The Endura MT500 Burner Flat Shoe, accompanying MT500 Burner Clipless Shoe and Hummvee Flat Pedal Shoe were the missing strings to Endura’s head-to-toe outfit bow.
With their addition to the range, the brand now offers clothing and protection for all parts of the body.
According to Endura, they’ve been a long time in the making, and that’s because it has applied “inventive engineering” and “medical science” to the shoes’ construction, overseen by Phil Burt, British Cycling’s head of physiotherapy, and Endura’s sponsored athletes such as downhill legends, the Athertons.
Endura hopes this approach to product development – dubbed ergonomistry – unlocks extra performance and comfort.
Endura MT500 Burner Flat Shoe details and specifications
Focusing on three elements, Endura claims it has perfected its new range of shoes.
First comes fit, with the brand developing its own lasts (the overall shape of the shoe) and offering a broad range of sizes from EU38 up to EU47, with half sizes from EU41.5 to EU45.5.
Next is function. Features such as stiffness, outsole rubber compound and lacing have all been created meticulously thanks to an enormous amount of feedback.
And thirdly, fashion. Endura claims it has “struck a balance of contemporary tech and classic styling”, but we all know beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Arguably, the MT500 Burner Flat Shoes reviewed here are at the contemporary end of the spectrum, looking more suited to the racetrack than your local pub.
Shoes with sole
All shoes have soles, sure, but Endura claims to have focused a lot of its attention on the MT500 Burner’s ones.
Their outsole – the rubber portion of the shoes that acts as the contact patch with the pedals or ground – is constructed from its StickyFOOT compound, made from a “unique concoction” of ingredients.
The outsole has a two-compound design, where the central portion that’s in contact with the pedals is grippier, made from StickyFOOT Grip, while the front and heel portions are made from StickyFOOT Dura, designed to improve the shoe’s wear life.
The EGM footbed/insole, that’s been developed with help from Burt, is claimed to “maximise comfort and power transfer”.
It has a metatarsal button – a raised section that sits beneath the centre of the foot – that’s claimed to help improve forefoot function and comfort, and reduce the chances of your toes scrunching.
There are small dots spread strategically across the insole. These, Endura claims, improve your foot’s proprioception (your body’s ability to sense movement), which helps your foot’s muscles to contract and relax. This is claimed to improve foot stability in the shoe.
It has a profiled arch support that should improve power transfer and comfort.
The mid-sole is made from EVA, which is claimed to provide shock absorption.
Endura claims the upper is both durable and lightweight, made from PU (polyurethane) synthetic leather, and has perforated panels to improve ventilation.
The material is wipe-clean and made from low-absorbency materials, so it shouldn’t take a long time to dry out and won’t become as heavy when wet.
The panels have either been welded (bonded) or reinforced stitched where more durability was needed.
The heel cup is lined with a ‘sharkskin’ material to help hold your foot in, while the laces and Velcro strap ensure a secure fit. There is a tongue gaiter to reduce dirt ingress, too.
Endura MT500 Burner Flat Shoe performance
I tested the Endura MT500 on a host of different flat pedals, including Crankbrothers’ Stamp 7 Large, Deity’s TMAC and DMR’s Vault and V11 models to get an idea of how they grip and perform on a variety of platform sizes.
Size and fit
However, putting the Enduras on for the first time revealed they felt smaller than I was expecting, especially across the toes and around the heel, where my average-width feet felt squeezed and compressed. Their rigidity also stood out, especially in the upper’s give, where it didn’t flex to accommodate my foot.
I requested sizes 42.5 (838g a pair) and 43 (920g a pair) to see if they fitted me better, and to understand how the step between each size feels. The 42.5 has a marked but not significant increase in volume in the toe box, which addressed my concerns over the 42, while the 43 is quite a bit larger everywhere.
I settled on the 42.5 that proved to be both comfortable thanks to the upper not needing to flex to accommodate my foot, and not so large that my foot was moving across the insole/footbed when I was riding, compromising support.
The 43 was just fractionally too large when wearing thinner socks, but worked well with thicker, winter-specific waterproof socks such as the Sealskinz Waterproof Cold Weather models that take up a fair amount of shoe volume.
Compared to Five Ten shoe sizing, the MT500 Burner Flat Shoe runs small. Fellow technical editor Tom Marvin has reviewed the clipless version of the MT500 Burner in a size EU44, which is the same as all his other shoes, and didn’t encounter sizing issues.
This highlights the necessity to try before you buy.
Support and strength
The MT500’s traditional lacing pattern and Velcro strap provided good, adjustable tightness and tension across the upper. Even when tightened significantly, the lacing pattern and shape of the upper meant the top of my foot wasn’t crushed, causing pain or discomfort.
And the overall stiffness of the shoe’s sole and upper, combined with the well-contoured, but not totally inflexible last, gave plenty of support. My feet felt securely held, both laterally and along their length, and this stiffness reduced clawing, and in turn fatigue.
Robustness and protection
The upper’s material avoids being too thick so that feel is reduced, and not enough to make my feet feel vulnerable to being injured by rock strikes.
Equally, when dabbing on the floor, the shoe’s sole provided enough impact protection thanks to its stiffness. This reduced the chances of the impact hurting my feet, and as a flat-pedal rider, this was truly welcome.
The tough, wipe-down upper material did a commendable job of shrugging off a significant number of splashes on wet trails before water penetrated the shoe.
