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REVIEW

Endura MT500 Burner Flat Shoe

Words Ryan Walters
Photos Deniz Merdano
Date Apr 8, 2022
Reading time

High-Tech shoes for Low-Tech Pedals

For those of you who missed the product launch, Endura recently entered the mountain bike footwear market with a lineup of shoes, all aimed squarely at the gravity-focused crowd. I was lucky enough to get my grubby little feet into a pair of Burners - a technical, flat-pedal shoe that fits into their MT500 line of top-shelf mountain bike gear. I freely admitted in the launch that I liked these shoes after only a few rides in them. But feeling good on the first ride isn’t even half the story with a truly great pair of flat pedal shoes. Of all the gear we don when we head out on our bikes, our shoes are likely to see far more wear and tear than any other piece of equipment. A mountain bike shoe endures a harsh, high-impact environment - and that’s before any crashes occur. A shoe that feels great, but falls apart after a handful of rides is not a good shoe. Likewise, an indestructible shoe that feels like shit is also not a good shoe. Many years on flat pedals has taught me: If you find a comfortable shoe, with good grip, and a reasonable life expectancy - buy up all the stock you can find, because chances are, your new favourite brand will mess with that winning formula in their next release, and leave you hunting for your next shoe.

If you’re the type that prefers to be mechanically bound to your bike - fear not, as Endura has you covered with a clipless version of the Burner. Alongside the Burner models, Endura also offers the skate-inspired Hummvee flat shoe, aimed at the dirt/slope/street crowd. All three shoes come in a variety of colours, so there’s a chance you might be able to match your pyjamas.

Better living through Ergonomistry?

The Burner is chock-full of impressive features, including some you’re unlikely to find on any other flat shoe. You can’t help but notice one of these features as soon as you slip the Burners on your feet for the very first time - they’re the teeny, weeny, raised dimples that Endura has designed into the footbed. The sensation is a bit odd at first, almost as if there’s sand in the shoe (I still check every time). Fortunately, this strange sensation disappears completely when your foot is in and laced up. These tiny bumps are said to aid in proprioception - optimizing muscular contraction and relaxation in the foot. Also found on the footbed (but much harder to notice) is a slight bump, positioned just behind the ball of the foot. This “metatarsal button” is designed to maximize comfort while minimizing toe scrunching and fatigue. These hi-tech features amount to what Endura calls “Ergonomistry”, which sounds to me like marketing speak for: “We had a bunch of really smart, well-paid experts come up with this stuff”. Does it work? Well, all I can say is that I wasn’t consciously aware of the dimples or bumps while wearing the Burners, but they were impressively comfortable throughout the test - so, maybe??

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A metatarsal button, AND proprioception optimization? And that's just the footbed!

Taking a look at the outside, the Burner sole consists of two types of rubber - a compound that Endura calls StickyFoot™ Grip that engages the pedal, and a slightly harder compound called StickyFoot™ Dura, found at the toe and heel sections. As the name suggests, the Dura compound is more durable, and carries a more aggressive tread shape to aid in safe and comfortable hiking while off the bike. I can vouch for the effectiveness of this hiking tread, as the Burners were great at scrambling up or down all manner of slippery surfaces that make up the rainforest floor. The upper is constructed from a smooth, easy-to-clean synthetic polyurethane, while the toe and heel box are reinforced to protect your feet from such dangerous scenarios as mountain biking. Further protection includes a raised inboard area to prevent your delicate ankles from smashing into your delicate carbon cranks.



