Five Ten Kestrel Lace Review
Compare prices at 4 resellers Pros: Reasonably priced, stealth rubber soles, good foot protection, stiff
Cons: Heavy, no on the fly adjustments, wide toe box, sizing runs big
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Five Ten Kestrel Lace
|Price||Check Price at REI|
Compare at 4 sellers
|$24.95 at Backcountry|
Compare at 3 sellers
$169.99 at Backcountry
Check Price at Backcountry
|$89.95 at Backcountry|
Compare at 2 sellers
|Pros||Reasonably priced, stealth rubber soles, good foot protection, stiff||Stealth rubber soles, excellent power transfer, significantly lighter than previous version, great toe and heel protection||Lightweight, reasonable price, good power transfer, comfortable||Lightweight, reasonable price, casual style, great blend of pedaling stiffness and walkability||Inexpensive, comfortable, great off the bike|
|Cons||Heavy, no on the fly adjustments, wide toe box, sizing runs big||No medial ankle protection, short break-in period||Minimal foot protection, not great for walking, smaller cleat adjustment range||Roomy fit in the forefoot, not the best lateral stability||Minimal protection, limited cleat adjustment, below average power transfer|
|Bottom Line||A beefy all-mountain and enduro shoe with good foot protection and grippy Stealth rubber soles||Awesome power transfer, foot protection, and off the bike traction with a mid-pack weight that expands this gravity shoe's appeal to trail riders||A quality shoe that offers high-end cross-country performance at a reasonable price||An affordable, lightweight, casual-looking trail riding shoe with good power transfer and off the bike walkability||A well-rounded, budget-friendly option that's just as comfortable off the bike as it is on|
|Rating Categories||Five Ten Kestrel Lace||Five Ten Hellcat Pro||Scott MTB Team Boa||Specialized 2FO Roo...||Giro Gauge|
|Power Transfer (20%)|
|Traction Walkability (25%)|
|Specs||Five Ten Kestrel Lace||Five Ten Hellcat Pro||Scott MTB Team Boa||Specialized 2FO Roo...||Giro Gauge|
|Closure||Lace and hook and loop strap||Laces plus wide velcro strap||Boa iP-1 dial, plus velcro strap||Laces||Laces|
|Measured Weight (per shoe)||484 grams||452 grams||359 grams||375 grams||452 grams|
|Size Tested||43||10 (44)||44||43.5||45|
|Upper Material||Polyurethane-coated synthetic||Synthetic with DWR||Synthetic Polyurethane, 3D Airmesh||Synthetic Leather and Textile||Synchwire on-piece composite|
|Footbed||EVA||Five Ten padded foam||ErgoLogic||Specialized Body Geometry||Die-cut EVA|
|Sole||Nylon||3/4 length Dual-density TPU shank/Compression-molded EVA||Nylon/Glass Fiber Composite||Stiff Lollipop nylon composite plate||Injected nylon shank|
|Outsole||C4 Stealth||Stealth Marathon||StickiRubber||SlipNot FG||Rubber outsole|
Our Analysis and Test Results
We weren't sure what to think about the Kestrel Lace as the original version of the Kestrel didn't impress our testers. For several weeks of riding on trails ranging from smooth and flowy to steep and technical, testers found the Kestrel Lace to offer a well-rounded performance, excellent power transfer, and great off the bike performance in a durable and well-made package. We recently tested the new Kestrel Pro Boa and found it to provide a slightly better fit than the lace version. We feel this is a great shoe for the enduro and all-mountain rider.
The Kestrel Lace scored well in our power transfer rating metric due to its stiff nylon shank that provides an excellent platform from the cleat area back. At no point did testers feel that the shoe was flexing under power and it seemed as efficient as the other all-mountain and enduro-focused shoes we tested. It does not have the incredible and unflinching stiffness of the carbon-soled models we tested, nor is it intended to, but when it came to climbing or sprinting this shoe was ready.
The Kestrel Lace is one of the new breed of all-mountain shoes that blend comfort, foot protection, and walking comfort with stiff soles and pedaling performance. Its power transfer was on par with similar models like the Giro Chamber II and won't disappoint most riders.
