As any of you who play in the high-alpine environment can attest, weight at altitude is not your friend. This simple fact is the reason mountaineers throughout the Himalaya pay Sherpa people thousands of dollars to carry their tents, ropes, and oxygen when the altitude gets serious. And, since the Swiss-based company, Mammut, has been a major player in the alpine community, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that their newly developed trail running line of clothing and shoes would follow the same logic that governs mountaineering: the less weight, the better the experience.
Mammut provided me with a pair of their MTR 141 Long Shorts and Longsleeve shirt to put through the paces. The identical number denotes that Mammut intends these items to work in tandem with one another. And, they are quite a pairing.
MTR 141 Long Shorts
All of us have owned really full-featured shorts that nearly require a belt to wear out on the trail (or constant tugging every quarter mile). We have also owned those skimpy little shorts that you forget that you are wearing, but provide very little in the form of pockets or, well, decency. Thankfully, Mammut took a crack at trying to produce a hybrid of these two with the Mammut MTR 141 Long Shorts ($59).
The cut on the 141 shorts is ‘athletic,’ according to Mammut. On my skinny frame, they leave little error for anything other than athleticism. From the hips through the legs, the multi-panel design allows the fabric to mirror the curves of the skin without much effort. Coupled with the elasticity of the fabric (13% of it is elastic-based), this produces a very trim and chafe-free fit. The only issue I have with the cut is its accentuation of my wedding tackle. It isn’t garish, but it certainly is more form fitting than I usually wear.
The rear pocket on the MTR 141’s is a fantastic surprise. The opening on it runs about five inches across. I can’t quite fit my Samsung smartphone in there with a case on it, but without the case, it slips right in. iPhone users should have little trouble fitting their devices in there as well. Without the weight of the case, my phone has ridden (inside a Ziplock bag for protection from my sweat) the long runs without being an issue.
Much of the pocket’s success can be attributed to the substantial waistband above it. Even though it is only an inch wide, it is one continuous piece of solid elastic with the drawstring integrated into it. After countless washes and the usual wear-and-tear, it shows no degradation or loosening. I find that it supports the shorts without being a garrote to the waist.
Overall, it is a pair of shorts that have a sufficient amount of design and features to be a regular part of the clothing rotation. The best part of it is that the long version of them only weighs in at 148 grams. There are certainly lighter shorts out there, but select few retain these features or length.
MTR 141 Longsleeve
Being the companion piece to the shorts, the Mammut MTR 141 Longsleeve Shirt ($69) is as light and athletic as you would expect. Also, like the shorts, it employs a multi-panel design and high elastic content (11%) to keep the fit close to the runner’s skin. The resulting fit is flattering of what you have and revealing of anything else. And, at 166 grams, it is a lot of shirt for little weight.
Since the fit is close to skintight, breathability is a concern. The MTR 141 shirt is billed as a summer piece and you couldn’t pull that off if it was laying against your skin and trapping heat to it. Mammut was ahead of this issue and used a fabric (which is the same throughout the shirt) that allows for a lot of moisture to travel through it. And, how that is accomplished is through a lot of little holes. A mesh shirt? Not quite. Although I can hold the shirt up and easily see daylight, moonlight, and, almost, starlight through it, it still has enough material that it is clearly fabric and not mesh. Highly breathable and technical fabric, but fabric nonetheless. It has proven to be a bit snag-happy in its travels, but this is not surprising considering its density.
The length of the shirt is very satisfying to this 6’4” character. I have had several technical shirts from reputable companies come up short in the sleeve-length department in the past year. The MTR 141 has fantastic sleeve and torso length. It has so much that I would guess that shorter runners would feel a bit like they were swimming. However, hopefully the length diminishes with the size and a smaller size (I tested a large) would provide a shorter fit.
Mammut has put together two pieces of running clothing that can be summarized in one word: svelte. They are light enough for any length of run. They are breathable and quick drying. And, they have a trim cut that is a pleasure to run in and, hopefully, a pleasure to be seen in. I look forward to trying other pieces of the Mammut line and seeing how else they apply their alpine wisdom to the trail running world.
Call for Comments (from Bryon)
If you’ve ever worn Mammut apparel, whether for trail running, mountaineering, or simple day-to-day activities, let everyone know what you think.