Salomon Sense Mantra 3 – Review

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When Salomon signed Ellie Greenwood and Max King (just ran 2:17 for Olympic qualifier) for 2015 sponsorship, the two current 100km champions, it was a clear statement that the brand wants to make some headway on the road as well as trail.

The new S-Lab X Series (Here) is an out-and-out road shoe but Salomon are also very keen to capture all of hose runners that run on road, trail, road, trail and then road… but not necessarily in that order. The birth of CITYTRAIL. It’s not rocket science but if in doubt, CITYTRAIL shoes combine the best of a road shoe and then mix it up with a trail shoe.

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The original Salomon Mantra (2012) was ground breaking. However, the shoe has come a long way from its original incarnation and although the new Mantra 3 does hold some of the original traits, it’s fair to say that the Sense Mantra 3 is a completely new shoe.

Imagine taking the much loved S-Lab Sense, breeding it with the original Mantra and in many ways you have the Sense Mantra 3.

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Do you like the S-Lab Sense in either normal or soft-ground versions? If so, you are almost certainly going to like the Mantra 3.

The shoe has all those wonderful S-Lab characteristics that we have all come to love:

  • Sensfit
  • Endofit
  • Lace pocket
  • Quicklace
  • OS Tendon
  • Ortholite
  • Profeet Film

So many buzz words but in brief they all add up to…  awesome!

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Okay, I fully appreciate that here I am again waxing lyrical about another pair of shoes and arguably another pair of Salomon’s that are a joy to wear. But I only tell it like it is… I loved the Sense 3 SG and I loved the Sense Pro, so, combine those two shoes and you arguably have the Sense Mantra 3. BUT the shoe has some significant differences.

©iancorless.com_Mantra3-7596First and foremost, the sole of the shoe has been redesigned and it has a completely new look. Need a shoe for soft or muddy ground? Look elsewhere. But if you are mixing road, hard trail, rocks and anything in and around that scenario, the Mantra 3 is a dream.

©iancorless.com_Mantra3-7565 The shoe feels very cushioned and plush. This almost certainly comes from Endofit. Lets face it, once you have used Endofit; other shoes feel a little sloppy. Endofit holds the foot snug, secure and as such provides great feel and security. Basically it’s a wrap for your foot.

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The Mantra 3 has 15mm cushioning at the rear and 9mm at the front. I was a little surprised by those stats. The shoe feels a little more cushioned than that but I don’t mean that in a negative way. You still have plenty of feel, loads of response and arguably the 6mm drop provides an ideal sweet spot.

Weight is awesome at 275g (UK8) and the shoe feels light. Flexibility is great and when out running, the shoe actually makes you want to increase your cadence and pick up the pace. I loved that feeling… I just wish my lungs and heart could keep up with the shoes.

©iancorless.com_Mantra3-7573Lacing is legendary and the ‘Quicklace’ system works flawlessly. I have no problems with this system but it is fair to say that if you like to tweak your laces and loosen them in places, that is difficult to do here. Excess lace is stored in the equally legendary ‘Lace Pocket.’

I personally found that my shoes sized a little small. I use UK9.5 in Sense 3, Sense 3 SG and Sense Pro but I found that I needed a UK10 for the Mantra 3. Of course this may just be a one off? However, if ordering online, keep this in mind.

©iancorless.com_Mantra3-7593 The noticeable difference in the Mantra 3 is the toe box! It is without doubt considerably wider and roomier than any other Salomon shoe I have used. So much so that I found myself tweaking the tightness of my laces to compensate. I know only too well how many people complain that Salomon shoes are too narrow. Well, this may well be a shoe for you to try. I thought the Sense Pro had a wider toe box but the Mantra 3 is definitely wider. This all may be part of Salomon’s new strategy as the S-Lab Sense 4 and Sense 4 SG have a slightly wider toe box too. Depending on how you run and what your preferences are, the wider toe box can be a negative as much as a positive. Having used both versions of the Sense 3 and the Sense Pro (and loved them) I found that at times I had a little ‘too’ much movement in the toe area on the Mantra 3, which didn’t give me the precision feel I am used to. We have to remember here that the Mantra 3 is a hybrid shoe, so this additional freedom is intentional. Certainly on longer runs this additional area was welcome should your feet swell and expand.

