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.
WHICH SHOES 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.
Now that’s you’ve discovered how to choose the right treadmill running shoe, check out our top picks for the best treadmill shoes.
BEST TREADMILL RUNNING SHOES OF 2020
Ready to help you take on the treadmill, the Brooks Ghost 12 shoes are built with BioMoGo DNA and DNA Loft cushioning, which help ensure comfort and durability. Plus, they boast a soft, secure fit to help keep your foot locked and ready to hit max speed. With hundreds of five-star reviews, you can be sure the Ghost series is well-loved and may be perfect for your next mile.
Shop the Brooks Ghost 12.
Step into your next run with Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20. The Adrenaline series has been trusted by runners everywhere for years — and it’s no wonder why. These shoes are designed to bring cushioned stability that doesn’t slow down, even after long-term wear, making them a great treadmill option. The streamlined, engineered mesh upper 3D Fit Print saddle pulls from the heel and wraps the midfoot for a secure fit. Plus, reviews often boast how comfortable and supportive they feel.
Shop the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20.
Made for runners who are crazy about softness, the Brooks Glycerin 18 brings the comfort. It features a plush feel with an internal stretch bootie that moves and expands with every step. If you’re looking for extra cushioning to help soften the repetitive impacts of your stride on the belt, this could be a great choice for you.
Shop the Brooks Glycerin 18.
Set your pace with the ASICS GEL-Kayano 26. They’re built to keep you feeling supported in all the right places. The 26 uses GEL® technology to deliver energized cushioning for runners needing more stability, which can be especially helpful on the treadmill. Still, they maintain an incredibly lightweight feel. These shoes feature a FluidFit® Upper, which combines multi-directional stretch mesh with stretch reinforcements that adapt to your foot, creating a truly customized, glove-like fit.
Shop the ASICS GEL-Kayano 26.
Bringing comfort to every stride, the ASICS NOVABLAST running shoes have a lightweight feel that won’t let you down. They’re extremely breathable too due to their engineered jacquard mesh upper, which can help keep you feeling fresh and motivated on the deck. Plus, their cushioning system is made to attenuate shock during impact to help you can stay comfy and energized.
Shop the ASICS Nova Blast.
Experience the ASICS GT 2000 8 bringing the fit and feel you may be looking for when you hit the treadmill. It features a molded forefoot cage and heel cup along with an arch boost for maximum stability. Plus, there’s a cushioning system that helps constricts shock during impact, while allowing movement as the foot moves through the gait cycle. This cushioning system can be especially helpful on treadmills, as it can help soften impact. If you’re looking for a shoe that provides structural integrity, yet constant cushion, look no further.
Shop the ASICS GT-2000 8.
Featuring breathability where you need it most, the neutral Nike® Air Zoom Pegasus 36 shoes are ready to help you tackle your next mile on the treadmill. Exposed Flywire cables in the midfoot promote a snug fit at higher speeds, which help keep you comfortable with every step. Their full-length Zoom Air unit provides a smooth, responsive, cushioned ride. And finally, the integrated sockliner adapts to the contour of your foot for added support.
Shop the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36.
This top-selling, top-rated shoe is ready to help you take on mile after mile. Its innovative construction is designed to bring amazing energy return properties and comfort. Many athletes love the Ultraboost style that’s wearable from treadmill running to running errands. Design meets durability and traction with this shoe.
Shop the adidas Ultraboost 20.
Hit your stride with the Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit running shoes. Made for runners at every level, the Infinity Run Flyknit is designed to keep you on the run. This shoe boasts durability, flexibility and a lightweight feel. Plus, they’re optimized with zonal performance to provide support for the 3 phases of a runner’s stride; flexibility at toe-off, a smooth ride at midstance and cushioning at contact.
Shop the Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit.
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.