A treadmill is perhaps the most popular piece of cardiovascular equipment on the market and might even be the most commonly used item of fitness equipment overall.
However, despite its popularity, many people know very little about other aspects concerning its use.
One of the most important aspects in this regard is the footwear you use while training on a treadmill.
While most people will simply use the same shoes they do for other sports or workouts, those who seek to perform at a high level will often choose specially designed treadmill shoes.
Do they really offer that much of a difference though?
Well, today we are going to not only show you how they improve your performance, but also which option is likely the best one for you.
So, if you regularly train on a treadmill and want to maximise your performance, this is the article for you.
Do You Need Different Shoes For Treadmill?
While you don’t necessarily have to use specialised footwear when training on a treadmill, it can be beneficial to have a separate pair of shoes that are dedicated to your sessions, especially if you are training to compete in elite level events.
There are a number of advantages to having a separate pair of shoes to use on the treadmill.
For starters, shoes specifically designed for the treadmill will provide better support and greater comfort when running on this type of surface.
This can be seen in everything from the flexible sole to a structure that is designed for safe use on the band of the treadmill.
A separate pair of shoes also means they will last longer than if using them for multiple purposes, as they won’t be put under the same levels of stress.
There is even the benefit of them being cleaner, as they aren’t worn outside, meaning you don’t walk dirt all around the area in which you train or soil the treadmill.
While some of these benefits may seem more important than others, they all combine and make it a good investment to purchase a pair of treadmill shoes if you train on a treadmill on a regular basis.
What To Consider When Buying Treadmill Shoes
The most important element to consider when buying treadmill shoes is the fit.
The shoes should feel comfortable on your feet and not create any restrictions which could result in blisters or pains that prevent you from exercising or limit your enjoyment during sessions.
Another important consideration is the weight of the shoes.
Make sure they offer a lightweight feel, as this adds to the overall comfort the shoes provide while you are working out and maximises the level of performance you can achieve.
You may also want to consider how flexible the shoes are. They should easily bend with your feet as you are running or walking on the treadmill, as this will affect both the comfort and performance.
This is also where the materials you choose will play a factor as well, as this can dictate the level of cushioning provided by the shoes.
EVA foam, Lunarlon foam, blown rubber, and fresh foam are some of the most common types of cushioning used in treadmill shoes.
A final, yet equally important consideration when deciding on a pair of treadmill shoes is your budget.
Prices vary significantly between different makes and styles, so make sure you keep this in mind when looking at your options.
Does The Type Of Treadmill You Use Change Which Footwear Is Most Suitable?
While treadmills may all seem to be the same at first glance, there are actually a number of different options on the market.
This includes manual treadmills, motorised treadmills, folding treadmills, commercial treadmills, compact treadmills, shock absorption treadmills, medical treadmills, and hybrid treadmills.
However, while they are all designed slightly differently, most operate in almost exactly the same way.
So, while some will have slightly lower levels of impact or higher top speeds, whichever pair of shoes you select will be more than sufficient for use on any type of treadmill you may come across.
Barefoot Walking On Treadmill
Before we get to the different types of footwear on option, another option people often ask about is using a treadmill barefoot.
While barefoot running does offer some benefits, such as greater feeling and interaction with the ground, there are also obvious drawbacks, such as increased risk or injury.
This risk of injury is even greater on a treadmill, compared to running outdoors, as the moving belt creates more friction and a greater likelihood of sustaining issues like cuts, scrapes, and blisters.
Those who do want to use their treadmill barefoot should begin by walking on the treadmill before they start running.
This will not only help to toughen up the skin on your feet but also gives you the chance to get accustomed to the feel and bounce of the track.
Footwear Options For Use On A Treadmill
There are two primary considerations when looking at footwear options to use on a treadmill.
These are whether you will spend the majority of your time walking or running, as your foot placement will be different in each activity and require differing levels of flexibility and support.
Best Treadmill Shoes For Walking
The best treadmill shoes for walking are the ones that maximise comfort, cushioning, and support over everything else.
As you won’t be worried about achieving elite levels of performance while walking, the most important thing is limiting your chance of injury and making sure you enjoy your sessions.
Adidas Men’s Adizero Adios 4 Running Shoe
Even though it is quite clearly advertised for running, the Adidas Men’s Adizero Adios 4 Running Shoe boasts all the features you would want when walking on a treadmill.
Their snug fit provides greatly enhanced levels of stability and support while you are walking on a treadmill, ensuring there is very little risk of injuring yourself.
They also contain a unique, brand-specific cushioning, which provides superior support and helps to minimise any wasted energy.
