Monday, January 03, 2022

adidas adizero Takumi Sen 8 Multi Tester Review: Very Light, High Stacked, Shorter Distances Road Race "Flat" 15 Comparisons

Article by Jeremy Marie, Jamie Hershfang, Michael Ellenberger, and Ryan Eiler, and Matt Crehan

Editor’s Note: We are thrilled to welcome Matt Crehan to the RTR Test Team. Matt lives in the UK where he owns a running store. In 2021 he won the Manchester Marathon in a PR 2:18.23 as well as the Liverpool Marathon. His full bio is below.

adizero Takumi Sen 8 ($180)


Jeremy: Continuing their total revamp of the whole adizero and Adios line, each getting a massive overhaul, Adidas ends its ‘21 streak with the new Takumi Sen 8.

Still marketed as a 5/10k racer (and used already used to set world road records), the 8th edition gains lots of stack height (8mm more at the heel, 10mm at the front) over the prior traditional “race flat” Takumi Sen 7 (RTR Review).  It exclusively uses the new Lightstrike Pro super foam as already seen in others 2021 models, sometimes mixed with the Lightstrike.

Adidas shoes never appeal that much to me on paper, but it ended up as the brand I had the most road shoes from, be it Bostons, Adios, SL20, and now the Takumi - and I must say that I almost always appreciated them as they seem to fit well with my preferences.

After the Adios 6 ended as my favorite roadshoe of 2021 with its combination of snapiness, comfort, smoothness, durability, affordability, I was eager to test the super Takumi Sen 8 which looks like a pared down Adios Pro 2 (LS Pro foam, Energy roads upfront, but no rear plate).

Jamie: To be honest, I haven’t been a big Adidas fan the past few years. I used to love the original Adizero Adios in the pre Boost days as a faster daily trainer. Then came along the whole Boost line, and now Adidas came out with Lightstrike Pro and regular. They completely revamped their performance lines to find the best combinations of weight and responsiveness. I was pretty impressed with the performance of the Adios Pro 2, and found the Takumi Sen 8 to be the little sister. At a very significant lower stack height of 33mm heel  27mm forefoot and drop of 6mm vs. the Pro 2 at 39.5mm heel /29.5mm forefoot with a 10mm drop, with the same snappy feel and a more stable platform, the Takumi Sen 8 seemed like a perfect fit. 

Michael: The Adidas Adios Pro 1  - even more than the VaporFly - was my go-to "cheater" shoe. No matter the workout or long run (or race, though I’m now on a New Balance team), I knew the Adios Pro would make it a good one. So, naturally, I was immensely excited when the Takumi Sen 8 was announced, and even more so when it showed up on my doorstep (on the heels of its predecessor, no less, which we just reviewed this fall!). But does it live up to its big brother?

Ryan: From the start, the Takumi Sen 8 has its work cut out for it. It deviates radically from its high-performing predecessor which had a far lower stack, firmer Lightstrike foam, and a grippy profiled outsole.. 

Instead it tries to make a life for itself in the shadow of the world-renowned Adios Pro – one of my all-time favorites. 

Would the giant midsole cutout function like the void found in the Adios Pro 2 or the Nike Alphafly? 

The decision to roll out a “shortened” version with Lightstrike Pro certainly had me both curious and excited.

Matt: Though owning a running store and being a training partner and good friend with my adidas sales rep, adidas is the one brand I’ve never really worn.  There was a racing flat of my dad’s that I wore for a couple of races when I first started running and that he’d had since the late 90’s. But watching the Tinman Elite videos this last year got me tempted to pick up a pair of Adidas Boston 10 and then having tried and tested more or less all of its carbon competitors I picked up a adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2 last month, but I’ve not had enough time to train and test them yet having only recently returned from my end of season break. So with me still hunting for that elusive sub 14 minute 5km, when I heard about the new iteration of the Takumi Sen 8 I knew I had to give it a chance at helping me try and scrape those remaining 18 seconds off the board. 


  • Nice fitting upper, paper-thin yet holds the foot nicely, and a roomy toebox without any looseness (Jeremy)

  • Heel hold is equally as good without a heel counter and minimal padding (Jeremy)

  • As light as it can be (Jeremy) (Jamie) (Michael) (Ryan) (Matt)

  • Bouncy midsole, compresses and then pushes back without excessive rebound. (Jamie) (Michael) (Ryan) (Matt)

  • Continental outsole compound still as good, and the outsole pattern looking like race-car tyres just sticks to the ground. (Jeremy) (Matt)

  • Very smooth and natural feeling, Energy rods add a bit of snap but remain flexible. (Jeremy) (Jamie) (Ryan) (Matt)

  • More stable around turns at faster paces (Jamie) (Michael) (Matt)


  • Lacing might take a bit of time to get right (and so many lace holes!) (Jeremy) (Jamie) (Michael) (Ryan)

  • Upper feels insecure over longer distances (Jamie) (Michael) (Ryan)

  • Can feel a bit unstable at slower paces, especially for heel strikers (Jeremy) (Matt)

  • The midsole lacks a bit of structure or firmness in order to use the shoes for longer races (Jeremy) (Jamie) (Ryan)

  • Durability of the very thin outsole layer (despite it should not be the most exposed area) (Jeremy)


Weight: men's 6.8 oz / 192g (US9) 

