I noticed as soon as I unboxed them. The mesh is transparent, so it means being wary of what socks you have on underneath if you’re concerned about aesthetics, but if you’re going for the traditional white socks and white shoes road racer style, the Quoc has certainly ticked the boxes with a pair of shoes that look fast and fresh. The M3 Air only comes in a white colourway, which could be off-putting to some who value practicality over style – the white is hard to keep clean and the mesh does cling on to dirt more than the more traditional material used in cycling shoes. I think the minimalistic and stylish branding is something that Quoc has continued to do well since its inception, and it’s nice to see the company holding onto a clear visual identity even as it continues to grow.

Once I put the shoes on, I felt comfortable in them straight away. I’m used to wearing Specialized S-Works Torch road shoes so a snug, secure fit is what I like best and the M3 Air certainly has this, especially when compared to the brand’s other models such as the all-road focused Escape shoe. The bigger toe box width is a good improvement compared to Quoc’s other models which have been criticised for being too tight around the toes in the past. I ordered the same size as I wear in S-Works shoes and found the M3 Air to be true to size, though it is worth noting that the Quoc's size range is somewhat limited, they don’t offer half sizes and currently run from EU38 to 47.

I was able to adjust the Quoc dials easily to my personal preference to ensure that the shoe was snug without being too tight. Having two dials to do this is definitely an improvement compared to the Escape shoes which only use one dial to lace the entire shoe. The new tongueless design on the M3 Air is what makes the biggest difference to the feeling of the shoe, it means that there’s no risk of a high tongue cutting into the front of the ankle (an issue I have faced using Quoc shoes before) and also feels like pressure is far more evenly distributed throughout. I didn’t feel like there were any tight spots when I initially put the shoe on, so I was interested to see if this continued as I headed out on a long ride and my feet got hotter.

When I was out on the road, the mesh cutouts on the M3 Air really came into their own. I have used the shoes in both hot and cold conditions, and on days that temperatures were over 20 degrees, I never had issues with overheating or hot spots in the shoe. It’s a unique sensation at first to feel air travel through the shoes to your feet, but it ended up being a real asset on sunny days. Of course, this goes the other way too; in colder conditions, the ventilation in M3 Air can lead to your feet becoming too cold. This is something that Quoc have tried to mitigate with the well-timed release of their All Season Toe Cover which is shaped to perfectly fit the M3 Air model. We’re yet to try this, but it seems like a clever solution from the brand, however it could be met with reluctance from those who place big values on aero gains in all conditions. The Toe Covers also only come in black, which doesn’t match the all-white aesthetic that Quoc seems to be going for with the M3 Air.

In terms of stiffness, the M3 Air shoes hold their own against the likes of Fizik and Specialized. When out of the saddle doing efforts, the carbon sole has no flex and you get the feeling that all watts are being transferred through the shoe to the pedals, with none being wasted. The fact that Quoc has managed to achieve this level of stiffness in parallel with the ventilation and comfort of the M3 Air is impressive – it’s nice not to have to sacrifice performance for a shoe that remains comfortable even on long endurance rides.


The M3 Air sees some impressive improvements from Quoc and marks a big turning point in the brand’s development. From the all-white aesthetic, to the focus on stiffness, ventilation and comfort, Quoc has really thrown its hat in the ring for a high-performance shoe to rival some of the biggest brands out there. Geraint Thomas is currently using the shoe to ride three-week Grand Tours, which is perhaps enough of a confirmation that the M3 Air shoes are good enough for the professional peloton, but we can also vouch that they do a fantastic job for the mere mortals among us too.

At £320, the shoes are expensive but not out of line with the market rate for high-performance road shoes. Quoc could make some improvements with more colour and size options, but if you’re looking for a shoe that looks great and is made for riding long and fast, the M3 Air is a good option.

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