Five Ten Kestrel Lace - Women's Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Comfortable, easy to hike in, good protection
Cons: Moderately stiff sole, trail vibration through foot, lack of reinforced lacing eyelets
Manufacturer: Adidas Five Ten
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The Five Ten Kestrel Lace is designed as an all-weather shoe designed around a carbon infused nylon shaft and Five Ten's Stealth C4 rubber sole. These components should make for a fairly stiff sole, especially with the carbon infused shaft, however we found the shoe to be only moderately stiff and best suited for shorter, less technical rides. During our initial testing the Kestrel's were quite comfortable, however when we took them out on longer rides with rocks, rocks and more rocks, they began to begin to rub the outside of our right foot and we could feel trail vibrations through the shoe's sole causing the shoe to be uncomfortable. Our testers found the shoe to breathe quite well and to offer sufficient impact protection, however their performance on longer and more technical rides left us wanting a stiffer sole.
Stability and Control
The Kestrel Lace cleat opening offers 1 ¼" of fore/aft adjustability, making it finding your ideal cleat placement a bit easier than other models who only have 1" of adjustment. Out testers also found that the width and rectangular shape of the cleat opening also made getting in and out of your pedals easier than shoes whose lugs were closer to the cleat.
The Kestrel's Stealth C4 rubber outsole and carbon infused nylon shank make for a moderately stiff shoe. We were able to easily push and pull on the pedals and felt the shoes power transfer to be on par with more expensive shoes, however we did experience issues with trail vibrations on more technical trail. Over the course of our testing we found the sole to be stiff enough on blue trails, but when we rode black trails with lots of rocks, we found the sole to be too soft allowing vibrations to come through the sole into our feet making for an uncomfortable ride and causing multiple pressure points on our feet, especially when standing up on the pedals. Once these symptoms developed our feet became acutely aware of each impact from the trail, making our rides less enjoyable despite the killer trail.
Initially, our testers found the Kestrel's comfort to be very good, especially after testing shoes that were uncomfortable and too narrow in the toe box. The Kestrel's toe box is more akin to a hiking shoe or running shoe making it wider than some of the other shoes we tested. Laces with a velcro closure at the ankle allowed our testers to dial in the fit to their feet, but we found lacing the shoe to be somewhat difficult due to non-reinforced eyelets. We also missed the elastic lace holder on the tongue that we found on other models we tested. While the velcro kept our laces in place, we prefer the added piece of mind that the lace retainer provides. Touted by Five Ten as an all-weather shoe, we found the Kestrel Lace to breathe very well and never experienced any issues with our feet being too hot.
Despite having a stiff, carbon infused nylon shank, the Kestrel is very comfortable to walk in. While the shoe does not flex much in one's hand, it does flex while hiking making them quite comfortable to walk in. The Kestrel's sole is made of Five Ten's Stealth C4 rubber which clings to rocks, which gave our testers confidence when hiking and scrambling up over rocks and slabs. Our testers also enjoyed the added compounds under our feet while hiking, we did not feel the rocks under our feet and felt it is appropriately stiff for hiking. The shoes dotted sole surface does not cake with mud or dirt, which has both pros and cons, as it does not cake, but also lacks lugs which can be helpful when hiking muddy inclines.
We did note that some reviewers complained of heel lift while hiking, but we found tightening down the velcro across the ankle prevented any heel lift while hiking. Overall, the Kestrel's were some of the best performing shoes we tested in terms of walkability.
The Kestrel Lace provides a fair amount of impact protection with reinforced areas beginning at the toebox running to the midfoot and then picking up again at the heel area. The reinforced uppers did protect our feet against stray rocks that were kicked up on the trail, giving our feet more protection than most of the other shoes we tested. The EVA foam in the footbed helped to absorb impact on drops and jumps, but in combination with the nylon shank sole allowed too much trail vibrations to reach our feet while riding rocky terrain.
Five Ten lists the Kestrel Lace as an all-weather shoe, our testers found that it does offer good breathability but felt that it fell short of being a truly all-weather shoe due to the uppers allowing water to seep in. In inclement or wet conditions a true water resistant shoe would be a better choice.
Weighing in at 424grams for a size EU 40 ⅔ the Kestrel's fell in line with other similar shoes that we tested and felt relatively light on our feet. Because they are constructed with a more substantial sole, midsole and footbed and have impact protection zones our testers felt that the weight of the shoe is not necessarily a large penalty as added protection and weight tend to go hand in hand.
The Kestrel Lace's price is in line with many of the other shoes we tested, however other models are offered at the same price point that are both stiffer (without sacrificing walkability) and that have better impact protection and lacing. With this in mind, we would recommend considering similar models which provide more features for the price.
Comfort and impact protection make this shoe a good choice for rides on terrain which is not overly rocky, however these shoes fall short when the terrain gets rowdy. If your riding includes long descents and rocky terrain, we recommend considering other models, available at the same price point, that offer better stiffness, lacing, and protection.
— Tara Reddinger-Adams