Scarpa Manta M4 Tech
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These boots are designed to fill a gap in the market between standard 3-4 season boots (such as the Salomon Adventure Trek 7) and those nasty plastic boots people tend to buy and wear once to ascend Mont Blanc. The Manta M4 Tech borrows many good features from Scarpa's high altitude models (such as the Phantoms or Freney XTs) as well as throwing in a few surprises. For example, the 360 degree ankle flex and high cut allows improved support when tackling routes involving crampon work. The upper, manufactured from 3 millimetre thick rough leather will stand up to severe scuffing and has also been subjected to a water-resistant treatment. Overall, these boots are prefect for UK mountaineers frequenting the hills during the winter months. The Mantas are rated to B2 and come in sizes 41 - 48 (7.5 - 13 UK). Please note, this page also covers the Scarpa New Manta GSB (B2).
Official Scarpa Manta M4 Tech specification from Scarpa
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Scarpa Manta M4 Tech Reviews
Reviewed by Barry Hughes (Invergordon) on 2005-12-06:
General comments: I bought the Scarpa Manta boots nearly two years ago and apart from a painful first day out (my own fault) I couldn't be more satisfied . The version I bought was GTX lined (exclusive to Tiso's at the time) and they cost 160 then. My first mistake was trying to get away with wearing my normal single pair of hillwalking socks which resulted in great , bleeding blisters on my heels after a day out. Two weeks later , after the heels were healed , and armed with my new winter mountaineering socks and thin inner socks my next day out was somewhat more comfortable . I went from wearing a pair of Brasher Hillmasters to the Scarpas so the first thing I noticed was how much more support there was especially when scrambling over anything remotely rocky. The stiffer sole prevents you feeling a lot of the sharper rock and the higher ankle cuff supports the lower leg really well although after a long day out this can cause a little discomfort in the lower shin.These boots have been used glacier crossing in the Alps and were a damn site better suited than the plastic boots worn by others - whereas the Scarpas were comfortable throughout , those in plastic boots were in some discomfort on the approach walk.And after getting caught in a thunder storm on the descent I can vouch for the waterproofness of these boots . I don't know for certain but I don't imagine non - GTX versions are any less so. I have used these boots with second hand no-name crampons which I later discovered were too stiff for the sole.
Pros: Very comfy ,supportive boots that are better than I am.
Cons: Don't wear them with one pair of socks.
Reviewed by Sam Walker (Leeds or Birmingham) on 2005-12-28:
General comments: Good boots, though the heel is a bit funny. Can get heel lift, so tape them up. All in all, the Mantas are a nice pair of boots for winter walking
Pros: Stiff, nice high ankle cuff
Cons: Heel lift, not that warm.
Reviewed by Mike Dowson (Peak District) on 2005-12-28:
General comments: The Scarpa Mantas are excellent mid range, mid priced boots. You can use them to climb mountains in the summer or in the winter with crampons. They have a solid base, but this does not make them too rigid to use normally. The rough (reversed) leather material is extremely resilient and can hold up to harsh scuffing. It is treated with a waterproofing layer, which does exactly what you expect, and keeps your feat nice and dry (as long as you have a descent pair of gaiters as well!) These boots will easily fit in any B2 crampons and support you on any ice climbs you feel like challenging. The next stage of boots up from this range are plastic boots which are impractical for general use in the mountains unless you are intending on ice climbing, so these boots are perfect for most people! My personal pair of these boots have been to Svalbard (Artic), Nepals and of course the excellent Scottish mountains and survived without any problems.
Pros: B2 rated boots
Ideal for both general use and use with crampons
Reverse leather material therefore tough and waterproof
Cons: Not dedicated boots for ice climbing or mountaineering, but an excellent generic boot
Reviewed by Simon Rhymes (South devon) on 2006-01-03:
General comments: I have these boots for 3 years now and I very very satisfied with them. Before I got these I had a pair of Scarpa MLs which were also great. I upgraded to the Mantas for the extra crampon compatibility and support before a 5 week trip to Iceland during these 5 weeks they were my main pair of footwear and were used with crampons on the glaciers on minute and mulling around camp and towns the next and they were always comfortable.
I now use them as my main boots all year round .The stiff sole give a lot of support and protection, the thick uppers give support and protection to the rest of the foot and the padded ankle cuff is very supportive and comfortable.
The lacing system makes it easy to get the lacing tight and comfortable and is esily adjustable.
With B2 rating they take C2 crampons, and the sole will take Yeti gaiters fairly easily.
If you are not used to stiff soled boots, then these are going to take some getting used to as you do end up walking in a slightly different fashion. As another reviewer commented I always wear them with a pair of liner socks and thick pair of socks and have never had any blisters.
Pros: Very Comfortable.
Cons: I've had no problems with them in the last 3 years.