  Samples: men’s  6.5 oz  / 184g US8.5, 7.12 oz / 202g US10.5

Stack Height: 33mm heel / 27 mm forefoot, 6mm drop

$180. Available now including at our partner Running Warehouse here

Tester Profiles

Matt is the owner of Made to Run an independent running store based between Manchester and Liverpool in the UK, which he runs alongside his mother Susan who competed in the 1987 Rome World Championships 10,000m and 1988 Seoul Olympic Marathon for Great Britain. So with running in the family, Matt has high goals of replicating what his mother did and having raced at the national level over in the UK for the last 15 years, Matt made a further step towards his goal on his 30th birthday when he won the 2021 Manchester Marathon in 2:18.23, followed two weeks later by winning the Liverpool Rock N Roll Marathon. Matt also has PR's for the 5km -14:18, 10km  - 30:11 and HM - 65:28. Matt's next goal will be to try and run the 2022 Commonwealth Games Qualifying standard in the marathon over at the Seville Marathon in February. 

Average weekly mileage ranges between 80-100 miles, easy-paced runs between 6:30-7:00 min/mile Best session 40x400m av. 70 seconds, longest run 30 miles, highest mileage week 145 miles. Age: 30, Height: 5ft 10, Weight: 11st. / 154 lbs.

Matt is also the author of The Art of Running , a graphic novel about legendary runner Steve Prefonatine. Instagram - GoCre91

Jeremy French, 40y/o. Running since 2013 and quickly transitioned to trails, focused on ultras since 2015 : TDS, Maxi-Race, “100 miles du Sud”, 90kms du Mt Blanc, GRP 120kms, Some shorter mellow races (Saintelyon 45kms, Ecotrail Paris 45kms…) with always in the mix road and flat running, but not many road races. Recovery/easy runs ~4’45/km - 4’30/km 

Jamie is 29 years old and currently running 100+ miles per week. She has run many marathons, with a PR of 2:49 and has recently moved up to the ultra distances. She completed a solo 100k in 7:36:40 and set the Chicago Lakefront Trail FKT. In 2021 she was the fastest US woman on roads for 50 miles with a  time of 6:07:11. She is training to qualify to represent team USA at a world championship. Outside of training, she is the store manager at Fleet Feet Lakeview in Chicago.

Michael is a 2019 graduate of Northwestern University Law School in Chicago and is a patent and intellectual property attorney. Prior to law school, he competed collegiately at Washington University in St. Louis (10,000m PR of 30:21). He recently finished 2nd at the Chicago Half-Marathon in a PR of 67:43,.. He has a 2:23 marathon PR (2nd place) from the 2021 Lakefront Marathon in Wisconsin.

Ryan Eller A hopeless soccer career led Ryan to take up running, and after taking a decade-long break from competing, he is back racking up mileage whenever he can.  He calls the 2018 Boston Marathon the hardest race of his life, where he finished in 2:40, barely remembering his name at the finish line.  More recently he has solo time trialed the 2020 super shoes, often sub 15 minutes for 5K and in 2021 marathon had PR’s of 2:27 at the Maine Marathon and 1:09 for the half marathon.

First Impressions and Fit

Jeremy: Having purchased the black & white color scheme, the Takumi 8 looks like a twin sister to the Adios 6, with the same outcome: a classic-classy appearance that always looks good in my opinion. Understated colors that will stand the test of time.

The three large stripes on the external side are as iconic a logo as can be and make the shoe recognizable as coming from Adidas stable.

The Takumi Sen do not have an easy step in,  requiring loosening the laces by quite a large amount; and this along with laces that do not slide easily through their holes.

Once in, the fit of the shoe is top notch. The midfoot is nicely held despite the lack of elasticity, and the many laces holes have an advantage: you’re able to fine tune the lacing at several points. It might not be as elegant as a perfectly executed stretchy mesh upper like the one in Salomon Pulsar of Nike Zoom Tempo Next, but it remains efficient and minimizes the risk of a “non-fitting” upper for certain foot shapes.

The first steps with the Takumi were  fun: even when walking I can feel the foam compressing underfoot and eager to push back. The glass fiber Energy Rods remain almost unfelt while walking, allowing one tp keep a natural foot roll and conserving lots of flex. Watch my video below to see the effect.

Jamie: After running in all the recent marathon racing super shoes , I was very intrigued by the lower stack height that provided the same lightweight, responsive feel, but felt much more stable. The lacing and upper is my least favorite part. It takes a while to feel like you have just the right fit. The heel counter is very flimsy and makes it hard to slide the foot into the shoe. However, once you find the right lockdown, it is a fun ride that makes you want to run farther and test them over all distances.

Michael: Just weeks after testing the TK7, the TK8 arrives and it’s… different - probably as different as back-to-back generations of shoes can be (topping even the New Balance Rebel v1 to v2!). And while I was a big fan of the TK7, the TK8 had so much hype around it that I was keen to replace its predecessor and move on to the plated world.

Ryan: Before I even tried the Takumi Sen 8 on, my instinct was to assume that this would be a ‘lite’ version of the Adios Pro. 

A Lightspeed Pro midsole, Celermesh upper, and similar outsole had me thinking this would simply be a weight-shaving exercise. I’ll avoid giving too much away up front, and instead say that the truth wasn’t as simple as these first assumptions. In crafting this TK8, it’s clear that Adidas scrapped its predecessor almost entirely. The only similarity between the 7 & 8 appeared to be the high quality hold their uppers provide.


