adidas Adios Pro 2 & Takumi Sen 8 - Toe to Toe
Posted on February 17 2022
We have now had some time to put some miles into these two top of the line shoes from adidas. The Adios Pro 2 and the Takumi-Sen 8. These are our impressions.
Its fair to say that adidas was a little behind the ball when it came to getting into the super shoe game. Strange, for a company that was built on the aim of providing the best and most competitive running shoes available. The performance running sector for any large footwear maker does not in itself provide sufficient volume to generate the economics necessary to be a major player.
So it's an economic necessity to also focus on the more general "athleisure" sector as its become known. The problem is, the performance sector is what gives a brand credibility and if ignored that credibility can soon drift away.
There was a feeling that maybe adidas had become a bit too focused on other areas and the performance running offering was looking tired.
With the launch of the Adios Pro 2 (following the successful first launch of v1) and now the Takumi-Sen 8, the brand is really back!.
They are two very good shoes.
To add to the credibility factor they have also been on the feet of some very talented athletes in the last couple of years and they have broken some world records and won some important races. That definitely helps credibility.
For the Adios Pro 2
Herzogenaurach, September 5, 2020: On Saturday, adidas athlete, Peres Jepchirchir enters the history books as the world’s fastest women’s only half marathon runner after setting a record-breaking time at the RunCzech half marathon in Prague. Jepchirchir crossed the line in 1:05:34 wearing the new adidas adizero adios Pro – adidas’ fastest ever running shoe
Ethiopian, Guye Adola, wins the 2021 Berlin Marathon in the new Adizero Adios Pro 2.
For the Takumi-Sen 8
Herzogenaurach, September 15, 2021: Agnes Jebet Tirop and Senbere Teferi set new women’s only world records in the 10km and 5km races respectively. Agnes set a new women’s only 10km world record of 30m:01s, taking 28 seconds off the previous record, which stood for 19 years! Senbere broke the women’s only 5km world record by 15 seconds, running a time of 14m:29s in the last race of the day.
On a more mortal level these shoe do deliver an immediate feeling of being ready to run fast, even if the legs and feet in them will not break any records!.
These are the technical specs, toe-to-toe.
adidas have now innovated away from the boost foam, for so long the only thing on most of their shoes. Initially it offered good rebound characteristics but with the advent if the super shoe race, in the sort of stack heights that became popular, it was heavy.
The replacement is Litestrike Pro. A really light, nitrogen infused foam and both of these shoes have this. 39.5mm and 33mm in the heel for the Pro 2 and the Takumi respectively and 29.5mm and 27mm in the forefoot respectively. So 10mm and 6mm drop for the Pro 2 and the Takumi respectively.
The Adios Pro 2 is positioned as a shoe designed for a fast marathon and the Takumi Sen for the fast 5km up to half marathon. The 39.5mm in the Pro 2 being at the maximum allowable limit for World Athletic Events.
We learned from Nike that of the 4% improvement from a super shoe, 3% comes from the foam and 1% from the carbon plate and both of these shoes have adidas' take on the carbon element. This is not a plate but a series of "carbon infused" rods that are intended to mimic the bones of the foot.
These are visible on the bottom of the shoe where cut-outs show they are in fact in there.
The uppers on both shoes are from the same material, what adidas calls celemesh and its a really light, breathable fabric. It has a slightly stretchy feel and very thin which means they are both slightly difficult shoes to put on. It is very easy to fold and wrinkle the material especially if you don't loosen the laces sufficiently. However, when you do get your foot in the last form and the material fits the foot perfectly and immediately your feet look faster!
Being so thin also means the shoes are light. The Pro 2 with more foam is 217g and the Takumi-san is a mere 187g. The Takumi-sen is noticeably thinner in the heel and the forefoot too.
The tongue is attached on the medial side to the shoe, probably because it is so thin and it would be all over the place if it wasn't attached. The lacing on both shoes ensures a really good fit. It's possible to easily overtighten the laces and this took a bit of trial and error to get right.
The outsole is similar on both shoes with no tread to speak of but the forefoot is black Continental rubber which we all know is very sticky and there have been no concerns about slipping (within reason). These are shoes intended for going fast on the flat on pretty good surfaces so anything other than that, maybe a challenge.
On the road the Pro 2 is superb underfoot. One proviso though, I am a mainly midfoot striker. They are somewhat tricky to walk in if you are heel striking. So I suspect if you are heel striking runner they may feel a bit unstable, like many super shoes by the way. This super soft, responsive foam on many carbon plated shoes does not help the heel striking or overpronating runner. If you are either of these you will probably need something with more structure.
The Pro 2 also has 10mm of drop and as someone who runs a lot in zero drop, this feels like a lot.
Having said that, when I was pushing the pace (ha!), this shoe feels great, responsive, lovely toe-off and really encourages you to run harder.
So then to the Takumi-sen. There was a time when fast, shorter distance shoes would have lower drop and thinner midsoles and the old adidas adios was that shoe. (Nothing like the Adios Pro 2 by the way). Even better was its predecessor the CS. The Takumi-Sen feels a lot like that even though it still has a healthy 33mm of stack under the heel.
Its lack of weight and the lower drop of 6mm does make the shoe feel like a true, fast racing shoe. None of the potential instability issues of the higher stack height Pro 2 but still with the same snappy toe-off and the good rebound from nicely cushioned midsole.
They are so light they feel just an integral part of your foot and such a pleasure to run in. A lovely transition right through the stride.
So which is the best?. For me the Takumi-sen would be that shoe. Its just such a pleasure to run in. I really like the Pro 2 when I want a bit more cushion but for an important half marathon for instance, it would be the Takumi-sen. I might even pick it for a marathon. Don't get me wrong, the Pro 2 is also superb, this is a choice between two very good shoes. The Pro 2 is the obvious choice for a marathon and when you want that cushion but when you want to dream of world records, pick the Takumi-Sen.
CHECK OUT THE SHOES HERE:
ADIOS Pro 2