Running on a treadmill is a great way to stay fit, especially during those colder months when the weather outside is a little less than inviting.
Running on a treadmill can be done in your home or at your local gym, and is ultra-convenient as you require less warm gear than running outdoors.
You may also use treadmills if you travel a lot and use the gym facilities in hotels.
Any runner will know that having a good pair of running shoes is pretty essential.
While shoes aren’t everything, having a pair that provides the right amount of cushioning, stability and traction will help boost your comfort when running and could be the difference between you beating your personal best.
However, different running shoes are designed for different surfaces.
For example, running shoes for running on roads or trails are designed with extra cushioning to minimize shock and have good traction on the outsoles to grip onto uneven terrain.
Treadmill running shoes should be lightweight and provide good stability, but they also need to provide grip and reduce the risk of you slipping on the rubber belt.
With a range of sports brands and running shoes on the market, it can be difficult to know where to start.
That’s where we come in; we’ve scoured the web for the best treadmill running shoes and have also put together a handy Buyer’s Guide and Frequently Asked Questions section to help you make the most informed buy possible.
OUR TOP PICK
The Charged Assert 8 is constructed from 84% Polyester and 16% Elastane for a combination of both durability and flexibility. These are best for neutral arches and runners who need a balance of flexibility and cushioning.
The EVA sock liner provides soft, step-in comfort and the Charged Cushioning midsole uses a compression molded foam for a great level of responsiveness and comfort, providing ultimate cushioning and energy return.
The lightweight, mesh upper on these shoes allows your feet to breathe and wicks moisture away, while the durable leather overlays lock the midfoot in place to provide excellent stability and structure.
These shoes also have a solid rubber outsole, which not only provides traction on the treadmill but also covers high impact zones to limit shock to your joints and better distribute your weight.
The rubber outsole is also highly durable and can withstand regular, intensive use.
- Provide a balance of flexibility and cushioning
- Lightweight mesh upper delivers complete breathability
- Durable leather overlays lock in midfoot and provide stability
- EVA sockliner provides soft, step-in comfort
- Charged Cushioning midsole for even greater responsiveness and energy return
- The solid rubber outsole is durable and absorbs shock
- These run slightly wide, so bear this in mind when selecting a size.
The 520 V5 running shoe by New Balance offers a lightweight, injection-molded EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning, plus an NB comfort insert for additional support underfoot.
These supportive shoes are constructed from a breathable mesh and synthetic upper to promote air circulation and moisture-wicking during heavy workouts.
Despite their lightweight feel, they have a durable rubber outsole featuring underfoot flex grooves to promote a full range of movement while ensuring good traction on the rubber belt of the treadmill.
The V5 has a sleek, contoured design making it versatile enough to not only wear when training on the treadmill, but when running on the track or road, or simply for daily use when running errands.
This is a shoe that combines flexibility and cushioning with durability, so it ticks all the boxes.
- Injection-molded EVA midsole
- NB comfort insert for added support
- Durable rubber outsole
- Lightweight feel
- Mesh and synthetic outsole to provide breathability
- Versatile design suitable for multiple surfaces
- May not provide enough stability for some people
These Nike Revolution 5 running shoes have been designed with lightweight material and a soft foam midsole, designed to provide ultimate comfort whilst running.
They’re constructed from a light, knitted textile which provides a close-fit to your foot whilst also maintaining breathability.
The reinforced heel provides excellent stability and support to the places that endure shock the most, whilst the no-sew overlays lend extra structural support and durability to the shoes.
The soft, foam midsole provides smooth, stable cushioning underfoot whilst also boosting responsiveness and energy return.
The rubber outsole provides durable traction on a range of surfaces, while the spaces in the tread have been specially designed to allow your foot to flex naturally.
The structure of the shoe, along with the generous cushioning combines comfort and stability to boost your workout experience.
- Lightweight, knitted outer
- Soft, foam midsole
- Reinforced heel for shock-absorption and stability
- No-sew overlays for added support
- Rubber outsole for durable traction
- Spaces in the tread for natural flex
- These tend to run small, so consider this when choosing your size.