In this version, the tongue is firmly tacked down around the second eyelet down, which makes it tough to get on. The heel box’s flimsiness was actually a big help in getting the shoe on and seated properly. But such a struggle pays off once on and laced up, as the lockdown scores a 9 out of 10. Despite this minimally structured heel, it resists stretching and provides the necessary hold for faster running. As has been the case with most recent high performance shoes from Adidas, the fit was right on the money.

Matt: Having the black and white colourway, the Sen 8 had the classic and striking appearance Adidas is well known for and it’s lower stack (compared to recent marathon super shoes)  and lightweight non-structured upper had me reminiscing about the  ‘pre-carbon wars’ racing shoe era of my Brooks Hyperion and Nike Lunar Racer. Though being a frequent ankle roller the less structured heel and ankle collar did leave me concerned on first impressions. Once putting the Sen 8 on my foot I quickly realised this wasn’t something to be worried about as it hugged my ankle well and even more so when actually running at speed. However as the others mentioned, getting said shoe on your foot in the first place is a bit of a test in itself. 

Worth noting I did get my standard UK10/ US10.5 and found there to be perhaps a little bit too much room in the length for my liking for a shoe I planned to use for track efforts and 5/10km races.  


Jamie: The upper is paper thin and is what you would expect to find in a shorter distance racer. Over longer distances, it does tend to feel like there is something missing, perhaps a better lockdown. The lacing is my least favorite part of the shoe. It takes a while to find the right fit, and I had to stop a few times during a run to readjust. If tied too tightly, it creates a “lace bite” which isn’t something I would enjoy feeling mid race. However, for shorter, faster runs, like 5k/10k as the shoe is intended, the upper is the perfect weight. It could just use some work with the lacing structure. 

Michael: Jermey has done a great job detailing the upper here, and while it is largely very, very good, I do think there are some nits to pick. For one thing, the laces are bad. Like, hard to adjust at all, very hard to get right, and damn near impossible to do on the fly with cold fingers. I shudder to think what would happen if you were in a race, gloveless, and one of these came untied… I think I’d be running barefoot from thereon out! So triple lace.

My other complaint - and again, I’m focusing on the negatives only because I don’t want to repeat how comfortable, light, and solid the upper is - is that the upper here is a step back (pun intended) from the Takumi Sen 7. The TK7 kept your foot fully, totally locked in. The TK8 does a good job, but seems to prioritize lightweightness over security, and that’s not necessarily the right move. Some will absolutely love the construction here (and hey, the TK8 is an overall faster shoe than the TK7), but I prefer the old upper.

Jeremy: Built from Celermesh, the upper contains a minimum of 50% recycled materials. Recycled material use is something Adidas is pushing more and more as a shoe’s spec, and I, for one, find this very good. Even the shoe box is marked as using recycled materials.

The upper is paper-thin, and it’s my first encounter with Celermesh. Transparent, airy, breathable, especially on the sides of the shoe under the Adidas logo, it is combined with a more traditional mesh on the front third of the shoe.

I find the midfoot lock very good, once you get the lacing right, which might take a little bit of time. Some overlays add structure on the midfoot part, and save from longer runs where it might lacka bit of support, I find it totally nice for the shoe’s intended usage: 5/10k, and up to half-marathon.

True to its Japanese racing flat roots, the Takumi Sen 8 combines this snug fitting midfoot with a roomy toe box allowing the toes to splay and perfectly play their role during push-of late stages.

The tongue is not gusseted, but is minimally stitched on two locations, one on the external side, near the top of the laces, and one on the medial side, lower down.

It is visible on the outside of the mesh thanks to the double sewing, which will help you figure out the location of these attachments.

As with the rest of the upper, it is a simple solution to a common issue and avoids any tongue sliding without putting in a double layer as is  often the case with a gusseted tongue.

The minimal and flexible heel counter does its job perfectly despite minimal padding. Combined with the snug-fitting midfoot, I’ve yet to face any heel slippage no matter the weight of the socks I wore. 

Composed of Celermesh at its base and two little pillows at the top, doubled with a suede-like material (in very…”Adidas” like fashion), it’s as comfortable and efficient as it is simple. There’s no more to ask for a short-race focused shoe.

The only gripe I have with the upper has to do with the lacing. Adidas traditionally uses many laces holes in their shoes, which allows one to fine tune the lacing in several locations. It proved to work quite well for me, but not so in the Takumi 8. I think it is due to the Celermesh upper which is very thin, the thin tongue, and the fact that the laces really don’t slide at all through their holes. It makes adjusting them quite cumbersome, and you can easily tighten them too much in some places, something you’ll only feel later in the run.

My advice is to take some time, at home and during the first runs, to really adjust the lacing to your liking and then, don’t touch it too much, even if putting the shoe on and off is a bit difficult! And don’t be afraid of a slightly loose-laces feeling, the upper has a nice foot-hold.

Ryan: This version of Celermesh has a fairly different construction than that of the Celermesh on the Adios Pro or the Takumi Sen 7. While it still capably holds the foot in place, it uses a highly perforated mesh as the base layer, upon which several laminates are applied to strengthen its hold. 

While I have no complaints about its lockdown, it feels somewhat overly engineered, leading me to prefer the more uniform construction of the Adios Pro’s upper, which doesn’t rely so heavily on laminates to get the job done. I’d argue that the hold and comfort of previous Celermesh designs is slightly superior to this one.

