Quoc’s new light Mono II carbon road shoes signal a new direction for the shoemaker, upgrading their original Night series for improved fit, performance, and durability. We’ve been riding the light & classically simple new shoes since the start of this summer, coming away mostly pleased with the upgraded dial retention, overall fit, and feel. But shoes can always be quite personal, so read on for our perspective on the Quoc Mono II’s highs & lows…
Riding in the light new Quoc Mono II carbon road shoes
The new Mono II road shoes are Quoc’s latest take on a premium, high-performance carbon cycling shoe. Developed to supersede both their original lace-up Night and more importantly, the later velcro Night Mono road shoes, the Mono II road shoes feature a tougher simplified synthetic upper, new dial retention adjustment, and a stiff vented carbon 3-bolt outsole. They also come in lighter than ever, at a claimed 249g per shoe.
Read our technical launch coverage for the full details on the shoes, their current pre-order & coming soon availability.
We’ve had a pair of the new classy-looking Mono IIs since the start of the summer to test out how comfortable and secure they fit, how lightweight they really are, and simply how they feel out on the road…
Lightweight cycling shoes in the details – Highs & Lows
The new Mono II has undeniable good looks. It is definitely a minimalist style with simple construction, high-quality stitching details, subdued logos, and asymmetric graphics. Plus, all of the graphics are reflective printing, adding a hint of added safety through visibility.
The shoes are also lightweight. The 237g per shoe actual weight of our size 42 shoes was a few grams lower than Quoc’s claim. And they really do feel very light on your feet, emphasized even more so by the lack of bulk around the lightly padded tongue or the dial closures.
Easy On & Off
Top-shelf name-brand dials are easy to use, while cheaper ones often lack speed or convenience. But these dial mechanisms are really easy to use, tightening super fast and then fully unlocking with counter-rotation. It’s the best you can hope for in dial retention, on & off in a matter of seconds with no fumbling around. Simply unlock both dials, grab by the heel, and they are off in one swift movement.
You do need to pay a bit of attention when putting them on, because of the soft/fine raw-cut edges of the Tongue. It’s key to make sure those zig-zag splits at the top part of the tongue and surrounding area are not folded in when you are sliding your foot inside, otherwise, you’ll figure it out mid-ride with some odd, itchy discomfort. But put on properly, the edge makes a comfortable transition from the secured tongue with no sharp edge or hot spots.
Overall Fit & Great Adjustability
Overall fit for our size 42, low-volume-foot tester was “pretty good”. Sizing is consistent with popular narrow road shoes like those from Sidi or Giro, with the Quocs offering slightly more room in the toe box. From their sides, the ankle cutout is low enough that we didn’t experience any rubbing, something our tester fights with on many shoes, especially those with more structured heel designs.
The shoes’ minimalist integrated upper & tongue design also allowed for a wide range of adjustment, without interference from the buckle or wire guides. Our tester was able to cinch the shoes down comfortably over his low-volume forefoot, another limiting issue he runs into with many dial or buckle shoes.
The carbon soles are plenty stiff as you’d expect in this category, leaving nothing wanting in perceived pedaling efficiency on the road, even while sprinting. The Mono II road shoes have simple but effective printed-on markings to simplify cleat alignment easier, and a removable rubber heel tread. A small rubber tread under the toe though will eventually wear out and cannot be replaced. The shoes are definitely designed for riding, and not made for walking longer distances than from the bike to your table outside the cafe and back.
Not quite a downside, but we were left a bit under-impressed by the evidence of wear & tear after just a few months, especially based on the idea that the upper fabric comes from the more durable Gran Tourer gravel shoes.
The shoes’ finish doesn’t seem to be very abrasion-resistant and tiny scratches started to appear after just the first few rides. Bigger scuffs were likely from simply catching a concrete stair or curb. And while it’s simply a cosmetic issue, it suggests that over time more scuffs will appear.
The finish of the upper is uniform across the shoes, and easy to clean. But there is no additional protection on either the toe or heel, which became noticeable once the shoes inevitably came into contact with the front tire or pedals.
The semi-rigid microfiber upper material doesn’t feel as soft as some other modern lightweight shoes, so you’ll likely not get a ‘second skin’ feeling. There are plenty of perforations and a vented sole, but the Mono II road shoes never felt especially airy while also not feeling overly hot through this summer.
Now, for our tester’s real downsides…
Lacking Heel Retention
From first putting them on, our tester felt the Mono II road shoes’ heel retention left much to be desired. And it ended up being our only real issue with the shoes. The padding in the heel area is really very minimal and the foam rather firm. The combination means you don’t get a snug feeling like other supple, lightweight shoes (like the Giro Empire for example). Even when fully tightened to secure the forefoot, our tester still experienced a tiny bit of heel lift while pedaling.
The issue seems to have been exacerbated by thin slippery socks, and maybe mostly solved by wearing natural fiber (merino) socks of socks with a pronounced heel cup reinforcement. Our tester commented on some rides that they noticed heel lift, and not on others. But even then, walking brought back the moving heel sensation.
Realistically, heel retention is partly an individual fit issue of our tester (we haven’t had a chance to have other riders with similar size foot try them out yet, but will update when we do). But Quoc’s simplified heel cup does not have much padding above the heel, and no grippy fabric inside the heel like some other similar carbon shoes do. So it’s worth noting that others may experience a similar issue.
Quoc Mono II carbon road shoes – Final thoughts
After a couple of months riding in them, the overall dial closure fit & adjustability has been great, and they are plenty stiff for any road riding or racing. Regular wear & tear has left them noticeably scuffed in just one summer of riding, but the black synthetic upper doesn’t look too bad in the end.
Heel retention has been their only real downside, with our test rider feeling heel lift frequently enough that the Mono II didn’t become his primary road shoes over the test period, suggesting others with a history of heel-lift problems might be wary.
The final tl;dr… a nice light pair of stiff road shoes, if you don’t take issue with their minimal heel padding.