Best Running Shoes for Treadmill Running

Outdoor running and treadmill running are different disciplines. Should your running shoes be different, too? Here’s what to look for when you take your run inside.

Imagine: It’s a bone-chilling winter’s day and the thought of going outside and braving the cold has you halting to go on a run. Or, it’s a sweltering summer afternoon and you’re struggling to venture out under the blistering sun. Thankfully, treadmills exist so you can enjoy your workout from the comfort of the indoors.

Training on a treadmill, though, isn’t quite the same as running outside. This may mean needing a different running shoe. Treadmills have a softer surface than other running areas, like pavement or trails. On top of that, there are no twists or turns requiring you to adjust your gait or feet. There is, however, the potential to land on your feet in a different manner due to the treadmill’s belt pulling underneath you.

It’s important to note that everyone’s feet are different. So not every shoe will be right for everyone. So how do you narrow down the right models for you?

The first step to buying any shoe is knowing your feet and running gait. There are multiple ways you can find this out. One option is consulting with a podiatrist. Another is to visit a running specialist at DICK’S Sporting Goods for their complimentary gait analysis service. You can even do your own research with this Pro Tips guide, which breaks down gait and feet types.

Once you understand your own two feet, consider the following features when buying running shoes that are best for treadmill running.


When looking for treadmill running shoes, pay attention to the design’s support, breathability, cushioning and durability.


You’ll be running with much more repetition on a treadmill than you would outdoors. Less variation in your motion compared to a natural environment can put more repetitive stress on your body. If you wear a shoe with any motion-control features, choose something similar for proper support on the treadmill.


No one wants stinky feet. So you’ll need a shoe that has ventilation since there won’t be any natural wind to cool your toes off. Shoes that are lightweight or have mesh typically are good options to help your feet breathe.


Sometimes your stride on the treadmill may affect how your foot lands. This may mean putting more pressure on your heel than the ball of your foot. If that’s the case, extra cushioning is needed in the heel to help soften the impact.

Feel free to consider less cushioning if you’re able to maintain proper running form when on the treadmill. As noted before, treadmills can provide a softer running surface. Make sure to get enough support for your foot type, though.


When running inside, you won’t be facing the elements like you would when running outdoors. Dodging potholes, stepping in puddles or maneuvering around uneven surfaces are worries left at your doorstep. Because of this, the durability of your running shoes doesn’t need to be as intense as that of a trail running shoe. The shoes shouldn’t wear out as quickly, so focusing on models with heavy-duty materials made for those situations is unnecessary.

No matter what, the first step to buying your treadmill shoes is knowing both your feet and your gait. Whatever your reason for staying inside and using a treadmill, make sure you lace up with the right running sneakers.