How to Choose the Right Shoes for Treadmill Running

Buying Guide

Use these guidelines to find the running shoe that works best when you bring your running workout indoors.

Last updated: December 29, 2021
7 min read
How to Pick the Right Shoes for Treadmill Running

Enjoying a run is all about preference. You need to find the perfect route, the perfect time of day, the perfect environment. Sometimes that takes you outside, but other times, it's all about running indoors.

For those who prefer to get their miles in on a treadmill, you'll need the right treadmill running shoes.

How is Running on a Treadmill Different?

From an exercise perspective, you can get the same workout on a treadmill as you can running outside, but you may just have to work a bit harder on the treadmill. This is because you're creating the conditions yourself, setting speed, resistance and difficulty. When you're running outdoors, the environment does that for you, and can often hit you with a few surprises. Think about how much an outdoor run changes on a windy day, for example.

However, even knowing you may have to create the challenging conditions yourself when you're running on a treadmill, it's nice to know you can get your run in every day. Inclement weather won't prevent an indoor run. Using a treadmill is also easier on the joints and more convenient.

Having the ability to set your own pace and elevation can also help you maintain a consistent exercise routine and up the ante on your terms. It's a great tool to assist you in meeting and maintaining your fitness goals.

Although it may be different, running on a treadmill rather than outside is not better or worse. Both options get you moving and enable you to complete your workout.

Running in the Right Shoes

Regardless of the activity, you always want to wear the right treadmill running shoe. Mostly it's about cushioning and shape. When you run outside, you need a cushioned shoe to keep your feet comfortable over varying terrain. When you play sport, you need the right shoe to accommodate the movement of your feet.

Running on a treadmill presents its own unique set of factors that a running shoe should cater to as well. Although the machine itself gives you a little more cushioning than running on actual ground, a proper running shoe is still essential. Even if you spend some of your treadmill time walking, a running shoe is still ideal as a workout shoe.

  1. 1.Consider Your Arch

    The first thing to consider when you're looking to find the right running shoe for the treadmill is the arch of your foot. There are three different types of arch: low, normal and high.

    People who have a low arch sometimes say they have flat feet. When your foot is this shape, more of it touches the ground than is normal, leading your foot to turn out a lot more when you run. The right treadmill running shoe provides motion control as it helps to support the arch.

    People who have normal arches have the easiest time finding the right running shoe. Most people fall into this category and should look for shoes that fit well and provide some arch support and stability.

    You can always tell when you have a high arch by how your footprint looks. There's almost a complete separation between your toes and your heel in your footprint. This foot shape makes it harder for you to rotate your foot and get a good stride while running. The right running shoe can correct that.

    Knowing what type of arch you have means you can buy a running shoe with the right support and motion control, from heel to toe, to keep you going strong.

  2. 2.Avoid Smelly Feet

    Sweating isn't limited to outdoor workouts, and a vigorous run on a treadmill is definitely a sweat-inducing affair. The last thing you want is for those sweaty feet to make your running shoes stink, especially if that smell is going to linger in your wardrobe.

    Even when you're running inside, a breathable running shoe makes a difference. Look for shoes with the right ventilation, typically those made from lightweight materials or ones with some mesh worked into their design.

  3. 3.Match Durability to the Run

    For many runners, it's perfectly fine to run in shoes with less cushioning when you're on the treadmill. After all, the treadmill is already a slightly cushioned surface. You should choose your running shoe based on the amount of cushioning you personally need, but note that it may be different to what you'd use for running outside.

    The same holds true when looking at durability. The consistency of the terrain on a treadmill means your shoes aren't going through rough or diverse conditions. You're not even running through puddles and on uneven surfaces. For that reason, there's no need to use a running shoe meant for trails or anything as hardcore as that.

    You'll still wear out a shoe as you get more and more miles out of it, even on the treadmill, but the experience overall won't be as hard on your feet.

  4. 4.Find a Secure Fit

    One thing a runner never wants to deal with is an ill-fitting shoe. If it slips and slides along any part of your foot, you're going to get a blister. When you're running on a treadmill, having the right fit means a secure heel, with a collar that hugs your ankle to keep the back of your foot secure.

    Your treadmill shoe should also provide you with side-arch support to brace your foot against the movement of your run.

    Lastly, the shoe should still have great traction to help you avoid slipping on the treadmill as it moves under your feet. Nothing is more uncomfortable than feeling like your shoe is going to push you off balance in any way. Wear the shoe around the house for a break-in period that's long enough to get a full review of the fit and feel, including the midsole, outsole, forefoot and toe box.

    All of these elements should come together to keep your foot comfortable and blister free.

  5. 5.Put a Bounce in Your Step

    Finding a running shoe with a little extra foam or special cushioning in it also makes for a better run. It adds that bounce in your step that keeps you flying through your treadmill workout no matter what pace you're going.

    Even with this extra cushioning throughout, the shoe shouldn't feel heavy. You want your top pick to move easily and comfortably on the treadmill with the right bounce that doesn't weigh you down.

Getting the Right Shoe Counts

Taking all of this into consideration, the reason you want to find the right running shoe for the treadmill is to keep your feet safe. Even running on a cushioned, flat track, there's still impact. You're still pounding the ground with your feet, and there's still the risk of injury.

Wearing a shoe designed for running helps protect your feet, which in turn makes it easier for you to run regularly. You can keep clocking those miles on the treadmill and achieve an invigorating run that's perfectly designed to meet your own physical challenges.

Walking vs. Running on the Treadmill

For those who don't spend all their time on the treadmill running, it's fine to use a running shoe to walk, although if you'll only be walking, you might consider trying walking shoes instead. Walking on the treadmill has its own set of benefits as you can control the incline and speed as you go. When you're ready to run, you can speed things up. When you need to slow it down, it's just a push of a button.

Using the machine to track distance, heart rate and calories will also enable you to create a workout where you run and walk your way to the ideal burn.

Although treadmills do absorb most of the shock, and treadmill walking instead of running isn't as hard on your feet, the proper walking shoe can help keep your joints healthier and your feet in proper alignment during your treadmill walking workout.

It's also easier to mix up your workout on the treadmill and to experiment with speeds when you know you've got the right treadmill shoe to cover you. So whether you do treadmill walking or long-distance treadmill running, you need the right walking shoe or running shoe.

Wearing the Best Running Shoes for the Treadmill

Running, or even walking, on the treadmill isn't completely the same as taking your workout outside. However, finding the right running shoe that fits your foot, your activity and your terrain—no matter where you're running—will help you have the best run possible.

Of course, you're going to want your shoe to fit your midsole, forefoot and outsole and feel good from heel to toe. The best running shoes for the treadmill are the ones you love to run in the most, whether you're doing long-distance runs or short ones. Make sure the cushioning feels right, too. Now, start that treadmill up and get going.

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