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Salomon Sense Mantra

rated 5 of 5 stars
photo: Salomon Sense Mantra trail running shoe

From Meh! to Wow!


  • Excellent wrapping of the feet.
  • Light but tough
  • Amazing allrounder: from trail to rock to mud.


  • Thick sole decreases sensibility of the road.
  • Non minimalist runners might find them too flat.

I had to attend an unexpected 55k trail race and after research I didn't think that my regular trail shoes (Vibram Spyridon) were suitable. I found a Salomon retailer with a good sale and I chose these Mantras. The reasons to buy them were that they were light enough for a 6 hours long run, and the outsole looked good but not over-specialized to mud or to rock. 

Although all the theory was good, when I tried them on, I didn't feel nothing. Completely underwhelmed. I am used to fall in love with the shoes at the shop, to want to run as soon as I try them, but with the Salomon Mantra I just felt "Meh!". I bought them anyway, and did some mileage by the city to break them in. Still "Meh". 

The day of the run, we start by the road and after 5K of asphalt, we pass to trail that starts getting spotted by pebbles and boulders, and holes, and roots. And it's then when these shoes transformed: Fast enough, the shoes demonstrated that it didn't matter what I would ask of them, they would deliver. Running downslope heel first. Great. With metatarrsus? Also good. Speeding up midfoot on uneven gorund? Great. Going down sideways? Great. Going up? They grab the ground like greedy rats. And all that, with a sense of good wrapping and protection of the feet and extreme lightness.

They gave me such a feeling of confidence that I allowed myself to speed up in areas that I would normally take more slowly. In the end? Yeah. I won the event. And after all that when I took them off I could not believe that there was not a blister, nor a blackened toenail, the ankles felt good... My feet showed nothing that would prove the torture I had imposed them. Even in just half marathons with any of my regular road shoes, I have more damage. I was impressed. 

After that, they have been my regular off-road shoes and now that they have more than 300km milleage, after washing them, you would think I bought them last week... 

Fit: I have average feet and they are true to my size, neither narrow nor wide.

Comfort: The Mantras have some kind of inner padded sock integrated in the shoe which hugs the foot without any feeling of pressure.

Support: They are minimalistic (3-4mm drop) and the support feels distributed along the foot.

Water Resistance: Not at all. Good breathing, though.

Traction: Excellent performance in all terrains. Excellent grip on dry soft surfaces, good on dry hard surfaces, and good enough in wet hard surfaces. Wet soft are as good as it gets, but wet soft is a universe…

Temp Control: Good breathing throughout the shoe. After 10 hours running in summer, the feet were dry.

Features: They outperformed any expectation.

Construction & Durability: The visual inspection of the shoes details shows no shortcuts. They are VERY durable. They were designed as the durable training version of the S-Lab Sense, which is for racing and more fragile. 

Source: bought it new

I like this shoe a lot. It has great feel on the foot and feels so light compared to other trail runners I have used in the past.


  • Tread
  • Extremely light
  • Good looking shoe


  • A little too breathable for my liking
  • Don't use in the rain

Fit/Comfort: Very comfortable tight foot. I have a wider foot and had concerns about buying online. Through several runs I am very impressed with how the shoe fits and feels. It is extremely comfortable. I hate putting on my everyday shoes now. I want to wear my Salomons all the time!

Support: Arches feel decent, somewhat lacking for my liking. This isn't a big deal though because the footbeds are removable.

Water Resistance: Don't try it. Puddles are your worst enemy in this shoe, when they say breathable, they mean breathable. Compared to previous trail runners, there is little water resistance/mud resistance. Definitely one of the only downfalls of this shoe. 

Traction: Great traction, shoe has a killer tread. Grips very well on both cement and trails alike. I've had no problems on mud or ice, as long as it doesn't get up over the side where your foot breaths from.

Temp Control: I get smelly feet. In these shoes, I don't. They breathe really well, almost too well for colder conditions. I live in Michigan, and don't see these shoes getting used too much this winter :(

Durability: Although I haven't owned these shoes very long, they seem like they are very durable and well designed. I have owned Salomons in the past, all of which were very durable and used for a year or longer. Very impressed with this aspect of all of their shoes. 

Features: The tread seems very durable, and works well on trails and sidewalks alike. I like to run on trails, but I wanted a shoe that was supposedly capable of both, which this one said it was. I have taken several runs with these shoes on both trails and roads and found that they weren't kidding.

I still can't get over how much I hate tying shoes. You don't have to worry about tying these shoes. I love the Salomon lacing system, It's literally the best part

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $82 with shipping

I give this lightweight trail shoe a 5 star rating because of its simple yet supportive design.


  • The tough shoe-length tread


  • Toe cap separation

I picked up the Salomon Sense Mantra via an online purchase. Had I seen them on a store shelf I may not have even tried them on. They are nearly minimalist and don't give the appearance of a tough trail shoe.

I was pleasantly surprised during my first run in them. The first thing that's obvious is the minimal drop (6mm) that really promotes a forefoot strike. There's also no bulky/over-built sole so you can really feel the trail, but there's still ample protection provided. For this shoe, the aggressive tread goes from toe to heel.

That first run (and every run since) was quite muddy and the traction provided was a huge surprise. I guess I had very low expectations upon opening the box and I've been overly impressed ever since.

My only disappointment is that after only 100 miles, the toe cap in the middle of the toe rand is beginning to separate from the upper. Great shoe, I'd definitely recommend it!

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $84.99

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Price Historic Range: $25.00-$120.00
Reviewers Paid: $82.00-$84.99
Price Historic Range: $37.74-$119.95
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