adidas adizero Takumi Sen

Kayoko+Fukushi+16th+Asian+Games+Day+9+Athletics+70vGWFsXobXlThis is the one I’ve been waiting for, the one I’ve been wanting to write.  Ok, deep breath.

When I’d heard that adidas were bringing the Takumi Sen to the US market, I had to have some alone time.  By now you might have observed that I dig the Japanese designed stuff.  The Japanese have deep roots in the marathon and their love for the sport and its qualities, combined with the simplicity and functionality inherent in so much of the Japanese design aesthetic really makes for beautiful running shoes.  Ok, maybe I’m getting too philosophical, but, shit man! they make some nice stuff.

I’m just now getting over the heartbreak I suffered when I heard that the ASICS Tarther were being discontinued in the American market.  Why do the Euros get it still?  The Tarther are the shit and they look retro cool, like Seko might have worn them, almost.  The Adios 2, also with Japanese heritage, are one of the very best shoes on the market, period.  Yeah, they’re marketed as a racer and yeah, they’ve got all kinds of crazy things going on in the midsole, but for the most part, it’s all functional.  The original Adios were, inmyveryhumbleopinion, a better shoe.  And by better I mean they were a little smoother in ride.  They didn’t have the pop, the responsiveness, of the Adios 2, but you forgive that for the sheer comfort of the whole thing.  (Kinda like road bikes:  You get a really nice carbon fiber frame designed to be super stiff, super rigid and it feels awesome, powerful, responsive, but then after about four hours on the thing you’re teeth are falling out and you wonder if there is a thing called Shaken Cyclist Syndrome.  At least, that’s what I hear.  The whole cycling thing is, I don’t know, kinda weird.  And by weird I mean ridiculously fucking expensive.)  Anyway, what?

The original Adios and the Tarther were, by the way, pretty much the same shoe, if you really think about it.  Except for the branding, they looked almost exactly the same.  Similar rides–though I could feel the heel of the Tarther a wee bit more when I was tired–and similar fit–the Tarther was a bit more spacey up front–and they both came from design teams in, yeah, Japan.
And then there are the Mizuno Ekiden, which are similar to the Takumi Sen in the same way the Adios and Tarther were similar.  The Ekiden are a roomier fit, but the ride is almostbutnotquite as firm as the TS.  In the midsole of the TS is a double forked plastic insert thing that runs from the midfoot through the forefoot (much like in the Adios 2).  It heightens the responsiveness and gives the shoe some crazy pop when you’re moving fast.  It is one of the very few technology pieces that seem to have any real, noticeable benefit to the wearer, not dissimilar to the midfoot carbon fiber plate in the Skechers GORun Speed and in the old FILA racer.
The first time I put them on, they felt snug, real snug, but the kind of snug that makes you feel all warm and giggly, ready for a good run and not the kind of snug where you’re anticipating losing sheets of skin in bloody pedal carnage.  And adidas does that lace thing, where they lace upside down, or backwards  or some shit and it bugs the crap out of me.  On all my adidas I have to relace them and on some of them I have to do that Lydiard lacing thing.  But once you have them on your feet, you know you’re going to run fast, even if only for a moment, before your body says, Um, hey dude, can we get a little warmup here?  Every run in them has been a real joy.  The firmness–mmmmmm, firmness–is right on and I always have the feeling of being almostbutnotquite barefoot.  When you’re jogging in the them, you feel connected to the ground, solid; when there’s some hauling of the ass, you feel like you’re above it.  They’re special, those Takumi Sen.  Kinda like in Spinal Tap when Nigel won’t let Meathead even look at his guitar.  It’s like that.  Don’t even look at them.
Except the white and pink color is fugly.  Really, I don’t know what adidas were thinking.  Not that they give a shit what I’m thinking, about the color anyway.  Just, I don’t know, awful.  Word on the street is that the TS were going to be discontinued in the US, maybe to make ASICS feel better from that terrible Tarther fiasco, I don’t know.  But it was probably because the color sucked and no one was buying.  That, and the $150 price tag, I don’t know.  But now they’re going to keep them around, and one hopes the color will be, you know, better.  The current Japanese market color is the yellow, kinda like the current Adios 2 here in the US, and I don’t know why we didn’t get that, because the yellow is, you know, better.
Like Mizuno, adidas would do well to bring in some other Japanese market models, maybe like the Takumi Ren, which makes me think of Ren and Stimpy.  Also, I think that a version of these bad girls with a blown rubber full contact outsole would be the shit, but then they couldn’t put the Continental rubber on there, and you gotta have the Continental rubber on there.  But if they never get around to making those changes, they’ve got a shoe that is one of the very best on the face of the planet, except for the color.  Really, the only way the Takumi Sen could be any better would be if Kayoko Fukushi hand delivered them to me and then we’d go for a run and after have omelets at the Omelettry and we’d just kind of laugh and not say anything, mostly because we don’t speak the same language.

