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6.9 oz (198 g) for a US M9
33 mm in heel,
27 mm in forefoot (6 mm drop)
5K/10K races, tempo runs or speed work
Lightstrike Pro midsole, glass fiber EnergyRods 2.0 in same design geometry as the Adios Pro 3, more breathable and flexible mesh upper
February 22 for $180
ROBBE: Over the last few years, the turn of the calendar means the turnover of the Takumi, which is apropos since this shoe is always fantastic at– you guessed it– turning over. A real dart of a shoe, the Takumi Sen has personally been one of my favorite shoes over both versions 8 and 9 (which were basically the same shoe).
It’s sleek, it’s sexy, and fleet on foot. Basically, it’s everything that I am not and that I wish my high school yearbook said I was.
From tempo days to race days 10K and under (or a half marathon if you’re feeling lucky), the shoe performed wonderfully. So when we heard the Takumi Sen 10 was getting some upgrades with some components from marathon racers like the Adios Pro 3, we were intrigued. After all, we raced the Boston Marathon in the Adios Pro 3 and loved it over the course of 26.2 miles.
What exactly are those changes?
The number one change is a design and material update to the EnergyRods in the shoe, which are essentially Adidas’s version of a plate. In past versions, the rods were carbon-infused (though we could’ve sworn they were glass fiber/TPU) and were separate from the heel plate unit. In short, those rods mimicked the metatarsals of the foot.
In the Takumi Sen 10, the EnergyRods 2.0 are now made from partially recycled glass fiber, and are in a cohesive pretzel shape identical to the rods found in the Adios Pro 3. The idea behind this is a more stabilized version of the midsole with more flex, “crucial for navigating tight corners of 5-10K road races and enduring the high impact experienced from running fast on hard ground.” A double layer of Lightstrike Pro surrounds the EnergyRods and is the same stack height as the past two versions (33 mm in the heel, 27 mm in the forefoot), though, according to Adidas, the formula has been slightly tweaked in this version.
The upper also sees some changes with a more breathable and flexible mesh made from 100% recycled polyester. The weight remains the same at 6.9 oz (198 g) for a US M9.
According to Adidas, prototypes of the shoe were “tested in Kenya and Ethiopia with elite male and female athletes to gather feedback and inform the development of the new model.”
Which may explain my thoughts on the shoe. So let’s get to those.
THOMAS: I love watching people find the shoe that makes them get the most out of running. For Robbe, the Takumi Sen was that shoe.
When Robbe and I got our feet into the Takumi Sen 8 we were blown away. At the time, Adidas struggled to get the running shoe formula together. They had great-looking designs, but the performance of the shoes didn’t shine. That is, except for one. The Adizero Takumi Sen 8 packed responsive foam, a lightweight upper, and Continental rubber into a sleek, beautifully designed tempo trainer. It was fun to run in, and it begged you to quicken the pace. While I liked the Takumi Sen my feelings were eclipsed by the affection Robbe had for the shoe.
ROBBE: As always, the Takumi Sen 10 is a gorgeous shoe. There are few shoe designs that are as visually striking as the more recent versions of the Takumi, and this is no different. Overall, it’s aesthetically similar to last year’s version of the shoe. The off-white and black colorway with tequila sunrise accents that we received is hard to beat, so kudos to the design team on that.
I always felt the upper on the Takumi could use improvements, most notably in the comfort department. Adidas hit all the right notes on that front by stripping down everything they could. What’s left is an open mesh upper made of 100% recycled polyester that’s indeed more flexible and form fitting than the past two versions of the shoe.
The fit is as you would expect from the Takumi Sen– a true glass slipper of a shoe in that it simply forms to the foot as a fast racer should. It is tight, for sure, but it allows the shoe to disappear on the foot. I also appreciated the new tongue pillows that relieve lace pressure on the top of the foot. Definitely something the last two versions could have used.
On the run, the shoe is fast thanks to the Lightstrike Pro foam. It feels a touch firmer than past versions, or at least doesn’t have the same amount of propulsion, especially in the toe-off phase. It’s not necessarily a dealbreaker, it’s just… different. It feels like more of a traditional racing flat this time around (i.e. a more leveled-out and even feel, albeit a well-cushioned one), whereas I felt like the past two versions leaned towards the sensation you’d get from a low-stack super shoe. Almost like a junior version of the Adios Pro.
Either way, you can effortlessly get this shoe moving at whatever pace you need it to go. As always, it’s a pure tempo or 5K/10K shoe and will get the job done when push comes to shove. The forefoot section of Continental rubber is as solid as over, providing good grip on toe-off and in less-than-ideal conditions.
I would recommend going a half-size down in this shoe, the same as with the Adios Pro 3 and the last two versions of the Takumi Sen. As far as I can tell, it’s built on the same last so that hasn’t changed.
THOMAS: The new version isn’t drastically different from the previous model. Looking at it, you may notice material changes in the upper, but the shoe looks very familiar for the most part. The Adidas team has become masters at blending structural reinforcements into the design.
Without close examination, you might even miss the underlays and taping altogether. The three stripe logo also doubles as a micro-thin overlay, helping with lockdown. The slingback heel structure hasn’t changed at all and neither have the laces. My size 10.5 fit perfectly. While Robbe found his long, I had no issues.
