The climbs of Bryce Canyon in Southern Utah were to be the place where I put these shoes to the test, both running and hiking for several days.
The first thing you notice about the Mammut MTR 201-II Boa (well, aside from the bright colour) is the dial fastening system that’s replaced the traditional laces. This BOA system makes up part of the shoe's name. It’s common on many snowboard boots, sometimes on gloves as well, and is kind of similar to the short-lived Reebok Disc lacing system, if you’re old enough to remember the early 1990s.
The Mammut MTR 201-II Boa Low Men trail running shoes are also very light – part of the reason I chose them – weighing in at just 329g (men’s 9.5) per shoe. Despite this light weight, the shoes feel really sturdy and solid. The all-round fit felt really good on my foot (which is neither particularly wide or narrow), whether at pace or simply hiking. Memo Foam lines the heel cup, which can only have added to the comfort.
The upper shoe features what Mammut call 3-D Textile. This is a honeycomb structured, multi-layer fabric which is lightweight, abrasion resistant, moisture absorbent and quick-drying. On the sole, Mammut have used Griptex Sonar technology, which sounds like something from a submarine, but it means that I never felt my footing slip once. Inside, something Mammut call Rolling Concept cushioning is designed to encourage your foot to roll naturally, reducing both fatigue, and the danger of a twisted ankle.
I was really pleased with how well the Boa lacing system worked on the Mammut MTR 201-II trail running shoes. As a snowboarder who’s been let down by Boa’s systems on two pairs of boots in the past, I was keen to see how well they did on a trail running shoe, and the verdict is good. There was none of the premature slackening off that I’ve experienced in the past. All I needed to do was tighten them once at the start of each day.
I also found that the Boa’s lacing system felt like it was the right shape for my foot. Unlike traditional lacing systems that can be tightened in some areas and slackened in others, Boas tend to be equally as tight or loose in all places. I certainly felt the benefit of this.
I found the traction from the Griptex sole really excellent. Granted, there wasn’t much mud or snow to run through when I tested them in Southern Utah, but they never failed, even despite the varied terrain.
The only area that they did fall down slightly on was on sand. While the grip and comfort remained excellent, some of the trails I tested them on featured areas of deep, fine sand, and the honeycomb mesh let in quite a bit. So, I guess it’s lightweight properties were somewhat negated when I had several pounds of Utah sand swimming around my socks!
Aside from the gripe about the sand, the Mammut MTR 201-II Boa Trail Running shoes performed excellently throughout the test. There’s plenty of tech built into these shoes – so much that the jargon on the Mammut website is bordering on baffling, but it all works.
It’s a shoe designed for fast-paced, technical races, but it works well at a more leisurely pace as well. It’s comfortable enough to wear all day long on a hike, not to mention being significantly lighter than a regular hiking boot – which makes it a really good option if, like me, you’re travelling abroad and you’re already pushing your luggage allowance.
You'll find it exclusively at Cotswold Outdoor until 1 February 2018.
The Mammut MTR 201-II Boa Low
Weight: 658g (men's size 9.5)
More info: mammut.com
Boa Closure System / Rolling Concept Patented Mammut sole concept / gripex Sonar Technology / Memo Foam / Feet Map Lining and padding system / 360 Heel Support / Midsole height: 8 - 14mm / Heel drop: 6mm