Reviewed by David French (Surrey, UK) on 2006-01-04:
General comments: You'll notice quite a few people sporting the distinctively coloured Mantas on the outdoor scene, and there's a reason for that. These are a pretty good pair of winter boots. Like many friends, I'm a repeat Manta customer, because it's quite hard to find too much wrong with them - they're comfortable and they're tough. The only thing is, they last a long time, so you won't need a new pair that often.
The boots are suitable for year-round use in hillwalking, although they're a bit heavy going for the summer. They'll also take a crampon for ice and glacier use - I use Grivel G12s, which just clip in, great for saving time and getting on the glacier while everybody else is threading laces with numb fingers. And you could save money you'd otherwise have to spend on some plastic boots - why take two sets of boots onto the ice, when you can just clip-in and go?
The Mantas will also take a Yeti gaiter, if you're handy with a knife to cut a groove underneath the sole for the rubber rand to run through. (This will need to be a very sharp knife, as these are tough soles - ask a parent or guardian if you're not sure). Because of this I've not had wet feet for years now. They'll even take a crampon over the top of the Yeti, which I find great in snowy situations.
Finally, unlike those old leather boots which look like a baked potato when you've forgotten to wax them for a while, the suede-like finish of the Mantas seems to last well. Mine had Yetis fitted solidly through the first two or three years of their lives, and despite this woeful neglect, they look as good as new.
Pros: Comfortable; long lasting; take a crampon, gaiter or both
Cons: If I'm being picky, I could argue that the plastic clips which hold the upper laces in can be a bit fiddly if your fingers are cold...
Reviewed by Andy Gibson (Northumberland) on 2006-01-10:
General comments: I've been wearing my Scarpa Mantas for about two months now, so I'd say that they are just about getting worn-in. I have been very pleased with the initial fit and comfort of the boots. They are the first pair of four-season boots that I've been able to wear immediately without suffering any blisters whilst wearing them in.
The leather uppers are stiff without being too unforgiving on the feet. The cambrelle lining to the boots means that the feet stay warm snow and wet conditions. The Vibram sole unit is stiff enough to accept my Stubia 10-point flexible crampons, though I haven't walked with the crampons attached yet.
The boots are light yet sturdy enough to withstand four-season use. The boots appear to be 100% waterproof. At Christmas I walked for 16 miles through snow on the Cheviots without a hint of any leakage into the boot.
My feet stayed dry and most importantly blister-free. I admit to being very pleasantly surprised!
I had some concern about the durability of the blue leather uppers but so far the boots have cleaned up well after each walk and the leather shows no signs of fatigue.
Admittedly I haven't worn the boots for an extended time yet but I am very pleased with them. I bought this model based upon its reputation as an excellent boot and would still recommend these boots to anyone wanting a quality well-priced four-season boot.
Pros: No blisters!
Reviewed by David Gilchrist (Aberdeen) on 2006-01-31:
General comments: I bought mine last year after reading numerous favourable reviews and seeing just how popular these boots are. I was slightly apprehensive when wearing the boots for the first time, as they are the first pair of 4 season boots I have owned. Thankfully, I have never blistered in these boots and they are still the breaking in nicely. Also, I was concerned that the boots may be too stiff and warm for the fairly mild 'Scottish' winters we are having now! But they have not proved too warm and are reasonably comfortable for walking on tracks or even roads as well as snow and ice. The extra support over my regular 3 season Scarpa Super Trek gives plenty of extra confidence when scrambling over tricky/icy terrain. The ankle support of leather boots has traditionally caused me blisters and sore skin, but the Mantas have a soft ankle which is comfortable yet provides good support.
Also, I'm happy that my Yeti Gaiters will fit, though I have had no need to do use them yet. I have bought a pair of Grivel M12 crampons for these boots for some climbing the Alps this summer. These fit easily and will also fit on top of the Yeti gaiters - but I feel this may damage the gaiters after extended use.
My only concern is the fabric loop which acts as the 3rd top eyelet doesn't appear very strong. I fear this may wear and then split rendering the boots useless. However, this is based purely on the appearance of the item.
Overall, I'm extremely pleased with them as they are a general-purpose boot and are a good compromise. Also, I feel that the RRP of the boots is realistic when compared against their competition.
Pros: Comfortable with good ankle support, and takes both Yeti gaiters and crampons
Cons: Possibly the durability of the fabric eyelet.
Reviewed by Sean OBaoill (Mournes, Northern Ireland) on 2006-02-02:
General comments: I have been wearing the Scarpa Manta M4 Tech for four years now for all my climbing, mountain walking, scrambling, snow and ice climbing etc. Unlike some of the reviewers for these boots I found them instantly comfortable with a single pair of thick bridgedale socks and have always worn them with a single pair of socks except for the coldest Scottish winter days. The very stiff sole gives a strange rocking step to your gait for the first few hours on a flat surface which you quickly get used to. The 'fabric' eyelet another reviewer was worried about has never suffered after four years of strenuous tightening - although the original laces are looking pretty frayed at the ends nowdays.