©iancorless.com_Mantra3-7585The heel area of the shoe is plush, holds the foot tight and has no friction. Toe protection at the front of the shoe is minimal, so, should you get on some really rocky terrain, be careful of your toes.

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The outsole as I mentioned has been redesigned and I have to say that if you keep to hard trail, rocks or road the grip is great. Equally I had full confidence in wet conditions. If you are heading out into the mud, this is not the shoe to take… look at the Sense 4 SG, Speedcross or Fellcross.

As mentioned, the Ortholite/ Sensifit combination provides a plush and cushioned feel and the addition of a Profeet Film adds security and protection from the road and/or trail surface.

In summary, the Mantra 3 is a great shoe for someone who mixes up road running and trail running on a daily basis. But don’t be put off by this ‘compromised’ approach. For me, the Mantra 3 is a great dry trail shoe or a great road shoe, I would have no problem running for extended periods on either surfaces. The 6mm drop is ideal for many providing a sweet middle ground and the cushioning is ideal for long runs. It is arguably a perfect long distance dry trail shoe. If I was running a race similar to Western States, I personally think the Mantra 3 would be my preference over the S-Lab Sense 4. The additional cushioning, roomier toe box and extra height on the drop for me make this shoe a winner for ultra runners.

Pros

  • Endofit
  • 6mm drop
  • Weight
  • Cushioning
  • Wide toe box
  • Lacing
  • Lace pocket

Cons

  • Toe box may be too wide for some
  • Sizes a touch small (for me anyway)
  • No good in mud

Specs

  • Weight 275g
  • Drop 6mm
  • Cushioning 9mm/ 15mm
  • RRP £90.00
  • Available early 2015

Salomon really are extending the CITYTRAIL range in terms of shoe range and clothing. Take a look HERE

Salomon Logo

41 thoughts on “Salomon Sense Mantra 3 – Review

  1. Pingback: Salomon Sense Mantra 3 – Review hopefully I’ll get a chance to try them out?? | Runners and sports enthusiasts Unite !!

  2. Mine hasnt this excellent coulors (it is white and different shades of green). But i must say that i love this new mantra too although i have the all new x-eries in stock. a bit to roomy in the toebox but an excellent road version of the sense pro. drop is perfekt, flexibilty also …

  3. Ian,

    Would you now say that the Mantra 3 is Salomon’s closest thing to a road shoe? You mentioned at the top of this article that the S-Lab X Series – is an out-and-out road shoe), was this a typo (did you mean OFF road shoe?) The X Series does seem to have superior cushioning.

    I have raced several ironman marathon’s in Mantra’s and now sense pro’s. I am a great fan of Salomon shoes (they just seem to fit me perfectly) and I am really keen to get a great high mileage training shoe as well as a slightly lighter shoe for racing.

    Would love to hear your thoughts on potential ways to go….

    • Hi Tony, The X-Series is the NEW urban road shoe. See here: http://www.salomon.com/uk/product/s-lab-x-series.html?article=373242
      To all intents and purposes, this is a Salomon road shoe and with an 8mm drop and 19/11mm cushioning and certainly is aimed at a specific runner (road runner?). This may well be an option? To be honest though, I think the new Mantra 3 is a real winner. It’s an S-Lab shoe really! It has all the usual features and a wider toe box; sweet.

      • Ian,

        Thats great. Thanks for the rapid reply. Being an owner of over a dozen Salomon shoes to date, I will no doubt be trying both of these over time. Thanks again. Good times for the Salomon loving road runner!

  4. I am doing the London 2 Brighton 100k & still trying to decide whether to wear trainers or boots, Would you recommend these for 62.5mile trek? 🙂

    • G. I very rarely wear boots particularly when moving fast (or faster). I would definitely use a trail shoe instead of a boot… I like Fast and Light. The Mantra 3 would be a good choice but maybe a shoe with more grip would be better, also the drop is 6mm. Consider this, boots are likely to be 12mm+/- drop!

