The Salomon Sense Mantra may very well be a shoe that introduces ‘new’ runners to mid or forefoot running with cushioning and comfort and a 6mm drop or provide efficient runners with a shoe of greater comfort over longer distances.
The ‘Mantra’ is the the second brother to the S-Lab Sense that Kilian Jornet used in winning the 2011 WS100, the first brother being the ‘new’ S-Lab Sense Ultra.
Why the Mantra?
Well, the Sense and Sense Ultra at 4mm ‘drop’ may very well be two of the most desirable shoes in the run market place at the moment, but for many it may very well be a step too far… especially if coming from a conventional road or trail shoe with a 12mm drop.
Drop? What’s that then… well in the Mantra the ‘drop’ is 6mm. Clearly shown in this image.
Drop is quite simply the difference between heel and toe height. The ‘lower’ the drop, in theory, the more natural the foot strike. It has long been proven that a mid to forefoot strike is far better for efficiency. However, until the ‘barefoot‘ and ‘minimalist‘ movement primarily fuelled by Chris McDougall’s book ‘Born to Run‘, many of us probably didn’t even know what our shoe drop was…
Drop isn’t everything though. Cushioning is also really important. In the Mantra the cushioning at the front of the shoe is 10mm and 16mm at the rear, so, a cushioned shoe!
This additional cushioning combined with a 6mm drop clearly means that the Mantra is firmly placed at enticing two types of runner:
- Firstly, Sense or Sense Ultra users who want a low drop shoe with additional cushioning for longer races or training.
- Secondly, runners who have been using ‘conventional’ shoes who would like to move to a lower drop and improve run technique with a mid – forefoot strike.
The Mantra in a nutshell offers a little more cushioning than it’s S-Lab brothers, a little more protection and a longer OS Tendon to return more energy. The lower heel drop will allow tendons/muscles to absorb more shock from the running motion and remove stress away from joints. Ultimately, this improvement in run technique will provide greater running efficient for less effort, less injury and a more balanced runner.
OS Tendon? This provides a balanced flex within the shoe and according to Salomon provides improved energy return.
Key Features of the shoe:
Endofit : This is one of the key features of the Sense range that I love. It is an internal sleeve within the shoe, almost like a sock. It does mean that the ‘Sense’ range can be a little awkward to get on at first making you even question if you have the right size shoe. But once your foot slides in you are rewarded with a tight fitting shoe that grips the foot providing a firm, secure and confident feel. Designed for Kilian Jornet so that he could run without a sock. Please keep this in mind. I have gone true to size and use a thin sock and they feel great. If you are planning on using a more padded sock you may need a half size larger.
Dynamic Traction : A Salomon patented system allowing for maximum surface area and traction. Designed for ‘Road to Trail’ the Dynamic Traction grips in the dry and provides security in mud.
Profeet Film : Quite literally a thin fim that runs through the top of the midsole to provide security and protection from the trail that you will run on.
Sensifit : The upper wraps the foot for precision.
Quicklace : A renowned feature of all Salomon shoes with a ‘garage’ the top of the tongue to store excess lace.
Weight is around 260g for a UK9.5 so it compares well to the Sense Ultra at 230g and The North Face Single Track Hayasa at 280g (this shoe has a 10mm drop).
Early days yet but as one would imagine, this shoe brings many benefits to an already growing shoe collection. As an alternative to lighter and lower drop shoes such as the Sense or Sense Ultra, the Mantra will provide some welcome additional comfort on those longer days on road or trail.
Watch this blog and I will be back with an update as the miles and mud accumulates.
Salomon Running available HERE