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Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 8 Review
By Chief Editor / Founder Matthew Klein & Senior Contributor David Salas

The Adidas Takumi Sen series has traditionally been a high level, low profile, exquisite racing flat. For years it was one of the top choices among Japanese marathoners. Despite being so firm and low profile. Versions 1 and 2 were clearly the best, with the classic extended forefoot torsion system, a firm Adiprene sole and an aggressive outsole. The remaining versions got muddied with Boost and did not have the same magic as the originals, so sadly I lost interest. The Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 8 returns as a completely revamped shoe. No longer the low riding firm racing flat, the Takumi Sen 8 returns with a significant amount of cushioning, yet retains its function for most as a shorter distance racing flat, while those who can handle more will easily see this return as a marathon racer. 

Blue Adidas Takumi Sen 8 with pink stripes
Blue Takumi Sen 8 with pink stripes

Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 8
Price: $179.95 at Running Warehouse

Weight: 6.8 oz / 192 g (men's size 9/women's size 10 - unisex sizing)  
Stack Height: 33 mm / 27 mm
Drop: 6 mm
Classification: Racing Flat

Blue Adidas Takumi Sen 8 with pink stripes


ADIDAS ADIZERO TAKUMI SEN 8 SUMMARY

Matt: The Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 8 is a highly cushioned but lightweight 5k/10k racing flat. Featuring a performance upper modeled after the preferences of elite Japanese distance runners (wider forefoot) and a lightweight but surprisingly high stack of Lighstrike Pro, the Takumi Sen 8 is light enough for 5k-10k racing for most, but those who are used to the more traditional bare-bones racing flats will be able to take this much farther. Continuing to use carbon rods that are thinner and provide more flexibility than other models, the Adidas Takumi Sen 8 provides something a little different than what has been on the market recently.

David: The Adidas Takumi Sen 8 is a performance racing shoe designed for the 5k/10k distances. Everything about this shoe screams stream lined performance. The shoe utilizes a new generation midsole with Lightstrike Pro and energy rods that extend through the forefoot. The shoe also uses a stripped down celermesh 2 upper that is virtually translucent. The Continental outsole also provides plenty of traction and grip under foot and keeps you feeling connected when running fast. This certainly is a fun shoe to push the pace in and may offer some range in longer distances for those that are more experienced. 

Blue Adidas Takumi Sen 8 with pink stripes up close

Blue Adidas Takumi Sen 8 with pink stripes toebox

"End Plastic Waste" on insole of Takumi Sen 8 Example of some of the recycled materials seen in the shoe

FIT 

Matt: The Adidas Takumi Sen 8 fits me true to size in my normal men's size 10. The overall fit is slightly wider for a racing flat. This is most noticeable in the forefoot, which has plenty of room for toe splay. The toe box after that does taper quickly after that, so I would not suggest going down a half size. The fit was comfortable for a flat but fits a little more true to size than the Adios Pro 2 (which many people noted fit a half size small, although I went true to size without an issue). The midfoot and heel are normal width, but the laces did need to be cinched up to lock the midfoot in for me. After that, I had no security issues and did not have to lace lock the shoe. The upper is a Celermesh in the rearfoot, fitting very light with no heel counter. The forefoot is a more traditional see-through mesh and is particularly breathable. The inner aspect of the upper has a solid amount of stitching, so this is a shoe I would suggest using socks with. Overall the Takumi Sen 8 has an extremely lightweight and breathable upper that has a little more room for a shorter distance racer but can be secured easily. It is still on the snug side in the heel and midfoot, but like many Japanese racing shoes, there is a bit more room in the forefoot.

