Many emerging therapies rely on the delivery of biological cargo into the cytosol. Nanoparticle delivery systems hold great potential to deliver these therapeutics but are hindered by entrapment and subsequent degradation in acidic compartments of the endo/lysosomal pathway. Engineering polymeric delivery systems that are able to escape the endosome has significant potential to address this issue. However, the development of safe and effective delivery systems that can reliably deliver cargo to the cytosol is still a challenge. Greater understanding of the properties that govern endosomal escape and how it can be quantified is important for the development of more efficient nanoparticle delivery systems. This Topical Review highlights the current understanding of the mechanisms by which nanoparticles escape the endosome, and the emerging techniques to improve the quantification of endosomal escape.