I’m going to join the other voices here, and agree that the lacing situation could use some improvement. It’s very tough to get dialed in, without the laces slipping, biting down, or twisting. Although the tongue is comfortable and stays in place well, it’s probably partly to be blamed for the lacing issues, and is prone to folding and scrunching up during lace-up.

Matt: My fellow reviewers have done a great job of detailing the overall design and feel of the upper. As I mentioned in my first impressions my biggest worry was the flimsy feeling heel and ankle collar but once on the foot they hugged the heel and ankle well and with the lockdown over the midfoot provided a great feel while running both at easy paces and during track efforts. 

One of the issues raised by others has been getting the lockdown of the laces right, well for me this perhaps slight short coming of the shoe came in handy during the middle of my track session in which I gave the Sen 8s a great test at speed. I had 5x2km to do all at 3:00 km/pace with 90 seconds recovery, after the first two repetitions, I felt my calves getting a little tight, so struggled to swap in my 90 seconds rest to my Nike Next%. Half way through that next effort I realized I’d made a big mistake and wanted the Sen 8’s back on my feet, the weakness of getting that lockdown right on the Sen 8’s laces allowed me to quickly swap back in under 30 seconds and give me a full minute to shake my legs off before my penultimate effort. 

The one negative of the upper for me is that after said track session, when removing the Sen 8 I found it had shredded my little toe and I was met with a very blood filled sock, two weeks post track session my little toe is still struggling to recover.  


Jamie: Compared to the Adios Pro, the Takumi Sen 8 does not have a rear carbon plate. The carbon rods stabilize the foot a decent amount, but mainly in the forefoot. The Takumi Sen 8 has an interesting mid foot gap that reduces weight but also affects stability at slower speeds. At faster paces, this isn’t noticeable and the carbon rods help transition the foot quicker. The wider platform provides a sense of stability compared to some narrower fitting racing flats. 

Michael: Perhaps I’m alone in thinking about this, but I noticed a lot of Adios Pro DNA trickling down here. The midsole is adequately fun and bouncy, and that Lightstrike Pro foam is a genuinely awesome compound. 

The EnergyRods, now exposed here in the TK8, do bring a little bit of anti-roll stability, but largely I didn’t notice them (in comparison to any other plating technology). That is, the big feature here is the midsole foam, as opposed to any carbon doping - but that doesn’t make the TK8 less fast! 

Jeremy: Composed of a single, thick slab of Lightstrike Pro foam, the Takumi Sen 8 midsole feels miles away from what we knew of 5k/10k racers - and especially from former Takumi models. Bouncy, responsive, flexible, soft - almost too soft for me - the shoes are far more protective than any traditional racer. They feel a lot like the Puma Liberate Nitro (RTR Review) which shares the same construction with a single layer of super foam: as bouncy and fun to run, just more cushioned here.

EnergyRods, the famous and killer-looking glass fiber rods visible under the Takumi, bring a tad of stability and snap to the shoes, but really just a tiny bit of it.

As independent rods, they don’t limit lateral movement (i.e movement in the width of the shoes), and someone with a lack of foot strength might want a bit more structure here as  the shoe remains very flexible laterally.

What they bring though is a bit of snap from the midfoot to the toe-off, but in a very gentle and subtle way. We’re quite far from plated-shoe with their very directed run and energetic pop-off once charged under load.

The forefoot is quite wide, although narrower than that of the Adios 6, and the shoe feels very stable if landing forefoot.

Hell striking does not feel as good and I feel some instability here, especially when easing up the pace where the shoe clearly isn’t at home.

I’ve yet to understand all the ins and outs of the deep midsole cutouts. Weight savings for sure, maybe adding flexibility (not so sure?), maybe directing the stride a bit more (but I wouldn't advise pronounced heel landings in these shoes…)

Ryan: This midsole feels far more like a tweaked and sculpted Adios Pro 1 midsole than anything else, so I agree with Michael’s sentiment. However, the cutouts and reduced overall stiffness of the shoe (as compared to the Adios Pro 1) made it feel less like one giant, monolithic trampoline, and more like a tool whose instruction manual you might want to read first. It demands that you keep your weight forward and your effort high in order to maximize its potential. The giant medial cutout, similar to that of the AP2, exposing its EnergyRods makes for a slightly less fluid transition, and although it doesn’t seem to detract from its raw performance it makes this shoe somewhat harder to manage.

I wasn’t able to figure out the purpose of the small lateral cutout in the forefoot, and I doubt anyone will notice it while running.

While the stack at 33mm heel / 27mm forefoot is substantial, especially for a 5k racer and 8mm higher at the heel and 11  mm more at the forefoot than the Takumi Sen 7 which has a traditional flat geometry and incidentally weighs only 0.4 oz less, it still provides a surprising amount of road feel through its soft Lightstrike Pro foam, which remains among my top-3 all-time favorite midsole compounds. Lightstrike Pro offers an ideal combination of propulsion and forgiveness when paired with stiffening rods or a plate, even if it requires some getting used to. What a unique midsole for a short-distance racer.

Matt : Though initial aesthetic impressions may have given me that reminiscent feeling of the pre super shoe era, the Sen 8 midsole of a solid slab of lightstrike pro with a rear stack of 33mm definitely doesn’t resemble the on the foot feeling of such shoes and instead fit perfectly into the super shoe market while targeting the shorter distances with its closer to the ground feeling. 