David: The Adidas Takumi Sen 8 appears to fit true to size but does seem to run a tad long. Most performance adidas shoes run a little long for me but have never been a problem. The width throughout is normal to slightly narrow in the heel, narrow through the midfoot, and normal width in the forefoot. The Celermesh upper locks down very well through the heel and midfoot and makes you feel very connected to the platform. The tongue is very thin and certainly performance oriented. I was using a former pair of Matt's for review and so I was actually a half size up from my normal size. I would advise going true to size but I was able to do ok just lacing the shoe down tight and using a heel lock. The upper is done very well however, but could be a tad wider through the midfoot. For those that like that snug locked in performance track like feel though this certainly has it. The mesh upper is nearly translucent throughout but does have some overlays that line through the upper and provide some structure throughout. The shoe has done well for me on both road and track with making turns. 




PERFORMANCE 


Matt: The Takumi Sen 8 has a unique ride and is NOT a paired-down Adios Pro 2. The purpose of this shoe is to be a 5k-10k racer with Lightstrike Pro and thinner carbon Energy Rods. The stack height at 33mm/27mm is still fairly high, providing a high level of cushioning underfoot. The rods provide some rigidity to the sole, but the forefoot is more flexible than traditional plated super shoes. There is a small heel bevel, but not as pronounced the Adios Pro 2. I felt a small bump on the posterior lateral heel during heel transitions that went away with time. So the shoe needs a few miles to break in and once it does it has two personalities. The Takumi Sen 8 is light, making faster runs easy and facilitating good leg turnover. The shoe is not bulky and running intervals at high speed is fast but protective. The heel transitions quickly (although has that bump initially), then transitions fast through the midfoot and hits the snappy but mildly flexible forefoot. The forefoot is not rigid like other racers and has a more natural ride than other plated shoes. Those who do not like rigid carbon rides but still want some mild rigidity/snappiness will like this shoe. Given the amount of cushioning, the Takumi Sen 8 provides a surprising amount of protection for a 5k/10k racer. Warm-up and cool downs are easy (although not the most stable for me due to the large cut outs in the midfoot) and those used to less shoe will easily be able to do longer races. I have found the Takumi Sen 8 to work best for fast intervals, longer repeats and tempo runs. Beyond that, I can't take the shoe farther due to some midfoot instability, but those who have been craving a more moderate stack racing shoe will be able to take this shoe for any road race distance. The outsole is similar to the Adios Pro 2 with light coverage, making it really only suitable for road races. The durability has been decent and I expect normal to slightly above normal durability for a racing shoe. Overall, the Takumi Sen 8 is a 5k/10k racer for most people given the current design of carbon fiber racing shoes, but those wanting a balance of some mild flexibility and a lighter ride will be able to take it farther.

David: The Takumi Sen 8 is a very fun shoe to run in. Like Matt said this isn't simply a stripped down Adios Pro 2. This is its own shoe in every right. The stack height is enough to be protective over longer distances and assist with some fatigue resistance but the geometry and construction of the shoe is very much its own. The posterior lateral heel bevel is much less pronounced in the Takumi Sen with a less sharp toe spring as well. The relies on you really loading through that midfoot and forefoot and exploding at toe off. Similar to the Adios Pro 2 though everything on this shoe is geared towards performance. The bevel and soft midsole really transfer you medially onto that midfoot quickly where there is a cutout that seems to really transition you into the medial aspect of your forefoot. From there, a Continental grippy section of outsole is strategically placed there and gives the shoe great traction and feel through the great toe when pushing the pace fast. The decreased toe spring in this shoe is really nice because it gives the energy rods through the forefoot a chance to flex and explode through the forefoot as well. The shoe definitely feels alive when pushing at those 5k/10k paces but you could certainly make a case that this will work for the half marathon and marathon distances as well if someone is trained up to it. I did notice my calf had to work a tad harder in these but I had much more responsiveness in this model compared to the Adios Pro 2 with running quicker. A very fun shoe that performs really well for its intended purpose. 





