This product update is not going to be a fully detailed review. While I will get into some of the features at a high level, I mostly wanted to call out some of the things I noticed with the new version for those of you familiar with the original Sense Mantra.
I was in a Salomon phase for the good portion of two years, which ended sometime in 2012. Salomon makes great shoes and are loved by many, but no matter what I did, I just couldn’t get them to work for me (blister issues); the exception being the Sense Mantra. Salomon bills the Mantra as the road-to-trail trainer version of their racing shoe, the Sense Pro. While I do often run in many other shoe brands and models, I have found the Mantra to be “Mr. Dependable” in a sense (no pun intended). It is perfect for road/trail hybrid routes and on trails with lower technicality (due to their rather modest and shallow lug/tread pattern). Even though it is advertised as a trainer, I have found that they are light and responsive enough for races as well.
Early this year, Salomon released version 2 of the Mantra and I finally got to try it out in a race last weekend at The North Face 50 Mile in Park City, Utah. Version 2 didn’t introduce any significant changes. The outsole was basically unchanged, however, they did tweak the upper a bit. The motivation, I have heard, is to bring it more in line with the Sense Pro. Just to recap, the Mantra features the following:
- 6mm drop
- Sensifit and Endofit
- Quicklace system
I could throw out some of their other marketing terms, but the important takeaway here is that this shoe fits like a glove without sacrificing room in the toe box. The heel-to-toe drop is on the lower side, but not so low that those with zero drop issues should be concerned. It also uses Salomon’s Quicklace system, which is the only out-of-the-box quick lace system that I have liked thus far.
Here are a couple pictures of my pair after 75 miles. They still look brand new except for being a little dirty.
While I did get in a couple training runs, the first big test was in the race. The shoe felt largely the same, with a couple of minor things of note:
- I felt slight pressure on my little toes that I never experienced with the original Mantras. It did not cause any bruising or toenail issues, but it was definitely a new, albeit minor, difference.
- I got some lace bruising on the top of my feet. It could have been because I cinched the quick laces too tight, but as someone who has worn the Mantras since they came out and is quite familiar with the Salomon quick laces, I think it may be more related to some slight changes in the fit of the upper.
I literally had zero complaints about the first version of the Sense Mantra, so I was worried that any changes, no matter how minor, would not live up to my expectations. While I wouldn’t go as far as to say that they messed up the shoe with the new version, I did have some minor issues that I definitely didn’t experience with the first version. Regardless, this will still likely be one of my main go-to all-purpose shoes. If you were a fan of the original Sense Mantra, you can rest easy knowing that these should not sour your feelings toward them. I will be interested to see what Salomon does with the Mantra after announcing the new line of Sense shoes at Outdoor Retailer this past summer. It seems to be quite a successful line and Salomon has said the Mantra is staying put, but may ultimately end up being too crowded alongside the Sense 3, Ultra, and Pro. I guess we will just have to wait and see…
If you like this post and would like to stay up to date on other running related stuff, please follow my Facebook page at Ultrarunner Joe!