The midfoot gap which is becoming a staple of the most recent wave of Carbon Plated shoes again plays its role in reducing weight, but also reduces the stability something a 5/10km racing shoe requires more so than the marathon shoes due to the higher chances of tight turns and bends. This said I found the reduction in stability only really applied at my slower speeds and didn’t notice any effects on performance while running at interval and race paces.

The EnergyRods for me where the real game changer in the Sen 8, providing more flexibility than the carbon plates of other shoes when it came to running my track session mentioned earlier. I could actually feel the rods under my foot at speed and the recoil as they bent and sprang back into place through my toe off phase, giving the shoe a fantastic ride at speed. That being said at slower speeds they couldn’t be felt at all.


Jamie: The outsole features Continental rubber and has fairly good coverage throughout high impact areas.  The traction seems to do well on slick roads and track surfaces. After pounding the pavement for 50 miles, I am a little concerned about how durable this shoe might be. While it doesn’t show much wear quite yet, the thin layer of rubber seems like it has smoothed out fairly quickly. 

Whether you’re a heel striker, or mid foot, the shoe is a little slappy on the ground, and doesn’t quite have the rocker effect as some other carbon plated shoes which are often at a higher drop than the 6mm here. 

Michael: I had slight unease regarding the cutout on the lateral sides of the shoe, but didn’t necessarily notice it on the go, especially when running at tempo paces or faster. The medial side - branded with Continental rubber - is as good as a racing outsole can be, and this would be my pick for any wet or rainy road races. It’s that good.

Also, running beside Jamie for 20-something miles while she was wearing these, I can confirm there’s some mild “slapiness" at slower paces, but it’s nothing like the AlphaFly or Tempo Next%.

Jeremy: The outsole can be divided in two parts: The inside front third, which will undergo the most wear as a prefered strike zone and “final push off” area shares the same pattern as the Adios 6. 

It is a  substantial Continental rubber layer with ridges to help flexion,and tiny holes probably serve a weight-saving goal.

The other areas get a thin, slick layer of rubber. Those areas should be far less exposed and as a consequence, the layer of outsole is quite minimal there. Approaching 50kms I still can’t see any wear.

Let’s cut out any suspense here: as any other Continental outsole, the traction is second to none. I’ve tried to push it, taking turns at speed on wet pavement, but still have to get the tiniest of slides. The slick potions really work as race tires and give a perfect grip. I’m not really sure what purpose the holes can serve on those parts…the weight loss would be minimal…maybe to avoid hydroplaning?

Anyway, and a constant for Adidas shoes, the outsole eludes any criticism.

Ryan: A big step forward here is the patch of Continental rubber in the forefoot. While the Adios Pro uses thinner, largely treadless rubber up front, the slightly thicker, ridged rubber here works wonders. 

Grip at toe-off is very solid, even in wetter conditions. Whereas the AP suffers in the wet and quickly wears through the rubber near the toe, the TK8 provides noticeably better grip and will certainly last longer. Adidas carried over the climbing-esque thin rubber in the heel which gets the job done, especially considering that this isn’t a shoe for heel striking. A great outsole design all around.

Matt: My track session which was a big test for the shoe was done during a storm here in the UK, and having slipped and slid in pretty much every other Carbon Plated offering during wet track sessions over the last several years I expected nothing different. Well I was wrong, the Continental rubber gripped the track perfectly and even in my initial drive phase off the line I felt no slippage. Not being a fan of track spikes due to achilles injuries over the years, I only wish the Sen 8 was track legal for the coming British summer season. 


Jamie: The Takumi Sen 8 is the perfect ride for faster intervals where you’re looking for higher turnover, or 5k/10k races where you might be making lots of turns and need a more stable platform than a higher stack height super shoe. The mid foot isn’t stable enough for me over longer distances, but that’s not what the shoe was designed for. Anyone with fairly stable mechanics that want something more similar to a traditional racing flat than a higher stack super shoe, will really enjoy the ride of the Takumi Sen 8. 

Michael: I’ll concede that the TK8 is a terrific option for short distance racing, but (as I will cover in the comparisons), I don’t know that it wins my heart for anything other than a mile or 5K race. That is, while the TK8 is fast, agile, and nimble - even on tight corners, or a track - I would likely prefer the ultra-cushion of the Adios Pro for anything about 5K. Of course, for those who don’t like the feel of max stack (or don’t like the instability that comes from the 40-mm gang), the TK8 is plenty fast, and it’ll become a go-to workout shoe for me, undoubtedly. I just felt like I was getting Adios Pro-lite experience on most runs, as opposed to some otherwise improved performance.

Jeremy: The weight - or lack of it - make the Takumi perfect for fast intervals and shorts races. The cadence is easy to keep high, and the grip makes it perfect for fast turns no matter the weather. The stack height may feel a bit too much for racing flat “traditionalists” but it brings lots of comfort and makes the shoe much more versatile and leg saving, despite the loss in “direct harshness” that gives a sense of speed.

The result for me, is a very smooth and natural feeling ride, where, despite the stack height of the shoe, I can still feel that my feet have a role to play in my stride, something I lose with traditional plated-racers (Tempo Next%, Scott Carbon RC). Working on your running mechanics is always good, and I always encourage you to not to stick with overly inflexible, plated shoes.