  5. Hi Ian,

    Thanks for the review. I currently run in the Sense 3 Ultra (Hard Ground) and Speedcross 3 and am looking for a shoe like this or Sense Pro to take me on the streets, trail (hard ground), and possibly to switch into later into a race. I have had the opportunity to try on both the Mantra 3 and Sense Pro. With your knowledge and experience of Salomon’s which would your prefer for “City Trail” and to use for later in a race and why? Also, I heard rumor of an updated Sense Pro on the horizon…?

    Thanks,

    Rick

      • Purchased the Sense Mantra 3’s. Thanks for the feedback. I think these will fit very nicely in my arsenal as a daily trainer, city trail runner, and to change into from my Sense Ultra 3’s during an ultra. I’ll keep you posted.

  6. I was hoping to read more about how the Mantra 3 compares to the Mantra 2. I like the M2 well enough but find that I don’t choose it for longer runs (> than about 15 miles). Anyone tried both and have an assessment?

    • Sue, the Mantra 3 is (IMO) an improvement on the Mantra 2 – cushioning, wide toe box, great on road and trail and the S-Lab ‘fit’ goodies to make this a great shoe.

  7. Yes they do indeed fun a half size smaller than the mantras of past. I have a very narrow foot which is what drew me to the mantra originally. Unfortunately I will no longer be able to go with this line as the new mantra 3 is too wide and roomy for someone with a narrow foot. Right out of the box I had to almost max out the lacing system to just get that snug feel that I am used to for this shoe. The sense pro is my only option now.

    • Similar feedback Chad. However several runs and longer runs I found that extra room welcome. But as I said in the review, on technical terrain I was initially less secure as the shoe did not hold like the S-Lab Sense and Sense SG. It’s no big deal for me and I actually like and appreciate the Mantra 3 is different. It provides more choice and adds an extra shoe to choose. Also, all those runners who wanted a wide Salomon no have it….

  8. Hi Ian,

    I was feeling very positive about your review until you mentioned long DRY runs. I’m running an ultra later in the year and the course is likely to be dry-damp single track for 90% of the course crossing 16 rivers. So the shoes will be wet for most of the time but ground dry (unless it rains a lot of course). Would this shoe be suitable? Also, how’s the water drainage? Appreciate your input.

    • They are fine in the wet, just not muddy. The outsole is not for any muddy conditions. However, running over wet rock, wet road or hard pack trail that has rain on it is no problem. Drainage is good.

  9. Pingback: Salomon S-Lab Sense 4 Ultra – Review | Ian Corless host of Talk Ultra podcast

  10. Hi Ian,

    i’ve been using Salomon Sense Pro in last months, expecially for training on dry, rocky trails and on some road courses (‘fast’ training sessions on those) and i felt very satisfied, expecially for the wheight (250 gr) of the shoe and the excellent grip of the outher sole inspired by Sense Ultra 3, all mixed with a 6 mm drop that really provides a natural fit on the ground.
    I’m now looking forward to buy new light shoes for training and for some 20-25 km fast races and i am really interested in Sense Mantra 3’s features. I am only worried for this new outher sole design: has it less grip of Sense Pro? Is Sense Mantra 3 sole as gripper as Sense Pro’s o is it more designed for multi-directional impact on city roads and similar?
    I run mostly on dry trails and i feel that my ideal training shoe must have good grip on outher sole, Sense Pro seems to be a more performance shoe to me. Can you suggest me about that?

    • Tommaso, I too loved the Sense Pro. It has a little more room than the Sense 3 and Sense 4, drop at 6mm and many if not all of the ‘Sense’ features in a slightly more resilient package. However, I am loving the Sense Mantra 3. Definitely more toe box room and as you say, new outsole. The outsole on the Mantra 3 is for sure more City Trail but as long as you are on dry trail, rocky trail or trail/ rocks in the wet it has grip. No good for muddy trail but then again, neither is the Sense Pro. Mud you need the ‘SG’ or you should look at Fellcross or Speedcross. I think the Mantra 3 is a great all around shoe and it is now my ‘everyday’ shoe.

