The Sense Mantra is a "Door-to-Trail" shoe, so a nice transition for someone like me who isn't necessarily scaling mountains or actively seeking fallen tree trunks to leapfrog but will gladly run up the road a little further to get to the canal for a more picturesque run. The website describes the shoe as having 'the cushioning and feel of road shoes, with the protection and grip you need for trails.' ooooh.
First impressions were that they felt SO LIGHT. I was worried as they didn't feel like they offered loads of support - when I put them on they felt different to the cushiony cloudy Nikes I've been alternating between lately. But reading up on the Salomon site these shoes are a 'Light weight training shoe for midfoot strikers who want natural motion, protection and neutral cushioning for high mileage training.' That's where I got confused, so basically I told myself to CHILL OUT and stop being a worryhead and just go and freaking run in them.
So Tuesday night run club is primarily trail, hill and (more often than) not mud-based running - perfect opportunity for these shoes to get their first trial 'run.' It was very fitting that the particular night I took them out was a rainy, muddy one which involved a heinous 30minute loop we run on the 1st Tuesday of every month - the loop is not lacking in hills I'll just say that.
And I noticed the change from my regular trainers almost immediately. It was while I was running downhill that my feet actually felt much lighter and not cumbersome. On the gravelly pathways I felt more in control of my footing especially on the rockier, uneven paths. My legs also felt less sluggish.
I have since ran the same routes once in my normal road shoes and then again many times in the Sense Mantras - and I'm totally converted! I really notice the difference! I really like how in control my feet feel - just so light yet grippy and grounded. I've even started checking with my training buds to see whether we'll be running on roads or trails - so that I can coordinate my footwear.
So yeah, in conclusion these are a really nice shoe and the technology that goes into them is pretty smart. Apparently they are designed so that your muscles absorb more of the shock instead of your joints - and thus building better balance and overall running efficiency. Smart stuff right? I'd say if you're thinking about investing in an alternative footwear for training, definitely check out Salomon as a company, they sure were nice to me- and my legs!
(PS I wasn't paid to write any of this.)