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The New Quoc M3 Air is a Super Light and Super Cool Race Shoe

The M3 Air is Quoc's latest top-of-the-line road racing shoe. Designed with input from Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas, it's lighter and more ventilated to handle hot weather and high-output days in the saddle.

Written by: Bruce Lin

Published on:

Posted in:Features

Recently, I’ve added some stylish Quoc shoes to my cycling shoe collection. Quoc immediately attracted me with its restrained and minimalistic designs. Their shoes are built with little to no excess material and the models I’ve tried on are all super comfortable. The first pair I purchased was the Grand Tourer XC gravel shoe. 

Quoc Dual dialMy Grand Tourer XCs.

I’ve been super happy with the gravel shoes, so I was interested in trying a pair of Quoc’s road shoes as well. Originally, I was planning to pick up the Mono II. Last month, however, Quoc released a new model — the M3 Air. It’s made to take on the best road shoes on the market and the biggest bike races in the world, so of course, it’s the shoe I picked. 

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Designed With Feedback From Champions

Quoc shoes Geraint Thomas

Geraint Thomas sporting the new M3 Air. Photo: Quoc

The M3 Air first appeared on my radar when reporters noticed former Tour de France winner, Geraint Thomas, riding an unreleased pair of Quoc shoes at the Volta ao Algarve. Thomas has been riding Giro shoes for over a decade (his 2012 Olympic exploits are a big reason I bought a pair of Giro Empires back in the day) but he became a Quoc-sponsored athlete earlier this year. 

The story goes that Thomas and his team came across the brand by chance. They were looking for a British brand willing to collaborate on new shoe designs. After reading the backstory and mission behind the brand, Quoc became their top choice. 

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In the original sponsorship announcement, Thomas was photographed wearing the Mono II, but Thomas wanted to chase a few more marginal gains in the form of “stability and aeration.” The new M3 Air is the result. 


Quoc M3 Air review

The M3 Air uses a new last that maintains the comfort and natural fit Quoc is already known for but increases support at the ball of the foot. Like most high-end race shoes, it has a stiff carbon sole to maximize power transfer, and the insoles come with 3 different arch support inserts to enhance the fit. 

The upper is made from an incredibly thin and lightweight “TPU laminated mesh” engineered to resist scuffs and be easy to clean. The upper is built from only 2 pieces, so there’s no tongue. It wraps around the foot and is designed to easily mold to the shape of your foot. 

Quoc M3 Air ventilation review

Some massive mesh panels on the toe box and perforations on the tops and sides of the upper increase ventilation in hot conditions. If you want to use the shoe year-round, Quoc also makes a custom neoprene toe cover to cover the vents. 

The M3 Air is currently being used by Thomas at the Giro d’Italia. He’s also scheduled to race the Tour de France this year. We have yet to see if he has the legs to hang on with the young guns, but his feet will definitely be cool and comfy!  

Quoc M3 Air First Impressions

Quoc M3 Air heel review

I received my brand new pair of M3 Airs and left them on my desk in the box. When I arrived the next morning, the TPC crew had already pulled them out for me (as a gear geek, I condone this behavior) to take a closer look.  

Nearly everyone who touched and tried on my shoes had the same comment: “They’re so light.”

On the scale, the M3 Air is about the same weight as my benchmark road shoe — the Specialized S-Works Torch. My EU 43.5 S-Works Torch is ~244g per shoe and my EU 44 M3 Airs are ~242g (Quoc claims 232g for an EU 42 shoe). Taking into account any manufacturing variances, I’d say they’re pretty much the same. 

Quoc M3 Air TPU Mesh review

The TPU laminated mesh upper up close.

The most noticeable difference though is in the upper. The M3 Air’s TPU laminated mesh upper is shockingly thin. It feels much thinner than any upper I’ve tried from any other shoe brand. Giro’s Synchwire mesh is close, but the Quoc TPU laminated mesh is thinner. Regardless of actual weights, the upper makes the M3 Air feel a lot lighter than the competition. 

The ventilation is impressive too. Even when cruising around at slow speeds, I can feel the increased airflow coming through the massive vents in the toe box. I’m impressed enough that these could become my new go-to hot-weather shoes. 

Quoc M3 Air boa dial

One thing to note is that the M3 Air uses Quoc's quirky ratcheting dials. It’s similar to a BOA dial, but it’s designed in-house by Quoc and is proprietary to their shoes. They’re designed to have a lighter feel with less resistance than BOA dials, while also providing finer, more precise adjustment. 

The clicks provided by the dials are very small, which gives you very fine control of the tension. One thing that split opinion in the shop is that the dials don’t click in the reverse direction to gradually release tension. Instead, if you turn the dial backward, it releases the tension completely.

This might bother some riders, but I usually only need to tighten my shoes during my rides. 

Fit Notes

The best cycling shoes for wide feetMy foot shape is like a duck's foot. The M3 Air is a bit snug on my 5th metatarsal. 

I’m not 100% sure yet if I’ll be able to use the M3 Air on super long rides this year because of one potential issue — my wide (2E) feet. 

According to Quoc, the M3 Air has a “slightly racier, foot-hugging fit.” The M3 Air has a medium-width toe box so it should fit the majority of riders, especially with the adaptability the two-piece upper provides. It can open up and expand or tighten down snugly to fit many different foot shapes. I think any rider who already fits in a “regular” width shoe will be perfectly comfy in the M3 Air. 

I generally need a wider toe box and have to size up my shoes to get a comfy fit. With the Quoc Grand Tourer XC, I sized up to an EU 44 (my “true” size is around EU 43) and it felt great. I did the same with the M3 Air. It fits, but it is noticeably more snug.

It’s just a touch tighter around the ball of my foot than my EU 43.5 S-Works Torches, and it feels comparable to my old EU 43.5 Giro Empires. The 2-piece upper can conform to my foot, and I do think it will break in a bit, but I’ll have to wait and see. 

If you’re in between sizes or your feet are on the slightly wider end of the spectrum, I’d recommend sizing up. If you have truly wide feet (2E - 4E) though, Lake or Shimano’s dedicated wide models are still my go-to options for maximum comfort. 

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