I’ve long been doubtful as to the value of ‘cycling shoes’ for commuter cyclists, like myself – probably because I’ve never owned a pair and have suffered no cycling atrocities despite this fact.
The ones I have seen knocking around town haven’t changed my mind either, with many appearing to be quite obviously ‘cycling shoes’ – not along The Discerning Cyclist mantra of “stylish gear you can cycle in”.
But with every gap in the market comes an idea and usually, with that, a product.
Quoc Pham Cycling Shoes
Introducing Quoc Pham, a company offering a very select range of touring cycling shoes that attempt to find a meeting point between style and performance.
The Derby particularly caught my eye, and so I opted to dive foot first into the world of [stylish] ‘cycling shoes’, with Quoc Pham describing them as “this urbane city cycling brand’s take on an English classic; a design first made popular as a sporting and hunting shoe in the 19th century, before finding its place at the turn of the 20th century as appropriate footwear for about town escapades.” Nice.
Now these shoes are seriously upmarket, at least to someone from Merseyside, and retail at £200 (well, £199.95). But for this price you get quality, with a classy suede leather upper and a forming rubber bottom sole that is also clipless pedal compatible. The shoes also boast a unique hand written identity number in the sole, which is a nice touch.
The Cycling Fit
- Upper material: Splash proof treated, suede leather
- Bottom sole: Forming rubber
- 2 Layer Sockliner / insole
- 1st layer: EVA combined with natural cork for natural shock absorption
- 2nd layer: Leather for better sweat absorption
- Clipless pedal compatible – SPD models
- Derby ‘open lacing’ style
- 3M rear reflective tab
- Easy-on rear pull tab
Upon first trying these shoes on, it is clear, in terms of fit, that they differ from day-to-day trainers and instead retain a similarly stiff nature to a pair of dress shoes, which certainly takes a degree of getting used to whilst walking around – although doesn’t provide any discomfort.
The stiff nature of the shoe comes into its own when you mount your bicycle though. When riding in trainers, I realised I had been exerting a little extra energy as my foot almost moulds around the pedal, whereas, with this cycling shoe, the rigid sole really maximises the energy I am using and provides some extra acceleration when riding.
The Quoc Pham Derby shoes were also a little chunkier than I expected with a one-inch heel, which isn’t a problem for anybody who is remotely vertically-challenged – guilty. I also found them to mark quite easily, however this was easily rectified with a quick soft brush of the shoe, which is also splash proof.
The heel of the shoe also boasts a 1cm wide reflective strip from top to bottom, giving you that extra bit of visibility in the twilight hours.
Overall, these are very smart shoes and are constructed extremely well. Would I pay £200 for them? No. But I wouldn’t spend £200 on any shoes that still required me to do the walking.