|The fit of Five Ten's latest shoes varies widely from model to model, and where their Impact VXi flat pedal shoes have a boxy, roomy fit, the Kestrels are much more form fitting. The width worked well with my foot shape, and I've spent the last few months pedaling and tromping around in them without any hot spots or discomfort. On the bike, the stiff sole provides plenty of support and excellent power transfer, and the harder rubber around the cleat meant there weren't any issues clipping in or releasing with the set of Shimano pedals I was running. The BOA closure has been trouble free, although there is a downside - it's not possible to fine tune the tightness of the shoes the way you would be able to with a multi-strap style configuration. There were a handful of times I would have liked to loosen up the shoes only in the forefoot, but wasn't able to due to the single means of adjustment. The addition of a velcro strap towards the front of the shoe seems like it would be an easy way to accomplish this. Off the bike, there was a bit more heel lift than I would have preferred, due to the low cut ankle and a shallow heel pocket. Those two traits plus the stiff sole caused my foot to lift slightly with each step on extended hike-a-bike sections. Of course, foot shape varies from rider to rider, so this may not be an issue for everyone. As with any footwear purchase, trying on a pair before buying is highly recommended.|
The Kestrels accompanied me on a number of rainy winter rides, perfect conditions for testing their wet weather performance. The weatherproofing around the toe box worked as advertised, keeping light rain and the occasional puddle splash from seeping through. The low overall height of the shoe does make it easy for water to enter around the ankle, and after a couple of deep puddle crossings the weatherproofing is a moot point. However, even when they're full soaked the Kestrels do an excellent job of managing that moisture - it never felt like my feet were wrapped in soggy sponges, a sensation that can arise with shoes that use thicker foam. The overall construction of the shoes has proven to be top notch, and even after all those muddy rides the exterior isn't any worse for wear, and their have been no durability issues to speak of.
For riders in search of a pair of kicks with the stiffness of an XC race shoe, but with a sole that offers more traction for hiking and a little extra protection from the elements, the Kestrel could be the answer. There's room for some fit related improvements, but overall these shoes are a decent addition to Five Ten's already strong line of mountain biking footwear. - Mike Kazimer
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