Finding the perfect marathon flat has been a lifelong quest of mine. I don’t think I have worn the same flat for more than two marathons before. For a while I thought I had found a shoe that was just the right mixture of cushioning and responsiveness in the Adidas AdiZero LT, but sadly, they were discontinued. Then the Puma RoadRacer 4 seemed to work well, but again are not in production any more. I wore the New Balance 1600s for my last two marathons, and while they feel great for shorter races, they give me blisters on the balls of my feet after 12 miles or so.
So, with Grandma’s marathon looming just a few weeks away, I plumbed the depths of the internet in search of the perfect racing flat, one that would whisk me to a 2:39 marathon. I turned to my favorite website, www.runningwarehouse.com, but was disappointed upon my initial search. I needed a neutral shoe, preferably under 8 ounces, with a low heel-to-toe drop. At first I did not think I would find anything, but then a shoe caught my eye. I had overlooked it at first due to its price tag ($135), but I vowed to do anything to get me to a sub-2:40 marathon, so I clicked on the Adidas AdiZero Takumi Sen.
|Ain’t they beautiful?|
Two days later (free two-day shipping? Yes please!), they arrived at my door. True to what I had read in the reviews, they are certainly pink. Not red, not light red, pink. Luckily, I am a man who is comfortable in my sexuality, and I look pretty dashing in pink. I wore them around the house for a few minutes, and they felt good. They have a typical Adidas racing fit: fairly narrow, with no extra padding in the heel collar or midfoot to add weight. The forefoot seemed a bit sloppy, though, which was concerning. In order to get a secure fit, I had to lace them tight enough that some of the fabric over the toes bunched up a bit. Not a lot, but enough to give me pause (but not paws, because I am a human). Still, as I sauntered around my house, they felt pretty good.
|I love the smell of new running shoes in the morning!|
The outsole has a weird stucco-like pattern that I have experienced before and was not a huge fan of previously. However, this material seems more grippy than previous flats, and should offer some good traction, even of wet roads. There are the extra eyelets at the top of the shoe for those of us with narrow heels who need to employ the lace-lock technique for a snugger heel fit.
|Note slight wrinkling around toebox|
Last Wednesday came the acid test. I wore them for a workout of 2x 4 miles at 5:45 pace for 12 miles total. I figured this would be a great initial test, because it was both long enough and fast enough to get a feel for them at speed and for an extended period of time. Ont he warmup, the shoes felt good, but I didn’t forget I was wearing them. Then again, knowing that I would be writing this review, I was most likely paying more attention to them than usual. Once the pace work began, though, my doubts disappeared. Immediately, I could understand why these shoes are so popular with the Japanese marathoners.
The best word to describe them would be “responsive.” You can feel the ground, but they are not so firm that it feels like running on bricks. I experimented with both a heel-strike and landing more midfoot, and they felt great both ways. I’m not sure if it’s just the type of foam they use, or the “Torsion System,” but I felt like my toe-off was quicker and stronger with these shoes. Whether or not this is an actual behavior, I felt fast in these shoes, and they were obviously made for quick running.
At the culmination of the workout, I literally had forgotten I was wearing these shoes. They disappeared in my mind, and that is the hallmark of a great shoe. Not once did I feel a single hot-spot or blister start to form, and the wrinkling of the upper that had concerned me before was not an issue in the slightest. The heel and midfoot were snug enough to keep my foot in place, while the wider toebox prevented my toes from rubbing against any of the upper.
To compare them to other flats, they definitely feel very similar to my beloved Adidas AdiZero LTs. The Takumi Sens feel a little lighter and more flexible, but the fit is close. There is more room in the toebox than the New Balance 1600s, although they are close in weight (6.1 for the Adidas to 5.6 for the New Balance) and feel. They are firmer than the Brooks Green Silence, and fit snugger as well. They feel almost exactly like a heavier duty Adidas AdiZero PR.
I definitely think they will work for me. If you are looking for a light, responsive flat and don’t need any stability or a ton of cushioning, you might want to give these shoes a try. The price tag is steep, but in my opinion, the way these shoes feel is worth it. They make it so easy to want to go fast in them.
Note: I am not affiliated with runningwarehouse.com, nor do I get anything for mentioning them. I just have always had great experiences shopping with them.