Best Treadmill Running Shoes for Men & Women + TOP 13 Reviews 2019
Did you know that the treadmill is over 200 years old?! It turns out this popular piece of gym equipment has been around for a while.
But the shoes to match haven’t.
This article will explain a bit about the differences that people look for in treadmill shoes versus outdoor running shoes and list the best treadmill running shoes for men and women available in 2019.
Running on a treadmill can be a great way to include a warm up, warm down, cardio and intervals in your gym routine, while also allowing you a break from the chills of winter or perils of city air pollution.
In order to make the experience enjoyable, comfortable and safe, it pays to choose the right footwear.
Different people are going to have different criteria that they prioritize when choosing their ideal treadmill shoes.
Things to consider are:
So, why is running on a treadmill different from road or trail running in terms of footwear requirements?
The short answer: It’s not.
The longer answer is that it’s very individual.
It really comes down to personal preference. There are conflicting opinions as to whether running shoes need to be any different for treadmill running compared to outside use. A lot of people will simply use the same pair for both, out of convenience (I do).
Others may prefer to keep a pair of shoes specifically for their treadmill running (this could be an advantage if you run in heavy duty trail shoes outside).
Depending on your running style, anatomy, and how used to running on a treadmill you are, your technique may or may not change significantly.
Studies have shown that when most people are running on a treadmill, they land with a slightly flatter foot than they would do outside. Runners also tend to have a shorter, quicker stride when on a treadmill.
In light of these changes, the most commonly stated requirements of treadmill running shoes relate to cushioning and weight.
Some people are of the view that running on a treadmill increases the braking load of each foot strike (though there is no scientific evidence to back this up) and consequently recommend more cushioning.
Others believe that treadmills themselves are already more forgiving than hard outdoor surfaces so extra cushions in your shoes aren’t necessary.
Meanwhile, there are those who want the lightest shoe possible for treadmill running, but this is also just a preference.
Treadmill shoes don’t necessarily need to be any lighter than normal running shoes, though they can afford to be lighter because they don’t need to be made of the heavier, more durable material of trail running shoes.
So, this brings us to the question of durability
Inside a cozy gym on a treadmill you won’t be encountering the elements, rolling over undulations or dodging rocks and muddy puddles.
So, arguably, durability and longevity of the shoe is not such an issue.
Your shoes aren’t going to wear out as quickly if you’re only using them on a treadmill and not pushing them to their limits, so you don’t necessarily need the bullet proof material of trail running shoes.
In saying this though, treadmill miles are the same as road miles when it comes to the cushioning becoming compressed, so don’t get fooled into thinking that your shoes aren’t worn out just because they still look good.
Another factor to consider is breathability (did you know that our feet have the most sweat glands out of any other part of the body?).
Without the mountain air to cool you down, we’re all going to benefit from having well ventilated shoes and avoiding hot, clammy, and later smelly feet.
The Support Factor
Bearing all this in the mind, the deciding factor for which shoe you choose is going to be the type of support you want (or don’t want).
This depends on your anatomy, running style and preference for supportive versus neutral or minimalist designs.
Whether or not your technique changes on the treadmill, the repetitive nature of treadmill running is going to result in more specific repetitive stress on your body without the more varied movements that would occur outside in the natural environment.
This means that if you have alignment issues, or tend to pronate excessively, you are definitely going to want shoes that give you the right kind of support so that you don’t walk away from your workout with sore knees.
We don’t have time to go into the pros and cons of barefoot running versus arch support for pronators. At the end of the day, it really comes down to personal preference and what your body is used to.
Don’t suddenly change to a minimalist shoe if you know that you pronate and have used supportive shoes up until now.
Finally, treadmills can be dangerous machines that don’t bode well for people who like to stop at a short notice. For this reason, to ensure safety, you are going to want a pair of well-fitting shoes, with enough grip and stability to not make your running become a hazard.
There are some shoes advertised as treadmill shoes that appear to be of a slip-on design without laces.
I wouldn’t personally recommend this style as you’re unlikely to achieve a perfect, snug fit without laces which is important from a safety and a comfort point of view.
Not every shoe is going to be able to do everything for you.
It’s going to be a case of working out what your priorities are and deciding on a compromise in order to choose your best running shoes for treadmill use.
For example, knowing my feet, I’m going to choose a shoe with good arch support even if it means it has to come with a little extra weight.
That’s just my preference.
I’ve tried barefoot running, but due to past injuries that didn’t heal properly, it’s easier for me to just stick with what works, and that’s arch support and decent cushioning.
However, if you’re of the barefoot tribe and a minimalist shoe that makes you feel like you’re running naked, then go for it!
To summarise, good treadmill running shoes are ideally going to be lightweight, well cushioned, and providing the right kind of support for your requirements.
But, at the end of the day, the best shoes for running on a treadmill are the pair that you feel most comfortable running in.
Other tips to consider
Try before you buy! Sizing varies between shoe brands so unless you’ve bought the exact same model before, you’re going to want to make sure the shoe is a perfect fit.
Wear the same socks to try on the shoes that you will wear when you run, and try the shoes in the afternoon when your feet are slightly larger as a result of the natural swelling that occurs during the day.
Running on a treadmill uses the backs of legs less, and the fronts more than would be used outside, as you’re not needing to push off the ground to propel yourself forwards. So, if you’re new to treadmill running, as with everything ‘running’, make the transition slowly and include lots of stretching!
Review: The new Mizuno race shoe is durable and more stable than most race shoes. Consequently, its combination of being a lightweight shoe coupled with cushioning and durability is likely to make it a popular treadmill shoe.
It is a neutral shoe so it won’t provide specific arch support but does have good support throughout the midsection.
Narrower than most other Mizuno models.
Feels slower than most other racing flats.
A durable and lightweight shoe with good support and comfortable cushioning.
Review: A neutral road running shoe that is ideal for treadmill use due to its lightweight composition and ample cushioning. It uses Brooks BioGoMo DNA technology for shock absorbance and stability through the midsole.
The Seamless Engineered Mesh has been updated from the Ghost 9 to provide additional support and breathability.
Limited arch support.
The Brooks Ghost 10 are likely to be the best women’s shoes for treadmill running provided you don’t need significant arch support.
Review: A shoe with the perfect balance of comfort and stability, light enough to be comfortable on the treadmill but supportive enough to suit those who aren’t looking for specific arch support but also don’t want to run barefoot.
It’s a fast shoe, and only the second produced by Saucony that includes their Everrun technology along the whole length of the shoe.
A little pricey.
A superior shoe due to its impressive balance of comfort and stability while being fast and responsive.