Adidas Takumi Ren 3 Review

   I have some history with this shoe.  I was quite smitten with the previous version (REVIEW) as it took me through a few 120 mile weeks, some awesome tempo runs and more.  It had the responsiveness of the Takumi Sen 2 (and that may be my favorite racing flat of all time.  REVIEW) with a lightweight trainer feel.  So obviously I was excited to get my hands on the Takumi Ren 3.... even though it took 2 weeks and a great deal of confusion to be flown over from Japan.  Which is what I had to do get my hands on a pair as they are not available in the US.  When I finally did, I was a little shocked.  The Takumi Ren 3 aren't bad but they are a completely different shoe from version 2.  Here are my thoughts:


Sole/Feel: The change here was the very first thing I noticed.  The Ren 3 no longer has the sweet firmness that the previous version had.  This is due to the removal of the extended forefoot torsion system and a replacement of the midsole material with softer EVA.  The boosted forefoot is good, but not great.  For some reason I cannot feel the boost in the Takumi Ren 3 as much as I can feel it in the forefoot of the Takumi Sen 3 and Adidas Adios Boost 2.  Overall this causes a large change in the ride.  The Takumi Ren 3 now feels like a normal racing flat and the lack of the extended forefoot torsion system no longer differentiates it from the other racing flats out on the market that don't really have any bells and whistles in the midsole.  The only difference likely is the slightly higher heel drop (7-9mm range), but the shoe is light enough that you may not notice that.


Upper/Fit: While the upper is a bit less firm than the previous version, the Takumi Ren 3's upper now fits narrower and slightly shorter.  If you are between sizes in the Takumi Ren 2, definitely go up a half size unless you want to wear very thin socks and want a racing flat fit.  As I have worn the shoe more, the upper has broken in a bit and widened slightly.  If anything I would suggest trying the wide version for those of you with wider forefeet.  You will only find the wide available through Japan (Global Rakuten for the rest of the world), but apparently in Japan they only widen the forefoot.  I have not confirmed this, so those who have tried the wide version please comment below.
    Overall the upper has been lightened up and it now feels closer to racing flat fit than a lightweight trainer.  The upper has worn fine, but the thinness makes me worried that it may not last as long.  The Takumi Ren 2 had a thicker upper that really held my foot onto the platform with the awesome heel counter I discussed in that review.  The Takumi Ren 3's heel counter does actually extended farther, but it is much lighter and does not provide the same nice hold.  Again a testament to how this shoe is now a racing flat and not a lightweight trainer.


Responsiveness: Despite the addition of the boost in the forefoot, the responsiveness of the Takumi Ren 3 is a large step down from the Ren 2.  That's what happens when you remove the forefoot torsion system and soften up the midsole by such a great deal.  That being said this shoe has still worked well for workouts ranging from 400s to 4 mile tempo runs, but the light weight is more a factor in that than the ride.

Heel-Toe Drop/Ramp: Like the previous version, the heel drop does feel like it's around 7-9mm.  However, because of the significant decrease in firmness of the midsole, compression can make the shoe feel either higher or lower depending on your footstrike.

Durability:  Although the sole does not seem as durable as version 2, I have not had any issues after 102 miles.  The upper is fine and the lugs are wearing at a similar rate to the previous version.  Whether or not the Ren 3s will make it to 350 miles like the Ren 2s is doubtful.  Considering this shoe is pretty much a racing flat now, I doubt it.

Weight: The Takumi Ren 3 has cut a significant amount of weight.  According to the Adidas UK website it now weighs in at 170g (~6 ounces) and that feels accurate.  They actually feels lighter than my pair of Takumi Sen 3.  The weight really contributes to the third version now feeling like a racing shoe.