9 responses to “adidas adizero Takumi Sen

  1. Hi John,
    Great review.
    What are your thoughts on the heel?
    They seem to be a little narrower compared to the adios 2.
    Do you need narrow feet to wear them.
    Or can you get away if your feet are fairly average or even slightly wider?
    Thanks again for all your great reviews.

  2. Thanks, Scott!
    The TS heel–compared to the Adios 2–might be a wee bit snug for people with wider feet. If your foot is closer to average, whatever that might be, then you’ll probably be ok. My foot is narrowish, and there are no issues, but I can see how a wider foot might not be as comfortable.
    Thanks again. Enjoy!

  3. This is an awesome review. And amusing. Congrats. Been running in Adios2 across the pond and when I heard about this shoe I seriously though about shipping them over via running warehouse. Fortunately I have tracked down the one shop in the Uk which stocks them. They have 30 pairs left. 2 in my size. Now to start saving…

  4. Pingback: 10k track run, Adidas Takumi Sen (see post below), PB Goals – thebeardedrunner·

  5. Hi John,
    Could you tell more about insole, please.
    I have Mizuno Ekiden and there is no real insole and arch support.
    It’s a real problem for race over 21K. How much more support do they have over the Ekiden or it’s same like Adios?

    Thank you for the answer and a great review!

    • Hi Oleg,

      The Takumi Sen is going to be, more or less, the same as the Ekiden. If you’re looking for something to go half marathon, and find those two just don’t quite do it, I think the Adios is a brilliant choice.

      Best of luck to you.

  6. Hey John. I know you are a big fan of both the Sayonara and the Takumi Sen and I was wondering if you could educate me on something real quick. Running Warehouse lists the TS as having 19mm – 25mm stack height and the Sayonara as having 14mm – 24mm. They list the TS as being minimal cushioning with a firm ride and the Sayonara as having moderate cushioning with a semi-firm ride. Considering the stack heights, can this be correct? Do the stack heights not translate to cushioning? Lastly, as a huge fan of both of these, which one would you choose for longish distances (1/2 to full marathons). Thanks for your thoughts and always enjoyable reviews.

    • Hi Eric.

      That’s a good question. I’m not sure of the stack heights exactly; I haven’t measured them myself. It is very likely that those numbers are right on. Warehouse does a good job with that stuff.

      I don’t pay much attention to the numbers, to be honest. It seems to me that there are so many components, so many variables, that the numbers are just part of it. Consider the density of the foam. What, if any, gizmos or proprietary cushioning or stability components are present? Weight? Flexibility? There are tons of things to note.

      I go by feel. It all comes down to feel, anyway.

      The TS is firmer, it is lower in the heel, relative to the forefoot, it is more responsive. It feels like a racer. The Sayonara, on the other hand, is a trainer. Some people will race in it, but it feels like a trainer to me. Definitely softer (though no where near marshmallowy), heavier, less responsive. It’s more shoe.

      And consider this: The Adios 2 is, by Warehouse numbers anyway, 24 and 15. And it feels more like the TS than the Sayonara. I’d do a full in the Adios, fo sho.

      Personally, I wouldn’t race in the Sayonara. It’s more shoe, and softer, than I’d want to race in. I don’t know if I’d go 42K in the TS, but I’d go half that. Ultimately, you have to put the shoes on and see for yourself. In your build up to the race, when you do a couple long tempos, see which one you notice least in the last part of the run. That’s the one I’d go with.

      If the shoe disappears on your foot, that’s good. If you have to think about it at any time, that’s not so good.

      Let me know what you choose and how things go!


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