I abuse my boots pretty badly, standing belaying for hours in 3 - 4 inches of boggy water, kicking and scraping them up Mourne granite, whacking them with axes to clear balled up snow etc. and only waterproof them once or twice a year when they are looking grey and salty but they have never leaked or let me down.
To be honest they are beginning to show their age now and I am about to replace them, the nice blue is now closer to black, the rand is begining to peel back from the leather and the sole is worn pretty thin with very little tread left, but they still hold a C2 crampon pretty tight (despite frowns from a well known scottish guide every time he sees them) and I will hold on to them as a reliable spare pair in case the new ones aren't as good.
Pros: Pros; Extremely comfortable from the first fitting with no breaking in or blisters, apparently indestructible leather
Cons: Cons; None - unless you expect more than four years wear on granite from the soles.
Reviewed by Simon Harry (Inverness) on 2006-02-05:
General comments: The first pair of 'proper' walking boots I ever bought were Scarpa Manta's. Not the M4 but the older model which was slightly more flexible. That was 20 years ago and i still have them (they have been re-soled twice). I bought the M4 as a 'do it all' 4 season boot and unlike the other Scarpas I've owned, these did not take any time to wear in. I have quite wide feet and need to be careful with Italian made boots due to them being quite narrow - not these, they 'moulded' to my feet in no time.
I use Superfeet with them as like many boots the insole is rubbish (surely when you pay £150 for boots you should get a proper insole?) - the fit is now perfect. The nubuck leather is pretty thick (3mm) so there is no need for a gore-tex liner. I started to use the Nikwax liquid for nubuck but ended up going back to wax. As the leather is quite thick, the boots are nice and warm in the winter but I find them a little to hot for mountain walking in the summer. In winter conditions they are stiff enough to 'front point' on ice which inspires confidence! Overall the Scarpa Mantas seem to be the perfect British winter boot, they have not leaked once and if they provide the years of service my originals have, I'll be over the moon...
Pros: Fit, build quality, can walk in them all day.
Reviewed by tomthumb (orrible london) on 2006-02-10:
General comments: These boots have given me years of reliable service and still they have plenty of life left in them. They are the only pair of four season boots, i have had three pairs, that have not crippled me for six years trying to break them in. I have always gone for scarpa due to the fact that the shape of my foot seems to be that by which all scarpa size 9's are made, this means they are perfect for me. I have a mate who has a pair of whopping size 12's who cannot squeeze his plates into scarpas, this is due to the european fit being quite narrow.
The leather is the kind tha has a nice soft feel, almost brushed. the leather is very thick, 3mm, which negates the inclusion of a gore-tex liner as a properly proofed pair of mantas will not leak. The gore-tex liner would only add warmth to the boot, tyr wearing a pair of Mendl Makalu PRO in the summer and you'll know what i mean. the inner is lined with cambrelle which is very conmfortable and seems to do a good job of wicking sweat. The lacing setup is also very good and provides an exact fit.
I wear my manta's in all but the hottest of weather, in winter they are warm enough to keep my feet happy and stiff enough to get away with my grivel G10's. This year sees the introduction of the new model with 360 flex in the heel, very nice, just wish mine would wear out a little quicker
Reviewed by geoff horky (cumbria) on 2006-02-18:
General comments: I bought these Scarpa Manta boots after a lot of research and reading various magazine reviews/recommendations. I was extremely disappointed when I first wore them and for the next two years! I kept getting heel blisters, quite serious on occassions. One day they would be OK, the next I would suffer from serious heel blisters. I wore them regularly but would be forced to revert to other boots because of the blister problem. I was an experienced English fells / Scottish hill walker. Because of the price of these boots I persevered and wore various socks with them. It would appear that, after three years, and many extremely painful days in the hills, I have eventually worn these boots in ( fingers crossed ) !
Every review I have read about these boots has been nothing but positive, I can't understand why I have had such a negative experience with them. I now can wear them for extended days in the hills without blisters. They have become my boot of choice!
Pros: Firm sole, waterproof (3mm leather upers), good protection in rocky terrain, crampon compatability.
Cons: Please see above. Price - a little expensive. The lacing system - I find it very 'cutting' on the hands and difficult to undo. Salomon have the best lacing system of any boot I have come across so far.
Reviewed by Simon Hastings (Perth) on 2006-02-20:
General comments: I am on my third pair of Manta's and can safely say these are one of the best boots on the market that can handle almost all conditions. The beauty of these boots is that you can wear them no problem on The Saddle in mid July and also on Conival in mid February. They are extremely versatile in that they are stiff enough for winter use with crampons and flexible enough to use on a two hour walk in with no problems - it is for these reasons amongst others that they are always voted the top spot in many user polls.
The leather is a good 3mm thick, nubuck, which negates the need for a gore-tex liner - properly proofed they will keep the water out for years. The sole unit, an M4 Vibram, has a good tread pattern to handle mud and snow with sufficient clearing properties. The heel area is well padded to reduce blisters and the cambrelle lining wick sweat away well.. The lacing system is particularly good and ensures a secure fit. I found that the boots took about three good walks to get worn in and now they fit like slippers. If I had one criticism it would be that there is no rubber rand to protect the toe box. Well worth the investment.
