ENDURA MT500 BURNER CLIPLESS SHOE REVIEW
Review by Alex Sardella
Endura launched into the cycling world nearly 30 years ago, and since have been dedicated to making quality, high performance apparel for all cyclists. The Scottish brand has always put performance and function first, and with the likes of The Athertons, Reed Boggs, and Kriss Kyle on the roster, Endura’s gear truly see’s the full spectrum of mountain biking. Mostly known for technical apparel and Scotland-proof (rainy) outerwear, Endura has recently jumped into the footwear game releasing a couple of styles for both flat and clipless riding. We have been enjoying some time by the coast recently and have been putting the MT500 Burner Clipless through the test in the iconic Santa Cruz Mountains.
The Burner Clipless shoe has a couple of key features, and like the clothing offerings from Endura includes some technical elements to round out a nice product story. To start, the shoes are lace-up with a small ankle strap to keep the laces in check throughout the ride – there’s no BOA here. The Velcro strap is mainly for keeping the laces secure but doesn’t do much in the way of actual ankle support. Underfoot, Endura uses a rubber called StickyFoot, which is a proprietary rubber compound that has been specifically developed for their mountain bike footwear line. In both the heel and toe of the sole, there is a StickyFoot Dura compound, a more aggressive tread pattern to help with walking grip and overall durability on the trail. Both the toe and heel box offer a solid amount of stiffness, and on the inner heel cup Endura is using a Sharkskin fabric to keep the heel from lifting or wiggling.
A unique feature is a small removable rubber patch for the cleat box, so if you switch back and forth between clips and flats, this shoe can go both ways. By no means will this have the same performance as a pair of flats, but the option is there should you require it. The insoles are high quality as well, designed with what Endura is calling Ergonomistry. There’s a power arch which offers comfort against the arch bed and delivers a consistent transfer of power from foot through to the pedals. Rounding out a packed features list is a small EVA foam pad that sits in the center of the insoles and helps with micro vibrations transferred through by the pedals. The MT500 Burner Clipless comes in 4 colors, in Men’s shoe sizes US 6-13/EU 38-47, and for a pretty penny of $159.99.
Endura’s parent company Pentland owns some other brands including, KangaRoos, SeaVees, and Kicker’s which are all footwear focused brands. So, it’s no surprise that Endura has done a solid job in their first go around at shoes blending style, performance, and comfort. If I were to rate those three in order, it would be comfort, performance, then style. The shoes are instantly comfortable out of the box, this can be an uncommon experience for some cycling shoes which really need that wear in period. I am a size 11 and the shoes fit true to size. A bit on the stiffer side, they are starting to wear-in slightly after a handful of days biking, walking, and running into the gas station for a quick 6 pack. Some clipless shoes can feel awkward to walk in, but these have a natural sneaker-like feel, with a cleat that blends in nicely underfoot. The inner toe box feels just right, not too big or narrow.
The style and overall look of the Burner’s aren’t the most eye catching but aren’t too weird looking either – I’ve seen some strange clipless shoes out on the trails these days. Overall, they just look good and have a simple cycling aesthetic. In terms of breathability and warmth goes, most days spent riding in the Burner’s have been in 50-60 humid weather in the likes of Auburn and Santa Cruz California, which have proved to be ideal temperatures for the light foam insulation found in the kicks. If temps are in the 40’s or lower, I’d feel these may leave your toes a tad frosty.
I’ve been opting to use these with a pair of Crankbrother’s Mallet E pedals which is a nice match for the StickyFoot rubber. It’s not as sticky as the likes of Five Ten Stealth, but does a damn good job nonetheless. The cleat box has a nice range of adjustments which provide a variety of stance options for both trail and enduro riding. Performance wise, there is stout reliability in both the sole, insole, and contact with the pedals. The firm footbed does well with grip and support on the pedals, and there’s no sign of premature wear on the StickyFoot rubber– granted these have not gone the gamut of a full summer of riding, but first impressions are very promising.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The MT500 Burner Clipless from Endura have a modern design that looks suited for the trails. A slightly heavy price tag seeing there is no BOA system, but a pair of laces and a Velcro strap has never let me down. Overall, the StickyFoot rubber, tech in the footbed, and general construction of the shoe have been leaving us impressed and keen to really put these through the ringer. I’m looking forward to putting these through a season of pedaling, trail work, and standard summer wear’n’tear.
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