Hello everyone, I haven’t been blogging for over a month now because… well, life got in the way. And there hasn’t really been much to write about. I’ve been running on the roads again, as it’s much easier to do with all these storms assaulting the country. I’m trying to love running as much as before, and juggling it with gym hasn’t been easy, but at least I have a lot of options to stay fit.
Anyway, just to have something up, this is going to be an appreciation post to my favorite running shoe: the Salomon Sense Mantra 3. It’s already phased out of stores and it came out around 2 years ago, but I’m going to review it anyway because I believe it’s the best shoe that Salomon has released (for my foot). Read on to see why!
I’ve long been a fan of Salomon shoes. Ever since I ventured into trail running, it’s been the brand of choice for me. Almost all of them were gifted to me by my papa whenever they’re on sale at the local Salomon shop. You can check my old blog post when I got my first Salomon pair.
Looking at my shoe list on Strava, you can see the different shoes I’m currently rotating. The top 1 in mileage is the X-Scream, my first Salomon and trail running shoe. Coming in second is the Sense Mantra, with around 100 kilometers of mileage difference despite being used more than a year after the X-Scream. And this doesn’t count the treadmill runs and everyday use that I’ve done for this pair.
Now, let’s get down to the review proper.
Fit and Comfort
This is probably the most important factor for me and why I love this shoe. I didn’t have the chance to fit this shoe before owning it as it was just shipped to me by my father from the province. But, as my lucky stars aligned, the fit was perfect.
Wide Toe Box
My gripe with Salomon shoes is that most of their models are too narrow. That’s good for other runners, but for wide-footed people like me, that’s a lot of dead toenails and uncomfortable long runs. As I learned the hard way with my Salomon Speedcross Pro, it’s hard to bomb downhill when your toes are being squeezed into that toebox tighter than the MRT during rush hour.
Good thing the Sense Mantra 3 has an amazingly roomy toebox that fits all five of my toes! This is really the game changer for me. From my first time wearing the shoe to long runs on flats and hills, my toes never complained at all.
One of the best features of the Salomon brand; the shoe is easy to put on and take off. With a pocket on the tongue for the lacing system, they don’t get in the way and ensure you have a snug fit with just a quick pull of the laces. Easy and convenient! Every shoe should have this system implemented already.
This is one of the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. I swear. They’re so comfortable that I began using them daily. From commuting to and from the office, to going to the mall, and yes, training runs! I’ve done almost everything with this shoe. It’s just that good to wear. The cushion is comfy when walking, even more so when running and the best part is that the heel drop isn’t noticeable. It’s the most natural I’ve felt running next to barefoot or huaraches.
After half a thousand kilometers, the cushioning isn’t as resilient anymore, but it is still there. No hard pounding on the pavement and still getting some comfort on the longer distances.
This is an aspect that will vary wildly per individual. A 120-pound runner will react to a shoe’s weight differently than a 200-pound one. As for me, I never found this shoe to be heavy. It’s not lightweight that you forget that you’re wearing it, but it is light enough that you feel it as an extension of your body. This shoe is not cumbersome at all.
Now you might be asking why I’m using a trail running shoe for daily use. That’s the beauty of this shoe. The lugs aren’t too aggressive, so they can be used on both road and trail terrain.
I was initially only planning to use this shoe on the trails and there, it did its job well. The grip is satisfactory. Now, I’ve said that this shoe doesn’t have aggressive lugs and that’s one of its limitations. It’s not for slogging around in muddy conditions. There are other shoes for that terrain. Mud and moss will make this shoe slide around, especially for heavy guys like me. But for good-conditioned trails like rough roads and dry soil, this shoe will do its job.
I finished my first and only 100-kilometer trail run with just this shoe. No changing of socks or shoes or anything. I think that’s already a testament to its performance.
Nowadays, I use this shoe for road running and office use. This is my daily walking shoe and for training on the treadmill or the track. I use a different pair of Salomons for my races because of this shoe’s durability that I will get into in a bit. Just like the trails, this shoe is amazing for the road. The lugs aren’t aggressive so you still feel the terrain below you, but you get that grip and durability of a trail shoe.
There is nothing to complain about and I will continue using this pair until it gives up on me.
Durability and Protection
This is, for me, the weakest point of the shoe. Maybe because it was already bought on sale? Does that mean the shoe was already past its prime? I don’t know, but the durability is the only reason I’m worried about my pair.
The biggest problem I have is with the upper. To put it simply, it’s already being ripped apart. As you can see with the pictures below, it has accumulated some holes at the front part of the shoe. They started popping up at around 300 kilometers in, and have since slowly gotten bigger and bigger. I have yet to have them sewn up or fixed as I use this pair almost everyday. Fortunately, it hasn’t gotten to a point that it has bothered my running form.
The next durability problem I encountered is with the outsole. After 400+ kilometers, it has started to peel off the midsole foam. At first it was just a little peeling, but eventually it started to get bigger and spread, especially on the lateral side of the shoe. Fortunately, I just applied a bit of shoe glue and it seems to have fixed the problem. Now, at 500+ kilometers, some peeling has started again, so I plan to reapply that shoe glue as needed. Consistent maintenance.
The sole of the shoe is very durable and compact, but the upper could use some work. There is virtually no toe protection at all. On the trails, a rock or pebble would come hurtling at my foot and my toes would be screaming in pain. So a little mindfulness and care is needed in the wilder terrains, but only when it comes to your toes.
Waterproof, this shoe is not. While it may take a bit of time before the rain reaches your socks, this shoe absorbs water a lot. The weight will become a bit of a problem then, but I’ve found that it dries also rather quickly. Or at least, the outside does. Once the inside gets wet it’s a squishy, squelchy adventure until the finish.
+ Comfortable cushioning
+ Roomy Toebox
+ Can be used on both road and trail
+ Good grip on different surfaces
+ Easy to put on and take off
– Hardly any toe protection
– Durability issues after a few hundred kilometers
– Absorbs water; heavy when wet
– Phased out of the market
All in all, this is a good shoe that I could see myself wearing forever. That is, if I had a large amount of pairs. Now that this shoe is not for sale anymore, I’m having a hard time finding the next best shoe. I used to have another pair of this shoe, but alas, I lost it.
Salomon has since replaced this pair with the newer Sense Marin, which has more aggressive treads and is not comfortable for road runs anymore. Sad.
And I think that’s about it. I’d like to thank my pair of Sense Mantra 3 for not giving up on me despite all the rough terrain I’ve put it through. I know we’ve got some more kilometers we can squeeze out of our relationship. Let’s give it our best!
Run happy, eat happier!