Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 2 Review

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The Adidas Takumi Sen 3 is a remarkably nice shoe, with great cushioning and grip. It uses Adidas' Boost foam in the forefoot, which actually gives it more cushioning in the front than the back, something that's pretty unique. The outsole and the boost foam should give a longer life to this lightweight shoe. The Takumi Sen is Japanese, so it can be a little tricky to get hold of. The name means "An Artisan of The Highest Order," and the shoe does seem to have an unusual design aesthetic. There is no single part of the shoe that is radically different from any other, but the overall impression is of a shoe from a different culture. (This is a little strange given that Adidas is German, not Japanese.) I rate the Takumi Sen as "Highly Recommended." (I use The Science of Running Shoes as the basis of how I test running shoes and what you should look for in a running shoe.)

Addidas TakumiSen 3 top
Addidas TakumiSen 3 bottom
Addidas TakumiSen 3 inside
Addidas TakumiSen 3 outside

1 Characteristics

  • Why you’d buy it. If you're okay with running in high heels, then this is an excellent shoe, combining good cushioning with light weight. Its grip on asphalt, even wet asphalt makes it a good choice for speedwork. longevity
  • Cushioning . The Takumi Sen is cushioned with a combination of traditional EVA foam, with a section of Adidas' "Boost" foam under the forefoot. The result is a shoe with more cushioning in the forefoot than the heel, something unique in my experience. Unlike earlier versions, the cushioning is good enough to improve Running Economy, and while it's cushioning/weight ratio is not as good as the best, it's still a nice ride. The Boost foam in the forefoot has a nice spring to it, and it should last much longer than normal foam.
  • Drop. The Takumi Sen midsole height is 17mm/21mm for a 4mm drop, which stays the same when the shoe is worn. This is a low enough drop that I don't feel like I'm running in high heels.
  • Structure. While the Takumi Sen has two different foams, these are not designed to interfere with your biomechanics, just focus the cushioning on the forefoot. Adidas' "torsion system" links the forefoot and heel, but I'm not sure this has any effect (good or bad.) There's no noticeable "arch support" to cause pressure on the plantar fascia.
  • Flexibility. The Takumi Sen is a little less flexible than you'd expect for a lightweight shoe, but this manifests itself as a little bit of toe off spring rather than just deadening your foot movement.
  • Outsole. The outsole covers most the contact surface, and the forefoot has hard plastic "nubs" that provide wonderful grip on asphalt. These plastic nubs are awesome for speedwork, especially in damp conditions. The rubber on the extreme edge of the heel and toe is by Continental tires and is quite sticky. Overall this is one of the best outsoles I've come across.
  • Shape. The shape of the Takumi Sen does not match the human foot, and the toe box needs cutting open to prevent toe problems. (I recommend cutting open the toe box of virtually all running shoes, with the exception of a few shoes like some Altra shoes. When you have some worn out shoes, you should try cutting open the toe box. I've found that it's a big improvement, allowing my toes to move naturally and engage for toe off, as well as reducing the possibility of blisters.)
  • Upper. The upper is much more substantial than you'd expect in a lightweight shoe. The material seems rather thick, but the open weave is quite breathable. The upper is inflexible but reasonably comfortable, and I don't expect the few seams or reinforcement patches to cause any problems. There is no padding except a little around the soft ankle opening.
  • Tongue. The tongue is not padded, but made of material that's a little thicker than many lightweight shoes. The tongue design is traditional, with no attachments to the upper along the sides, but it has a loop to attach it to the laces. I found the tongue stayed in place fine.
  • Lacing. The Takumi Sen has traditional flat laces that stay tied.
  • Heel Counter. The heel counter is far more solid than I'd like, but it doesn't come up all the way, so it shouldn't dig in. While heal counters are pretty useless, at least this one is relatively harmless.

2 Comparisons

The Takumi Sen doesn't have any close competition from the other shoes I've tested. Its combination of light weight, stiffness, high grip and firm midsole make it a little unusual.