STABILITY 

Matt: As this is a racing shoe, there are no traditional methods of stability. Unlike the Adios Pro series, the Takumi Sen 8 does not have a rearfoot plate (to my knowledge). The carbonRods still stabilize the sole a decent amount, but this occurs mostly in the forefoot. The midfoot gap is more noticeable in this version, particularly at slower speeds. At high speeds the rods help transition the foot quickly through the midfoot, so this is less noticeable. However, those with high midfoot stability needs will not likely do well here. The insole is not removable, so orthotics will not fit into the Adidas Takumi Sen 8. The forefoot is a little better with some mild sole flare, the slider wider shape, and the rods. Those who need mild forefoot stability will do well in this shoe, but not as well if you need it in the midfoot. Overall though the Takumi Sen 8 is a neutral racing flat with a solid and mildly stable forefoot. The remainder of the shoe is not biased like the Adios Pro 2 and will likely work for those who felt unstable in that shoe.

David: Being a 5k/10k racing shoe I wouldn't expect too many stability elements in this model. The Takumi Sen does a pretty good job of providing some stability throughout the shoe when running faster in it however. The design of the shoe essentially wants you to have a controlled pronation through the midfoot and a firm snappy toe off through the forefoot. This is noticeable but not so dramatic that it would alter mechanics in a negative way. This does seem to help with stability however because the geometry relies on the energy rods through that region and then a thicker slab of grippy Continental rubber in the medial aspect of the forefoot that really does a great job of transitioning toe off through the great toe but enhancing some forefoot stability. The upper, though relatively minimal, locks down pretty well thanks to some strategic overlays throughout with a little more reinforcement through the medial aspect of the shoe. The softer foam does take some stability away from the shoe but the other elements do a good job of creating a responsive platform you can take through a variety of conditions and surfaces. It wouldn't be an immediate grab but the shoe could also be used for cross country depending on the course conditions. 

THOUGHTS AS A DOCTOR OF PHYSICAL THERAPY

What makes a 5k/10lk shoe different from a marathon shoe? Traditionally, 5k/10k racers have been super lightweight, firmer racing shoes meant to go as fast as possible. Marathon shoes featured a bit more cushioning and were often similar to (or were) lightweight trainers meant to provide just enough protection for longer miles. Much of that has changed with the recent shift in racing shoe design. Max cushion, carbon plated, super foam racing shoes have dominated all distances from the mile to the marathon. The Adios Pro 2, Metaspeed Sky, Nike Vaporfly, and others, all designed as marathon racers, are frequently seen on the feet of elite and recreational runners at 5k and mile events. Additionally, there has been a complete lack of development on major short-distance racing flats the last several years. Shoes like the Saucony Type A have not been updated, the New Balance Hanzo series disappeared from the US (not abroad), the Streak LT has transitioned more to an XC/road hybrid, the New Balance 5280 came and went. The once minimalist racing shoes are likely gone and in their place are a new breed of short-distance racing shoes. The Adidas Takumi Sen 8, Nike Streakfly, and Asics Metaspeed Edge are all moderate stack height, plated (in some way), sub 7 oz racing shoes meant for shorter distances. They merge the plated, super foam cushioning with the lighter weight of older flats.

So what makes a 5k/10k shoe different from a marathon shoe? That depends on what you want. If you enjoy the high level of cushioning and stack height found in marathon racers, don't be afraid to use them for a 5k. If however you want something that is lighter, is less bulky and makes it easy to turn the legs over faster, then perhaps one of these newer, lighter, 5k/10k shoes may be for you. Generally less cushioning is needed with shorter distance races as there is less time spent on the feet. The focus is on lighter weight so an individual can move their legs faster. Yet nowadays cushioning does not have to be sacrificed for weight. We have discussed previously that every 100g lighter a shoe is, there is an additional 1% improvement in running economy (Franz et al., 2012; Hoogkamer et al., 2016); Nigg et al,. 2020). This concept had a ceiling effect previously, as the weight dropped to a certain level, running economy dropped due to the decreased cushioning causing the body to work harder on shock absorption than propulsion. With these new 5k/10k racing flats, the ceiling has been moved. We are seeing more sub 7 oz, well-cushioned, plated shoes coming out that still provide a high level of cushioning. While none have dropped under 5 ounces like the older models, those are likely in development now. As the industry has focused on super stack height shoes, we are likely going to see a shift as more companies try to maintain these high stack heights with lower weights.