The Adidas CF Lite Racer is great for running indoors thanks to the sock-like fit which hugs the foot, providing stability and comfort.
The OrthoLite sockliner provides great support, while the Cloudfoam midsole and outsole provide step-in comfort and superior cushioning to keep you feeling light as your run.
These have a mesh upper that provides great breathability, whilst the flexible feel of the shoe allows optimal range of movement so you can push yourself to run further and faster.
They also provide a great level of response and energy return, thanks to the springy, cloud-like midsole.
Most shoes that offer good flexibility usually compromise on cushioning, but these provide the best of both worlds. They also look extremely good and have a professional “racer” feel to them.
These are great for runners who prefer to do high-intensity, fast-paced running sessions, but also provide enough comfort for longer endurance runs, too.
- Sock-like fit and OrthoLite sock liner
- Cloudfoam midsole and outsole provide step-in comfort
- Mesh upper for breathability
- Flexible feel for increased range of motion
- Great responsiveness
- Modern, professional look
- Foam outsole is less durable than rubber and may provide less traction
Brooks are renowned for their durable, responsive, and supportive running shoes, and the GTS20 offers a perfect blend of support, cushioning, and flexibility.
This shoe is great for providing support to overpronators; the DNA loft crash pad cushions each footfall and works with the BioMoGo DNA to adapt to your running technique and stride.
The combination of synthetic and mesh on the upper provides a good degree of flexibility while maintaining breathability, whilst the cushioned midsole provides high energizing support.
The 3D fit design provides structure to the shoe for a streamlined, comfortable fit that’s free from any excess bulk. The shoe has a rubber sole for excellent durability and traction.
Brooks’ GuideRails holistic support system technology is also one step ahead as it’s taken into consideration not just your feet but your knees too: and GuideRails technology keeps excess movement in check and reduces shock impact.
- Blend of support, cushioning, and flexibility
- Designed for overpronators
- DNA loft pad cushioning for ultimate support
- Mesh/synthetic upper for breathability and flexibility
- 3D fit design for added structure and stability
- Durable rubber sole
- GuideRails Holistic support to reduce strain on knees
- Good range of sizes (Narrow - Extra-wide)
- A little expensive
We’ve shown you some of the best treadmill running shoes on the market, but let’s take a closer look at the most important features your shoe should have.
Before we do this though, it’s essential to consider your personal running requirements. For example, your arch type and gait.
Finding out the shape of your arches and the type of running gait you possess can help you find a more appropriate running shoe for you, which can make all the difference.
There are three types of arches:
- High arches
- Normal/neutral arches
- Low arches
An easy way to figure out which type of arch you have is by doing the “wet test.”
To do this, simply wet the undersides of both of your feet and stand on a piece of thick paper for around 10 seconds.
When you’re done, you can step off and analyze your imprint:
- If the imprint shows a distinct curve along the inside of the foot, with a band that’s half the width of your foot connecting the heel to your toes, you have a normal arch, which means you can wear practically any shoe.
- If you find that most of your foot is visible on the imprint, without much of a curve, you have a low arch, which means you need a shoe that provides more stability, with dual-density midsoles or supportive posts.
- If the curve of your imprint is prominent and there’s only a very thin band connecting your heel and toes, this indicates that you have a high arch. This type of arch usually requires a shoe with plenty of cushioning rather than stability or arch support.
Stability shoe with arch support and dual-density midsoles
Your gait is also something to consider before purchasing a running shoe. Gait simply means the way your feet behave when you run.
Like the arch types, there are three types of running gaits:
- Severe overpronation
Severe overpronation is basically when the heel strikes the ground first and rolls inwards.
This is typical of flat-footed people and those with low-arches, so overpronators need a stable running shoe with motion control.
Those with a neutral gait strike the ground with the middle or slightly outward part of the heel and the foot will roll inward slightly for shock absorption.