I dig the combination of laces and a velcro strap to really dial in the fit on this shoe. This system is simple and robust, although the strap can be a bit awkward to work around when tying the laces. It might be nice to see a different attachment method for the strap that allows it to fall away from the laces when loose. The heel cup is lined with a material called Sharkskin that is said to help eliminate heel lift, and feels reminiscent to a lint brush - smooth to the touch when you run your finger down into the shoe, but rough like velcro when you rub upwards out of the shoe. I’m not aware of any other shoe employing this kind of tech, but it’s brilliant, and it conspires with the lace strap to create one of the most secure fits in a shoe I’ve ever experienced - with no unwanted wiggle or heel lift. If anything, the fit is a touch narrower than I’m used to - a good thing, as it wasn’t uncomfortable in any way, and I prefer a tight fit. While on the topic of fit, it’s worth mentioning that I found the Burner to fit smaller than other brands. My FiveTens are both U.S. 10.5, and at that size, the Freerider is just about perfect, whereas I find the toe box of the Impact Pro a touch too roomy. The Burners I’m testing are U.S. 11.0, and as stated earlier, they fit snug, and I definitely could not fit into anything smaller. Keep this in mind when considering this shoe.

While I’m not the type to worry much about how much my shoes weigh, the Enduras do feel noticeably lighter than the FiveTens in my closet. I broke out the scale to confirm, and the Burner comes in at a svelte 905g for the pair, whereas my Impact Pros are considerably more, at 1135g. Even my FiveTen Freeriders, which I consider to be a very minimal shoe, weigh in at 1087g. While all three pairs of shoes basically have the same fit, it’s readily apparent that the Impact Pro is physically larger than the Burner; there is just more padding and material used all around on the Impact. Having spent time in all these shoes, I’d definitely peg the Impact Pro as having the most foot protection, especially around the toes. The Burner feels somewhat less protective than the Impact, although it does have the best inboard ankle protection out of the three. I’ve broken more toes in my Freeriders than I care to admit, and I’m confident that it offers the least protection of the group.


On the bike, I prefer shoes that have higher than average grip, and a medium to soft flex in the sole. The Burner seems to sit in that sweet spot of flex - allowing the foot to conform to the pedal, but it doesn’t fold in half when support is called for. Pedal grip is high, but not as “locked-in” as the Impact Pros, which could be considered a win for Endura, as there are certainly times where I find the Impacts to be a bit too difficult to reposition on the pedal without physically lifting my foot off. That said, in those rare situations where you’re holding on for dear life, and you find yourself desperately wishing for just a few seconds of clipless salvation, the Burner doesn’t offer quite the same level of life-saving control as the Impact. And while the performance of the StickyFoot™ Grip has remained consistent over the last few months, it remains to be seen how the Burner sole will fare over an entire season of use. For the record, I tested the Burner on OneUp alloy pedals, as well as Race Face Atlas pedals, with both yielding very similar results.

All of my testing in this shoe was performed in the winter months, and the Burners stayed comfortable all the way down to freezing temperatures. The synthetic materials do a great job of keeping water out, and are easy to clean after the ride. While I didn’t fall into any lakes during the review period, my feet never really got wet while riding in the Burners, aside from the odd splash of snow or water over the ankle cuff. The tongue seems to be the achilles heel in the waterproofing of this shoe, as my instep was quickly soaked when hosing off the evidence of a good ride. And while I can’t yet speak specifically about hot weather comfort and breathability, I have no doubt that the Burner will be on par with any shoe in this segment. The toe box features plenty of vent holes to help keep things cool in the summer; not to mention the Burner is far less bulky than its immediate FiveTen competition.

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These might just be my new favourite kicks.....

While a couple of months is still early days for judging the reliability of a shoe, I’m confident the Burner will provide many more months of heavy-duty service. I’ve ridden them hard through mud, slop, snow and ice, and even had a few good (bad?) crashes in them, with no damage done to shoe or foot. The more time I spend in the Burner, the more I feel that Endura is really onto something with this Ergonomistry stuff, as I’m noticing that after spending most of the day in these shoes, I don’t have the same urge to get out of them as my other riding shoes. It’s hard to quantify this kind of comfort, as it seems the Burner is just really good at going unnoticed on your feet - but then, I can’t think of a more important quality in a shoe.

Endura MT500 Burner Flat Shoe

149.99 U.S.

Endura


rwalters
Ryan Walters

Age : 40

Height : 1803mm

Weight : 86kg

Ape Index : 1.03

Inseam : 787mm

Bar Width : 780mm

Preferred Reach : Pretty comfy at 487mm these days.