Currently, the lines are blurred between these two shoe types. The Adidas Takumi Sen 8 is a massive departure from its history as a close-to-the-ground racing flat. Now with a 33mm/27mm stack height, this racing flat has the same lightweight ride with the stack height of a trainer. This level of cushioning will make this shoe type far more accessible to the general population than before. The aggressive racing flats in the past, while amazing, often scared away many consumers due to how little cushioning they had and concerns around injury (whether justified or not). This new breed featuring more protection may interest more people in trying lighter shoes and trying to run fast. With such a large portion of the population investing in racing shoes compared to the past, this once small category may take off as the general population increases their interest. Whether it holds or not will have to be seen, as most of the US running population tends to prefer more cushioning to less (this has been confirmed by several marketing and global product managers from various footwear companies).

References


Franz, J. R., Wierzbinski, C. M., & Kram, R. (2012). Metabolic cost of running barefoot versus shod: is lighter better. 
Med Sci Sports Exerc44(8), 1519-1525.

Hoogkamer, W., Kipp, S., Spiering, B. A., & Kram, R. (2016). Altered running economy directly translates to altered distance-running performance. 
Med Sci Sports Exerc48(11), 2175-80.

Nigg, B. M., Cigoja, S., & Nigg, S. R. (2020). Effects of running shoe construction on performance in long distance running. 
Footwear Science12(3), 133-138.

Adios Pro 2 and Takumi Sen 8 side-by-side
Adios Pro 2 and Takumi Sen 8 side-by-side


RECOMMENDATIONS

Matt: My major recommendations center around the sole. I highly suggest lowering the stack height and filling in the midfoot just a bit more. The stack height is still very high for a 5k/10k racer, which causes some overlap with the Adios Pro 2. Since this shoe is meant for shorter distances, Adidas may be able to get away with the large chunk missing from the midfoot. However, this does reduce stability given the increased flexibility of the thinner rods. So I would suggest filling this in just a little bit but using the sole height decrease to reduce weight further.

David: I personally like the midsole construction and geometry. I think the shoe could improve slightly with the fit and upper. The shoe definitely has a performance fit throughout but I do think the midfoot could be widened a tad, for it was a tad narrow even in my size 10's. The reinforcement throughout is done well and I think that is good the way it is. The length does seem to be on the longer end and could be dialed in a little better. I see what Matt's saying but I have no issue with the current stack height. One option could also be filling in the medial aspect of the outsole and have a deep midline groove through the midline of the shoe and using a cutout to reduce weight. Overall I think the outsole is pretty good as is though. 

WHO THE ADIDAS ADIZERO TAKUMI SEN 8 IS FOR 


Matt: The Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 8 is for those who want a cushioned but light 5k/10k road racer with a wider forefoot for a racing shoe. The stack height is fairly high at 33 mm / 27 mm for a 5k/10k racer and the large amount of Lightstrike Pro will provide plenty of cushioning over faster road miles. The shoe is light at 6.8 oz with a snappy ride that retains some flexibility, making the shoe versatile at shorter to middle distance lengths. The fit is in line with traditional Japanese design with a little bit more width, particularly in the forefoot. However, it is easy to get a good lockdown and the upper is secure. For those who want a balance between the bare bones racing flats from years ago and current max stack height super shoes, the Adidas Takumi Sen 8 is one that finds that balance at faster speeds.

David: The Adidas Takumi Sen 8 a highly cushioned new generation racing shoe designed for the 5k/10k distances. The stack height is a tad high compared to previous 5k shoes but the shoe still provides a good connection to the ground with plenty of responsiveness at toe off. The shoe does have some potential crossover into the half marathon or even marathon distance for some. For those that want a softer and responsive midsole, but a grounded feeling for fast performance running this could be a shoe worth looking into it. I have had great success using it for track workouts and would give it serious considerations with 10k down road racing distances. 


