They’re Mantas Jim, but not as we know ‘em!
This might not look like a Manta but the new Manta Pro GTX is still aimed at the same mountain users as before but with a few more modern tweaks.
Well, I could just end the review and agree with Scarpa’s take on the iconic Manta boot. But there’s a little more to it than that. The pedigree speaks for itself and there are many mountaineers that set their first cramponed feet with a pair of the old blue Manta’s. In fact I’m one of them and they were a fantastic boot that served me well for many a mountain adventure. My first winter forays were in a pair of these and it was only after I started leading Scottish Grade IV’s that I felt I needed a more technical boot.
The new Manta Pro GTX easily waltzed up Grade IV and I reckon I could climb a Grade V if it was the right sort of route (a mixed Sneachda route would be fine). The Manta Pro is such a good winter mountaineering boot that it could be your first pair of winter boots that would easily get you into some fantastic winter terrain.
So let’s get down to the nitty gritty, there is a nod to the past with just enough navy blue Nubuck to make them feel like the Manta of old. The styling and the fit is much different though. The FT last is the same as on the brilliant Charmoz (which these replace, I had 2 pairs of those) and offers an excellent, comfortable fit for wider feet. They are definitely wider than my Rebel Lites, so if you are choosing between these two and have wider feet then you should definitely go for the Manta Pro as they are much more comfortable.
On top of the Nubuck is a reinforcing layer that offers extra support for the pulley eyelets that help cinch the laces light for climbing. The lower laces are locked using an ingenious locking D ring that just undoes by pulling the lace outwards, a great little feature. There are then two, burly hooks to tighten the laces around the ankles, so a great lacing system despite the round laces supplied. There is the same flexible ankle from the updated Manta (Manta 2.0) and that really is a godsend for hiking and general mountain work. The ankle is finished off with a nice soft collar (which Scarpa call an Autofit Collar) which makes for nice fit and makes the boot pretty much chafe free. This topped off with a well sized heel tab to help you get the boots on and off.
The whole boot has a Gore-Tex sock/liner that keeps the Manta Pro pretty much waterproof. It does need to be said, however, that all the boots I have ever owner eventually leak as the Gore-Tex lining cracks under constant abuse. That said they will remain waterproof for a number of years. Gore-Tex also provide the insulation I wore the shoes on a recent trip to Swedish Lapland where the temperature was down to minus 15C and with the combination of Lorpen Expedition socks they were perfectly fine when I was moving.
The Manta Pro GTX has a great rand which pretty much covers the whole boot. As well as providing extra water proof protection the rand helps add friction for crack climbing and durability. The rand comes right up the heel so makes the boot really burly and great for coming down scree.
The sole unit on the Manta Pro is great with its newer, deeper lugs which meant coming down powder slopes was more secure and it was super easy to shed snow with a tap of my axe. Don’t be fooled either with the wide looking upper, OK the sole isn’t as narrow as the Rebel Lites but they are built on the fantastic Charmoz last (which were the best scrambling and mountaineering boot I ever owned) they performed perfectly well for all scrambling activities and rock climbing up to HVD, with the right route and a descent sized crack Severe should be reasonable too. I shouldn’t need to mention (but I will) that wet rock wasn’t so good but as long as the rock was clean and I was careful it wasn’t too much of a trouser filler.
The sole stiffness is rated at B2, this is perfectly fine for all mountain activities and is the usual stiffness recommendation I give to all clients looking to upgrade into mountaineering boot from a walking boot. They will take a crampon as they have a rear bale lip, they will not take a fully baled (ice climbing type crampon with front bale and clip) crampon but will give a secure crampon fit to crampons such as the Grivel Air Tech.
The Manta Pros have been great for walking in and have been comfortable on all day mountain adventures for both my recreational activities and professional. They are great for winter fun, scrambling, winter mountaineering and even entry level rock. I have found them extrememely comfortable, warm and dry as well as supportive and modern looking. I once described the Scarpa Manta as the perfect UK mountaineering boot, do the newer, more modern Scarpa Manta Pro GTX boots live up to the legacy? Yes they do, they have exceeded expectations and have proved their worth on numerous occasions. I don’t hesitate to give them 5 stars!
Dave Sarkar has tested and reviewed climbing, mountaineering and outdoor equipment for almost 10 years. He works as a qualified MIA both in the UK and Internationally: working full time as a mountaineering instructor and expedition leader for his company Wild Spaces. When he isn’t working in the mountains he’s playing in the mountains and enjoys all aspects climbing and mountain sports whether bouldering at his local crag or ice climbing; as long as he’s going upwards he’s happy!