This is Endura’s first foray into the world of mountain bike shoes. The MT500 Burner appears to be as high-tech as shoes come, featuring insoles intended to reduce fatigue, improve comfort and boost pedalling efficiency.
At the same time, multi-density soles are designed to work well on and off the bike, while Endura even claims the shoe to be vegan-friendly.
Endura MT500 Burner Clipless specifications
The sole of the shoe has a fairly aggressively shaped tread that, while closely packed, has clearly been designed to grip well off the bike. Around the toe and heel, the treads are spaced further apart.
In the midsole, where the pedal is usually located, the treads are closer packed, and the rubber is softer to grip on the pedal body better.
The toe and heel sections use a harder compound rubber to reduce wear.
At 39mm, the cleat channel’s slots are some of the longest around, and it extends far back in the shoe for a really aggressive position – cleats further back mean better foot stability over your clipless pedals in rough terrain.
The cleat channel isn’t the most generous in width, but there’s enough room to allow full movement of a cleat side to side. Ramps at the front and rear of the cleat channel are designed to make it easier to get in and out of the shoe.
Inside, the nylon shank sits on an EVA foam midsole. There’s one of the most detailed footbeds in the shoe too. The arch’s support is moderate enough to work with most foot shapes.
There’s also a metatarsal button, which is said to help spread your big-toe bones out from your other toes, preventing scrunching on longer rides.
New to me is the inclusion of dots on the insole, said to improve your foot’s proprioception – apparently improving your foot’s ability to soften and harden when needed in the pedal stroke through coordinated muscular contractions. It’s certainly impressive in its claims.
The upper is constructed from a PU material, with toe and heel protection, as well as scuff panels for added durability.
The lacing is backed up with a moderately narrow Velcro strap, while ventilation holes are ample in number.
The ankle area is higher on the inside edge to help protect your ankles from knocking on the cranks. There’s also cat-tongue, or shark-skin material on the inside of the heel cup. This material acts like a gripper on your sock, reducing heel lift.
Endura MT500 Burner Clipless performance
Thus far, I’ve been impressed by Endura’s new clipless shoes. They seem to offer a good balance of performance and comfort, with excellent ventilation and good pedal feel.
The upper is built from a smooth, wipe-clean material that seems sturdy enough to shrug off scuffs and impacts from trailside debris.
The toe box’s many ventilating perforations mean the shoe deals with heat build-up well, feeling cool and breezy, despite this being the only area of ventilation on the shoe.
However, while some shoes do allow ventilation and good splash protection, I found the Enduras let water in pretty quickly via the tongue area and toe vents. When riding in winter, a waterproof sock is likely a good option to boost warmth and to keep your toes dry.
Though not as solid as some other shoes, the toe and heel box reinforcement offers good protection from branch and rock strikes. The protection wraps nicely around the foot, past the little toe’s knuckle. The ribbed material should also prove abrasion-resistant.
The raised inner ankle section prevents the ankle bone from hitting the cranks when things get a little wild. However, it’s discrete enough not to be noticeable while pedalling or moving normally over the bike – as such, it has no impact on comfort.
Padding around the ankle is only really present towards the top, but this helps keep the foot fairly well planted in the shoe, and I didn’t find the lack of padding lower down the ankle problematic.
Endura MT500 Burner Clipless security
The shoe secures with laces and a Velcro strap. The laces soak up a bit of water, but not quite as much as round-profile laces.
The Velcro strap is located reasonably far up the foot, over where you’d tie the laces in a bow.
Despite sitting high up the shoe, I found the tongue prevented it digging in to the top of the foot – something many other shoes with high Velcro straps can’t achieve in my experience. The strap meant I didn’t need to double-knot the laces to prevent them coming undone in general use.
Pulling the laces through the oblong-shaped eyelets is a touch stiffer than some other shoes, meaning loosening to remove or tightening when putting the shoes on is a bit more of a chore – the laces don’t slide through quite as easily as some.
The Velcro strap is there not only to secure the front portion of the foot, but also to boost heel hold.
Despite the strap, and the use of cat’s-tongue material in the heel – designed with a rough surface to increase friction between shoe and sock when pulling the foot up and out of the shoe – heel hold isn’t quite as locked in as on some other shoes. This is most noticeable when walking in the shoes.
Endura MT500 Burner Clipless sole performance
The MT500 Burner has one of the best mountain bike shoe soles around. The cleat is free to move 39mm front to rear, as much as any shoe on the market. This allows you to get the cleat in just the right position for your preference.
In addition, the channel’s slots extend far back in the shoe – I was able to get the cleat sat well behind my toe knuckles, into the mid-step of my foot.
The cleat bed is fairly deep in the shoe. The sole has plenty of contact with the pedal, improving feel and offering a really ‘locked-in’ feel if your pedals have pins in their cage.
