Overall: Five Stars for a climbing skin with excellent all-around properties, and well worth considering even for other than Dynafit skis. My only caveat is that I’ve never used them in very warm wet conditions for repeated laps, which I think is the most difficult challenge for any skin glue.
Background on product familiarity: I have over 300,000 vertical feet on a pair of Manaslu skins. I liked those so much that I bought two pairs of the more recent generations on closeout that were originally intended for the discontinued version of the Se7en Summits ski. One of those pairs has been trimmed down and used for spring and summer mountaineering on my Hagan X-Race skis (for which I use straight mohair for racing and training during the winter). Previously, for (too?) many years I had been wedded to a certain line of purple and then orange skins, but my Manaslu skins in 2008 helped wean me away from that habit to a current assortment of various momix skins for all my touring setups.
First, the first impressions out of the box: If you’re accustomed to a certain orange (previously purple) skin, then the backing on these will feel amazingly subtle, the plush pleasingly smooth, and the glue somewhat suspect. By contrast, if you’re accustomed to other European skins with a mix of mohair and nylon, then all those qualities will be familiar.
To adapt the skins to other skis, if your skis don’t have a tip notch, you can be brave and create one: Skimo Life.
Next, to dial in the length, the easiest option is to ditch the relatively basic tail clip, which is potentially helpful, but almost always unnecessary. Alternatively, remove the plastic “tip plate” receptacle, then cut the skin to the appropriate length (with length sizing the trickiest part of all this), and finally just sew the rubber tip in directly using a Speedy Stitcher Sewing Awl (for the equivalent of the tip setup on the Dynafit Race Ready skin). You’ll lose the advantage of field replacement for the rubber tip, but this is an advantage only if you carry an extra tip on your tours, which doesn’t seem worth the bother anyway given their apparent longevity.
Finally, for trimming the skin, no trim tool is included, since these are set up with the exact dimensions for specific Dynafit models, but the cheap little BD “letter opener” tool easily produces a clean and precise edge.
Second impressions, in use: The rubber tip is brilliant simplicity, a stark contract to so many other complicated tip hardware systems on the market. The length is not adjustable on the latest versions, but with the amount of stretch inherent in the rubber tip, I’ve never felt the need to adjust the length (and hence never bothered to do with my older version that does have a small length adjustment).
The glide is excellent. The glue has held up for repeated laps in very cold temperatures, but I was very careful to rewarm them inside my jacket on each descent (although not always so careful to keep snow off the glue).
All of this adds up to very easy removals and refixing.
I’ve heard complaints that momix skins don’t grip quite as well as nylon skins. Perhaps true, but I’ve never noticed any differences, even for steeper-than optimal skintracks. (And if you’re constantly trying to take as steep a skintrack as possible, while using the highest heel elevator setting on touring bindings, then learn how to set – and love – a lower-angle and ultimately more efficient skintrack!)
Third impressions, for long-term durability: Although my Manaslu pair has mainly been used in good winter conditions (i.e., continuous snow), they have nevertheless encountered more than their fair share of adversity during the course of over 300,000 earned vertical. However, they’re still pretty much good as new. The rubber tip shows no signs of cracks (and neither do any of the many other tips I’ve retrofitted onto various mohair race skins with lots of use). The glue has required only some small annual touch-ups in the tail. And the plush is still fine.