  11. Pingback: Salomon S-Lab Sense 4 Ultra SG (Soft Ground) – Review | Ian Corless host of Talk Ultra podcast

  12. i am looking for just such a shoe since moving to Vienna, where there’s this mix of road and baked trails in every direction.

    sadly, i can’t deal with anything that has more than a couple of mm of drop. i understand this idea that ‘more drop = more comfort for more miles’, but it just doesn’t work for me. anything over 2 or 3mm, and my stride just gets messed up, and my cadence relies too much on my hamstrings and glutes.

    in my ideal world, there would be more companies like inov-8, making essentially the same models (as trailroc) with different drop options – because apart from the drop, these salomon shoes look like a winner!

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  15. Hello Ian, and thanks a lot for this insightful review.
    As a usual Salomon user (mantra 1, sense pro, sense SG, and now sense 3 ultra), I’m debating on which shoe to bring with me for the UTMB TDS race. Do you think that de sense Manta 3 will bring some more cushioning vs a Sense Pro? Can it be adequate on rathe technical trail like the TDS? Or maybe a good idea would be to begin with a sense pro and switch shoes by the middle of the race and end with the added confort and “space” of the mantra 3?
    How does rock protection compare between those models?

    • Mantra 3 and Sense Pro are 2 completely different shoes in the toe box. I’d go one or the other based on what works for you in regard to fit. If you have rain or mud these shoes won’t have enough grip.

      • Yes, I know that if it pours this year, neither shoe will make it 🙂
        Thanks for your answer.
        Actually I’m also debating those two against the new Slab Wing, thinking that it will include many of the sense attributes (endofit, profeel film and same tight-but-comfortable fit) with some more cushioning, and a more “forgiving” drop of around 8mm for long distance and a tired runner….but as this one is rather new, it is difficult to get some feedbacks on it.

  16. Hi Ian, excellent review of the Mantra 3. I usually wear Merrell and Inov8 for their minimalist qualities however I am happy to test a 6mm drop. This will be my first venture with Solomon, I’m wondering if the shoe sizes will transfer accurately? Cheers!

  17. Thanks for the awesome review! After running in the origin Sense, then then Sense 2 and now they Sense 3 I am totally in love with the wide toe box on the Sense 3. If I wanted something with the same toe box in terms of width and comfort but with a more aggressive tread for softer surfaces and mud, what should I go with? I wish I could get the Sense 3 uppers on a Sense 2 tread. What to do?

    • Take a look at the new Terraclaw by inov-8 it comes in 4mm and 8mm drop. I prefer the 8mm drop, more cushioning and great feel and has a wide toe box. Outsole has good grip but not too much grip. I have a review on my site, use the ‘search box’

  18. Hi Ian, Thanks for the review. I’m currently running in the Sense Pro, the size I’ve got (size 4, tiny feet) is fine for trail half marathons but I’ve come to the conclusion for longer runs I’d need to go half a size up in the Sense Pro for a bit more space at the end of the show to avoid bruised toenails. Having read this review and a couple of 50 milers planned for next year I’m wondering whether to get the Sense Mantra in a 4.5 or 5. Can you provide any advice please?

    • Kas, I would recommend the same size shoe in the Mantra and the additional toe box width should give the additional room you require. I love both the Pro and the Mantra but they feel very different. The Mantra provide a lush, plush ride and the laces allow you to hold the shoe to your foot without too much excessive movement. I would recommend going to a store and trying though. It’s very personal.

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  21. Hi! I love the Sense Ultra and also the Sense Pro, and recently bought a pair of the Sense Mantra 3 based on this review… definitely too much volume for my feet. I bought the shoes online, so I was not able to try them ahead of time. For me, they will make great hiking shoes, specially in cold temperatures when a tick sock is needed. But for trail running, for my feet, the Sense Mantra 3 lacks the magic of the Sense Ultra and Sense Pro.

  22. Hi Ian,

    I have the Salomon Sense Pro and love them but am looking for a shoe for longer distance- I’m doing the race to the stones 100km in the summer and think I may need a bit more protection? The race in along the ridgeway so will be mainly rough trail- do you think this would be a good option? Or have any other suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Tom

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