The Fixed from Quoc Pham has been around for a fair few years now. This is the second iteration of the design – the New Fixed – with a slightly wider lacing area and an unpatterned sole. What you see is what you get: a lovely looking lace-up shoe made from leather, with a rubber sole.
There are no technical features to speak of – foot in, do up laces, ride. Snappy looks aside, the only nod to any hint of modernism is the reflective silver strip on the heel. Let's call it a racing stripe.
The fit is narrow, and QP admits they are about half an EU size down. I normally go for a 45, but a 46 was right for me – and that's with borderline-Hobbit wide feet, Precious. Being natural leather as opposed to a synthetic they will give over time, so don't go too loose at the outset.
Ten holes down each side and six at the front aid ventilation, and the six rows of lace holes allow for small adjustments in tension before or mid-ride as needs dictate. As this is a shoe made as much for off the bike as on, the ability to adjust is welcome.
Walking in the Fixed shoe is perfectly do-able, the balance between stiffness and flexibility just right for me. I'd call this perhaps the ultimate Busy Day On A Bike shoe – if you have plans for work, then a few meetings, then lunch, then work, then a drink in the park, then some shopping, then off to the pub, these will do you right.
It's easy to lapse into hipster-bashing but the fact is the Fixed shoe paired with a set of rolled-up jeans or three-quarter shorts on a decent steel steed looks quite the business, and they are eminently practical for on-off-on the bike days.
Do you need toeclips to carry off The Fixed Look? No. But they add a certain something. The natural rubber sole grips the pedal perfectly, with enough stiffness to feel firm under a sprint from the lights. The thinness of the leather aids a snug feel when laced just so but doesn't feel fragile, and although initially I was hesitant to bang them into stainless steel cages, this worry quickly departed.
Over the summer months these became the Old Bike Club Pub Run go-to shoe, and I'd have no hesitation in thinking they would be the perfect shoe for a day out among vineyards, along towpaths or other cycle-touring delectables.
'Designed in London, Made in Taiwan' is what the insole tells me, also that they are 'Identity 368' in hand-written script. You may not be paying a London handmade price, but you're getting that level of looks and quality.
Quoc Pham does other shoes with SPD cleats, but the chunk of the sole detracts from the looks, and I can't imagine they would be nearly as nice to stroll about in. The Fixed is a shoe to get you somewhere To Be Seen, then Be Seen In. They are unlikely to be an everyday shoe, and certainly you'll be wanting thick socks for an English winter, but days when you do pull them on should be a bit more special.
Shoes for toeclip devotees who want to look a million bucks on or off the bike for considerably less
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Make and model: Quoc Pham New Fixed 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 Pham says: "Quoc Pham designs original collections of cycling shoes for the urban enthusiast, commuter and weekend tourist.
"Classically-inspired design and quality craftsmanship appeal to a newly design-aware, velo couture audience.
"Authentic leather uppers and contoured soles provide a comfortable, durable fit that allow for smooth transitions from cycle to sidewalk to office."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Natural leather upper and rubber soul – just like the album. Laces. Some holes. A reflective strip on the heel. That's it.
The craftsmanship is exemplary.
Given limited testing time, no reason to think they won't last a long time.
At 691g in a 46, not the lightest, but hey.
Comfy. Natural leather gives, which is a bonus for the wide-of-foot.
At £120 these are not cheap shoes, but overall represent good value if you are after looks with function.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Not a problem. They slip in and out, grip the pedals, are nice to walk in and didn't scuff on the toeclips.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
You're paying a premium for materials and craftsmanship. Some might value that higher than others, who might find similar-looking shoes for less.
Age: 42 Height: 183cm Weight: 72kg
I usually ride: Charge Juicer My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: club rides, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking, and Dutch bike pootling