Testers found the Kestrel Lace to be relatively comfortable overall, but they thought the fit was a little less refined than many of the other models we tested. First, they run a little big in their sizing, the size 43, equivalent to a size 10 in US sizing, was significantly longer than all of the other size 43.5 models we tested.
Testers also found the forefoot to be somewhat boxy, and it was challenging to get the shoe tight around that part of the foot due to the lace-up design that doesn't go down as far towards the toes as other models like the Giro Chamber II. This resulted in a vague and not quite tight enough feeling around the ball of the foot and the toes. This is not to say that they weren't comfy; they just were hard to get as tight as other models.
Otherwise, the lace-up design felt good on the rest of the foot, and tension was distributed evenly over the midfoot and held the heel nicely into the deep heel pocket of the shoe. The large velcro strap at the top of the tongue also helped hold the laces in place and further lock the foot down into the shoe. They have a relatively thin and basic footbed, which proved to be comfortable for long days on the bike, but those seeking a more refined fit may want to opt for an aftermarket footbed.
The Kestrel Lace was definitely on the warmer side of the shoes in our test selection, and testers found their feet to get quite hot on warmer sunny days. There is ventilation in the form of perforated holes above the toes and a mesh tongue with vent perforations. Still, these heavy shoes didn't create nearly as well as some of the competition.
What these shoes lack in breathability they more than make up for in foot protection. The wide full coverage Stealth C4 rubber soles are supported with a dense cushioned EVA foam which inspires confidence while descending. There is minimal padding throughout the shoe, but they seem to brush off rock strikes with ease. They may not be as burly as shoes like the Five Ten Hellcat Pro of the Giro Chamber II, but they've got pretty much all the other shoes we tested beat in foot protection.
The Kestrel Lace scored high marks in our traction and walkability rating. This is primarily due to the flex of the sole in the toe and the full coverage Stealth C4 outsole. Five Ten's Stealth rubber is among the grippiest in the business, and testers found it to be confidence-inspiring while walking on virtually all surfaces. The Stealth Rubber is a softer compound than that found on other shoes like the Giro Chamber II, and this was evident in the tenacious grip that it provides.
The Kestrel Lace didn't take top honors in this metric, losing out just slightly to other models with lugged sole designs more clearly intended for hiking. The Stealth rubber sole of the Kestrel Lace has a tread pattern that is a number of large raised dots, as opposed to larger sole lugs, and these dots didn't provide as good of grip in the mud, although it didn't seem to hold onto mud either. If you're a rider who doesn't spend the majority of your time in muddy conditions, then this shoe provides excellent traction and walkability.
The Kestrel Lace is not a lightweight race shoe and certainly won't be the first choice of most weight-conscious riders out there. At 484 g or 17.1 oz, per shoe in size 43, the Kestrel Lace is on the heavier side of average in our test selection.
The Kestrel Lace is significantly heavier than the featherlight carbon soled race shoes we tested, like the Giro Empire VR90. That said, it's only around 40-50g heavier than the more similar shoes in our tests. For the rider looking for this kind of shoe, that weight difference isn't likely to matter all that much.
Our time spent using and abusing the Kestrel Lace has shown them to be very durable. We walked in them excessively and smashed them into more than a few rocks and other trailside obstacles. Other than a good coating of dust, they don't look much worse for the wear. The quality of craftsmanship is top-notch, and we don't see any signs of premature wear on the uppers or the stitching. Our biggest concern is that the softer Stealth C4 rubber of the outsole might be prone to wearing out more quickly than shoes with a more dense rubber sole, but we imagine you'd get several seasons out of them before that would be an issue.
The Kestrel Lace isn't the least expensive shoe we tested, but we feel that it is a good value to the consumer looking for a burly all-mountain or enduro shoe with good power transfer, traction, and walkability.
The Kestrel Lace is a well-made, durable, versatile, and high-performance clipless mountain bike shoe from one of the most popular brands in the business. We feel this is a great option for the all-mountain and enduro market that offers excellent power transfer, traction, walkability, and foot protection, albeit in a slightly heavier weight package.
— Jeremy Benson
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