Five Ten’s Kestrel BOA is their answer to the downcountry question. They sit at one extreme of the Five Ten range as their raciest mountain bike offering, being much smaller in last, less tacky in the outsole as well as being stiffer in the midsole and shank. There’s also an extra patch of Stealth rubber in between the ball and heel of the shoe for when you can’t quite get clipped in.
The upper is synthetic, being 50% recycled, a clipless specific shank helps the power transfer, a reinforced toe box helps those ground interfaces too. The outsole is Five Ten’s Stealth Marathon rubber. It goes without saying, but the retention system is BOA Li2. The Kestrels are available in half sizes from 5.5 up to 13.5 UK.
On the foot, the feeling is snug. Forget your Freerider Pros or your Trailcross numbers. This is all about eeking everything out of your foot movement though and they are comfortable to say the least. The BOA Li2 closure only increases that feeling.
On the pedal, they do sit quite tall, so I did have to pop my saddle up a couple of millimetres higher than usual, and out of the saddle, they do feel like you’re perched on the pedals a little more than ‘in’ them.
Once you’re used to the unique position the Kestrels offer a cracking amount of efficiency, barely losing a drop when it comes to really making the most of your effort into the pedals. Long days out are a breeze and you barely feel like you’re wearing them, which is always a good sign.
If you do have to walk, which clearly isn’t their main intention, you do get a bit of heel lift despite the heel cups and the Stealth Marathon rubber can be a bit skatey in some places. That said, downcountry isn’t about walking your bike, so this might be somewhat of an unfair criticism.
What do we think?
If you want a fast, efficient shoe that blends descending performance with cross country efficiency then you’d be hard-pushed to go wrong with the Five Ten Kestrel BOA. Setup is key with the tall feeling but once you’ve found the sweet spot they’re grand.
Efficient power delivery
They don’t look like a disco slipper
Could do better:
A little tall on the pedal
You can check out the Five Ten Kestrel BOA over on their website here.