Thoughts as a DPT (Student):  The midsole firmness and awesome heel counter that the Takumi Ren 2 had are gone and with it went the inherent stability of the shoe.  The slightly increased midsole softness (which is further increased by the boost) along with a more flexible heel counter no longer makes this a shoe that those with stability issues will get away with for longer than 5k-10k.  Can it still be done?  Sure.  I get that Adidas wanted to lighten the shoe up, but the attributes that made it a heavier shoe also made it a faster and more stable shoe.  All they had to do was add some boost very much like Adidas Adios Boost and leave everything else.  In my mind the midfoot torsion system doesn't really do anything except to irritate people's feet.  I have had multiple people comment on that from adidas shoes with midfoot only torsion systems.  You cannot isolate one part of the plantar surface of the foot and expect a great translation of force forward when you suddenly interrupt it.  The first and second generation Takumi series did a great with that as the torsion system extended through the entire shoe.  Just like the plantar ligaments of the foot.  Not surprisingly that awesome propulsion from the early generations is gone and instead many people feel an abrupt change in the midfoot only.


Final Thoughts:  So overall I do like the Takumi Ren 3, but because of the purpose change due to the drastic overhaul I do not like it as much as the Takumi Ren 2.  This is now a racing flat and NOT a lightweight trainer (unless you are used to running in minimalist shoes).  It has served me well so far as a great shoe for workouts, but due to my waning minimalist tendencies it is not a shoe I would use as an everyday trainer.  I am disappointed that Adidas took out the extended forefoot torsion system as it now lacks the pop and wonderful firmness the previous version had (also sad they took that out of the Takumi Sen 3.  Review on the way).  Additionally, the only differentiating factor between this shoe and the Takumi Sen 3 is the slightly higher heel drop.  The two shoes weigh practically the same according to the Adidas UK website, although the Ren 3 does actually feel lighter!

So if you're looking for a lightweight 6 ounce racer with a more traditional heel drop and want to try a boosted shoe, give the Adidas Takumi Ren 3 a try.  This is no longer a trainer but a racing shoe that can probably handle 5k-half marathon and maybe marathon depending on your strength.

Adidas.... if you're reading this, please make version 4 a return to what the Takumi Ren is supposed to be: a lightweight trainer counterpart to the Takumi Sen.  Kinda strange that the Takumi Ren feels lighter than the racing flat it is supposed to paired with.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to Tack On!

These shoes were a personal purchase and are not readily available in the United States.  I purchased my pair on Global Rakuten.  I put at least 100 miles on every pair of shoes before I review them (except racing flats which I put on at least 50 miles).  Currently I have 102 miles on my pair.

As always, my views are my own.

-Matt Klein, SPT

*Images obtained from the Adidas UK website because I'm too lazy to take my own cell phone photos right now.  

Comments

  1. Thanks for the review, very thorough ! I was particularly interested by your R3B vs AB2 comment as I'm a big fan of the AB2 for Tempo/10k/HM (recovery and long are with the GB6 which you don't particularly like I think) but thought I could use a lighter shoe for 10k races...

    So I got the S3B but was appalled by the very quick wear (quickstrike pods completely obliterated on the side after a 10k run at various paces) and the drop was a bit low for me (I'm a forefoot striker but can use a 10mm drop for some reason, guess it supports my Achilles).

    Now looking into the R3B that has Continental rubber on the outside where I destroyed the "pods". I guess they would be a bit lighter than the AB2s (did you ever get a chance to weigh them) although not as light as the S3B (only 200g in US12 vs 268g for the AB2) but what you write about the lack of a "Boost" effect and the removal of the extended forefoot torsion system that gives some "pop" probaly means I'm better off sticking with the AB2s ? Thanks !

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    1. The Takumi Ren 3 actually feels lighter than the Sen 3 to me. Still haven't weighed them though. The drop feels a bit more traditional in the R3B (maybe 7-8mm) vs the S3B feeling extremely low.

      I honestly would stick with the AB2 unless you want something lighter for 5k/10k. It is a great shoe that you see on the feet of elite runners at all distances. However, if you really do want that lightweight feel, try the R3B. Just know you won't have the same pop as the AB2 in my opinion. The Boost feels muted in my pair of R3B compared to the Adios Boost and the S3B, but I might have a defective pair since I've heard differently from others.

