Quoc's Night Black Leather road shoes aren't the lightest or the stiffest out there, but they're very well made, comfortable and come with heaps of style.
Quoc is best known for its city cycling shoes, with the Night its first venture into the performance market. The upper is made from leather (a microfibre version is available in three different colours) that's lined so the seams aren't even vaguely feelable when you have the shoes on. The tongue is lightly padded and there's quite a bit more padding around the opening to keep everything comfortable there.
The leather is durable stuff, judging by its performance so far. Several weeks in and the shoes look used – you know how you get those little creases in leather as time goes on? – but free from any damage.
Laced cycling shoes have had a resurgence over recent years. As well as looking cool, laces are lightweight, provide multiple points of adjustment, and they're likely to survive a crash. But mostly they look cool.
The downside of using laces is that they're impossible to adjust one-handed on the fly, so you need to make sure you get the tension right before you saddle up or accept that you might occasionally have to stop to fine-tune them.
Quoc's lacing layout is unusual in that you get double holes in the middle and at the top (two eyelets alongside one another; check out the pictures and you'll see what I mean). These lock the laces at those points, allowing tension adjustment for people with different foot shapes, and ensure that the laces can't come loose in any section across the ridge of your foot. It works well to allow a degree of customisation to the fit while adding security. If your forefoot is especially wide, for example, you can loosen off the laces at the bottom without affecting the fit of the shoes at the top. This design does its job really well.
As with Giro's Empire shoes, once you've tied the laces you push the bow and the loose ends behind an elasticated band on the tongue. I've used these shoes loads over the past few weeks and the laces have never come loose or threatened to interfere with the drivetrain. In my experience, that's not something you need to worry about.
The uppers are supple and comfortable, gradually moulding to your feet, although some people might find them hot when the temperature's high. There are a lot of perforations towards the front and in the tongue, and there are ventilation holes in the outsole, but these shoes can still get warm when you're working hard, especially if you're used to mesh panels right, left and centre.
As mentioned above, the Nights are also available with microfibre uppers (£219), and this brings the weight down (Quoc says 554g per pair in a size 43). The microfibre Nights come in black, white and pink versions, while the leather version is available in black only. Black leather does have a traditional cycling shoe look to it, although I swapped to the white laces that come in the box because I was getting a football boot-eque vibe in certain lights. All models have a 3M reflective heel stripe that's eye-catching at night.
The soles are made from carbon composite. They're stiff but they're not absolutely rigid. I didn't get any hint of movement when I was seated but I could feel some when I got out of the saddle and hit the pedals hard. That might bother you or it might not.
The footbed doesn't usually get much attention but this one is pretty comfortable, coming with a metatarsal pad (a slightly raised area in the forefoot but not as far forward as the toes), and it has anti-odour properties, apparently. I just did a sniff test and the shoes still smell quite leathery several weeks in, not at all pongy. I don't think they're going to start whiffing any time soon.
At 728g for the pair (size 46), the Nights do weigh a little more than many other performance-focused shoes of a similar price and size. The FLR F-XX Strawweight Road Race Full Carbon Sole shoes (£179.99) that I reviewed last year were 617g, for example, and the Giro Factor Techlace shoes (£289.99) were just 576g. Neither of those models is leather. I can't say that the weight was really noticeable in use.
Overall, the Nights have a high-quality feel and I've found them to be very comfortable in most circumstances. They can feel hotter than shoes with mesh panels and they're not as lightweight or stiff as some, so in my opinion they wouldn't be the best choice for racing, say, but if you want stylish, classic-looking shoes for rides out on the open road, these could be for you.
High-quality leather road shoes that aren't especially light but do come with plenty of style
road.cc test report
Make and model: Quoc Night Black Leather shoes
Size tested: 46
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Quoc lists these features:
* Advanced, patented Lock-Lace system
* Genuine bovine leather upper
* Signature 3M reflective heel strip
* Marbled carbon composite outsole
* Compatible with 3-bolt cleats
* Replaceable heel pads
I'd say that these are general road riding shoes with a classic look.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Quoc says this about the various parts of the Night:
Upper: Genuine bovine leather; ultra-comfort leather lining; advanced patented Lock-Lace system; thermodynamic ventilation; signature 3M™ reflective heel strip
Outsole: Marbled carbon-fibre composite; replaceable heel pad; thermodynamic ventilation
Footbed: EVA form; ultra porous, sweat-absorbing microfibre top layer with anti-odour properties
Accessories: Spare laces
Weight: 336 g (1 shoe, size 43)
They're extremely well made. There's a high-quality feel here.
They're not the stiffest or the lightest shoes out there, but that's not everyone's priority. They still put in a good overall performance.
Several weeks in and the only signs they've been used are a few creases on the leather and scratches on the outsole.
The laces mean you get multiple points of adjustment, and the Lock Lace system (see body of review) works well. If you have wide or unusually shaped feet, these would be a good option because of the amount of adjustability you get here.
I took the same size as usual and the fit was good.
They're quite heavy, although opting for the version with microfibre (rather than leather) uppers would save weight.
They're very comfortable most of the time, the only caveat being that they can feel hot when the temperature is high.
Leather cycling shoes are nearly always expensive. For comparison, Giro's Empire LX laced leather shoes have an RRP of £159.99, while Look's kangaroo leather CX402s (with Boa closures not laces) are £370. The high build quality helps justify the price.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
You'll need to look after the leather. Gunk can get into the perforations on the uppers.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
These shoes perform well. I suspect most people who buy these will be attracted by the classic looks as much as by the performance.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The Lock Lace system works amazingly well to make sure you get a comfortable and secure fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'd prefer a stiffer sole.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yeah, I got on fine with them.
Would you consider buying the product? They're probably not for me.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
If you want the lightest, stiffest shoes out there, you won't be going for these. However, if your priority is having stylish leather shoes, these might be exactly what you're after. They're not cheap so an overall score of 7 (good) covers it.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.