Once they were saturated, they didn’t increase significantly in weight. A soaking-wet pair of EU43 MT500s weighed 1,160g, which was a real bonus, and were only fractionally heavier than a dry pair of EU43 Impact Pros that weigh 1,100g.
However, the open lace section and well-padded tongue were the weakest links. Water was able to quickly penetrate the shoes via the tongue, especially when compared to the rest of their construction.
It begged the question why couldn’t Endura have produced a model with a Velcro lace cover made from the same material as the rest of the shoe’s body – maybe at an additional cost – for people who want that increased splash protection? Especially given the disparity between how quickly water penetrated the shoes on their tongue and the rest of the upper.
All this talk of stiffness might have you convinced the MT500 has a wooden feel on the pedals, where bumps and what the bike is doing is over-damped by the shoe’s sole. Fortunately, the first descent with these on revealed that certainly isn’t the case.
It was still possible to feel what the bike was doing beneath me, but my feet felt as though they were doing less work on the pedals to stay in place. This was surely thanks to the sole’s stiffness that minimised ‘bananaing’ over the top of the pedals and could be helped by the metatarsal bump that’s claimed to activate a wearer’s forefoot and reduce toe clawing.
That said, I couldn’t consciously feel the metatarsal bump once I’d been wearing the shoes for longer than five minutes, but that isn’t to suggest it wasn’t doing its job.
They certainly gave a more planted feel on the pedals compared to more flexible shoes, a trait that translated to a calmness at the pedals with reassuring traction.
Arguably, the StickyFOOT Grip portion of the shoe isn’t as tacky as Five Ten’s Stealth S1 rubber, but the MT500s are still significantly grippier than any other flat-pedal shoes I’ve used in recent times.
Traction was impressive, where only the largest bumps or mis-timed unweighting of my feet caused the shoes to move over the pedal’s surface, and when they did the movement wasn’t significant or uncontrollable.
For most of the time, my feet remained planted, and the pedal’s pins could be felt digging into their soles well. The tread pattern helped improve grip, with the tightly spaced triangular shaping able to keep the pins in place to reduce the chances of my feet sliding over the pedal’s surface.
It was possible to reposition my feet on the pedals, but to get them to move required unweighting them, otherwise twisting was nigh-on impossible.
How does the Endura MT500 Burner Flat Shoe compare to Five Ten’s Impact Pro and Trailcross XT and GTX shoes?
The MT500 StickyFOOT Grip sole is slightly less tacky than Five Ten’s halo Stealth S1 rubber found on its Impact Pro shoes, but is grippier than the Stealth Phantom rubber used on the Trailcross XT and GTX shoes. If you’re after outright traction, the Impact Pros are still the shoes to beat.
However, shoe performance is multi-faceted, and simply having the stickiest sole isn’t always a guaranteed win. It’s the MT500s’ other traits that outshine their grip.
They’re less water absorbent and lighter than the Impact Pros, and arguably have a stiffer feel on the pedals, which means less effort is required to maintain sure-footedness.
This difference in feel, that is marked when both pairs of shoes are worn back-to-back, mitigates a significant portion of the outright traction conceded to Five Ten.
They dry out at a similar speed to the lightweight Trailcross XTs. Placed by the fire or next to a warm radiator overnight, both the MT500 and Trailcross XT dried during my testing, but a pair of Impact Pros were still damp, wet even, the next day.
This is a significant plus for the MT500. People who live in wetter climates but don’t necessarily like the flexy, raw and less protected feel of the Trailcross XT, but want their shoes to dry quickly, will love the MT500s.
I couldn’t wear the same size MT500 shoes as I do with Five Tens. Arguably, then, they’re less spacious than the Impact Pro or Trailcross XT and GTX. The takeaway point here is to try before you buy.
Once I had found the correct size, the MT500 felt like a blend of the snug-fitting security of the Trailcross XT and the slightly larger, more padded Impact Pro.
I liked how the MT500 felt, but was aware that protection was limited compared to the Impact Pro, a feeling backed up by the shoe’s weight.
It’s impossible at this stage to talk about longevity, but so far the wear rate of the MT500s looks promising.
Endura MT500 Burner Flat Shoe bottom line
The MT500 flats have an intelligently thought-out design that includes features flat-pedal riders won’t be used to, such as metatarsal bumps and proprioception dots designed to improve performance.
Their lightweight, quick drying, and incredibly easy-to-care-for upper, combined with an impressively stiff sole that doesn’t dumb down feel but reduces fatigue, make these a compelling option in a domain dominated by Five Ten.
They would benefit from a lace cover to keep water out for longer, and if they had a slightly grippier sole I would struggle to fault them. Until those changes have been made, they’ll always play second fiddle to the Impact Pro’s immense grip. Arguably, that’s one of the best back-handed compliments a shoe can receive.
|Price||br_price, 5, 3, Price, EUR €149.99GBP £119.99USD $149.99|
|Weight||br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 838g (EU42.5) – EU42.5, Array, g|
|What we tested||br_whatWeTested, 5, 8, What we tested, Endura MT500 Burner Flat Shoe, navy|
|Year||br_year, 5, 9, Year, 2022|
|Brand||br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Endura|
|Shoe closure||br_shoeClosure, 11, 0, Shoe closure, Laces and velcro|
|Sole||br_sole, 11, 0, Sole, StickyFOOT Grip|
|Triathlon/TT-specific||br_triathlonTTShoe, 11, 0, Triathlon/TT-specific, no|
|Winter-specific||br_winterSpecific, 11, 0, Winter-specific, no|