      Hope that helps!

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  2. Hello Matt, thanks for the interesting review. Not many these days would dear to opine that the transition to boost is actually a step down. I have been quite skeptical lately towards this boost material - seems way hyped up to me.

    One question: I don´t quite get that you, on one hand, think that the responsiveness has gone DOWN with the introduction of boost in version 3, and on the other hand now consider the 3 a "racing flat". In my head, the more responsive (and hence: less cushioned) the shoe, the more a racing flat it is, because the more cushioned rides will generally be considered more trainers than racing flats. What´s your view on this? Best regards,

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    1. The responsiveness has gone down in my opinion due to the change to what feels like a cheaper sole overall. It just feels like crappy EVA foam with only a very slight boost feel in the forefoot (still feels generally like the rest of the shoe).
      My original thought regarding the racing flat feel came from the +1 drop ounce in weight. However I think you are right. Just because a shoe is super light does not make it a good racing flat. I would definitely pick the adios over the takumi ren.
      Then Ren 1 and 2 were supposed to be lightweight trainers weighing in at 7-8 ounces with a similar responsive sole to the Sen. Now that the Ren looks almost the same as the Sen and weighs the same... I consider it more of a racing flat. It just happens to be racing flat that I would not choose to race in because there are better options out there.

      Does that make sense?

      Thanks for reading btw!

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  3. Hello!

    Thank you for the reviw! I'm not shure, if i should take the adios boost 2 or 3 or the takumi ren 3. At the moment, i'm using the boost 2 and i like it realy much. Wich one would you recommend me to buy. Is the feeling oft the takumi near to the boost 2? Witch one is better for faster runs?

    Thanks!

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    1. Hello!

      Given how muted the Boost is in the Takumi Ren and that I didn't really like the shoe overall, I would definitely go with the Adios Boost 2/3. The Adios series feels much faster than the Takumi Ren 3 (the Ren 2 was so much better).

      If anything I would use the Adios Boost 2/3 for longer faster runs/workouts/races and get the Takumi Sen 3 for shorter races/workouts. The Sen 3 remains a good shoe while the Ren 3 did not.

      Hope that helps and thanks for reading!

      -Matt Klein, SPT

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  4. Hi Matt,

    I'm about to buy a pair of Takumi Ren's and have the option to buy the 2 or 3. After your review I'm seriously considering the 2 as I need a touch more stability than the Sen 2 (which I use for track and shorter 10K to half marathon distances) as I'm planning on running Marathons with them. Do you think the Ren 2's would be good for the marathon distance in your opinion?

    Cheers,

    Johnny

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    1. If you can buy the Ren 2, do it. If I still had a pair, that would be one of my first choices for a marathon race. I loved doing long tempos in that shoe and even trained in it (during a string of 110-130 mile weeks). I still stand by my overall statement that the Ren 3 was very poorly executed and is not worth the money. You can't feel the boost and the shoe feels cheap. The Ren 2 feels like a masterpiece of a long distance racer.

      Hope that helps. I used the Sen 2 as my 5k/10k racer and the Ren 2 as my half marathon racer during that time. More than confident it can handle the marathon distance and beyond.

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  5. Do Sen 3/Ren 3 only come with Boost midsole now? My Ren 2 (yay, I picked good) are non-boost - Sen 2 Boost/Ren 2 Boost have a hard plastic exposed torsion area under your arch (judging by pics) - Ren 2 & Sen 2 have the torsion bar coated with soft rubber. It's a key factor in using them for trail running - stones hit hard on hard torsion plastic and wet roots can be dangerously slid along - the soft/spongy (PVA?) rubber coating of torsion bar is a much better design. The coarse, hard nipples of the Ren 2 (Adios & Sen) sole give good grip on dry soil - just add Aircast A60 ankle braces and you're good. I used this type of combo climbing Mt.Snowdon - no blisters, no broken ankles (could easily happen), not even an ankle-roll (which I often get). (Y)

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    1. Hey Goatlips.

