Adidas Adizero Bekoji Review
Bekoji is a town in Ethiopia know for producing some of the fastest distance runners in the world. The Adidas Adizero Bekoji is named in honor of this town and is a Asian market only racing flat. I was unaware of this until I heard about some Adidas elite runners testing it. As with many racing flats, the Bekoji was not brought to the US, but debuted in Asia, where runners are known to train and race in far lighter and faster shoes than their US counterparts. A new mesh upper, a Bounce midsole and a Japan specific fit make this a unique and fast racer. Let's talk more about why you might want to check out this shoe.
Specifications (per Adidas Japan)
Weight: 6.6 oz (men's size 9)
Stack Height: 16mm / 11mm
Classification: Racing Flat
The upper is a new mesh material that I have not ever seen on an Adidas shoe. It is soft and fits great against sockless skin. The sides are reinforced with additional material that provide a sturdy hold on the foot. However, the wider fit of the upper creates a feeling of being slightly long, so socks are required to get a better fit. I still went with my normal size 10 (28.0 in Japan) and found the fit to be great after I got used to it. This is not a narrow snug racing upper. This is a wider fitting racing shoe based on the average Japanese runner's foot. Hence why there is more forefoot room that average racers and the shoe has a more foot shaped last. It is not Altra wide but is shaped somewhat similarly.
I did need to lace lock and tighten down the laces given the wider fit, but the Bekoji completely disappears off the foot during races (won a 5k in them) and workouts. For those with normal to wider feet, this will be a dream fit. For those with narrower feet, the Adizero RC may be a better choice fit wise (review soon). The mesh upper is very flexible and the heel counter is very small and minor. For those with sensitive heels that have trouble with the more aggressive Adizero heel counters, the Bekoji is well worth checking out.
This is my first experience with Adidas Bounce. I was surprised that the midsole material actually lives up to the name. The sole is fairly minimal with a bouncy and flexible ride. The forefoot is especially flexible with minimal toe spring. The heel is beveled and is somewhat stabilized by the extended torsion system. The Bounce material is not Boost, but does still provide a moderately responsive ride when the pace picks up. Despite not being as responsive as newer generation foams, Bounce is definitely protective. After racing and workouts in these shoes, I didn't feel as beat up as I did when I used to race in Adiprene shoes (Adizero Rocket). However the Boost still wins out in terms of responsiveness and pop off the ground. That being said, I would still chose the Bekoji over the Takumi Sen Boost any day because of the consistent midsole. The full length Bounce makes for a consistent feel no matter where you land.
The Adidas Adizero Bekoji is listed as having a 5mm drop and that is what it feels like. It does not feel zero drop and does not load the achilles as much as other extremely low racing shoes. This provided a little more protection and gave me just enough heel to keep my achilles happy but not so much that it got in the way.
There is a different kind of torsion system in the midfoot that extends both into the heel and a little into the forefoot in a split medially and laterally. This system actually creates a stable ride, which is surprising given that most of the torsion systems don't and simply create additional stiffness. This will not create a stable ride for someone who needs a stability shoe, but for those that need some extra structure, you will do great!
The Adidas Adizero Bekoji is a fast shoe if you push it. The Bounce midsole combined with the 6.6 oz weight does very well as a 5k/10k shoe given the minimal sole and fast ride. Many will use this shoe for shorter races, track work, cross country races and workouts. The Bekoji responds well to fast speeds, but remains bouncy even when the pace slows down. Those who are used to minimal shoes may be able to use this up to the marathon, but most will max this out at 10k to half marathon at most.
The Adidas Adizero Bekoji uses a full length Continental rubber outsole. As expected, this provides fantastic durability. After 26 hard miles, I am seeing almost no wear and expect to get an above average number of miles out of the sole. So far the Bounce midsole has retained the same feel as it did initially with a responsive (and protective) ride. The upper has no seems loose in the mesh and continues to feel very comfortable. As with most minimal racing shoes, I wouldn't expect more than 150-200 miles, but the Bekoji may be able to take this a little farther.
THOUGHTS AS A DPT
Japan knows how to do racing flats. Most of the good ones are never released to the United States. From what I understand, that has to do more with the market demand. Japanese runners tend to be more competitive overall, looking for fast light rides (which also fits many of the body types there). The average US runner generally wants a more cushioned shoe for running, hence why these lightweight racers don't tend to sell well here and are never brought over.
On the way to a win at the Redondo Beach Super Bowl 5k
While this tends to be the preference and the stereotype is that American runners are bigger, that does not mean bigger runners need more cushion. The size of the runner is only part of the equation. Experience, shock absorbing capabilities, stability, mobility, personal preference, racing distance, mileage, strength and more all play into this. Just because someone is a certain size does not mean they need a certain shoe. There are plenty of tiny skinny runners running in oversized Hoka shoes and many large runners running in minimal shoes without issue. It is human nature to stereotype, but I ask that you take a look at the individual needs of the athlete first. That will make them (and you) more successful in the long run.
WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR (Conclusion)
The Adidas Adizero Bekoji is for the fast runner looking for a wider fitting, minimal, simple but fast racing shoe for 5k to half marathon for most. Priced far more reasonably than the Adidas Takumi Sen 5 (about $80 compared to $160). The Bekoji will also function extremely well for those runners looking for a wider and forgiving shoe for minimal running. If either of these things are something you are looking for, I highly suggest taking a look overseas (I use Global Rakuten, which is essentially Japanese Amazon) to check a pair of these out.
Total Score: 86%
Thanks for reading!
Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.
Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Kaiser SoCal Manual Therapy and Sport Fellow
***Disclaimer: These shoes were purchased for their full retail price through Global Rakuten. This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We put at least 50-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I have 26 miles on my pair. My views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.
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