Pros: General fit and build quality.
Cons: Need a rubber rand.
Reviewed by J.T (Glasgow) on 2006-03-04:
General comments: One of the best winter walking boots you can buy. Very comfortable for all day walking but stiff enough for winter munro’s. The fact that many people have these, is testament to there design and fit.
Pros: The Mantas have become a British walking institution. The scarpa build quality means that once you have got over the initial breaking in period these boots will last you years. The M4 sole unit is apt at shedding mud and other undesirables whilst offering a high level of grip on most terrain. The one piece upper is constructed of thick leather, which provides great weatherproofness once you have applied nikwax or other. The first time I wore these out the water just flowed off them as if they had some kind of force field around them!!. The lacing system gives great bite to the laces and the speed lacing also allows you to flick up the lace to easy un-doing. The heel area has sufficient padding and support and the flex in the sole unit is such that it provides enough ‘give’ to walk in all day but still be able to use crampons in winter. the new version looks even better.
Cons: I experienced some nasty blisters on both heels when I first used these boots. I have also found that as the uppers get more use the leather has ‘give’ a little too much resulting in me now having to wear two pairs of socks
Reviewed by Robert Walker (Thirsk) on 2006-03-05:
General comments: I have had these pair of boots for roughly four years now and have used them in a variety of situations including Scotland, Greenland, The French Alps and in Russia. They have been used glacier crossing, scrambling on rocks and in alpine conditions and the boots have performed impeccably in all situations. The boots have a high quality ankle support system that provide a great deal of protection on rocks and the sole is strong and I have never felt rocks underneath. The boots are B2 rated and whilst I have not used them much for ice climbing I have used them frequently with my Grivel crampons on steep climbs and practicing short ice climbs on glaciers in the French Alps and in Greenland and I have never had any trouble with them. The boots are built from manufactured 3 millimetre thick rough leather which has been treated and I can definelty say that these boots are extremely waterproof. The boots are pretty tough and have only small evidence of scuffing after a fairly extensive use of the boots which is not bad going. In summary these boots are four season boots which can be used in a variety of circumstances and offer exceptional value for money for a high level of performance.
Pros: Exceptional value for money for a high level of performance
Reviewed by Roy Harrison (Edinburgh) on 2006-03-12:
General comments: Bought these boots a few weeks ago, and my first outing was slightly stupid - Ben Lui via Cononish. With such a long walk in and out, a baptism of fire. Expected to end up with mangled stumps for feet, but was pleasantly surprised - just slightly sore feet but no blisters. I did tape up my heels though, and by the look of the plasters afterwards think I did the right thing. Others have mentioned the heel lift, and I think it may initially be a problem for some. Is possibly a feature of the nicely flexible ankle area? As mentioned by another reviewer, I was slightly concerned about the longevity of the fabric eyelet, so nice to see someone who has had no probs.
Pros: A perfect all-round winter boot, perfect for all but the most advanced of Scottish routes.
Cons: Heel lift - wear plasters!
Reviewed by Rich L (Aberdeen) on 2006-04-13:
General comments: When I first started winter walking and low grade ice-climbing I initially wore second-hand plastic boots. Wanting greater comfort for long walk ins and not wanting a fully stiffened boot I bought a pair of Scarpa Manta M4s after superb reviews in Trail / TGO magazines at the time. My first walk up Snowdon ominously foretold the rest of the experience I had of these boots……it rained, they leaked…badly! I had some of the initial batch of Manta M4s and they split along the sole, expecting difficulties getting a replacement from Scarpa I was pleasantly surprised that upon hearing of my trouble they motorbike couriered new boots to me! I was very impressed by this service and have purchased more Scarpa boots since due to this excellent customer service. However, the replacement Manta boots still seemed to leak a lot, I did proof them with the advised waxes and creams and although it helped after about 6 hours in slush or wet grass the water really poured in. I was disappointed and I consider them much less waterproof than a pair of unlined Scarpa Rangers that I use for 3 season walking. As for comfort, they are okay, but do not set the world on fire. Compared to my current Freney XT ice climbing boots they are distinctly uncomfortable.
Pros: qualtiy of the boots, superb scarpa service
Cons: they leaked badly, not that comfortable despite the reviews
|This review has 1 comment(s):|
Eoin Boyle responded : Mantas are designed for use with Scarpa's own HS12 cream and from what I have heard this is the only waterproofing product that works. However if the seams are leaking really badly you can put on some seam seal that is designed for use on tents, this completely waterproofs the boot and will keep your feet perfectly dry. (2012-04-01)
Reviewed by Chris Larvin (Derby, UK) on 2006-04-18:
General comments: There is no waterproof lining on these boots which brings into the question of seepage and general dampness, however there appears to be no such problems, in rain, snow or melting ice! These have survived many an unforeseen plunge into a stream/puddle.
