While best known in the bike world for creating the undisputedly impressive Gravity flat pedal shoes, whose Stealth rubber sole guarantees masses of grip on the pedals, the past few years have seen California’s Five Ten introduce a legion of clip-pedal shoes into their catalogue. The latest addition is the very stylish-looking Kestrel, which features the practical Boa lacing system and a low, so-enduro style look. We’ve spent the past months out riding in these shoes and here are our thoughts:

The first impression of the Kestrel revolves around its minimal appearance, distancing it from the classic look of many Five Tens, such as the Impact. Not just a visual difference either, the Kestrel tips the scales at just 823 g.

Schlank, steif und leicht: Der Five Ten Kestrel.
Slim, stiff and lightweight (823 g): The Five Ten Kestrel retails at 164,90 €.

While the presence of a sturdy sole underlines that the Kestrel will make a good all-day ride shoe, promising very little wasted energy, the sole is still soft enough to absorb unpleasant vibrations and prevent foot pain. This is testament to Five Ten’s efforts to create the perfect union of comfort and sportiness, which shines in their two-part construction of the sole, where the hard rubber is used in the contact zone between the cleat and the pedal, while the front and heel are made from softer rubber. As a result, the shoe is not only comfy for those walking and bike-lugging sections, but it also provides decent traction. Moreover, the adjustment zone for the cleat has been kept decently sized so that it can also be moved further back.

Die Boa-Schnürung erlaubt ein schnelles Anziehen des Schuhs, hat jedoch auch ihre Nachteile.
The Boa-system enables you to put on the show quickly, but also carries some disadvantages.

The shoe’s fit split opinions amongst our editorial team, with half of them declaring it spot on and the other half complaining about the width, particularly at the front of foot. They found it to lack a certain tightness, and subsequently had to tighten it so much that it caused pressure – obviously, neither situation is a good one. We’d definitely recommend trying before buying.

As the front cap is made of rubber, the shoe should theoretically be well water resistant. However, as the Kestrel is cut so low, should you step into a deep puddle then expect water to enter from the top, and this when the snug fit of the shoe becomes a disadvantage – the aquarium that now houses your foot is pretty much sealed in.

Der Verstellbereich der Cleats ist angenehm groß.
There is plenty of room for the cleat adjustment.

A further bone of contention that’s arisen from the shoe’s design is the exposure of the anklebone, which results in zero protection or support for the joint. And, as said joint so often collides with the cranks, some form of protection would be wise and appreciated.

In terms of the material choices, the breathability and quick drying nature do leave more than a little to be desired. Once the shoe’s wet and you’re in the throngs of a muddy race, it takes a while to dry out. Conversely, it doesn’t offer the breathability we’d expect on warm days.

Über den Testzeitraum zeigte der Schuh auch erste Abnutzungserscheinungen.
During testing, the Kestrel displayed a few signs of wear.

The Boa lacing system proved one of the Kestrel’s highlights, as pulling the shoe on and off has always been easy with no sign of irritating knotted laces. Given its length though, you’ll need to tighten the Boa system prior to a race as it’s likely to have loosened during your warm-up. Interestingly, the position of the laces on the outside of the foot does increase the risk of damage, largely due to encounters with unwanted trail debris. Big impacts could also break the locking system, so you’ll have to weigh up whether the increased comfort is worth the risk.

Technische Daten hin oder her – optisch ist der Kestrel ein Volltreffer.
The Kestrel’s look is spot on.


The Kestrel represents Five Ten’s lightweight, rigid and aesthetically pleasing riding shoe, which scores highly when it comes to proper all-day rides and those sections when you’re forced off the bike to carry it. Coming with an RRP of 164.90 €, expectations are naturally high and we’d have preferred an attempt to protect the anklebones and ensure better ventilation. Given its wide shape, definitely try before you buy.

More Information

Price: 164,90 €
Weight: 823 g (Size UK 8)
Sizes: UK 4 – 12, 13
Homepage: fiveten.com

Words: Martin Stöckl Pictures: Ross Bell

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