The rubber around the middle of the shoe is built from a softer rubber to aid this pedal traction. The flipside is that if you prefer plenty of float, you may need to run a cleat spacer under the cleat, to add a bit of height.
There are slight ramps to aid pedal engagement, though the ramps are a little steeper than on other shoes. While I didn’t struggle to engage in either Crankbrothers or Shimano/Nukeproof pedals, shoes with a gentler ramp and a shallower cleat bed are a touch easier.
Endura MT500 Burner Clipless tread performance
The toe and heel sections of the shoes have a deeper, more aggressive tread and are constructed from a harder compound rubber.
This more aggressive tread is designed to help dig into dirt better if you have to push up or down a hill. I pushed on some fairly sloppy hillsides, and found they offered more grip than the likes of Shimano and Five Ten’s trail shoes.
The harder rubber compound is there to boost durability.
The line between the orange mid-section and white toe-section of rubber also roughly marks the position from which the toe starts to properly flex for walking. It’s positioning feels good, too.
While the shank is stiff, boosting pedalling efficiency, the shoe doesn’t feel harsh on rough descents. Fortunately, there’s still ample feedback too, so they don’t feel woolly or disconnected from the bike.
Endura MT500 Burner Clipless fit and comfort
I found the new shoes comfortable, with a spacious interior and well-built insole. This is in contrast to the size 42 and 43 MT500 Burner Flat shoes we’ve also tested, which came up small in comparison. As such, I’d recommend you try shoes on before you purchase them.
While it’s difficult to distinguish the metatarsal button and interior dimples, I didn’t find they impacted on comfort at all.
Anecdotally, on road and gravel rides in shoes with a metatarsal button, I’ve found they result in less toe scrunching – as such, I’m happy to see them here.
The arch support isn’t overbearing and uncomfortable, and thus again enhances the shoe’s comfort.
Laces allow good control over the shoe’s varying tension over the foot, in theory meaning tension distribution with laces is superior to Boa or dual-Velcro closures.
Getting the shoe on and off meant loosening the top three to four rungs of laces, though, and then re-tensioning each time. This makes the process of fitting and removing shoes take longer, and is more frustrating especially when cold, wet and muddy.
I didn’t find lace tension over different areas of the foot migrated with time.
Internally, then, fit can be very good, especially over the mid-section of the shoe.
The toe box is moderately sized – those with smaller-volume feet will find there’s plenty of room, though testers with larger-volume feet found them less spacious than expected.
My feet aren’t huge in volume, though, and I found the top of the toe box creased while pushing, with the crease contacting the top of my foot – a frustration, rather than a red flag.
Properly tensioned and laced up, the upper is supportive. This results in good power transfer to the pedals and the lack of any vagueness internally. This adds to comfort because there’s minimal rubbing and the foot is better supported, reducing fatigue. Even with a generous toe box, I didn’t find my feet moving around inside the shoe.
Sizing-wise, I’d suggest the Endura MT500 Burner Clipless is fairly generous in internal volume and overall length – it’s roomier than other size 44 shoes I’m currently testing.
Endura MT500 Burner Clipless bottom line
For a first shot at clipless shoes, Endura has done a good job.
The ergonomics of the shoe are excellent, and while sizing is generous, they’re very comfortable.
Features such as the dual-compound sole are good to see, and the sole itself is one of the best around, with comfortable, effective pedalling performance and excellent pedal feel.
How we tested:
Mountain bike shoes have a hard life. All your power is transferred through their soles, as well as an awful lot of bodily bike control.
At the same time, they’re stamped onto pedals (some of which have platform cages with sharp pins), are walked in on rough surfaces, have to sit in the firing line of mud and water, and shrug off impacts with trailside rocks, roots and vegetation.
As such, the best mountain bike shoes have to satisfy a wide range of requirements to reach the top of our table. In this group test, we pitted 12 pairs of clipless shoes from leading brands against each other during several months of sloppy winter testing.
We tested all these shoes with both Crankbrothers and Shimano SPD pedals to check that they’re compatible with the most common platforms. They were ridden with one foot in one brand of shoe and the other in a different type, to better grasp their differences.
Steep banks were scrambled up and down, while we carried our bikes on our shoulders to see how much our heels slipped in the heel box and our feet slipped in the mud. We even sprayed them with a hose to see how water-resistant they are, then timed how long they take to dry out.
Other shoes we tested:
- Bontrager Rally review
- Crankbrothers Mallet Speedlace
- Five Ten Kestrel Lace review
- Fizik Gravita Versor Clip review
- Giro Berm Cover review
- Ion Rascal Select BOA review
- Leatt 6.0 Clip V22 review
- Mavic XA Elite II review
- Ride Concepts Transition review
- Scott Crus-R review
- Shimano AM5 review
- Specialized 2FO Roost Clip review