These boots are so, so versatile! I have worn these boots in the sand in the Spanish summer, to climbing 80º water-ice in Italy. Not once have they let me down! However, they may be considered a bit over the top for summer walking, where it would be preferable to have a lighter-weight boot with a more breathable liner. On steep ice with crampons, a solid B3 boot would prove provide better kicking (less “recoil”).
Excellent fit straight out of the box, with no real problems breaking in, except the heel which proved to be quite solid for the first 30 miles. However, the fit is not for all (made for thin Italian feet) to make sure you get them fitted correctly.
In winter these boots may prove to be a little cold, though that is only after standing in snow on a belay for nearly 2 hours! These boots are B2 compatible which makes them suitable up until around Grade IV Scottish when you could be doing with a bit more bite to your boot!
Initial price may discourage some; however the life of the boot and versatility eventually shows it to be a worthwhile investment.
When compared to other Alpine boots, they still prove to be fairly cheap.
The leather begin to lose its suppleness after a while, which makes it more difficult to mount them with New-matic crampons (or similar devices). Also will increase the range of ankle flex (which probably makes them even more conformable).
Reviewed by Ben (London) on 2006-07-19:
General comments: Scarpa Manta came with high recommendations from a number of friends, so I was interested to see how they performed. The answer is, in general, superb. They are sturdy enough for the roughest scrambling, and will take a fairly high crampon grade. As far as comfort goes, I enjoyed having a higher ankle fitting, and though my feet needed time to adapt, I now find the boots as comfortable as any other pair I’ve owned. Many people will say that the lack of flex in the sole can make walking uncomfortable, but I found that this wasn’t a problem after I adapted. Initially I bought the boots for Scottish winter mountaineering, with the intention of using my old, lighter boots for summer wear. But I found the Mantas so comfortable and durable that I wear them all year round. So far they are four years old and show no signs at all of wearing out. I’m looking forward to many more years using them.
Pros: Sturdy, durable and comfortable. Perfect for many different levels of hill-walking and mountaineering.
Cons: Weight: these are heavy boots, and I would consider buying a lighter pair if I ever did a long trek with a heavy pack. They also take time to wear in.
Reviewed by Dave (Leeds, UK) on 2006-08-14:
General comments: I bought these Scarpa Manta boots last year and have since seen one season of Scottish winter and a few general plods around Yorkshire and the Lakes since then. First impression is of a very tough boot designed to endure the abuse of winter moutaineering. The new ankle system works great, although I never tried the old Manta, and offers great flex but still a considerable amount of support. I suppose in the long run there are more seams that could potentially go wrong and rot but no problems so far. The ankle is fairly high and gives a reasurring feeling of support, although I do get some heel lift. Fitting crampons is a breeze. The boot is fairly heavy but this is to be expected from such a well made boot. However, kicking steps on slopes gets tiring after a while it must be said. If lightweight is what you're after the Scarpa Freney is probably a better option. I also have a big gripe with Scarpa about the lace locking mechanism. Yes, it keeps laces locked, but it eats them aswell! I snapped one pair after no more than 10 days usage. Scarpa should either provide better laces or address this problem for boots costing potentially £165!
Pros: Supportive, comfortable, well made. New ankle system is great.
Cons: A bit heavy for some, lace consumption!
Reviewed by Emma Hunt (Staffordshire, England) on 2007-01-03:
General comments: I bought these boots for a months expedition to Greenland in 2006. They were very comfortable throughout the whole expedition and I had no blisters during breaking them in. They had no difficulty coping with rock morraine in the two day walk to the ice cap and took crampons well for a 2 week stay on the ice cap. I also used them for simple ice climbing and had no problems.
As they were not properly waterproofed my feet did get damp, however when I had enough sense to waterproof them properly there were no problems with shallow river crossings and 6 inches of mud!!
Pros: Very well made and extremely comfortable for extended use with heavy rucksacks.
Cons: The laces had started to fray slightly at the end of the month, however I think this might happen with most other makes of boots.
Reviewed by Ben Manwaring (Derbyshire) on 2007-01-17:
General comments: I bought my pair of Scarpa Manta boots just as the new version were coming out in a sale for £130. Mine are the previous version without the padded (articulated) ankle cuff. I bought the boots to allow me to begin walking in winter, and easy winter climbing and so far they have excelled at this.
I've walked and climbed in them in wales, the lakes and scotland and used them up to grade II winter climbing. They have taken all of the abuse I have thrown at them and still look like new.
The sole has proven plenty stiff enough for crampon use, and I use mine with grivel air-tech crampons. Although the boot is stiff, I still find it comfortable for all day walks, and have suffered no blisters.
Although mine are the standard version without goretex, they have never let a drop of water in, (I use nikwax nubuck proofer as recommended) although when the leather does get wet it takes a long time to dry.
In summary I would thoroughly recommend these boots for winter beginners (if they fit your foot).
Sole plenty stiff enough for C2 crampons
Comfortable (no blisters yet!)
