ENDURA MT500 D3O GLOVES REVIEW
GREAT FEELING PAW PROTECTION
Words by Robert Johnston | Photos by Adam Lievesley
In some parts of the world such as Scotland’s Tweed Valley, you spend your rides constantly threading the needle through tight trees. When riding hard, eventually your hands are going to become closely acquainted with the trailside flora, and pain is likely to ensue. To help minimize the pain and damage involved in these situations, companies such as Endura have been offering gloves with protection for a long time, but often used to add bulk, heat and restriction with hard and inflexible materials. Endura’s latest MT500 D3O gloves aim to change that, giving the protection when required without reducing the comfort and flexibility of the glove for day-to-day use. I’ve put them to the test countless times over the last few months, and can say they’re a pretty damn good product, but they’re not quite perfect.
For the MT500 D3O glove, Endura enlisted the services of the D3O flexible protective material to offer some cushioning against blows to the knuckles without severely impacting the flexibility of the glove and focused on keeping the rest of the glove as comfortable and dexterous as possible.
The palm is a synthetic leather that’s kept relatively thin to offer good bar feel and is equipped with a generous amount of grippy silicone print on both palm and fingertips to increase the grip on the bars and levers. The backing is a breathable ripstop material with 4-way stretch to move with your hand, which is combined with D3O blocks in key places for protection. The thumb features a micro suede wipe to deal with dust boogers effectively. As with all of Endura’s products, they stand by their MT500 D3O gloves with their 90-day satisfaction guarantee. They are offered in a choice of three colorways, in sizes XS-XXL to fit most hands, at a retail price of £44.99/$59.99.
Across the board Endura has been impressing us recently with their dialed fits and well thought out constructions, and the MT500 D3O glove is no exception to this. From the get-go they fitted, well…like a glove, with a relatively slim profile that makes use of the 4-way stretch backing material to conform to the profile of your hand and stretch with you as you move. This tight fit on the backing is allowed thanks to the Velcro cuff, letting you open them up enough to slide even the meatiest of paws in without too much issue and cinch them down comfortably around the wrist. Finger volume and length is average, and so the size large gloves fitted my large hands true to size without any excess material.
The palm is not an ultra-thin material or the airiest, but sits within an acceptable spot to retain some reasonable bar feel without being overly susceptible to damage in a crash. The silicone gripper is effective in giving an extra “stick” on the bars and levers, both in the dry and wet, letting you relax your grip a touch, but does contribute to a little bit of extra bulk. Through countless laps of challenging terrain this silicone, as well as the rest of the gloves, is holding up remarkably well, and so it looks like the relatively high expenditure initially will pay off in the long run.
In terms of protection, the D3O material is undoubtedly effective, and takes a considerable amount of the sting out of a direct impact without making the gloves feel in any way intolerable. And that’s coming from a rider who favors a minimalistic glove. However, in my testing I did still manage to hurt my hands. Not from an impact too hard for the D3O to do its job, but from impacting my fingers below where the D3O ends, at the bottom of my pinky and ring finger. I’ve yet to see a protective glove where the protection extends down below the second knuckle, which I’m sure is done for freedom of movement purposes, but it means that damage and pain is still possible if you ride with a slightly palms-down hand position, and I’d really love to see that changed.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Endura MT500 D3O gloves provide effective protection without adding uncomfortable levels of bulk, making them a great year-round offering for more aggressive riding or for riders in tightly tree-lined areas. My only gripe is the protection not extending further down the outer fingers, which will not be an issue for all riders, but could save some pain.
Price: $59.99 /£44.99 /€47.99
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