Runners with a normal or neutral arch usually run in this way, and therefore require a neutral amount of cushioning.
Lastly, runners who underpronate will strike the ground with the outside of the heel and remain on the outside of the foot throughout the entire footstrike.
This is usually the case for those with a high arch, and therefore a shoe with good cushioning is best suited to underpronators.
Stability is important in any type of running shoe, but particularly if you have flat feet. Stability helps prevent your feet from overpronation by locking them into place.
Look for a shoe with structured overlays and limited flexibility if your feet are prone to pronating. You can also look for a shoe that provides extra support around the heel and ankle, to reduce shock impact.
Even though you’re running on a treadmill and not on a road, you’re still running on a hard surface and need a good amount of cushioning.
Different brands have different names for their latest cushioning technology, but look out for a shoe that has a foam/EVA midsole that provides good arch support, particularly if you have high arches.
Cushioning helps increase your comfort when running whilst also reducing the impact of shock every time your foot hits the ground.
If you’re only planning on running indoors, then the material is perhaps less important to you than if you were a road or trail runner who needs something weather-resistant.
Most treadmill running shoes are made from synthetic materials such as polyester, which provides a good mix of durability and flexibility.
Many also feature mesh, which is excellent for allowing the feet to breathe and for wicking moisture - essential in those intense workouts!
Again, even though running on a treadmill is smoother and flatter than running on a road or trail, you still need a shoe that provides traction, particularly on the rubber track of a treadmill, as otherwise, you run the risk of slipping.
Rubber outsoles are by far the most durable, and also offer good grip on a variety of surfaces. On the other hand, foam outsoles can add to the shoe’s cushioning and are lighter than rubber, however, they're also less durable.
The weight of your shoe and how light they should feel largely depends on the type of runner you are.
If you do a lot of endurance work, then it’s likely your shoe will require more cushioning to provide long-lasting comfort, which is also likely to add to the overall weight of the shoe.
On the other hand, if you’re more focused on speed, you’ll need a more lightweight, streamlined alternative that’s free from any additional or unnecessary cushioning or features.
A good brand doesn’t always equal the best running shoes, but they do guarantee a certain level of quality and comfort, which is important in a running shoe.
Brands such as Under Armour, Nike, Adidas, Asics, and Brooks are all renowned for their innovative and reliable running shoes and offer a huge range of shoes to cater to different running needs.
How much you spend on your running shoes largely depends on your budget.
Like we said above, don’t assume that the most expensive shoes are the best, as there are so many factors that make a shoe feel “perfect”, and many of these depend upon your arch type and running gait.
We’d say you can get the most bang for your buck in the middle price range though, where you’re likely to spend anywhere between $50-$200.
You can also consider other factors such as how frequently you’ll be using the running shoes, and how serious you are about running.
Experienced runners will usually be inclined to invest more in a shoe for added durability, whereas new runners are perhaps a little more reluctant while they’re still finding their feet.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best shoes for running on a treadmill?
The best shoes for running on a treadmill will be lightweight and will have good traction to prevent slipping on the rubber track of the treadmill.
These shoes should also have adequate stability support or cushioning depending on the shape of your arch.
There is no specific “treadmill shoe”, and most running shoes are suitable for multiple surfaces.
The most important thing to bear in mind when shopping for the perfect treadmill running shoe is to find the right one for your personal needs, such as your arch type, and your running gait.
The more comfortable your feet feel, and the more support they have, the faster or further you’ll be able to run, and the better you’ll feel as a result.
Is running outside better than running on a treadmill?
You can get an equally effective work-out running on a treadmill or on the road, however, there are a few differences between the two.
Because the surface of the treadmill is far flatter than the natural terrain, many runners will increase the incline of the treadmill by 1 or 2% to compensate for this.
Running on a treadmill may allow you to run further or faster due to the smoother surface and the repetitive nature of the treadmill, which may help you maintain concentration.
Both running outside and running on a treadmill have their separate benefits and drawbacks, however many people run on a treadmill for convenience, or as part of their regular gym routine.