2.1 Takumi Sen 3 and Takumi Sen 2

While they might appear similar, the version 2 and 3 are radically different to run in. The Takumi Sen 2 is really rather firm, to the point that I'd classify it as a minimalist shoe. The Takumi Sen 3 on the other hand is nicely cushioned, especially in the forefoot. Both have rather more substantial uppers than is the norm with a lightweight shoe.

Addidas TakumiSen 3 top
Addidas TakumiSen 3 bottom
Addidas TakumiSen 3 inside
Addidas TakumiSen 3 outside
Adidas Takumi Sen top
Adidas Takumi Sen bottom
Adidas Takumi Sen inside
Adidas Takumi Sen outside

2.2 Takumi Sen 3 and Asics Gel Hyper Speed

The Takumi Sen is a little heavier than the Asics Gel Hyper Speed which is a major strike against it. However, it offers better forefoot cushioning and better grip. I also expect it to last much longer unless you heel-strike heavily. The decision between the two shoes mainly depends on how much you want forefoot cushioning over heel cushioning; the Takumi Sen has more in the forefoot, the Hyper Speed more in the heel. In terms of outright performance, the Hyper Speed has a slight edge due to its lower weight, but the extra grip of the Takumi Sen might compensate.

Addidas TakumiSen 3 top
Addidas TakumiSen 3 bottom
Addidas TakumiSen 3 inside
Addidas TakumiSen 3 outside
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 top
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 bottom
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 inside
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 6 outside

2.3 Takumi Sen 3 and Hoka Clifton

The Takumi Sen and the Clifton are not really competitors; the Clifton is about 40% heavier and provides massively more cushioning. If you're after cushioning then the Clifton is the best choice, and nothing comes close, not even the Takumi Sen.

Addidas TakumiSen 3 top
Addidas TakumiSen 3 bottom
Addidas TakumiSen 3 inside
Addidas TakumiSen 3 outside
Hoka OneOne Clifton top
Hoka OneOne Clifton bottom
Hoka OneOne Clifton inside
Hoka OneOne Clifton outside

2.4 Takumi Sen 3 and New Balance RC5000v2

While the Takumi Sen is lighter than many shoes, it's actually 65% heavier than the New Balance RC5000v2. The Takumi Sen offers more forefoot cushioning, but the ultralight RC5000v2 actually offers more cushioning in the heel. While the Takumi Sen is a great shoe, it can't really compete with the outrageously good RC5000v2.

Addidas TakumiSen 3 top
Addidas TakumiSen 3 bottom
Addidas TakumiSen 3 inside
Addidas TakumiSen 3 outside
New Balance RC5000 v2 top
New Balance RC5000 v2 bottom
New Balance RC5000 v2 inside
New Balance RC5000 v2 outside

2.5 Takumi Sen 3 and Asics GT 2000

I tend to compare shoes against my benchmark "normal running shoe", the Asics GT 2000. The GT 2000 weights 70% more than the svelte Takumi Sen, but the cushioning is nearly the same. The GT 2000 has a more padded upper, but the comfort is not as different as you might think. What the GT 2000 does give you that the Takumi Sen lacks is lots of over engineered attempts to manipulate your stride, attempts that The Science of Running Shoes indicates are all in vain.

Addidas TakumiSen 3 top
Addidas TakumiSen 3 bottom
Addidas TakumiSen 3 inside
Addidas TakumiSen 3 outside
Asics GT2000 top
Asics GT2000 bottom
Asics GT2000 inside
Asics GT2000 outside

3 Cushioning and Shoes

It's intuitively obvious that the cushioning in a shoe will reduce the impact on your body when running. However, The Science of Running Shoes indicates that the reality is rather more complex. While slight cushioning may reduce the effort needed to run by improving your Running Economy, most scientific research indicates that more cushioning does further improve Running Economy. In addition, cushioning does not generally reduce impact and may actually increase it. This is counterintuitive, but is likely to be due to the way a runners mind and body adapts to softer cushioning. Unfortunately, the scientific evidence is far from complete and it's hard to give clear recommendations. I believe that some runners will prefer more cushioning, while others prefer less, and typically those running further have a fondness for greater cushioning. I also believe that a shoe should be as light as possible, and a shoe should justify its weight with the cushioning it provides. My advice is to decide what level of cushioning you're looking for, and then find the lightest shoes that also fit well and are comfortable.

