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,, 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.

“Quick-Strike” outsole

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.

Candid shot

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, nor do I get anything for mentioning them.  I just have always had great experiences shopping with them.

Categories: Matt's Blog


Joshua · July 1, 2013 at 5:11 am

Followed a link from RRS here, after also reading your review posted on RW. If you love these shoes enough to spam the internet with glowing review of them without compensation I guess I should just man up and buy a pair.

Matthew Roberts · July 2, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Aha! So my shameless, self-promoting techniques to drive increased traffic are working! Too bad they drove the only person who actually visits my blog to view this…

JV · September 6, 2013 at 6:40 am


Tyler · April 11, 2014 at 8:22 am

Have you worn the Adidas Adizero Adios? If so, how do they compare to the Adidas AdiZero Takumi Sen? I see the specs regarding the weight of the Adidas AdiZero Takumi Sen are little lighter. I've worn the Adidas Adizero Adios, but not the Adidas AdiZero Takumi Sen. Love the narrow, glove-like feel, and responsive of the Adidas Adizero Adios; however, the newer version of the Adios appears be a bit roomier in the toe-box than it's predecessor.Thanks.

Matthew Roberts · April 11, 2014 at 8:46 am

Tyler, I have worn (and just reviewed) the Adios Boost (review here), but not the original Adios. The Adios Boost is a tiny bit heavier, a little roomier in the forefoot, and much softer than the Takumi Sen (but not so much that it feels slow). I actually like the Adios Boost more than the Takumi Sen, especially for longer races and workouts.

Gael Henville · April 11, 2014 at 9:44 am

Tyler, my perfect racer is the Adios which I wore right out of the box at the 2010 ING Miami 1/2. Prior, I ran in Nike and settled as nothing else quite felt right during my fittings. When I tried Adios on at the expo, my feet sang and although I went against every advice about racing in new shoes, I was thankful that I ended up with happy feet after my race. No blisters, soreness, shin splints, therefore, the Adios is my workhorse. I have also raced the Takumi Ren and Sen, very similar in feel, but I find them to be much lighter with an even faster response. If you are switching from the Adios to one of the Takumi's you will definitely need an adjustment for your longer runs/races as they push you to go out hard and fast in these. It was as if I was wearing nothing on my feet and I felt as if I was soaring. If you are not used to the drop in the heel, your calves, hammies and glutes will rebel on the next day. You go out long in them in a thinner sock, the soles of your feet may burn, therefore, I say resist the urge to go pelting ou the gate during the first few runs until you are have a great awareness of their feel/response. I also find the Rens/Sens to be stronger in their design, less breakdown on the heel, secure on most surfaces, pushes me to land mid-foot. I raced last year's Boston and Chicago in my Rens with no lingering issues. The Adios will always be my favorite with the Rens a close second.

Tyler · April 11, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Gael , thank you so much for the in-depth reply and advice. I may give the Adidas AdiZero Takumi Sen’s a test-drive and allow myself to get used to them. I agree (regarding the Adios), I’ve yet to find racer that brings out the pure joy, pain, and essence of smoothly moving forward. I love how well built Adidas shoes are also. Thanks again.

Tyler · April 11, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Matthew, thanks for the quick response and your respectable critique. I haven’t tried the boost, but may have to add that one to my arsenal Adios collection. I’ll check it out this weekend. Also, thanks for the image of comparisons regarding the Adios and Takumi Sen on the review link you provided. You guys/gals are hard core on this blog, so I knew came to the right source to request knowledge on the comparison of the Adios and Takumi Sen. And you’ve got upright taste in music genres. Again, thank you for your opinion.

Stephen Athon · April 25, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Just the question I was wanting answered – thank you!

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