Endura was founded in 1993, and over the years has earned icon status in the world of cycling with its no-nonsense approach to the production of performance cycle gear.
Back in 2018 Endura was acquired by Pentland Brands. The Pentland Group may not ring a bell straight away but it’s a company with a long history in the footwear industry, at one point owning 55% of Reebok (Purchased in 1981 for $77,500 and selling a decade later for $770 million), and today owning a number of sports/outdoor brands, including JD Sports, Berghaus and of course, Endura.
In the world of mountain biking Endura are a well-known powerhouse. Their waterproof MT500 jackets adorn many UK rider’s backs (because after all, if you don’t ride in the wet in the UK, you don’t ride much at all), but this is the first time they’ve brought footwear to the table. With the announcement of their latest products – the MT500 Burner and Humvee shoes, for the first time Endura are able to kit out riders from head-to-toe.
When developing the Endura MTB footwear range Endura thought long and hard about the compound they would use for the soles, as this was highlighted as a key element of importance for any MTB rider. In the end, after assessing options they decided to develop their own!
Endura’s StickyFOOT ™ rubber compounds use a unique blend of ingredients to create outsoles that offer the perfect balance of grip and durability. Tested extensively, their brand-new compound provides the highest level of performance as well as a hardwearing, long lifespan.
Fit, Function & Fashion – The 3 F’s of Performance Footwear
Endura feel there are 3 key principles or “the 3 F’s” of footwear – Fit, Function and Fashion. These key components are what enable the success of any performance footwear/sport brand. They have skilfully incorporated all 3 into the development of the Endura MTB footwear range.
Teaming up once again with Ergonomistry expert Phil Burt, Endura brought together Phil’s knowledge and Pentland’s remarkable 100 years of footwear expertise to create a formidable collaboration. Together Phil and the Endura team developed Endura’s exclusive EGM insole that maximises comfort and power transfer across both MT500 models.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Phil to discuss Endura’s new line, and the key thing Phil stressed was how important comfort is to injury prevention. Our bodies are clever, and will often overcompensate for discomfort in other areas which can ultimately lead to injury.
The development of the EGM insole was Phil’s answer to this. There are 3 elements that make up the EGM insole:
Metatarsal Button: This is a carefully placed, soft, contoured button that helps spread your big toe from the rest. This greatly improves your forefoot function and comfort while out on the bike and prevents the unwanted scrunching/bunching of your toes!
Sole Stimulant: Small soft tactile dots are strategically placed throughout the insole to improve your foots proprioception (your body’s ability to sense motion, action and location). What this essentially means is that your foots ability to soften and stiffen increases via co-ordinated muscular contractions.
Power Arch: This carefully profiled and contoured support helps the arch of your foot cope better with the demands riding places on it. Our feet are very static when we ride, so the additional support helps deliver better power transfer and improve comfort.
When we spoke to Phil, he stated that the hardest thing about shoe design is innovation. How can you bring something different to the table when there are so many brands out there doing similar things? Well we think Phil and the Endura team really managed to come up with something special with this new insole concept.
Endura dug deep to identify key features specific to the MTB market, and then worked closely with developers, athletes, and suppliers to evaluate and refine those details. Invaluable feedback was provided from Endura’s incredible MTB athletes (including the Athertons, Kriss Kyle and Harald Philip) who helped inform the development process and ensure the performance of these shoes reached it’s maximum potential.
“I am so picky with my shoes! When you’ve got the right shoe for racing, it actually does make the difference between winning and losing”.
– Rachel Atherton
Endura worked hard with their designers to strike a balance of contemporary tech and classic styling that has come together in an extremely good looking range of shoes. All 3 models come in a range of colours that tie in with Endura’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection and each shoe comes with “Wild & Mild” lacing options (one pair of tonal laces, and one “wild” colour).
MT500 Burner Clipless MTB Shoe
The MT500 Burner Clipless MTB Shoe looks like a casual trainer, and performs with Endura’s flagship MT500 capability. The flex of this shoe has been engineered specifically to deliver maximum support and control through your pedals with a combo of an EVA midsole and reinforced nylon shank to house your cleats and provide stiffness.
The off-set cleat box comes with extra-long rails to allow for a large range of mounting positions. This enables each rider to get their foot over the pedal exactly where feels right for them. A Velcro strap at the top of the laces locks the foot into place from the outside, while the EGM insole provides support and security internally. It’s also worth noting that these shoes feature a rounded heel cup with grippy sharkskin fabric lining to help eliminate any heel lift.
The outsole of these shoes deploys the StickyFOOT ™ grip compound in the pedal contact areas, and the StickyFOOT ™ Dura compound in the more aggressive tread in heel/toe zones for extra traction on muddly climbs.
Of course shoes designed in the UK by UK riders means they were created with wet/muddy conditions in mind, so the outer fabrics are smooth faced and easy to wipe clean and the linings are light/quick drying.
MT500 Burner Flat Pedal MTB Shoe
The MT500 Burner Flat Pedal MTB Shoe is the shoe for riders who require a more technical flat pedal shoe. The tough upper materials deliver great protection and the EVA midsole provides shock absorption for when things get sketchy. The flat version of the MT500 shoe carries all the same upper features as the clipless model in terms of materials, meaning you can easily wipe clean and dry after you’re done battling the elements for the day.
This shoe is slightly stiffer than the Humvee Flat (which you’ll find more info on below), as it’s focused more on riding than walking, but the multi-compound StickyFoot rubber sole provides enough flex and traction for when a push back to the top is required. The same EGM insole that features on the clipless model can be found on the flat pedal MT500 shoe, providing a supportive foot hugging fit.
“I find, with flats, the sole is so important. Coming from BMX, where you’re so in touch with the pedal, you’re kinda used to really feeling the pedal, the rubber and the contact with the pedal is so important. Everyone has done it, gone out riding and forgotten their shoes and had to ride in something else, and for me it always feels so clumsy, like the sole is too thick or too stiff, and you just totally lose that contact with the pedal.”
– Dan Atherton
Humvee Flat Pedal Shoe
The Humvee Flat Pedal Shoe is a bike specific, skate styled shoe that is perfect on or off the bike!
Despite it’s casual look and Humvee ethos, this shoe has been engineered for serious riding alongside everyday use. The flex has been tuned carefully to balance pedalling comfort with walkability. Endura’s new StickyFOOT ™ compound has been used for the pedal area of the sole, and the rubber deforms around the pedal pins to lock your feet in place and provide high levels of control over your bike. When you need to head back to the top of the trail, the toe and heel tread has been designed to provide maximum walking traction. The outer lining will wipe down easily, and the inner lining and padding has been made to be as light and quick drying as possible.
“You need something that’s grippy. The dream for me is a shoe
that you can ride your mountain bike with and you can also ride your BMX with and walk in the streets in it as well. So pretty much one shoe that caters for everything, and since testing these ones, I couldn’t be more stoked. Fit and comfort-wise they are spot on. Whenever I do the tail up, spinning the bike round, I’d always end up with bruised feet, bruised heels, and these shoes are just that bit tougher wearing.”
– Kriss Kyle