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Comments

goose8
goose8
10 months ago
+2 Vik Banerjee Ryan Walters

I read that the prime blues use a different and less grippy rubber than the rest of the five ten lineup. I’m running the current free rider pros, which have terrific grip but terrible longevity. These endura kicks look like they’d be worth a shot! Thanks for the thorough review.

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
10 months ago
0

Goose, it certainly feels that way.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
10 months ago
0

Good to know. I'll skip the prime 5.10's then.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
10 months ago
0

I don’t have experience on the Prime Blues, but I have had a couple pairs of regular Freeriders, and I fully agree - the Freeriders have great grip and are quite comfortable. But they fall apart so quickly, and they have zero foot protection.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
10 months ago
0

I can get 12 months of regular riding out of the OG Freeriders. Not amazing service life, but I can live with that. Not a ton of protection as you note, but you get great pedal feel in exchange. For general trail riding I can also live with that. I have some Pros, but the OG shoes get the nod most of the time.

Reply

monsieurgage
Gage Wright
10 months ago
+1 Ryan Walters

We have a number of cobblers in the greater Vancouver area, just remember you can repair the shoe for about 90 dollars and keep it around for another year.

Reply

fartymarty
fartymarty
10 months ago
+1 Ryan Walters

Ryan, how does the grip compare to the Freeriders?  I've recently bought a pair of the Prime Blue Freeriders and they don't feel like they're as grippy as my old Freerider EPS.  Maybe this is an Adidas thing?

I ended up putting 2mm longer pins in my pedals which gives a ton of grip on both shoes.

These do look like great shoes tho.  Match matchy clip and flat pedals would be sweet.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
10 months ago
0

I’d say the Burner grip is very close to the Freerider. The Impact Pro has more grip than both, but after some more back-to-back testing, I’m finding I really don’t like the shallow heel pocket of the Impact. The Burner is SO much more secure on the foot - the velcro strap certainly has a lot to do with this.

Reply

HollyBoni
HollyBoni
10 months ago
+1 Zayphod

One day I hope i'll get to read an article here about the release of some foot shaped flat pedal shoes. 😵 Altra? Anyone?

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
10 months ago
0

Not sure I understand what you’re saying. Do you mean a shoe that’s super minimal? Or a shoe with thin soles? In those regards, the Burner is neither, but in this segment of aggressive, competition-worthy shoes, I know I’d prefer a shoe with some protection and support. The Burner is also very comfortable when worn for hours on end, so not sure what else to say on the comfort end.

Reply

HollyBoni
HollyBoni
10 months ago
+1 Zayphod

I mean shoes that are shaped like an actual human foot. 😁 Like Altra, Topo Athletic etc. For example:

https://www.topoathletic.com/sca-product-images/M048.Navy-Orange_02.jpg?resizeid=4&resizeh=1586&resizew=1586

I'm just bummed because most flat pedal cycling shoes (and a lot of "regular" shoes) don't really work with my foot shape, and i'm kind of over of throwing out a 100$+ every time I buy cycling shoes and they don't work out. 
I've been using Altra running shoes for a few months now, the comfort is off the charts, but the soles leave something to be desired for riding. So i'm just dreaming about a flat pedal shoe that has sticky soles and works with my foot shape.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
10 months ago
0

Hmm, that’s a tough one. If you haven’t already, have you considered running custom fit orthotic footbeds in your shoes? I know folks who can make pretty much any shoe work, as long as they put their orthotics in. They can be pricey, but well worth it if they make your feet comfortable.

Reply

HollyBoni
HollyBoni
10 months ago
0

Yep, sadly they don't help. My problem is with the pointy shape of most shoes. My pinkies get crushed and if the shoes are really pointy they might bend my big toes inwards. 
So far the Specialized 2FOs were the worst, one of the most uncomfortable shoes i've ever tried. Super grippy tho!

Reply

cyclotoine
cyclotoine
10 months ago
0

Reviews on this shoe are mixed. 

