Best Shoes For Running On A Treadmill

Best Shoes For Running On A Treadmill

Looking to do some treadmill running and unsure if the shoes you wear outside are the right choice for the job? Are there shoes that work best for the treadmill, or just better than others? Or does any old shoe do the trick? If you’re considering treadmill shoes, there are a few things worth considering.

Why Are You On a Treadmill?

Are you running on a treadmill because of convenience? Is there in climate weather in your area? Do you plan to be primarily treadmill training due to circumstances in your life, or will you just be a sporadic treadmill runner? Are you using the treadmill between other activities that take place in the gym?

Why does all this matter? If you are primarily an outdoor runner and your treadmill runs are few and far between, your normal running shoes can probably cross over from road to a treadmill. Since you can never be certain what race day will bring, most runners train outside in all circumstances.

Like the US Postal Service, neither rain nor sleet nor hot temperatures can stop a dedicated runner from pounding the pavement and getting the job done!

Cardio and Weights

Some athletes like to intermingle cardio with their strength training. If your goal is to just use the treadmill for a warm-up and cool down before weight lifting or other cross-training, you probably want to wear a comfortable cross-training shoe. Just be certain you aren’t running too far or too fast if the lifting is your primary purpose for the day.

Cross-training shoes are a good thing to wear when lifting or doing activities other than running because they provide the proper cushioning and stability where you need it most.

However, if you are inserting speedwork into your circuit, you will want to reconsider that mindset. For example, some circuits will have multiple weight lifting portions intermingled with some speedwork such as half a mile or quarter-mile repeats.

If you are doing this, the speedwork is probably one of your focuses and you should wear a racing flat for this workout. Racing flats are good for fast, short spurts of effort. This is assuming you aren’t doing any heavy lifting or dynamic efforts in the gym.

Treadmill Specific

If you are not doing any other activities during this workout, there are some specific features that will help you run well on a treadmill. First, consider the belt of the treadmill and how it continues to move once you have stopped. You want a shoe with a firm grip for treadmill running.

Second, a stability shoe that isn’t too soft will likely work well on a treadmill. However, if you normally wear a cushioned shoe, keep that in mind when selecting your shoe.

Consider Your Outdoor Shoes

Although there are many things to consider when selecting shoes for treadmill running, one of the important aspects is to think about the shoes you wear for daily running. If you are normally a minimalist runner, you probably want a shoe that reflects that for the treadmill also.

If you need a ton of support when out on the road, your treadmill shoes will probably require support. If you wear a custom orthotic insert, you will want it for the treadmill. The point is that what works for your feet on the road will likely work on a treadmill.

Selecting Running Shoes

It is highly recommended that you select your running shoes by visiting a local running store with a sales specialist who is trained in analyzing your gait to help you with fit, style and sizing. Most reputable stores either have a treadmill for you to run on or are adjacent to a running trail or sidewalk for the same purpose.

The specialist will stand behind you and watch you run. From analyzing your gait and foot strike, the shoe salesperson can make suggestions likely to offer you the support and structure you need.


Most runners size up either a half or whole size from their daily wear size. Why? Because running, especially long-distance running, can cause your feet to swell. Wearing a shoe that is slightly bigger can help prevent rubbing and blisters.

However, you need to be sure your foot does not slide within the shoe. That can also cause problems. A shoe should have a comfortable toe-box. If you have a narrow foot, finding a shoe with a narrow toe-box is important.

On the other hand, someone with a wider foot will need a shoe that is offered in a wide. It seems so obvious, but it is tempting to get lured in by a cute style or color. Do not fall for it!

Neutral vs. Stability

If you are a neutral runner, you will have a lot of shoes available to you. However, if you pronate you may need a stability shoe. What’s the difference? A neutral shoe allows your foot to bend, flex and move fairly freely.  A stability shoe, on the other hand, affords the runner far less movement within the shoe.

Some runners like extra cushion in a shoe. Cushion provides impact absorption which many people find adds comfort, especially over the long haul.

Shoes also have varying drops. The drop is the difference between the heel and the forefoot. If you are intending to change the drop of your shoe, this should be done gradually to prevent injury.

Make Your Feet Happy!

When push comes to shove when choosing treadmill shoes your main concern should be to ask yourself one simple question: are your feet happy? Especially when running, having comfortable shoes is an important thing.

Once you find a shoe that is comfortable, offers you adequate support and fits properly, you are on your way. You should also have an adequate grip on the track of the treadmill for your own safety.

If the shoes that fit all of those parameters also happen to come in fun colors, added bonus!

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