Unlined leather, but no leaks
Cons: Take a long time to dry if saturated
Heavy (nearly 2kg each)
Reviewed by Vincent Leleu (Chelmsford, UK) on 2007-04-30:
General comments: I initially bought the Scarpa Manta M4 boots off the Internet in european size 42 as my normal shoe size is between 41 and 42.
My fit were very snug in these and I quickly realise reading advice on the Internet on how to choose walking shoes, that I had purchased the wrong size. These were too small and going downhill, my toes could touch the front of the shoe. And that was without even thinking of using liner socks!
So I exchanged them for a size 43 which sounded a bit excessive to me but I did it anyway. I have had the opportunity to do small 2hr / 8km walks after work every day of last week without a problem. I did on Saturday a longer walk of 7hrs / 25km and I only got a little blister at the rear of my right foot.
I went on Sunday to purchase some Superfeet green insoles. I have fitted them this morning and I don't think I will have a problem breaking this shoes in. There are stiff I agree but it's for the best as they support my ankles like no other boots I've had before. I have also changed the lacing system to the knotted lacing (http://www.fieggen.com/shoelace/lacingmethods.htm) on the bottom section of the shoe which has improved the way I control the volume in the shoe.
Pros: Perfect ankle support.
Compatible crampon B2.
Cons: Lacing needs to get used to. Perhaps using an alternate lacing technique is required.
Not completely water proof but not so much a problem if used on ice with crampon or with gaiter in more humid conditions.
Reviewed by Ahren Lester (Hertford) on 2007-06-19:
General comments: This boot is excellent. It is the first B:2 boot I have had to buy and I fully anticipated it being like wearing a brick, however ,it has proven me wrong as it is both stiff enough to do the crampon tasks required of it and also flexible enough not to feel like a burden to the wearer. Contrary to some other reviewers, I did suffer from one or two blisters on some of the early uses and found (like some others) the boot to be very narrow. However the blisters were nothing major and are to be expected whilst wearing tem in and the narrowness of the boot can easily be overcome with the Manta as it can be easily (and quite substantially) stretched to make it wider unlike other B:2 boots which have the rubber band running around the boot "improving" its waterproofness but also preventing it from being moulded as much. The ankle support is marvellous and as long as I knot the laces from the penultimate lugs rather than the usual top lugs the hold feels even throughout my ankle. I have found a little bit of heel lift like other reviewers but it is only minor and only developed some sore points which are easily dealt with.
Pros: Strong contruction; easily stretched if you find the boot too narrow; reasonably lightweight; good ankle support; if you search around the price is quite reasonale also.
Cons: Fabric lace eye (although had no troubles it does seem to be a weak point); Innersoles seem rather poor for such a boot (little support for arches).
Reviewed by Chris D'Arcy-Burt (East Lothian) on 2007-10-09:
General comments: I've had a pair of Scarpa Manta GTX (Gore-Tex) for the past 6 years and I've loved them ever since they saw me through a ten day trip on Skye. Sadly my old pair have finally given up through long hard use so I have just bought a new set of Manta M4 Tech which have the new 3d flex ankle but don't have a Gore Tex lining. So far this has been without any priblems whatsoever with no leaking after 6 weekend trips and a fair bit of breaking in. I think they will need waxing instead of just a proffer spray so the nice nubuck finish will go but it will make them last longer.
I think that Scarpa have improved the last slightly, making the ankle a more snug fit and slightly widening the forefoot (the older ones were a very triangular toe box where the new M4 Techs are slightly more rounded) which has made for a trouble free break in. The Sole Unit (that's what the M4 stands for) is typically rugged and having spoken to the boot repairer at my local shop he assures me that they can easily be resoled with an identical unit. He also said that this sole unit has PU at the heal so they have really good shock absobtion around this area. The sole is about as stiff as my previous version so my Grivel G10 crampons will work fine and seem to fit very well/
The leather seems to be up to typical Scarpa standards - very even throughout the boot. I think these will be good for another few years. I use them as an all year round walking boot (only on long treks in the summer) and they are very confortable once broken in.
Pros: High quality leather and construction.
Can be resoled.
Good sole unit
Easily take a strap on Crampon all day
Cons: Fit may not suit all types of feet
Quite expensive but worth it
Reviewed by Barnaby Crocker (London) on 2008-02-03:
General comments: I bought the previous incarnation of the iconic Manta M4's a couple of seasons ago. I have used them for general walking and, of course, found them very stiff. I have just returned from a weekend's mountaineering and ice climbing in the Scottish highlands and was thoroughly impressed with how these boots performed.
Whilst climbing the east ridge of Ben a Chaorian the boots kept my feet warm and dry and the rigid soles easily coped with the snow, ice and rock. Even crossing the marshy bog to get to the foot of the Ben, they prevented any water ingress. This is probably due in no small part to their construction from a single pice of leather, thus reducing the number of seams. I proof them with Granger's spray, to keep the brushed leather finish, and it all worked fine.