4 Visualizing the Attributes of the Adidas Takumi Sen

How Adidas Takumi Sen compares showing rearfoot cushioning against the performance penalty of its weight. Upper right is better.
How Adidas Takumi Sen compares showing forefoot cushioning against the performance penalty of its weight. Upper right is better.
How Adidas Takumi Sen compares showing the price against the benefit (cushioning/performance penalty). Upper left is better.
How Adidas Takumi Sen compares showing the loaded drop against the benefit (cushioning/performance penalty). Upper left is better.

5 A Comparison with other Recommended Shoes


If you're looking for "the best of the best" running shoe, here are my top picks. Of course, the answer will depend a little on what you're looking for, so I have recommendations for various categories.

  • Best All Round Shoe. The Altra Escalante is my current all-round favorite. It has plenty of cushioning for its weight, it has a very springy midsole, it lasts well, and it has a shape that's closer to the shape of a human foot than most shoes. It's a great shoe for any runner, including those Starting to run. It's also a fairly easy shoe to find due to its popularity.
  • Best Maximalist Shoe: If you want something massively cushioned, then I'd recommend the Saucony Kinvara 8. It's remarkably light and remarkably cushioned, beating Hoka at their own game.
  • Best Optimal Shoe: For those looking to trade cushioning for speed, the Nike Zoom Streak LT is my top pick. There are lots of great optimal running shoes, which provide just enough cushioning with light weight and minimal frills. The Streak LT doesn't have the best cushioning-to-weight ratio, but it has a shape that's closer to the human foot than most running shoes and it's one of the longest lasting shoes I've found. It's not as comfy as the Escalante above, but it's faster.
  • Fastest Shoe: If you really want speed, then check out the Nike Vaporfly 4%. It's light, massively cushioned, and has a carbon fiber plate. Nothing comes close, not even the now defunct New Balance RC5000‏‎ or New Balance RC5000v2‏‎. There are a number of caveats; it's really expensive, it's really hard to find, and there's a significant injury risk.
  • Best Minimalist Shoe: Merrell Trail Glove. I recommend the trail glove for road running in spite of the 'trail' moniker. It's not a fast shoe by any means, but it's comfortable and will last well.
  • All Terrain Shoe. I don't generally review trail running shoes, but check out the Hoka Mafate if you're after a shoe with remarkable abilities on a wide range of surfaces. If you want a Hiking Boot, then I love the Hoka Tor Ultra.
  • Honorable Mention: It's not really a running shoe, but the Vivobarefoot Ra is comfortable, minimalist and can more or less pass as a dress shoe. I've worn mine to weddings with a suit and they've not looked out of place. You can run in the Ra, but the leather means it doesn't breathe well.

For a more detailed on running shoes see the Recommendations for Best Running Shoes. This table lists the key attributes of What to Look for in Running Shoes. For more detailed information, on the shoes see detailed shoe comparison.

