Racy and ultra direct
Steep price of the racy Five Ten Kestrel Pro Boa is somewhat offset by great aesthetics and the shoe feeling very slim and light on your foot.
The Kestrel Pro Boa is a stiffer shoe specifically designed for enduro racing and all-mountain riding. The slender outer profile uses the same sturdy upper material as the Five Ten Freerider Pro, and therefore dries equally well when saturated.
Five Ten’s Boa system has improved from a longer loop (that occasionally used to get snagged and introduce hot spots) to less wire and a Velcro strap at the toe to fine tune fit. The snazzy Boa fastener can tighten or release in both directions, is comfy and also works quicker than that of a Specialized 2FO Cliplite system. There’s more stabilisation from a redesigned heel cup with a rough-one-way ‘sharkskin’ fabric that grips the back of your sock to prevent heel lift when cranking hard or walking.
Five Ten uses its legendary Stealth sole rubber, with a similar dotted tread to the brand’s flat shoes. There’s good traction hiking up awkward trail sections, and it’s firm enough around the cleat to prevent squirming clipping in/out of platform style clip pedals. The smaller cleat opening is marginally harder to enter and exit pedals in claggy conditions than some though.
As Five Ten’s stiffest shoe, the Kestrel uses a carbon-infused sole that drives pedals firmly and isolates the ground with an efficient feel that’s just about forgiving enough for riding beaten up, bumpy trails all day. The rigidity spreads the load across feet well and is great for really driving the bike through berms and technical passages, but makes it pretty uncomfortable underfoot on long hike-a-bike sections.
Being ultra direct when cranking or muscling the machine is a trait aggressive riders will really love too.