Nothing like a good trial by fire to test the character of a shoe. Such was the case when my pair of Salomon Sense Mantra arrived at my door the day before the Hinson Lake 24 Hour Race. Out of the box and into the car they went, along with the mountain of other gear I usually over pack to take to any Ultra event.
The Sense Mantra is a lightweight, low drop training shoe that is built for high mileage. It is made for midfoot and forefoot strikers and has neutral cushioning and promotes natural motion. Weighing in at 8.5 ounces, it is light yet durable.
I started the 24 hour race in a different pair of shoes, but around 10 miles into the run I switched to the Sense Mantra. The course was a one and a half mile loop around a lake, so I could easily stop at the end of the loop and change gear and shoes if necessary. The good news is once I was in the Sense Mantra, I did not want to switch shoes! They felt very comfortable. The course was not very technical, but the surface was sandy and the Mantra provided more than enough grip along the trail. The tread on the Mantra is not as Knobby as it's cousin, the SpeedCross 3, but I have been on several single track runs with the Mantra and have had no issues with traction.
I wound up running around 40 miles around the lake in the Mantra, and had absolutely no foot issues. No blisters or hot spots, no foot pain. I only wish my stomach felt as good as my feet. I stopped around 54 miles, 13 or so hours into the run with some GI issues.
I really love the "QuickLace" system and the "Lace Pocket" at the top of the tongue, which allows you to tuck the excess lacing in a small pocket so it does not flop around and catch things along the trail. Another thing I was impressed with was the Seamless fit of the shoe. It really cradles the foot nicely and the tongue is anchored to the shoe as part of the "EndoFit" construction and does not move around during the run. It also helps to keep dirt and grit out of the shoe.
I have been using the Mantra for my daily trail run around another lake, the 5 mile Peninsula trail at Harris Lake near my house. This course has some nice rooty, technical sections, undulating terrain and lots of twists and turns.The Mantra does really well here also! Nice and stable, with good balance as well.
There is really nothing I don't like about the shoe, and I recommend it for anyone looking for a durable everyday trail shoe. It is also a good choice for those interested in going towards a lower drop and low cut profile shoe.
Learn more about the Sense Mantra here: http://www.salomon.com/us/product/sense-mantra.html
|A happy boy and his Mantra at the lake after a run.|
I am not compensated for my opinions and the product was provided on a trial basis only.