Full Review

Brand Name Rating Recommended
Benefit Weight
Loaded Drop
Cushioning Flexibility
Saucony Type A6 Review Saucony A6 Highly Recommended $100 8.2 6.1 9.5 17 21 4 5.0 7
Adidas Adios Boost 2 Review Adidas Adios Worth considering $140 4.7 8.6 13.4 17 27 11 4.0 6
Hoka Bondi 5 Review Hoka Bondi Recommended $150 6.1 11.6 18.1 38 42 5 7.1 2
Hoka Clayton 2 Review Hoka Clayton2 Highly Recommended $150 9.1 8.3 12.9 23 28 1 7.5 5
Hoka Clifton 4 Review Hoka Clifton4 Worth considering $130 7.7 9.3 14.5 30 35 10 7.2 3
On Cloudracer Review On Cloud Cloudracer Worth considering $130 5.7 8.2 12.8 19 27 5 4.7 7
Mizuno Wave Cruise Review Mizuno Cruise Worth considering $120 6.6 5.9 12.5 17 20 7 3.9 6
Newton Distance IV Review Newton Distance Worth considering $155 7.5 9.1 14.2 26 31 3 6.8 5
Asics Gel DS Racer 10 Review Asics DS Racer Worth considering $110 8.2 7.0 10.9 21 26 6 5.8 5
Mizuno Wave Ekiden 8 Review Mizuno Ekiden Worth considering $115 5.7 5.7 14.6 13 18 6 3.2 8
Saucony Endorphin 2 Review Saucony Endorphin 2 Worth considering $115 8.0 5.1 9.6 15 13 -1 4.1 8
Adidas Energy Boost Review Adidas Energy Worth considering $160 7.2 10.0 15.6 20 30 7 7.2 5
Altra Escalante Review Altra Escalante Best of the Best $130 9.1 8.7 13.5 28 25 -1 7.9 6
Saucony Fastwitch Review Saucony Fastwitch Highly Recommended $90 9.5 7.1 11.1 20 22 4 6.8 7
Topo Fli-Lyte 2 Review Topo Fli-Lyte2 Highly Recommended $100 6.7 9.1 14.2 24 26 3 6.1 5
Saucony Freedom Review Saucony Freedom Recommended $160 5.4 10.7 16.6 25 29 3 5.8 6
Skechers GORun 4 Review Skechers GORun Not recommended $100 6.1 7.5 11.7 15 23 3 4.5 7
Skechers GOrun Ultra 2 Review Skechers GRU Worth considering $90 7.5 10.0 15.6 28 34 8 7.5 4
Asics GT 2000 Review Asics GT 2000 Not recommended $120 4.8 11.2 17.4 28 35 5 5.4 2
New Balance Hanzo S Review New Balance Hanzo Worth considering $110 7.6 6.9 10.7 21 19 2 5.2 5
Hoka Hupana Review Hoka Hupana Recommended $115 6.1 8.9 13.9 31 36 7 5.4 4
Asics Gel Hyper Speed 7 Review Asics Hyper Speed Highly Recommended $75 10.9 6.3 9.8 22 26 5 6.8 6
Altra Instinct 4.0 Review Altra Instinct 4.0 Worth considering $120 6.0 9.8 15.3 29 25 -1 5.9 5
Asics Tarther Kainos 3 Review Asics Kainos Worth considering $130 10.0 6.9 10.7 17 27 9 6.8 6
Saucony Kinvara 8 Review Saucony Kinvara 8 Best of the Best $110 9.3 8.6 13.4 26 31 3 8.0 5
Nike LunarSpider R5 Review Nike LunarSpider Recommended $125 6.9 6.7 10.4 17 21 3 4.6 6
Hoka Mafate Speed Review Hoka Mafate Best of the Best $170 7.6 11.9 18.5 39 40 4 9.0 1
Pearl Izumi EM Road N0 v2 Review Pearl N0 Highly Recommended $100 7.9 6.5 10.1 14 20 4 5.2 8
Saucony Nomad Review Saucony Nomad Worth considering $110 4.3 10.5 17.2 25 27 2 4.5 4
Hoka Odyssey Review Hoka Odyssey Highly Recommended $130 8.5 9.4 14.6 37 45 5 8.0 3
Altra One 3.0 Review Altra One Recommended $100 6.1 8.8 13.7 23 23 0 5.4 6
