Adidas Takumi Sen 10: Tried and tested

Hitting double figures: does version 10 of this 5k and 10k race day shoe from adidas tick all the right boxes?


  • Weight: 248g (UK12)
  • Stack height: 33m (heel), 27mm (forefoot)
  • Heel-to-toe drop: 6mm
  • Type: Road (neutral, racing flat)

adidas adizero Takumi Sen 10 Shoes

Fans of a certain shoe are always mildly nervous whenever the next model arrives in case someone went rogue in the R&D lab and ruined everything. The adidas Takumi Sen has been around long enough to amass a loyal band of devotees and version 10 features enough updates to get pulses twitching.

However, if you are one of those fans (or soon to be converted), you can rest easy as the adidas Takumi Sen 10 willingly takes over from version nine and delivers an impressive racing shoe that will suit most runners for anything from track work up to 10k. Those used to running/racing in a thinner shoe could take this to half marathon distance too (and if you’re Emile Cairess, then the marathon).

What’s the difference between the adidas Takumi Sen 9 vs 10?

The fit and shape of the shoe hasn’t changed much with version 10. It’s still quite a stripped back shoe with a racing fit (not narrow per se, but snug) and casts a very similar low-profile silhouette. Version 10 is a few grams heavier on the scales, but not noticeable when on the foot.

There are some subtle differences in design that might not seem to do a vast amount on paper or when on the foot, but they all culminate into a refined version of the shoe.

The upper

There is a new approach to the upper and it features what’s best described as a dual density structure, which is slightly more forgiving than version 9 as the more open weave allows the upper to flex ever so slightly. This improved the comfort of the shoe without losing any of the tautness needed for a race aligned shoe.

There is also a different material on the tongue, similar to the Pro 3 in fact, but now with minimal but appreciated padding compared to version 9. Since this shoe has launched before the much awaited Pro 4, maybe this tongue will appear on that shoe?! That’s a complete guess for you.

There are the same structural elements around the heel, but adidas have widened the space between the heel pads, so there is more room for the achilles, reducing any possible aggravation there. Also, part of the structure around the heel has been cut away in version 10 to alleviate any possible pressure here (version 9 was rather solid).

The midsole

The major upgrade to the adidas Takumi Sen 10 over v9 is the use of adidas’ Energyrods 2.0. These are glass fibre infused rods, so a little different to the carbon infused ones from the Pro 3, but no less effective in this shoe. Version 2.0 of the Energyrods is one structure from heel to toe and this creates a more uniformed feel under foot. More on that below.

Picture from a presentation at adidas HQ that I attended

As far as the midsole foam, adidas are sticking with the best they have and the Takumi Sen 10 has two layers of Lightstrike Pro to handle the energy return duties.

The outsole

The rubber layout has changed, with the forefoot rubber now being slick rather than grooved. At the rear of the shoe, the channel that divided the lateral and medial side of the heel has been deepened and narrowed.

What is it like to run in the adidas Takumi Sen 10?

This is a light, nimble and fast feeling shoe. The two slices of Lightstrike Pro foam that are sandwiched around the rods are thick enough to provide some cushioning, but also thin enough to give the shoe a real feeling of directness. Ground feedback is front and centre when running in these shoes and it’s reassuring to have the sense of connection between your feet and the ground that can be lost with ever increasing stack heights.

The shoe feels great in corners when running at speed — very level and controllable. The slivers of continental grip do a great job a fastening you to the road and compliment that stripped back feel, allowing every last drop of energy and force to be converted into forward motion.

When not on the gas, the shoe is just a thinner feeling running shoe and certainly isn’t one I’d want to spend a long time pootling about in, but is certainly comfortable enough if you wanted to jog a 5K or down to a race start in them.

RW verdict

Though a long leap from old ‘racing flats’, these shoes almost invoked a feeling of nostalgia about what it felt like to try and run fast pre-super shoes, but do so whilst having all the bells and whistles that we’ve become more accustomed to. This is a modernised version of the short distance race shoe and it does that very well indeed. At $269.99, they are expensive, but for those dedicating time and training to running short and fast and feel that the bulk of shoes with a larger stack height just aren’t delivering the snap you want, then these could well be the shoes you need.

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