Five Ten is one of the biggest names in the gravity shoe world, but it also churns out plenty of trail options, such as the Kestrel Lace.
As their name suggests, these shoes are secured with a lace, rather than the Boa closure found on the regular Kestrel (something we had issues with when we tested them in 2015).
The laces come high up the shoe, close to the ankle. With the Velcro strap in place this can press on the front of your ankle, as the tongue is relatively thin – which can be irritating, especially as it’s taken a while for the shoe to soften.
That said, as with all lace shoes, it’s easy to get an even tension across the foot for extra control and comfort. Strapping up the Velcro is important though, as heel hold isn’t great.
Perforations on top of the toe box keep the shoe reasonably cool and weatherproof, while the synthetic upper cleans up easily.
The soles have always been Five Ten’s strong point, and in all but the slipperiest of conditions the Stealth C4 rubber sole gives ample grip. The shank is very stiff in this shoe, giving excellent power transfer, but it’s not so suited to prolonged hike-a-bikes.
The cleat area is nice and big, making it easy to clip in, and you can run the cleat relatively far back in the shoe to get your foot in a decent descending position.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.