The Lightstrike Pro midsole looks nearly identical in shape. However, I feel the geometry is different. The outer edge cambers the foot more aggressively, forcing your foot to roll inwards, and activates your big toe to give you that extra nudge on toe-off. I noticed a stiffening of the shoe from the new EnergyRods configuration. This makes the Takumi Sen snappier, but it will tame the Lightstrike Pro foam for some. That takes a little flexibility and fun out of the shoe.
Robbe mentioned the visual design. The bone white is beautiful. The light touches of color excite without taking away from the clean design. A clean design is a confidence booster, especially when you toe the start line.Shop Adidas Adizero
ROBBE: It pains me to say this, because it’s still a great shoe. But I think it lacks the pop of both the Takumi Sen 8 and 9.
The past two versions of the shoe had a magical element to them. They felt like super shoes for shorter distances. The Takumi Sen 10 feels tamed down. Whether that’s the firmer durometer of Lightstrike Pro, or the plate design, or the midsole tooling or a combination of all those things, it’s hard to say.
In the press release, Adidas says that the glass fiber rods are more flexible than carbon and crucial for navigating tight turns. In the case of the Takumi Sen 10, that’s just not true. The single unit EnergyRods design makes the shoe stiff underfoot (just flex the shoe by hand and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about) and takes a step back from the flexible-yet-propulsive feel of the Takumi Sen 9. It may work in the higher stack Adios Pro 3, but I just don’t think it’s necessary in the Takumi Sen.
To make sure I wasn’t losing my mind, I took the Takumi Sen 8 out for a comparison run, and found that I enjoyed the ride much more. It’s still an amazing shoe, even two years later, and I prefer it over the 10.
Now, that doesn’t mean the Takumi Sen 10 is a bad shoe. It’s still a very good shoe, it just feels more like a traditional flat with a higher stack of super foam. In fact, it reminded me a lot of the Hoka Cielo Road. Depending on your preference, that may be exactly what you want. I just always felt like there was something about the Takumi Sen that put it a touch above all the other shoes in its class. Instead, it now has some equal comparisons.
Testing the shoe on runners in Iten, Kenya, I suspect you’d get feedback that aligns more with a natural feel, and their preferences are probably wildly different than some mediocre runner in Baltimore, Maryland. So yeah, this may be the best option for you if you’re an elite East African runner. But for me, I need that extra juice.
Also, Thomas will back me up on this, but there’s something about the shoe that makes it feel like you’re collapsing into the medial side. I don’t think this matters on the run, and it probably gives you a bit more stability if you’re prone to rolling your ankles, but thought I should point it out because it feels weird at first. I don’t even know that that is, because the tooling and last look identical to the past two versions of the shoe. Maybe I’m just overthinking it.
As with most Adidas racing shoes, the upper fit is a pain in the ass to dial in. Once you get it figured out, you’re good, but it’ll take several adjustments to get to that point. If you know, you know– this is a slim fitting shoe, which makes it perfect for race day because it fits like a glove. That’s not a bad thing, but if you have a higher volume foot and/or you don’t like ballerina toes, then you should probably stay away.
THOMAS: I will back Robbe up. The shoe does push the foot inward. The initial feeling became less pronounced after a couple of runs. I will also agree that the lacing system on almost every Adizero shoe is janky until you find your setup. I ended up using a runner’s loop to secure the heel properly.Shop Adidas Adizero
ROBBE: Overall, the Takumi Sen 10 is still a great shoe, largely because of its extremely lightweight, open-mesh upper, and responsive Lightstrike Pro midsole. However, I do think it lacks the special feel of the past two versions. It’s just a slight step back, either because of the cohesive glass fiber EnergyRods 2.0 unit or the slight tweak in the Lightstrike Pro formula, or a combination of both. I think the shoe still stacks up against any tempo shoe in its price range, but if this were my first venture into the Adizero line, I would personally scoop up the Takumi Sen 9 on sale.
THOMAS: I liked the Takumi Sen 10 as much as the 8 and 9, and would put the Takumi Sen 10 in the same company as the Hoka Cielo Road and the Nike Streakfly. This category of shoe sits in a weird spot. Most consumers aren’t looking for a 5K/10K tempo trainer. While they’re a lot of fun, they aren’t that versatile for the average runner. While doing some 200-meter repeats in the Takumi Sen 10, it was hard not to smile. At 7.6 oz./216 grams for a size 10.5, the Takumi Sen 10 turns over quickly and feels less reckless than the previous models.
The flex and bounce of the previous model is what I guess Robbe is missing. I will emphasize that this shoe is not recommended as a daily trainer or a long-distance running shoe. It is a specialist.
You can pick up the Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 10 on February 22 for $180 at the shop links below.Shop Adidas Adizero
Robbe is the senior editor of Believe in the Run. He loves going on weird routes through Baltimore, finding trash on the ground, and running with the Faster Bastards. At home in the city, but country at heart. Loves his two boys more than anything. Has the weakest ankles in the game.More from Robbe
As the founder of Believe in the Run, Thomas’s goal is to help runners pick the shoes and gear that will make their running experience the best that it can be.More from Thomas