The Takumis are focused towards short-distance races: they won’t boost running economy as well as other plated shoes on long races. But for someone with a strong foot, someone who likes to feel the flex of the shoe, the toe-off, the Takumi will be much more enjoyable to run.

Takumi is also quite versatile and handles easier paces nicely, as long as you don’t heel strike too much. I find it much more enjoyable than the Nike Tempo Next in this area. 

The feeling of instability may come from the deep midfoot cutout, or the slightly too soft foam combined with the 33mm heel stack height, and I don’t feel completely secure when heel striking the Takumi. And to be clear, when I say that the shoes can handle “easier paces”, I don’t mean “recovery paces” or “endurance paces”...I mean tempo paces, or marathon paces at the slowest. Which, for a 5/10k/HM dedicated shoe, is nice.

Ryan: I approached the TK8 thinking that it would be a favorite half-marathon shoe of mine, but I quickly reframed my thinking to instead view this as a short-distance racer. It serves up an interesting combination of features for such a shoe – while it shaves ounces and favors a forward-leaning stride, it offers unconventionally generous levels of protection and isn’t as stable as other 5-10k shoes. The carved out midsole doesn’t have as drastic of an effect on the ride as one might think, but I do think that it detracts slightly from the smoothness of the ride during transition.

As Michael points out, this shoe will probably slot into a fairly small subset of use cases. The previous generation TK7 provides better lockdown and outsole grip, and the Adios Pro is likely better for anything over 10k. The best way I can think to contrast the TK8 to the Adios Pro v1 (or similarly stacked super shoes), is that it provides a much more dynamic ride. The TK8 has a lower inertia (weighing 1.7 oz less), with its shorter stack and increased flexibility allows you to interact with the road more intimately, whereas the AP isolates you from the pavement and feels much simpler underfoot, even if it is less stable by standing a few extra mm off the ground.

Matt: As mentioned at slower paces the Sen 8 like most carbon shoes feels unsteady, but then that isn’t what this shoe was designed for, whereas for track sessions or 5km races the ride is near perfect. As I mentioned I did struggle with my calves tightening up after two of my 2km track efforts and I put this down to the 6mm drop of the shoe, but after having swapped to my Next%, I much preferred the feel and Ride of the Sen 8 and quickly swapped back. This was a big deal for me and a real trust builder in the Sen 8 as a track session shoe and 5k race day option. But for anything over 5km I feel that the tightening of the calves that I had and the options of higher stacked and softer cushioned racing shoes would lead me away from the Sen 8.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Jamie: The Takumi Sen 8 optimizes the weight to responsiveness ratio. However the mid foot cut out compromises stability some, and I would primarily recommend wearing them for faster paces. It has just the right amount of midsole that doesn’t feel unnatural, and the carbon rods have the perfect amount of snappiness while allowing the shoe to still flex. The upper, while remaining paper thin and lightweight, could use some work with the lacing and lockdown. It’s a great option for shorter racing, as the lower stack height provides a more stable ride and can turn over quickly. 

Jamie’s Score: 8.8/10

Michael: It’s fast, it’s light - it’s another immensely impressive Adidas offering in 2021. Following up the Adios Pro 1 and 2 , it’s clear that the Brand with the Three Stripes is atop the running world, when it comes to performance options. And for a hyperlight, carbon-plated racing shoe targeting the 5K and 10K, it’s hard to overstate the quality of the TK8. But, given its mediocre upper (and, frankly, worse than mediocre lacing), I don’t know that the TK8 has enough to convince me to give up the Adios Pro, unless I really don’t want stack height. The Takumi Sen 8 is great - it’s just overshadowed by its big brother.

Michael’s Score: 9.2/10

Jeremy: Combining such light weight with responsiveness along with a comfortable stack height is quite an accomplishment for the Takumi Sen 8. Despite the lack of stability, we have to keep in mind that this shoe is designed to run fast over short distances, where fatigue and running mechanics degradation are minimal. 

The cushioning makes them a nice training partner for those interval sessions where you want to work on your foot mechanics and feel them push you forward, gently helped by the EnergyRods which do not compromise flexibility at all.

It’s a fun and enjoyable shoe to run in, with a nice, snug fitting upper and responsive cushioning. They’ll work wonders for short races and will easily double up as fast-training partners as I don’t fear any fast-wearing of the outsole at all. Just beware of the lacing before going for a run.

Jeremy’s Score: 8.8 (Ride: 8.8  Fit: 9 Value: 7.5 Style: 9)

Ryan: The fit, the lockdown, the materials, and the spunk of this shoe are all deserving of praise. Adidas clearly continues to gain strength as a world-class distance running company. But I fear that the Takumi Sen 8 might not find its proper place, given how little of a benefit it garners from shaving off LIghtstrike Pro to save weight. It’s a supremely fun shoe to run in, and undoubtedly an excellent selection for a 5k, blurring the lines of what is considered a racing ‘flat ’. But in the end it feels like it’s trying a little too hard, and as a result isn’t as well rounded as some of its other Lightstrike-endowed relatives.

Ryan’s Score: 9.1 – Detractions for lace-up, limited range of use cases, and slightly temperamental ride.