Asics Piranha SP 5 Review Asics Piranha Recommended $100 10.1 4.2 6.5 11 15 3 4.2 9
Brooks PureFlow 5 Review Brooks PureFlow Worth considering $110 6.0 9.7 15.1 26 29 5 5.8 8
Salming Race Review Salming Race Worth considering $130 6.9 6.5 10.1 16 19 4 4.5 6
New Balance RC1600 v2 Review New Balance RC1600 Highly Recommended $110 8.8 5.6 8.7 15 21 5 4.9 8
New Balance RC5000v2 Review New Balance RC5000v2 Best of the Best $125 14.2 4.0 6.2 13 21 6 5.7 7
Skechers GoRun Ride 3 Review Skechers Ride Worth considering $85 5.9 8.5 13.2 18 28 6 5.0 8
Nike RN Distance 2 Nike RNDist2 Review Pending $120 8.0 9.2 14.3 25 28 4 7.4 7
Inov-8 RoadXTreme 220 Review Inov-8 RXT-220 Worth considering $120 5.2 8.0 18.2 14 17 3 4.2 8
Topo ST-2 Review Topo ST-2 Highly Recommended $90 8.2 7.3 11.4 20 18 0 6.0 7
Hoka Stinson Lite Review Hoka Stinson Highly Recommended $160 7.3 11.6 18.1 35 40 6 8.5 0
Nike Zoom Streak LT 3 Review Nike Streak LT Best of the Best $80 8.8 5.4 8.4 16 21 4 4.8 5
Adidas Takumi Sen 3 Review Adidas Takumi Sen 3 Highly Recommended $160 7.7 6.6 10.2 17 21 4 5.1 5
Altra Torin 2.0 Review Altra Torin Worth considering $125 5.8 9.6 14.9 28 25 -1 5.5 4
Hoka Tracer Review Hoka Tracer Recommended $130 7.2 7.4 11.5 21 24 2 5.3 5
Merrell Trail Glove 4 Review Merrell Trail Glove 4 Best of the Best $100 3.4 8.4 23.8 13 13 0 2.8 10
Topo Tribute Review Topo Tribute Recommended $100 5.9 7.3 11.4 20 18 -1 4.3 6
Mizuno Wave Universe 5 Review Mizuno Universe Highly Recommended $125 10.7 3.1 10.6 9 12 1 3.3 9
Merrell Vapor Glove 3 Review Merrell Vapor Glove 3 Highly Recommended $85 2.1 6.1 27.6 6 5 0 1.3 10
Nike Vaporfly 4% Review Nike Vaporfly Best of the Best $250 10.4 7.2 11.2 25 37 8 7.5 2
New Balance Vazee Pace Review New Balance Vazee Pace Worth considering $110 6.0 8.6 13.4 18 24 6 5.2 5
Asics TartherZeal 3 Review Asics Zeal Worth considering $140 10.9 6.3 9.8 17 27 9 6.8 6
Saucony Zealot 3 Review Saucony Zealot3 Recommended $130 8.9 9.5 14.8 29 32 4 8.5 6
Nike Zoom Fly Review Nike Zoom Fly Worth considering $150 8.3 8.7 13.5 29 36 8 7.2 3

It's not a running shoe, but I love the Hoka Tor Ultra hiking boot and I've tested the Altra Lone Peak Boot, the Hoka Tor Speed 2, and the Inov-8 Roclite 325 hiking boots
Older shoe reviews: Saucony Hattori Review, Mizuno Cursoris Review, Skechers GO Bionic 2 Review, Hoka Clifton Review, Saucony Virrata 2 Review, Brooks PureCadence 3 Review, Brooks PureConnect 3 Review, Brooks PureFlow 3 Review, Skechers GO Bionic 2 Review, New Balance 980 Review, Brooks Transcend 2 Review, Hoka Huaka Review, Patagonia EVERlong Review, Asics 33-DFA Review, Hoka Conquest Review, Saucony Cortana Review, Puma Faas 100 R Review, Saucony Fastwitch Review, Nike Free Review, Asics Gel Lyte 33 Review, Skechers GOmeb Speed Review, Skechers GOrun Ultra Road Review, Nike LunaRacer Review, Altra Paradigm Review.