I have given them a good clean and brush up, and they look as good as new. When, many years from now, they give up the ghost - I'll certainly buy another pair!
On the ice climbing wall (Ice Factor) with a pair of Grivel G14 crampons these boots remained perfectly stiff and made light work of front-pointing. Even though these are technically B2 rated boots, they handled the C3 crampon (Grivel G14) with no worries and were adequately stiff. Again, my feet stayed warm.
Interestingly, my fellow traveller was using Scarpa Mirage's GTX and our mountain guide discussed with us the relative merits of our boots. Our guide was of the opinion that the Manta's would outlast the Mirage's by a season or so, and he has been very pleased with his for years - and he should know!
Pros: Rigid, warm, dry (even without goretex) tackles mixed terrain easily
Cons: Not cheap, not light, brushed leather finish takes some effort to keep looking nice.
Reviewed by Josh Jepson (WF2 9LW) on 2008-02-17:
General comments: My first pair of four season boots and I would not buy another, the Scarpa Manta boots are excellent and have not let me down both with and without crampons. I have always liked scarpas boots and have not been let down by them, and these boots have lived up to my expectations. I feel they are great for winter in Britain, and i have used them on winter grade 2 and they have stood up to the task. My G12 crampons attach easily and quickly keeping fath down and more time for climbing.
The Manta boots give plenty of support to the ankle so there is little chance of spraining an ankle, thankfully. However what makes this even better is that they also give you plenty of movement in the ankle so making walking more than comfortable. They also keep the water out as they have little stitching to let the water in, the only time my feet have got wet is when the snow has come over the top of the boot, which is my fault for not wearing gaiters. Also, the boots stiffness is perfect for kicking steps into the snow make the winter walking all the more easy for the winter.
The only slight bad point is the fact they have no waterproof lining, and at first I had reservations because of this however i have been shown there is no need for one as like I said before I have yet faced a leak.
Reviewed by stuart elms (london) on 2008-03-10:
General comments: I'm a scarpa junkie. however i'll try to be impartial! i started off with the original grey mantas. they lasted and served me very well. They were replaced by a new pair and so far they have been as good as the old pair. These M4's are of a reversed leather and as such can not be easily polished up. They are waterproof but i prefer to keep on top of my boots and these can be expensive as you need a specific waterproofer and not a tin of polish. They do look nice though! If i'm going into a very damp area i'll stick the yetis on but they do not seat as well on these boots. The boots are ok with crampons and i use super 12's. The back of the boot has been made proud to accept quick fit crampons. these boots are not for everyone. they are firm and inflexible and as such you walk and flex at the ankle. fine for me but some may feel uncomfortable. try them in the shop first. Sole is usual fare. If you want a boot that will do uk winters with ease then this is for you, better all round than plastic but try on as they are not for everyone.
Pros: rugged, scarpa function and form, take a crampon,
Cons: heavy, inflexible underfoot. not for everyone.
Reviewed by Stuart Reeves (Glasgow) on 2008-03-24:
General comments: I haven't got much to add to the reviews above apart from a few notes from my own experience.
I think that it is worth spending quite a bit of time breaking in your Scarpa Manta ---mine were quite uncomfortable until I had used them at least five or six times on lengthy walks/climbs. After that I started to forget they were there, which is a good sign.
They're generally quite warm even in the coldest of conditions in Scotland (e.g., the Ben in the dead of winter), however for more freezing climates I would probably go for a better boot. As such they are a decent and solid workhorse for most Britain based mountaineering activities.
I suppose my main issue is waterproofing, as only a few others have noted. I reproof my boots with aqueous wax after every trip, however I always have problems with wet toes, particularly if any step kicking is required before donning of crampons. Given that I've heard similar stories from others with the same boots, I think this is a general design problem, so if you buy this boot, bear it in mind.
Pros: Very well tested and popular for a reason, good quality, Scarpa service is excellent.
Cons: Wet toes!
Reviewed by gethin_allen (Sheffield) on 2009-05-12:
General comments: When a friend invited my up to the highlands for some winter climbing I had a bit of a dilemma, do i hire boots that will be potentially minging and uncomfortable, or do I spend loads of cash on some big 4 season boots like scarpa cumbre or LaSportiva nepal evo's. fortunately I found these manta M4s on offer for a bargain £99 because the new GSB crampon version are out. These fitted the bill because they are stiff enough to fit a decent c2 crampon but then if i like i can use them for more general mountaineering without carrying too much extra weight or looking silly.They fitted me almost out of the box, have never given me any blisters so I fitted them with some charlet mosser s12 crampons and easily climbed grade 2 routes feeling that they would be fine for some harder stuff in the future. My feet got a little bit cold while standing around in the shade but nothing major.
The soles aren't great for grip when climbing rock on the toe patch but the "climbing zone" fitted to some other scarpa mountain boots wears out quickly so it's one or the other.
Pros: Cheap, great fit, light enough for some more general use but heavy enough for more serious stuff.
Cons: not the most hardcore boots, they could do with better insulation for really cold climbs and they could do with better laces.