Matt: Having only recently begun to really investigate the adidas shoe range and lacking trust in it, being a fan of most of the other brands, the Takumi Sen 8 did a wonderful job of establishing a strong bond of trust with me for adidas, with the Sen 8 becoming my new definite go to shoe for track workouts and potential road mile to 5km racing with the grip of the Continental rubber beats out any other brand’s offering with the carbon rods providing a stable and explosive feeling off the ground. 

Matt’s Score: 8.5 (Ride: 9  Fit: 7 Value: 10 Style: 8)

15 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Takumi Sen 7 (RTR Review)

Ryan: Never have I reviewed a shoe whose year-over-year genetics have changed so drastically. The 8 is an entirely different beast than the 7, and is suited to do a very different job. Whereas the 7 features an aggressive set of frontal outsole lugs, the 8 uses much more traditional, relatively thin rubber. This makes the 8 ideal for fast and furious 5ks on the road, while the 7 is perfectly suited for a cross-country situation where grip is paramount. One spot they do relate to one another is in their similarly impressive lockdown, due to a strong, finely sculpted mesh in both shoes. While finicky to get properly situated, the 8 holds the foot in place almost as impressively as the 7 does.

Adios 6 (RTR Review)

Jeremy: The Adios 6 will be much more stable due to the Lightstrike layer which doubles up the LS Pro layer, resulting in a firmer cushioning, but which is not overly firm at all. The upper is a bit more substantial, but fits equally as well, and the Adios 6 lacing works a bit better.

The Adios will be more versatile, even if being less efficient at faster paces. They can be a very good do-it-all training partner to the Takumi, and they’re much more affordable too.

Adios Pro 1 (RTR Review)

Michael: As stated above, I absolutely love the Adios Pro. For my money, it’s the fastest and most fun racing shoe out there, with the caveat that it’s really bouncy, and frankly quite unstable at slower paces or on really windy courses. Still, I love the AP1, and would gladly take it out when seeking a PR. The TK8 is a winner, but if I could only own one, it’d be the Adios Pro.

Ryan: I’m in Michael’s corner on this comparison. The AP1 feels far more forgiving, sprightly, and enjoyable than the Takumi. A short, winding course would be the only situation in which I’d consider using the Takumi over the Adios, given the Adios’s tall stack height. 

The simpler geometry of the Adios felt more pleasant under foot to me, with a far more inspiring and pleasant transition than that of the Takumi. 

Wearing the Adios and Takumi simultaneously, their relative levels of cushioning were very apparent. Although it’s tempting to think of the Takumi as an ‘Adios Pro Lite’ type of shoe, they’re different enough that I think making that comparison is a bit of a stretch. The Takumi demands much more attention to your foot strike, and isn’t nearly as forgiving.

Adios Pro 2 (RTR Review)

Jamie: Similar lacing in both the Adios Pro 2 and Takumi Sen 8, as well as lightweight upper in both. Stack height is much greater in the Pro, which makes it feel less stable on turns, but forward propulsion is much more significant than for the Takumi Sen 8. The Pro is more versatile at all paces, while the Takumi Sen should be saved for faster running/racing. Fit is similar in both, and both feel like they have a wider platform. 

Hoka Carbon X 2 (RTR Review)

Jamie: The Carbon X 2 upper is much more secure and has a snug fit with a stiffer midsole compared to the Takumi Sen, but one which is comfortable at all different paces. Takumi Sen feels much more stable around turns while the Carbon X is very one dimensional favoring straights. Durability feels about the same in both. The Metarocker in the Carbon X 2 and the carbon rods in the Takumi Sen 8 both favor mid foot strikers in terms of comfort and performance.

Salomon Phantasm (RTR Review)

Jeremy: Weighing the same ~200g for my 10.5US, the Phantasm has an even thinner and lighter upper and an opposite issue with the laces (not enough laces holes, laces slide too much…). Cushioning wise, they’re also quite the opposite of the Takumi.

Lower to the ground, (much) firmer, less flexible with a more pronounced rocker profile, they feel more like traditional flats with a thicker midsole.

They will please those who favor a fimer (on the fence of “very firm” cushioning) and will be more leg-jarring than the Takumi which are easier on the legs. I don’t find one more efficient or faster than the other, they’re just two opposite answers to the same need. I for one will more easily bring the Phantasm out for longer distances, favoring the stability brought by the firmer midsole over the softer cushioning of the Takumi.

Nike Vaporfly 4% OG and VaporFly Next %

Jamie: The OG Nike Vaporfly 4% was one of my  all around favorites. The upper, comfort, durability, and performance are far superior to any other super shoe. 

Then came along the Next% and it was a game changer. The Next% is my go to for speed workouts, long runs, and races ranging from 5k to a 100k ultramarathon. I’ve logged lots of miles in them without any foot issues, and I feel most efficient compared to any other shoe. The Takumi Sen 8, while a solid option from Adidas, just doesn’t compare to the Next% where, in my opinion, the lockdown, lacing, overall fit, and comfort is nearly perfect. 

ASICS Metaracer (RTR Review)

Michael: A pretty interesting comparison here, actually - the MetaRacer is a lower stack, carbon-plated racer that looks as good as it runs. And while I ran some of my best workouts ever in the MetaRacer, I think I would give a slight edge to the Takumi Sen for its midsole foam, which might take you to the marathon without issue (a proposition I’m less sure on for the ASICS).