I read another review that said the soles were just too stiff and the grip wasn't very good (admittedly better than many others but just not up to 5.10 levels). You seem to have the opposite experience... almost as good as 5.10 and plenty stiff. I like a stiff shoe with lots of grip. This seems like it might be in the running if I am willing to sacrifice a little grip compared to a freerider pro. Would you say that is the case and can you compare stiffness to a freerider pro?

I like it because I want something with a modicum of walking traction. But I deviated from freerider pros (not the primeblue which I've heard only bad about the grip) and tired some ride concepts and it was like going from Maxxis Minions to michelin wildgrippers. I had to sell them at a huge loss and now I'm scared to try anything else. I recently picked up some Freerider EPS for cooler weather and am quite happy with them but again don't think about walking on anything with an ounce of muck as they are instantly packed.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
10 months ago
0

I think you’ve misquoted me! I clearly laid out in the article that I prefer a shoe with “medium to soft flex in the sole”. The Burner is definitely stiffer than the Freerider, but that’s not saying much! The Freerider is as noodly as they come. I’d say the Burner and Impact Pro have very similar stiffness characteristics. But you’re right about grip - FiveTen is the champ there, although I still think the Burner is very good in this regard.

Edit: Upon re-reading your comment, maybe I misunderstood what you were saying. To clarify, of the three shoes I compared in this article, I wouldn’t say any of them are very stiff. But I have ridden shoes that were too stiff, and I absolutely hated them. I’m also about 190lbs, so what I consider “soft” or “stiff” might be completely different to someone who is 140lbs.

Reply

cyclotoine
cyclotoine
9 months, 4 weeks ago
0

I goofed. You are right I misquoted, but my point is your assessment was kind of the opposite of some other reviews to sum it up "not too stiff, just right, and not too sticky, just right" whereas some others said they were too stiff and didn't grip. I on the other hand prefer as stiff as I can get them. Freeriders pros are great for me and some people find them too stiff.

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
9 months, 3 weeks ago
0

Interesting. I don't have experience with the Freerider Pro, but my regular Freeriders are by far the floppiest shoes in my rotation. I'd have to suspect that the Impact Pro must be at least as stiff, if not stiffer than the Freerider Pro. Extrapolating from those comparisons, I'd guess that the Burner might have a stiffness profile comparable to the Freerider Pro.

Reply

cyclotoine
cyclotoine
9 months, 2 weeks ago
0

I pulled the trigger on a pair online in size 46 (US 12) and they compare well in size to size 46 Freerider pros (US size 11.5) so if you go by US sizing I'd day these are slightly smaller than same size 5.10. I will report back for anyone reading this in the future trying to decide to buy these or not. Out of the box they don't feel anywhere as comfortable as freerider pros but hopefully they'll break in. The added height around the angle, the strap and the walking tread all won me over. I also appreciate that they're black and grey whereas my freerider pros are black with a bit of white that instantly gets trashed. Will report back on stiffness and grip later in the season. the trails are in their isothermal snow covered phase (read no fat biking and not mountain biking so hit the road or grind some gravel for the next 2-3 weeks).

Reply

jt
JT
10 months ago
0

I've liked Endura's goods for a long time now, and the show has piqued my interest, but the one odd bit from them (and near every UK/EU clothing manufacturer) has always been their sizing methods. I've tried Endura's gloves, but to get the right circumference I had to deal with an extra 10mm or more of length on the fingers, shorts required going from a 32" to 34 or 36" waist, and jerseys/shirts have been XL from my usual M or L. Shoe wise, I'm kinda in the same camp as HollyBoni up there. I'll definitely have to find some place that stocks them before I spend the coin. If they fit like Chuck Taylor's it'll have to be a hard pass. With Chuck's I'd have to double size up to get the width right, but then end up walking around in clown shoes due to the extra toe box length.

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Sethsg
Sethsg
10 months ago
-1 Sethimus

I found a great way to get super grippy flat pedal shoes you get a pair of sneakers, and rip off the rubber sole so it is just foam. they are almost as grippy as FiveTens but there are downsides, the smooth foam makes it scary walking around, they look stupid, and you have no protection. The upsides are they stay glued to the pedals, they are cheap, and you get an ultimate pedal feel (meaning your feet get stabbed).

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