Five Ten Kestrel – A Versatile Cycling Shoe

The Five Ten Kestrel is an all mountain clipless shoe touted as being the stiffest shoe Kestrel makes. Kestrel offered to send out a pair for testing, which is exactly what I‘ve been doing for several weeks now. I recently changed up my cycling habits by trading in my road bike and cyclocross/gravel bike for one do-it-all machine. I have been riding a mix of gravel roads and pavement with the Kestrels and plan to do some commuting, bike packing, and all around town cruising and shopping in the shoes.

Five Ten placed a carbon-infused shank between the insole and outsole of the Kestrel to make the shoes stiff and improve power transfer. That shank must be doing its job because the soles of these shoes are stiff. Long ago, I had a pair of mountain shoes with soles that were too soft. When I tried using them on the pavement, my feet quickly developed hot spots in the center of my foot. No problems are there at all with the Kestrels. Power transfer is great and I don‘t think I‘ve ever felt the shoes flex. Since I‘m a bigger rider at about 220 pounds, I‘m pretty sure the Clydesdale crowd will be happy with these shoes.

Five Ten Kestrel. We’ll call this the “before” photo.

It’s not all about the insole. Five Ten uses a proprietary dual-compound Stealth rubber outsole on the Kestrel shoes. A hard C4 compound is used where the pedal contacts the shoe, which increases power transfer and makes a nice platform to pedal on. The Mi6 compound resides on the heel and toe of the shoe. This compound offers superb traction for walking and running while off the bike. The soles of the shoes were very tacky right out of the box and even stuck to my floors a tiny bit. There is no awkward duck walk present when wearing the Kestrel shoes.

The upper of the shoes uses a breathable mesh on top of the shoe and a synthetic weather-resistant toe box. The tongue is gusseted to help keep out dirt and rocks. Instead of Velcro or a ratcheting strap, the BOA IP1 closure system is used to tighten the shoe. I found that it is easy to over tighten the BOA closure which puts too much pressure on top of the foot. This caused my feet to fall asleep. That being said, the BOA mechanism is easily adjusted while on the bike. By carefully reaching down with my foot at the top of the stroke I was able to adjust the shoe while still rolling. I‘m not the most coordinated guy while on the bike but I easily made these adjustments.

Five Ten Kestrel, after some thorough testing.

I like the styling of the Five Ten Kestrel shoes and even wore them around the office for a day or two. No one in the office even commented that I was wearing bike shoes. The Shimano clip is nestled in just away from contacting the floor so no need to worry about scratching the hardwood. The soles are a bit stiff to walk in and I got a bit of heel lift. After a full day, I had no blisters and my feet were just fine.

The Five Ten Kestrel comes in team black and US sizes 5-13, and 14. I am on the edge between 10 ½ and 11. The size 11 shoes are just a bit loose and roomy but they work out fine. I do suspect that I would have a bit less heel lift with the 10 ½ so take that with a grain of salt when ordering. My pair of size 11 shoes weighs in at 1072 grams or 37.8 ounces with SPD cleats installed.

I think the Five Ten Kestrel shoes are a very versatile shoe. You can commute to work, shop around town, and race in them. I like them a lot and they have become my preferred shoe. MSRP on the Five Ten Kestrel shoes is $180. Click here to visit Five Ten‘s website and see the Kestrel all mountain shoes.

– Mark

Thanks to Five Ten for sending the Kestrel shoes out for review. Like most people, we have limited budgets for gear and it is nice to be able to pay it forward by reviewing great products such as this, and passing along information that benefits everyone.

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