If you run on a treadmill, you’ll know it’s an entirely different ball game to road running, or trail running, due to the differences in the surfaces. Because treadmills are smoother, you tend to run at a faster pace, therefore, treadmill running shoes should be lightweight as they don’t need as much traction or cushioning as other types of running shoes.
While running on a treadmill can be comparatively boring compared to road running, where you can change up your route and take in your surroundings, there is an array of benefits to treadmill running. For one, it’s convenient. If you travel a lot, you can keep up your running routine when away on business trips or vacation.
It can be done in the comfort of your own home if you are lucky enough to own a treadmill, meaning you can run at any time of day or night without worrying about visibility. Another bonus is you can carry on running during the colder winter months when you’d otherwise have to wrap up if you’re exercising outside. Treadmills are also great for monitoring your pace, distance, and heart rate, too, and you can change up your speed and incline rate.
In this article, we’ll be taking you through our favorite shoes for running on a treadmill, complete with a Buyer’s Guide and Frequently Asked Questions section, so that you can spend less time browsing the internet for the perfect pair of shoes, and more time running!
But first, here’s what you need to know before buying:
- Men and women’s running shoes differ in size and fit, so ensure you select the right ones for you.
- Treadmill running shoes should be lighter and have less tread than trail ones, however, they still need cushioning to provide comfort and shock absorption, especially if you’re running long distances.
- You should select the right shoe for your level of pronation and arch type (check out our buyer’s guide for more on this)
Top 5 Best Running Shoes for Treadmill
OUR TOP PICK
Asics is a brand respected by amateur and professional athletes alike. The Nimbus 16 is a 100% man-made shoe, designed for comfort during long-distance runs, thanks to a plush mesh upper and lightweight FluidRide midsole.
The Nimbus is suitable for a range of different foot types too and will provide support for under pronators, neutral gait runners, and mild overpronators. The gel cushioning on this shoe is designed to absorb shock and reduce the pressure on joints and muscles, meaning you can run for longer and minimize your risk of injury.
Another great feature of this shoe is the FluidFit upper technology, which utilizes a combination of multi-directional stretch mesh and stretch reinforcements to create a glove-like fit for ultimate stability and comfort, without losing flexibility and range of motion.
- Ideal for a range of foot types
- Good for long-distance runs
- Gel cushioning and lightweight, FluidRide midsole
- Fluid fit upper for stretch and stability
- Some people find the heel a little narrow
The Lite Racer from Adidas is the perfect lightweight running shoe, especially if you like to speed up your runs from time to time. The shoe combines comfort with performance thanks to the OrthoLite Float sock liner, which has a sock-like construction that hugs the foot for a barely-there feel. The FitFoam technology contours the foot for maximum cushioning and support.
These are perfect for indoor workouts thanks to their rubber sole which has just enough tread to provide grip and stability on the treadmill, without adding unnecessary weight to the shoe. The Lite Racer feels featherlight and almost gives the feel of running barefoot.
It also epitomizes Adidas’ ethos of combining performance-enhancing technology with a design that can be worn casually as well when training.
- Looks great, doubles-up as a street shoe as well as a fitness shoe
- Fitfoam technology for contoured cushioning
- Rubber sole for durability
- OrthoLite Float sock liner for support without heaviness
- May not provide enough support for a high arch
Founded all the way back in 1898, Saucony is a top running brand that produces quality training shoes, and the Cohesion 10 is exactly what you’d expect from the brand. This shoe is perfect for a neutral pronator thanks to the Heel Grid system and injection-molded EVA midsole, which combines support with stability to combine performance and comfort.
These shoes have a mesh upper for breathability and flexibility, so they’re perfect for indoor use. They also have rubber outsoles for added traction and durability for those who run long distances frequently. These shoes will reduce the pressure on your joints and provide adequate arch support without you having to compromise on lightness.
- Eva midsole and Heel Grid for comfort and stability
- Rubber outsole for durability
- Mesh upper allows the foot to breath
- Perfect for neutral pronators
- Lightweight but still provide cushioning
- Some people have had issues with getting the fit - if you have particularly wide feet, these may not be for you.
These running shoes feature a lightweight injection-molded EVA foam midsole which provides featherlight, flexible cushioning while the New Balance Comfort Insert provides added support and structure to the shoe.
The breathable mesh and synthetic uppers provide stability to the foot while not stifling it, and the durable rubber outsole provides traction on flat surfaces for extra power and speed. These shoes are also incredibly versatile, and thanks to their sleek and discrete design, can be worn not only for training but for day-to-day use, too.
Plus underfoot flex grooves and data-inspired comfort technology has been built into the shoe for enhanced all-day comfort, meaning these will see you through anything from long-distance runs to a long work shift or a busy day of running errands.
- EVA foam midsole for lightweight comfort
- Added insert for maximum cushioning
- Breathable mesh and synthetic uppers
- Rubber outsole
- Great for everyday use as well as training
- This style tends to run a little short and narrow
Asics make it onto our list for the second time, this time with the Gel-Excite 6. This shoe features an AmpliFoam Midsole, engineered to provide and maintain better flexibility, comfort, and platform adaptability ideal for natural running.