GRADING 

Matt
Fit: A- (Comfortable fit, solid forefoot room, but fits just a hair wide for a 5k/10k racer. Laces are easy to lock down)
Performance: A- 
(Excellent faster ride that works well for fast intervals, tempo runs and 5k/10k races. Some people with more stable mechanics and who want a little less shoe than traditional super shoes will find this can go up to the half marathon and potentially beyond)
Stability: B/B- (Neutral racing shoe. Midfoot gap a little more noticeable, so those with midfoot instabilities may have trouble. Wider forefoot does offset this though during faster transitions)
DPT/Footwear Science: B (Great cushioning to weight ratio, optimizing the balance between protection and weight. However, midfoot cut out comprises stability and weight could be shaved off elsewhere instead)
Personal:  A- (A superlight and responsive ride that is really fun for going fast. Plenty of cushioning for longer efforts for those used to less shoe. I have been wanting a shoe like this for a long time. The perfect amount of midsole that doesn't feel unnatural combined with rods that provide snappiness but let the shoe flex. The midfoot isn't stable enough for me for longer distances, but that isn't what this shoe is meant for)
Overall: B+/A- (Excellent 5k/10k racer for the new age of racing shoes. Not the most stable in the midfoot but features a well-designed/fitting upper that secures the foot with a bit more room for the forefoot. A cushioned ride for such a light shoe that can still turn over quickly.)

David
Fit: B+ (Good fit throughout with really good lockdown and medial supportive reinforcement, narrow through midfoot however and a tad long fit)
Performance: A 
(This shoe certainly performs well when pushed. The energy rods provide a good amount of rigidity and responsiveness through the forefoot without too much rocker sensation. For 5k/10k pacing this is a great option.)
Stability: B (The slightly higher stack and softer foam takes some stability point out, but the upper lockdown is pretty good and the forefoot traction really helps out. Those with difficulty in stability through the midfoot may have a small problem with it.)
DPT/Footwear Science: A- (I am happy to see them tackle a new generation shorter distance racing shoe. The shoe is uniquely its own and completely different than the Adios Pro 2. The decreased toe spring and bevel, but increased rigidity that flexes on loading make for a fun short distance racing shoe)
Personal:  A (I am a half size up so the fit is certainly longer than normal for me but lacing the shoe down makes it runnable for me. The midsole and responsive ride is really fun and engaging for 5k/10k paces and one of my favorite "lower profile" racing shoes I have)
Overall: B+/A- (A really well done 5k/10k new generation racing shoe. There is a less of pronounced rocker in this model and it depends more on loading the forefoot with more force. For those that like to turn over quick and push off of the forefoot forcefully this is worth looking into.)

VIDEO REVIEW

Interested in learning more? Find Matt's full video review of the Adidas Takumi Sen 8 here via our YouTube.

SHOP | SUPPORT DOR


Find the Adidas Takumi Sen 8 at Running Warehouse here for $179.95. Using the link to purchase helps support Doctors of Running. Thanks so much!

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FURTHER READING

Find all our carbon plated shoes at our resource center here.

Compare 5k/10k racing flats:
Asics Metaspeed Edge
- Asics' slimmer, short to mid distance race ready shoe
Reebok Floatride Run Fast Pro - The lightest racing shoe in the market today at sub 4 ozs
Adidas Adizero Avanti TYO - Throwing Adidas track spike powerhouse in the mix, also featuring energy rods

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TESTER PROFILES:


Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Dr. Matthew Klein is a 150 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  The stability guy of the group, he also prefers a little stability in his footwear. However, as a researcher, clinician and running shoe aficionado, he will run in anything. 

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.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the  people at Running Warehouse and Adidas USA for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our 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.

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!
Contact us at doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

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