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Photo: Matt Miller.

Shoe brand Five Ten needs no introduction. For years, they have been the go-to shoe for flat pedal riders. Their clipless shoes have only grown stronger and for mountain bikers who ride with cleats, but have descending in mind, the Kestrel Pro Boa is the brand’s flagship shoe.

Five Ten also has the Kestrel (non-Pro). It is similar in stance and material, but doesn’t have Boa dials, and rather, is a laced clipless shoe. The “regular” Kestrels are a little lighter than the Pro version without the Boa, but the Boa, Pro version is, of course, more convenient (and more Pro).

Specs

  • Boa dial for micro-adjustments
  • Synthetic weather-resistant, perforated upper
  • Stealth C4 rubber outsole
  • EVA midsole, OrthoLite sockliner
  • Clipless
  • Non-slip heel cup
  • Carbon-infused nylon shank
  • Weight: 477g per shoe w/ SPD cleat
  • MSRP: $200 (compare prices)

Shoe performance

Photo: Matt Miller.

Some of my friends have been surprised to see the Adidas logo on the tongue of these Five Tens. It’s actually been close to a decade now since Adidas bought Five Ten, but that’s stayed under the radar for the most part.

Five Ten still maintained its own website until very recently, and now all of their offerings reside on the Adidas Outdoor website, along with Five Ten climbing shoes, and Adidas Terrex running and hiking shoes. More mountain bikers are now repping Adidas as well, after collaborations between Adidas and Troy Lee Designs. In any case, the Adidas branding on Five Ten shoes is slowly getting stronger.

The Kestrel Pros aren’t a huge update to the previous version, but there are some notable changes. The addition of the velcro strap above the toe box adds adjustability and a better fit around the foot. With that, the Boa cable has been brought higher up on the foot. This allows for more points of contact and fit along the whole foot. The velcro strap adds nice adjustability closer to the toes.

The Boa has remained consistent and strong during my testing time. I feel like it wants to tighten higher up on my foot before it tightens around the mid-foot. This means it takes a few adjustments with the Boa dial before it feels like it’s wrapped around in all the right spots, but once it’s there, it’s there.

What I’ve noticed most about the Kestrel Pro is the comfort. When the Boa isn’t engaged, the shoe and tongue open up so it’s easy to get off and on. The toe box is nice and wide compared to my previous Specialized 2FO shoes. I can really feel my toes spread out evenly, without having too much room. The padded tongue adds to the comfort level and helps disperse the pressure from the Boa cable.

Photo: Matt Miller.

The carbon-infused nylon shank makes for a stiff pedaling surface and a stable shoe for descending and pushing those heels down on steep descents. I’ve also found that the EVA, OrthoLite mid-sole has some shock absorption value to it after throwing my foot down in corners gone bad.

I’ve been using the shoe with a Shimano M9120 XTR pedal, and as you can see in the photo above, the cleat box has stayed in good shape, although it’s not the widest or most pin-laden pedal. The Kestrel Pros are also polka-dotted with the Five Ten Stealth sole pattern and dig in nicely for hike-a-bike sections.

Photo: Matt Miller.

Although perforation and venting are minimal on the shoe, there’s quite a bit of airflow through the inside. The tongue vents well and the perforation on the toe and inside of the shoe lets air slip in easily.

Photo: Matt Miller.

The only issue I’ve really had with the shoes is this separation of the outer sole (photo above). I’m not sure what exactly caused this, but there were no major scuff marks above it. Maybe the edge got caught on a rock or a pedal. I’ll try some shoe glue, but either way, it’s a bit of a bummer since there’s less than two months of ride time on them.

Final word

Photo: Matt Miller.

I haven’t found a whole lot to complain about with the Five Ten Kestral Pro Boas. They’re comfortable, vent well, are easy to get on and off, and are stiff and stable. Oh, they look really good too. For me, this is all the shoe I need no matter what kind of riding I’m getting into and I don’t see any reason to find a bigger, clunkier shoe for downhill riding, nor do I need to look for something slimmer for everyday trail rides.

Buy it: $200, Five Ten Kestral Pro Boa at Adidasoutdoor.com

Thanks to Adidas for providing the Kestrel Pro shoes for review.

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# Comments

  • Zoso

    Thanks for the review.

    Could you comment on how it hikes? Is the cleat recessed enough and does it walk easily without heel lift etc?

    • Matt Miller

      Good questions. Probably a touch of heel lift, but not bad. There’s “cat tongue” fabric on the inside of the heel that helps to keep it down. Hiking isn’t a problem, and the cleats are well recessed.

  • natchot

    Does the “cat tongue” heel counter material mess with your socks, i.e., does it pull your socks down or shred the fabric?

    • Matt Miller

      No, I’ve never had any problems with it. Most of the bike socks I have are pretty dang tight though 🙂

  • spyghost

    Just got this one a couple of days ago and yes, it’s quite roomy. I think I could size down to a 9.0 from the 9.5 I ordered, but no biggie as it’s not too big anyway. The stiffness is quite near an XC shoe (not the super stiff though), which for me is good as I don’t like a flexing shoe. The separation you’ve experienced is quite surprising considering the price tag of this shoe (and the previous 510 delamination issues). I haven’t had much time on mine yet, but I’ll see how the sole goes. I do hope it’s not a manufacturing bug.

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