The rearfoot gel technology provides cushioning to absorb shock and reduce strain on joints, and it also allows a smooth transition to midstance and helps maintain good running technique.
Expect maximum comfort from this shoe, thanks to the Ortholite Sockliner which provides structure and stability but also added moisture management to control sweat. A mesh upper also helps maintain dryness and boosts breathability for a more flexible and less restrictive fit.
- Amplifoam midsole to maintain comfort and platform adaptability
- Rearfoot gel technology for cushioning
- Ortholite sock liner for added support
- Moisture management and mesh upper for breathability
- Some people found the cushioning slightly stiff
These Under Armour running shoes combine durability with lightness, so are perfect if you run daily or multiple times a week. The EVA sock liner provides soft, step-in comfort while a charged cushioning midsole uses compression-molded foam to promote responsiveness as you run, providing not only comfort but boosting your efficiency and energy return.
A lightweight mesh upper allows your foot to breathe while the leather overlays provide extra structural support and lock your foot into place to minimize the risk of injury.
These balance flexibility with cushioning to provide support for neutral pronators.
- Lightweight mesh upper for breathability
- Durable leather overlays for added structure and stability
- Synthetic sole
- EVA sock liner for comfort
- Charged cushioning for ultimate support and energy return
- Some people found these didn’t provide enough support, so they’re not ideal for a very flat or very arched foot.
Best Running Shoes for Treadmill - Buyers Guide
Pronation is the level at which your foot pronates - or rolls. It is perhaps the most important thing to consider when buying a running shoe, as your pronation impacts your running gait and consequently, how much cushioning or structure you need in a running shoe.
There are usually three types of runners:
- Neutral Pronation - Neutral pronation is when the foot rolls inwards as the outside heel hits the ground, but only until the forefoot is completely on the ground and then the runner pushes off evenly across the forefront of their foot.
- Overpronation - Overpronators have feet that roll inwards more than usual after the outside heel strikes the ground. This causes the push off to come mainly from the big toe, which leads to uneven shock distribution and causes the big toe to overwork.
- Underpronation - After the outside heel hits the ground, the inward roll of the foot is less than normal for under pronators, causing the impact to hit the outside of the foot and the push-off to come from the smaller toes instead of the forefront.
Your pronation also dictates the shape of your arch:
- Overpronators usually have very low arches or flat feet.
- Neutral pronators have normal arches
- Underpronators have high arches
Once you’ve determined which type of pronator you are, and what type of arch you have, you can then figure out how much cushioning and support you need. A neutral pronator with a normal arch needs a shoe which has a balance between a cushioned midsole but a structured and flexible upper.
If you’re a neutral pronator you’re lucky, as there are plenty of options out there for you. Overpronators need a shoe focussed on stability that keeps the foot from rolling and has plenty of structure in the upper. Underpronators need a shoe with plenty of arch support and shock absorbance.
You’ll also want to take into consideration how long you’ll be running for. If you’re running long distances, a cushioned shoe will provide comfort and support, while if you’re prioritizing speed, you’ll want something lightweight. Bear in mind that the more cushioned the shoe is, the more it’ll be weighed down, and the slower you'll run.
For treadmill running, you’ll want something lightweight, and thankfully most shoes designed for indoor use and general fitness weigh less because they usually have lighter, slimmer soles and less shock absorbance and traction than shoes designed for trail running.
Mesh is also an incredibly lightweight, breathable fabric that many running shoes make use of. If speed is your priority, then you’ll definitely want to pay more attention to the weight of the shoe, rather than the cushioning level, whereas endurance runners should pay more attention to cushioning.
The outsole of the shoe is usually made from rubber or EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate). Rubber soles are the most durable and hard-wearing, and usually provide better grip and traction, while EVA boasts better flexibility and comfort.
EVA can be good for speed as it’s usually more lightweight, but rubber can have better shock absorption, though it’s worth noting that this is less important when it comes to treadmill running as you’ll be running on a smoother surface than on the road and other rougher terrains.
Quite often people get tempted to purchase shoes based purely on brand alone, but in reality, the brand of the shoe doesn’t determine its effectiveness, rather the fit of the shoe is more important, and whether it is the right type of shoe for your foot type and pronation level.
While brands such as Asics, Nike and Saucony are loved worldwide for their quality running shoes, the most important thing when it comes to buying running shoes is knowing your pronation and arch type, so you can opt for a design with the right level of cushioning and stability for you.
This will actually save you money in the long run, too, as asking a family member or friend to help you analyze your gait and pronation will allow you to make the right choice and save you wasting money on countless pairs of running shoes.
We always recommend a middle price point when it comes to running shoes, as it’s so important that they’re durable and comfortable, especially if you’re an avid runner. That said, we also don’t believe in spending hundreds of dollars on a pair of running shoes, when, quite often, you can get far more bang for your buck around the $100 mark.
Don’t forget that with treadmill running shoes you can also get away with a more simple pair of shoes, as you’re not looking for a pair that boast a highly durable sole for traction or a waterproof outer for trail running, which means that you’ll probably be looking to spend slightly less.