Whether you’re escaping the weather or simply trying to maintain social distancing at home, treadmills are a great alternative to outdoor running.
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
Take flight with the HOKA ONE ONE Clifton 7 running shoes. Engineered for performance and designed for a smooth and stable ride, the HOKA ONE ONE is made with strategic high-abrasion rubber zones to reduce the weight of the shoe. Comfort is another key feature in this collection. With a marshmallow-soft midsole, these shoes provide signature HOKA ONE ONE® cushioning while still providing ultimate speed. They are also made with a plush collar to help ease Achilles pressure. The soft and light combo can make running mile after mile a breeze.
Ready to help you take on the treadmill, the Brooks Ghost 13 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.
Step into your next run with Brooks Adrenaline GTS 21. 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.
Made for runners who are crazy about cushion, the Brooks Glycerin 19 brings the comfort—it’s their softest shoe yet! The Glycerin 19 features DNA LOFT cushioning, a lightweight construction and is built with durable rubber. 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.
Set your pace with the ASICS GEL-Kayano 27. They’re built to keep you feeling supported in all the right places. The 27 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.
Featuring breathability where you need it most, the neutral Nike® Air Zoom Pegasus 37 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.
Now featuring six percent more boost capsules, the updated adidas Ultraboost 21 is ready to provide you incredible energy return. This top-selling, top-rated shoe features innovative construction and is designed to be adidas’ most responsive shoe yet. Plus, it features new adidas LEP technology, which is designed to provide a 15% increase in forefoot bending stiffness. Many athletes love the Ultraboost style that’s wearable for everything from treadmill running to running errands. Design meets durability, energy and traction with this shoe.
Hit your stride with the Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 2 running shoes. Made for runners at every level, the Infinity Run Flyknit 2 is designed to keep you on the run. A refreshed upper provides breathability where you need it most and this shoe boasts durability, long-lasting comfort, stability and a lightweight feel. Developed through one of Nike’s largest studies to date, this shoe was designed with optimized 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.
The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 V11 is made with a knit upper designed to provide strategic areas of stretch and support, to help keep you going, mile after mile on the treadmill. It’s designed with a bootie construction and Ultra Heel technology, which helps hug the back of the foot for a snug, supportive fit. Plus, it boasts lush comfort with its Ortholite® cushion insert and Fresh Foam midsole. If you’re looking for an all-around comfortable, supportive shoe, this could be your best bet.
It’s all about the speed with the Saucony Endorphin Speed. This shoe features SPEEDROLL, which helps propel you, giving the feeling of continuous momentum. Plus, it’s designed to make you feel like the shoe is doing the work for you—a total effortless ride. Finally, its responsive Nylon plate is flexible for a versatile power transfer. If you’re looking to up your momentum, consider the Saucony Endorphin Speed.
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.