FiveTen Kestrel Pro BOA TLD trail shoe
I love Five Ten’s Kestrel Pros in so many ways – they’ve got great stiffness for aggressive power transfer, feel capable and secure when throwing the bike around, and the upper is tough, fast-drying and smooth enough to not pick up a lot of muck. Plus, that Stealth sole provides plenty of grip should the need for unclipped pedal stamping arise.
I did have to adjust the pins and platforms on a few of my more rugged platform pedals because the Stealth sole gripped when attempting to clip out, but that’s all part of the platform adjustment process. Over rocks and roots I was very glad to feel it sticking, offering plenty of grip.
The stiff sole stopped short of being XC stiff, but not by much. I largely used them with platform clipless pedals, but they could easily get away with more skimpily proportioned XC-style units because the sole provides the support needed.
The thin lining of the shoe, with little padding to squash and flex, made them feel like part of my foot when pushing hard on the trail. It also helped with the drying process – I gave them more than a few decent soakings during the testing period and they were always dry the next morning.
I was also a huge fan of the Boa system in general, which worked really well and cranks up very snugly to secure the shoe, with a Velcro strap to pick up any slack around the top of the foot. I always love the ability to crank up or slacken off the fit while on the move.
However, this is also where my only problem with these shoes arises. The top ‘rung’ of the Boa wire is placed just too high, without reinforcement of the tongue in the right place, causing painful hotspots across the front of the ankle. Generally, a bit of initial slackening, with retightening as the ride went on, meant the pain went away after about 15 minutes of pedalling, but while I could have overlooked one tester experiencing this problem, three of us felt the same way.
If you’re lucky enough for this not to impinge on your ankle, and I know many riders who get on well with the Kestrels, then these are great shoes (if a little heavy). Add two stars to this review if so, but try before you buy to be sure.
Also available in a non TLD version: £160 / $200 / AU$287 / €180