Reviewed by John (Newcastle) on 2009-08-03:
General comments: I bought these boots for winter use after seeing them consistently win Trail magazine award for best B2 rated boots and have not been dissapointed. On first putting them on I found the walking action difficult to come to terms with, but after twenty minutes became totally accustomed to them and forgot that I was wearing such a stiff boot perfect for crampon usage. I have subsequently used them in full on winter conditions in the scottish highlands and glacier crossing in Europe.
Construction wise they are first class, the treated leather is extremely robust, easy to clean and re-proof and stays waterproof even in the worst boggy conditions. The M4 sole is deep lugged, giving the benefits of exceptional grip, great wear properties, does not colect mud or snow and you do not feel small stones or sharp rocks underfoot. They are not the cheapest boots in the world, but in the end you get what you pay for in performance, longevity and comfort.
Pros: Construction, fit, robust
Reviewed by david burkey (Oxford) on 2009-11-08:
General comments: At Christmas 2008 I bought my third pair of Scarpa Mantas. These where the new model with GSB fittings. I wore them for the first time for a long weekend in Ennerdale. I thought it might be a mistake wearing boots from the box on a two day trek with no chance to change them if they rubbed. True to form they fitted prefectly and after two days, 26 miles and 5000 ft of ascent my feet felt great. No blisters!! I wore the boots again for a long weekend wild camping in the Cairngorms, a weekend in the Ben Lawers range, a wet weekend in Blairgowie and another in Fort William. Thats four weekends - but noticed that the sole around the toe was starting to disintergrate. Thankfully the GSB lug was not needed to be removed as it was so wedged into the boot that it was incapable of being removed. Thankfully I never replaced by Grivel G12's for a GSB pair. After a wet walk in to do Ring of Steall I noticed the right boot was leaking. Not just a damp feeling but a volume of water so great i could actually feel it running to my toes and filling the toe box. This is not the firts time my Mantas leaked. My second pair leaked. I gave up using water based Nikwax to proof them and used normal wax for leather boots. That help but never cured it. This time as the boots had hardly been used I returned them to the retailers. They replaced them but did advise that the GSB fitting had been a mistake that Scarpa where replacing boots with that fitting. I now have a new pair - unused and in the box but I doubt I will trust them in winter conditions if there is a wet approach. I want to keep my toes attached and not suffer frost bite from a boot that is clearly incapable of being water proof despite its now £220 price tag!!
Pros: Great fit from the box.
Cons: Leak badly. GSB fitting is a joke, caused the toe part of the sole to fall apart. Far too expensive now that other brands are bringing out better boots with a lining.
|This review has 1 comment(s):
James responded : I definitely agree re: the price. Is it me or do Scarpa increase the price of these boots by 40 quid each year?! (2009-12-03)
Reviewed by Dean Gartley (Belfast) on 2009-12-02:
General comments: The classic 4 season boot for UK and easy alpine walks/climbs
Although designed more as a winter boot, I've worn mine all summer, including a spot of running during a mountain marathon! No blisters - they just fitted me well out of the box.
There have been issues with the GSB fitting at the toe which has now been abandoned. I have seen a few pairs with wear at this point, although it didn't look like the boots fault - if you scramble or climb with any rigid boot you will wear out the sole at the toe.
All in all a great boot, the rubber rand in particular is a great feature for wet winter walking.
Pros: Rubber rand, good grip from sole, comfort (for me)
Cons: GSB system seems to have been a non runner, and does seem to affect durability for climbing at front of sole.
Reviewed by ryan (bc, canada) on 2009-12-30:
General comments: Bought the m4's back in 2002, used them for 4 years of treeplanting, planting usually destroys most boots in one year, used them on countless hiking, mountaineering, and winter adventures. The soles have now become rather worn down, the leather has lost its bright blue color, but they have no signs of wear or holes in the leather. Most of my friends have bought 2 or 3 new pairs of boots in the time that I have had these, they all buy scarpa's now.
Cons: My feet are very skinny and boots have never fit my feet very well, 2 or 3 pairs of socks helps.
Reviewed by Jonathan (Cambridge) on 2012-01-14:
General comments: I have owned my Mantas since 2002 and with only about 8 walking holidays in them and they have lasted very well. These predate the GSB fitting.
In that time the boot has not become flexible and the leather still has its integrity. More to the point they are very waterproof. Just took them on a rain-soaked trip to the Lake District with a bit of snow thrown in, and they held out very well. Repeated walking through large puddles and submerging the boot could not get my feet inside actually wet.
When I have used them with crampons they have worked well. Did the job as a winter boot, especially when step-kicking in icy Scottish conditions.
The lacing system was not too hot sadly but this has changed on recent models anyway.
They also took a fair bit of breaking in and I resorted to putting gaffer tape(!) on my feet to avoid blisters.
Pros: Very waterproof, sturdy, can be used all year round if you want to
Cons: Lacing can be annoying on the older model, breaking them in meant blisters at first