Quoc’s new slip-on Chelsea Boot is a flexible clipless cycling shoe for riders seeking a smooth transition on & off the bike, from commuting to casual riding. With a simple tough leather upper, a relatively snug elastic fit, and a walkable clipless-ready sole, Quoc thinks the new Chelseas can work well for commuting, gravel rides & touring, and even some mountain biking.
I’ve been wearing the new boots for the last few, so check out my thoughts on how they fit in on my regular rides…
QUOC slip-on Chelsea Boot clipless cycling shoes
Quoc says they designed the new Chelsea Boot as an easy on & off SPD-compatible cycling shoe to cater to bike riders looking to balance off-the-bike comfortable style with on-the-bike clipless pedaling. They aren’t meant to be overly lightweight or exceptionally stiff, instead, a happy medium that you can wear all day whether you are riding, walking around the city, or lounging around camp.
Wearing them around the office, I can help thinking of the similar-looking Merrell Jungle Mocs that I wore around town for years, calling them urban slippers. So I guess these are more like high-top urban cycling commuter slippers…
The Quoc Chelsea Boot is made with natural leather in two finishes to combine a fit that breaks in, adapting to your foot over time, while also being water-resistant & durable. The entire front of the shoe gets a smooth waxed leather finish to keep the elements out, while the heel & virtual tongue are a softer suede. In between, two deep elastic cuts at the ankle allow them to open wide enough to slide your foot inside, with two pink Quoc-brander finger loops to help tug the shoes into place.
Quoc calls the low-maintenance, easy-to-clean construction a mash-up of hardwearing work boots and cycling shoes with a bit of a homage to traditional British shoemaking style. Both the thick leather upper and the insole inside are said to “mold to the foot over time” to provide lasting support and supple comfort.
At the back, an array of 3M reflective dots adds a bit of extra visibility.
The shoes share the same reinforced midsole & eco sole construction as Quoc’s casual Weekend sneakers, made from recycled cork-infused rubber, as an alternative to conventional EVA foam midsoles. The tread pattern is said to be inspired by gravel tires for traction across a wide range of surfaces.
The feature common 2-position SPD mountain bike cleat compatibility, but also come with a tread insert for riders who stick to platform pedals.
Our size 43 pair weighs in at an actual combined 934g, or 467g per shoe.
I’ve long been a fan of Quoc’s old lace-up Urbanite Mid commuter boots as a versatile leather cycling shoe that I can clip in on the ride to work, still wear comfortably all-day, and not look like I’m wearing cycling shoes. Now, I’ve been commuting in the Chelsea Boot for a couple of weeks, and they are starting to grow on me… literally.
The relatively small opening does require properly grabbing ahold of both tabs to really force your foot into the shoe – it’s not quite an easy slip-on. But at the same time, once on, their fit at the top isn’t quite tight above my ankle. (You can even see a similar fit in Quoc’s own PR photoshoot, above.)
On the bike it has not been an issue, but walking around town at first, I felt a bit of dreaded heel lift. Quoc recommends wearing the shoes with a relatively supportive merino wool sock as the shoe softens and molds to your feet to prevent any chafing in this initial break-in period. And I can say, that’s been mostly effective, as the shoes do feel more fitted a couple of weeks later.
The Chelsea sole lugs are not exceptionally tall, but do provide reliable grip over mixed terrain. That said, I don’t expect they’ll provide the best traction if you end up hike-a-biking anywhere wet or muddy – think low-profile gravel tread.
The boots’ recessed cleat is deep enough that they don’t make much noise while walking on hard surfaces. Yet there’s enough room and nice supporting tread blocks around the cleat that interfaced well with both small & wide platform crankbrothers pedals I’ve tried. Plus, they still work fine with platform pedals, too.
All-in-all, I haven’t yet ditched the already-broke-in lace-ups that offer more fine snugness adjustment across the forefoot and above the ankle, and a style I think looks a bit more traditional. But I certainly see the appeal of the new slip-fit Chelsea Boot, and plan to put them to more casual gravel riding & maybe weekend bikepacking use in the future.
Quoc Chelsea Boot – Pricing, options & availability
Quoc’s new Chelsea Boot can be pre-ordered starting today for £180 / $250 / 220€, with the first deliveries starting in just over two weeks from now, from May 13. The Chelseas are offered in either all-black or the two-tone brown of those I’ve been riding.
As a completely new product, Quoc is only offering the Chelsea Boot in a small (but quite large) whole EU size 41-47 range. But they say the next run of the shoes will include a broader size range, likely at least to match range of their similarly-soled Weekend sneakers that stretch down to a comparable 38 to fit smaller feet.