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Five Ten Kestrel Lace Review

A beefy all-mountain and enduro shoe with good foot protection and grippy Stealth rubber soles
five ten kestrel lace mountain bike shoes review
Credit: Five Ten
Price:  $150 List
Manufacturer:   Adidas
By Jeremy Benson ⋅   ⋅  Jun 27, 2018
  • Power Transfer - 20% 7.0
  • Comfort - 25% 7.0
  • Traction Walkability - 25% 9.0
  • Weight - 15% 6.0
  • Durability - 15% 9.0

Our Verdict

Five Ten has been in the mountain bike shoe market for a long time now, and they are best known for their award-winning line of flat pedal shoes. The Kestrel Lace is one of only a few clipless mountain bike shoe models they make, and they come with the features, performance, and style the brand is known for. Despite their somewhat freeride-esque appearance, the Kestel Lace has a stiff sole and power transfer to match the other similar shoes in our test. Testers were impressed with their traction and walkability, which is enhanced by flex through the toe and Five Ten's signature Stealth C4 rubber sole. They are by no means lightweight, among the heaviest in our test, but they make up for that with some of the best foot protection and durability in our selection. The Kestrel Lace didn't earn any awards this time around, but this is an excellent shoe for the non-weight conscious all mountain and enduro riders out there.
Reasonably priced
Stealth rubber soles
Good foot protection
No on the fly adjustments
Wide toe box
Sizing runs big

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.

Performance Comparison

five ten kestrel lace mountain bike shoes review - the kestrel lace is a great option for all mountain or enduro riders...
The Kestrel Lace is a great option for all mountain or enduro riders who are fans of Five Ten shoes and Stealth rubber.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

Power Transfer

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.

five ten kestrel lace mountain bike shoes review - there's no lack of power transfer from the stiff soles of the...
There's no lack of power transfer from the stiff soles of the Kestrel Lace.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

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.

five ten kestrel lace mountain bike shoes review - the lace up and velcro closure of the kestrel lace was comfortable...
The lace up and velcro closure of the Kestrel Lace was comfortable, but testers struggled to get them tight around the forefoot.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

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.

Traction Walkability

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.

five ten kestrel lace mountain bike shoes review - stealth rubber has got a cult following among flat pedal riders, and...
Stealth rubber has got a cult following among flat pedal riders, and while it isn't as necessary on a clipless shoe it sure does provide lots of traction.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

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.

five ten kestrel lace mountain bike shoes review - we thrashed on the kestrel lace and we didn't find any weakness in...
We thrashed on the Kestrel Lace and we didn't find any weakness in their construction or durability.
Credit: Jeremy Benson


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.

five ten kestrel lace mountain bike shoes review - at 484g, the kestrel lace isn't exactly lightweight.
At 484g, the Kestrel Lace isn't exactly lightweight.
Credit: Jeremy Benson

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.

five ten kestrel lace mountain bike shoes review - the kestrel lace works great off the bike, with flex through the toe...
The Kestrel Lace works great off the bike, with flex through the toe and super grippy rubber soles.
Credit: Jeremy Benson


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.

five ten kestrel lace mountain bike shoes review - the beefiness of the kestrel lace adds confidence when descending.
The beefiness of the Kestrel Lace adds confidence when descending.
Credit: Jeremy Benson


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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