The QUOC Escape Off-road is the British brand’s first mountain bike shoe, though gravel riders will likely appreciate it too. QUOC is focused on providing simple footwear that’s both performance- and comfort-oriented, and if that sounds like a tall order, it is.
QUOC Escape Off-road specs and construction
The Escape Off-road clipless pedal shoe starts with a glass fiber and nylon sole. The sole material isn’t very soft and the lugs aren’t easily deformed which should bode well for wear over time. Stubs for toe spikes make it clear this shoe’s intentions lie on the XC race, gravel, and cyclocross sides of the off-road spectrum.
The uppers are made from polyurethane leather, a synthetic material that’s tough, durable, and easy to clean. Minimal ventilation is provided thanks to a series of pin holes wrapping from the toe box around to the sides of the shoe, and there are holes on the tongue as well.
QUOC uses a single ratcheting dial closure system, and it’s not a BOA. Tightening the cables works the same, twisting forward to the toe, and to release, you just twist the dial backward. This is likely a welcome feature for anyone who has panicked after realizing they don’t know how to release BOA laces on a new pair of shoes. The downside is you can’t loosen the laces by just a click or two; you’ll have to fully release the tension, pull on the tongue or cable, then tighten back down to get the right amount. QUOC dials are replaceable in case one gets damaged.
Rounding out the feature set: reflective accents along the top of the shoe, a robust toe cap, and asymmetrical styling. The size 46 shoes I tested weigh 375g per shoe, or 750g for the pair, with cleats installed.
On the trail
The QUOC Escape Off-road shoes feature a stiff sole for efficient power transfer, and as a result I found it takes a while to break them in. The thick and presumably durable upper is a factor as well, and the upshot to taking extra time to break them in is that they will likely take more time to break down, too. QUOC labels the insole “natural fit” and while it is quite thin with minimal padding, especially at the ball and toe of the foot, I found it to be a comfortable shape.
With few visible seams along the shoe and a softer, more flexible tongue the Escape Off-road shoes are comfortable. The tongue is a good width, and mine never shifted to either side to allow debris into the shoe.
During my tests I treated the reinforced toe box like a steel-toe boot, kicking anything that was in my way without feeling a thing. The toe really provides great protection — better than most of the trail-style shoes I usually wear — and knowing that, I found myself using it to dig into particularly loose and steep hike-a-bike sections of the trail.
Speaking of hike-a-bike, the nylon sole is pretty so-so off the bike. It’s not as grippy as shoes with softer rubber soles, though the tall lugs do a good job punching down to solid ground in muddy conditions. Over greasy rocks and logs they’re plain slippery so you’ll need to pick your lines carefully. The stiff sole makes walking in these shoes for an extended period something to be avoided anyway.
The simple design and choice of materials make the QUOC Escape Off-Road shoes easy to clean and keep clean. One upshot to the minimal ventilation is they don’t let water in immediately so you can ride through a puddle or two before your socks start feeling wet.
On a fit note, I found the toe box to be on the narrow side. For context, my feet are wider than average, though not into EE territory; normal shoes generally fit fine. The QUOCs felt tight around the outside of my feet, just above the pinkie toe, though over time the shoe has stretched, bringing some relief.
Because the Escape Off-Road shoes only have a single ratcheting dial, it’s more difficult to get just the right fit. I’ve experienced tight toe boxes in other shoes as well, so this isn’t necessarily a ding on QUOC. However, my usual solution is to leave the lower dial looser while tightening the upper one to keep the shoes locked on my foot. With the single QUOC dial, too tight scrunches my toes; too loose means my foot is pulling out of the shoe.
As far as mountain bike shoes go, the QUOC Escape Off-Road is a stylish one with a streamlined, clean look. Branding marks are asymmetrical between the left and right shoes, and by sheer coincidence, they coordinate well with the Canyon Lux Trail bike I’m riding at the moment.
Pros and cons of the QUOC Escape Off-Road bike shoe
- Durable materials
- Simple design and easy to clean
- Stiff sole transfers pedal power
- Tight toe box
- Soles could be grippier
It’s clear QUOC puts a lot of thought into their shoes, and that the brand has learned a lot from their other shoes over the years. As a first mountain bike shoe the Escape Off-Road proves a solid choice for XC and gravel riding.
- Price: $200
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