      Unfortunately yes. The Sen 3/Ren 3 only come with Boost. Gone is the beautiful sole design of the Ren/Sen 1 and 2. The new versions are not nearly as durable or firm. You could try the sen 3 (I was disappointed in the Ren 3 as it is basically the same shoe as the Sen 3 with just a tiny bit more midsole that does seem as high a quality) as it still is a good racing flat, but those extended forefoot torsion systems are gone. The outsole is also not as grippy as before and is definitely softer, so you may feel those rocks. I'm sure you could use them, but I would definitely try them and evaluate them for yourself before committing to buying them. Not meaning to be negative, just honest. Hoping something changes in version 4 of both. The Sen 3 is a decent shoe, it's just hard to live up to the pure awesomeness of the previous versions.

      Hope that helps.

      -Dr. Matthew Klein, DPT, PTLA

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  6. I could planning to get either adios boost 3 or takumi ren 3 for my 5 km run next week which would be a better choice?

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    1. Personally I would choose the Sen or Ren for a 5km race, but it depends on what you are used to. If your body can handle lightweight shoes great go with the sen/ren. If you are used to shoes with a bit more there, I would suggest the adios.

      Good luck and hope that helps.

      -Dr. Matthew Klein, PT, DPT

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  7. First of all, thanks for all the excellent reviews, Matt.
    I'm considering to get a pair of the Takumi Ren 3, as I'm looking for a slightly more racing-flat-like feel than I get in the adios 3. How do sizes compare between these two models? Would you size up compared to the adios 3? Thank you!

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    1. Hey Chris.

      The Takumi Sen 3 fits slightly narrower than the Adios 3 but I would likely stick with your normal size. I actually found the Takumi Sen 3 to fit just a hair long, but I am extremely sensitive to those kind of things. I would probably stick with your normal size. From my memory they are fairly comparable.

      Hope that helps. Thanks for reading!

      -Dr. Matthew Klein, PT, DPT

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  9. Hi Matt,

    First and foremost, thank you for these great reviews; they are incredibly helpful!

    I am a triathlete/duathlete, and I have been racing with the T7s for over three years now. I have never had any issues with them from 5ks to half marathons. Unfortunately, my last pair recently died, and I am now looking for my new racer.

    I use the Supernova Glide for my long/slow/recovery runs when I want to give my legs a break. I really like my pair of Boston 6 for my tempo runs and speed workouts since I rarely use flats for them.

    As I seem to enjoy Adidas, I took a look at the Adios 3, but I am afraid they will feel heavy after racing for so long with lighter shoes. I was then considering the Ren 3 to replace my Brooks as I need a bit of a drop on my flats because I have tight ankles, Achilles, and calves. However, your review makes me hesitate.

    Do you think I should go with the Adios 3 despite their heavier weight, with the Ren 3 because they remain light, fast, and relatively cushioned, or with the Hyperions since they are the evolution of what I am used to race with? (I am also opened to any other suggestions...)

    You may want to know that my upcoming races will not be longer than 5ks (sometimes off the bike). I am a forefoot/midfoot striker, and I tend to supinate. I am 6-ft tall and weigh 148 lbs.

    Thank you for your help.

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    1. Hey Timothee.

      I would highly suggest trying the Hyperions. I believe they are a fantastic evolution of the T7. Given my medicore experience with the Ren 3 I would approach that shoe with caution (but many have very much enjoyed that shoe and it would be up your ally with a 9mm drop and light weight). The Adios is a do it all racer. Plenty of very fast people use that shoe from 5k to marathon. It is not the lightest but it can pick up the pace. But again, based on prior experience I would check out the Hyperion.

      Hope that helps and thanks for reading.

      -Dr. Matthew Klein, PT, DPT

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