ASICS Metaspeed Sky (RTR Review)

Ryan: The Metaspeed Sky is much more rigid from toe to heel, and acts more like a typical distance super shoe than the Takumi. While both shoes feature a highly energetic and inspiring midsole, the Metaspeed’s more traditional construction makes for a smoother, more pleasing ride. The Takumi is far more connected to the road than the Sky given its lower stack, and somewhat flexible EnergyRods. Whereas the Sky is on rails in a linear direction, the Takumi needs to be managed a bit more to keep its efficiency high.

New Balance Fuel Cell RC Elite 1 (RTR Review)

Ryan: The RC Elite is the clear winner when it comes to providing a highly cushioned, buttery ride. It’s a favorite of mine, and a hands-down better choice than the Takumi for anything over 10k. An argument could be made for the Takumi in the case that one is seeking a more aggressive option to be pushed at threshold or higher pace. The Takumi demands that you put it to work, keep your weight forward, and lean into the energy rods, whereas the RC Elite is happy to do whatever you ask it to do. The RC’s Dynaride outsole provided slightly better grip in my experience, although the lockdown of the Takumi’s strong upper is far superior.

New Balance Fuel Cell RC Elite 2 (RTR Review)

Jamie: If you’re looking for a plush, comfortable ride at all different paces, the Fuel Cell RC Elite 2 is your shoe. If you want to pick up the pace, and enjoy a lower profile, responsive shoe, the Takumi Sen 8 is superior. I would opt for the RC Elite 2 for longer distances and felt like it really absorbed impact and saved my legs. The Takumi Sen 8 responds dramatically differently and I would only choose to wear it for faster racing and definitely not longer than a half marathon. I feel comfortable enough wearing the RC Elite 2 for recovery runs, long runs, and marathon racing but find it tricky to run faster than 10k pace. Very different shoes designed for different distances. 

Matt: The RC 2 has been my go to track effort shoe for the last 4 months. The Sen 8 has just made it redundant. Feeling slightly too sloppy underfoot and around the ankle, the RC 2 just didn’t work for me over the longer efforts and road work it was designed for, with the lower profile, better grip and more explosive off the ground feeling of the Sen 8 make it ideal for track workouts and will be my go to choice from now on. 

Puma Liberate Nitro (RTR Review)

Jeremy: These two really feel close to each other. The foam behaves similarly, the grip is tremendous on both, the shoes are flexible, the upper is just a tad thicker in the Puma without being an issue at all. The fit of the Takumi is more refined for sure. 

I found the Liberate to be the most fun shoe of 2021, just a slab of Nitro foam and  super flexible, allowing the foot to “work”. The Takumi feels like an engineered version of the Liberate, with a thinner upper, complicated cutouts in the midsole, EnergyRods added All this results in a more cushioned ride, a faster one for sure…but one that is not that much different. The Takumi is snappier for sure, but the Liberate does not demerit at all, and given its price which gets close to half of Takumi Sen, it’s still a good budget-choice that does not get the attention it deserves.

Skechers Speed Freek (RTR Review)

Michael: For whatever reason, the Speed Freek has become a go-to workout flat for me - maybe it’s the performance, or maybe it’s just the shoe atop my pile… but either way, I have hundreds of miles in the Skechers, and they’ll soon be supplanted by the TK8. The Skechers is a more plate-centric feel, where you notice the carbon fiber plate over the foam, whereas the midsole compound dominates the TK8. Both are good, I’m taking the adidas.

Atreyu The Artist (RTR Review)

Michael: By feel, the Artist is a bit more like the Adios Pro - higher stack, and foam-driven (as opposed to being dominated by its plate). Still, I like the Artist for shorter and faster runs, but would give the nod to the Takumi Sen 8 for its (slightly) better lockdown and more controllable ride.

Some of th tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes others were personal purchases. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

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Anonymous said...

Thanks for the informative review! One reviewer indicated the Takumni
7 is suited for cross-country. Would you feel comfortable using the Takumi 8 for a short trail race (10k-15k)?

Anonymous said...

The Takumi Sen 8 is quite light and nimble. I could imagine taking mine on grass, similar to XC in california but a XC/trail course through uneven terrain or mud is a stretch. The grip would handle it, but the midsole is still high (33mm) and also really narrow in heel to midfoot. It won't be stable enough and I certainly would slow down on technical sections and twist my ankles.

Anonymous said...

I got mine today. Was really impressed with how they felt on the foot after my first run with them, they are light, with good bounce and enough to alleviate some knee pain i normally have gotten when running with my older running shoes (Asics Gel Kayano 23), which are way to firm for me.

The only issue i have with the Takumi, is getting my foot into the shoe. It is quite a struggle and this is simply due to the stitching which connects the tongue to the upper. To get around this i have removed the stitching and it hasn't effected any performance, the tongue stays in place with no issue and now i can get my foot into the shoe without battling and bending up the rear of the shoe.

MechaDriver said...

For individuals still looking to purchase this shoe, here are some long-term comments. I have over 100 miles on the shoes. They have held up well, except the lateral heel outsole unglued from the midsole. This is a normal wear area for me, but the issue was that the glue gave up before the outsole material. I plan on continuing to run with the shoe as this doesn't really effect the overall ride. Also note that the sizing is off for me by 1/2 size too big (TTS is a 9, but most adidas adios shoes are a 8.5). The mid-sole is still giving me the bounce I am looking for. I use a runner's knot to lock in the heel (it is rather firm and can move in some situations). I highly recommend this shoe.