Endura’s MT500 Waterproof Trouser II features the brand’s latest ExoShell40DR fabric that’s PFC-free (perfluorinated compound is a toxic material used in the durable water repellent treatments of fabrics), and claimed to be durable, breathable and waterproof.
Endura MT500 Waterproof Trousers II details
Constructed from Endura’s ExoShell40DR three-layer fabric, these trousers have a seam-sealed construction and are claimed to be fully waterproof. The material is PFC-free with a non-toxic DWR finish.
The trousers have two water-resistant hand pockets and a thigh to ankle full-length double-ended zip that doubles up as a vent.
The waist is elasticated with belt loops and Clickfast poppers to attach the trousers to a liner.
They are available in sizes from small to extra-extra-large. My size small weighed 319g.
Endura MT500 Waterproof Trousers II performance
The MT500 size up on the generous side, and my 73kg, 178cm build best fitted a size small. Although the legs were quite short on the small, the medium was a massive step up in size and too big around my waist.
To get the right size MT500s for you, it’s crucial to check the sizing guide and, if possible, try a pair before you buy.
Also, the fit is very bike-specific, and they look unwieldy off the bike. However, the baggy knees and bum soon tightened to shape once I was sat on the bike and pedalling.
They remained comfortable when pedalling, too, and there was plenty of space for knee pads underneath. The trousers and pads didn’t interfere with each other either, and there was no tightness, bunching or otherwise.
The thigh pockets were quite small, only comfortably fitting keys and a small multi-tool. Although there was space for a phone, I found its size caused the material to bunch up and not sit in a comfortable position, especially when seated.
However, with the zips open to just beneath the knee, the trousers lost their shape, and unless I was riding very slowly, water and muck entered into the open pants because they bagged out. Elasticated toggles, poppers or Velcro tabs could be used to help the trousers keep their shape.
There was no ankle cuff adjustment and it wasn’t possible to create a tight seal to stop water splashing upwards. I’d personally prefer to forego leg-long zips for elasticated ankles.
Once I’d got sweaty – after 30 minutes of fire road climbing in 10-degree temperatures in the rain – they remained comfortable against bare skin, not creating that sticky, plastic feeling some waterproofs can.
The biggest disappointment for me was how quickly they wetted through. On my first outing in rain, mud and wet ground, the material soaked through on the backside, calves and thighs after one hour of riding. Considering the price tag and Endura’s claims, I hoped for better.
Both of the test samples I used wetted through in the same places, where the material was pulled tight over skin or baselayers (such as pads or bib shorts).
During the post-ride clean up, while I was hosing myself down to remove mud from the pants, the leg zips leaked too..
Endura MT500 Waterproof Trousers II bottom line
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like the ExoShell40DR material is up to the job, wetting through much quicker than it should.
It’s a real shame the Endura MT500 Waterproof Trousers II let moisture pass through to the inside because they tick several boxes and come with relatively unique environmentally friendly credentials that should be admired, a bike-specific fit and generally feel comfortable.
Endura feedback on MT500 Waterproof Trousers II performance
After presenting our findings to Endura, it told us that the fabric’s new PFC-free eco-credentials mean its waterproof material may wet-out (where the outer layer of fabric becomes saturated with water but water doesn’t penetrate the inner layers) quicker than materials made using PFC-based waterproofing.
It hopes the trade-off of offering environmentally friendly fabrics is worth a slight reduction in performance.
Endura also told us the lighter weight fabric used on the MT500 Waterproof Trouser II has been chosen to feel good when worn, but this has an impact on the longevity of its DWR coating. This means cheaper or heavier clothing might be more waterproof for longer but will be hotter and less comfortable to wear.
Should a customer experience the same issues I had with the MT500 waterproofs, Endura says its returns and warranty department would either refund a customer or offer a replacement free of charge
How we tested
We pitted six winter trousers against each other in some of the grottiest conditions to find out which one we think is worth your time and money.
- Alpkit Parallax waterproof trousers
- Decathlon Rockrider All-Mountain Bottoms
- Fox Ranger 3L Water Pant
- Gore Wear Gore-Tex Paclite Trail Pants
- Scott Trail Storm WP Pant