Available in a choice of black, red, and white coloured options, as well as sizes ranging from 6.5 up to 11, the Adidas Men’s Adizero Adios 4 Running Shoe is suitable for a wide range of users.
The upper part of the shoe is made from synthetic textiles, which create a much more durable structure, giving them an extended lifespan, making them much better value for money.
That said, priced between $130 and $140, depending on the size and colour, these certainly aren’t a cheap option, so may be best for those who intend to use them regularly or compete at a high level.
Boost is our most responsive cushioning ever, delivering incredible energy return: The more energy you give, the more you get.
- Available in a good range of colours and sizes
- Great level of brand-specific cushioning
- Incredibly snug, supportive fit
- Good for both running and walking
- Quite expensive
- Maximum size will be too small for a large number of people to use
ASICS Gel Venture 6 MX
The ASICS Gel Venture 6 MX is another shoe made primarily for running, but with features that make it a good fit for walking as well.
The is largely due to the fact that it features the company’s patented Rearfoot GEL Cushioning System technology.
This system creates a feeling of immense comfort, without impairing the breathability of the shoe, to allow your feet to remain cool and comfortable.
It also boosts the overall support the shoe offers and enhances your transition between speeds, improving performance and limiting the likelihood of injury.
The sock liner included in the shoe helps to create an even better fit, ensuring it remains snug at all times. However, it also has a removable design, which allows for the addition of a medical orthotic to the shoe if required.
The ASICS Gel Venture 6 MX is available in a large variety of colours and designs, so will be suitable for people of all different tastes and styles.
Similarly, with prices ranging from $45 to $139, depending on size and style, there are options to suit most budgets as well.
Sizes start at 7 and go up to a 14, while extra wide size options are also available. This makes them a great choice for people with larger feet but may be a little limiting for people on the smaller end of the scale.
Rearfoot GEL Cushioning System: Attenuates shock during impact phase and allows for a smooth transition to midstance.
- Available in a great range of colours and designs
- Large and extra wide sizes are ideal for people with bigger feet
- Patented gel technology provides maximum comfort, without causing overheating
- Sock liners create a snug fit, yet can be removed if custom orthotics are required
- Plenty of price options to suit all budgets
- Sizes starting at 7 may stop people with smaller feet from using the shoes
Best Treadmill Shoes For Running
The best treadmill shoes for running will want to incorporate the same benefits seen in those recommended for walking.
However, they will also need to produce higher levels of performance, so factors such as the weight, material, and flexibility will all need to be taken into account.
They will also be expected to put up with a much more strenuous life, so an enhanced level of durability is a desirable factor, if they are to offer good value.
Saucony Unisex-Adult Kinvara 9
The Saucony Unisex-Adult Kinvara 9 is designed from a range of high quality materials, which aim to provide the perfect balance of comfort, performance, and support.
The upper part of the shoe uses synthetic textiles combined with mesh, to create a shoe that is both durable and breathable.
The built-in cushioning system adds support and helps to reduce fatigue during a run, while the rubber sole adds to the flexibility and durability of the shoe.
The unisex design makes the shoe an ideal option for men and women, while the various brightly coloured designs will appeal to people with a wide range of tastes.
Similarly, with prices ranging from $90 to $248, depending on the size and design, there will be an option available to suit most budgets.
Unfortunately, the size range of 5 to 10 is quite limiting, making the Saucony Unisex-Adult Kinvara 9 unusable for people with either small or large feet.
We offer a wide range of running and walking shoes, each with the Saucony trademark fit, feel and performance.
- Great range of different style and budget options
- Provides a good balance of comfort, support, breathability, and durability
- Suitable for both men and women
- Helps to reduce fatigue and increase performance
- Size range is very limiting, making them unsuitable for anyone with small or large feet
Brooks Ghost 11
The Brooks Ghost 11 shoes are made with a focus specifically on providing a secure fit and enhancing performance, making them an excellent choice for a run on the treadmill.
It ensures they won’t feel loose or fall off while you’re running, while ensuring you can perform to the highest level.
A combination of two patented cushioning systems, known as DNA LOFT and BioMoGa DNA, are both incorporated into the design of these shoes.
This provides an additional level of comfort and support, which is above and beyond what most shoes are capable of offering.
Available in a selection of both neutral and vibrant colour options, there will be something so suit people of almost all styles and tastes.
However, with a price range of $125 to $270, depending on the style and size, even the cheapest option may seem a little steep for many people.
While the lowest size of 7 will be somewhat limiting for people with smaller feet, options going up to size 15, as well as the ability to choose between both medium width and wide width options, make them a good choice for larger users and offer a somewhat customisable fit.
SMOOTH, STABLE RIDE: The Segmented Crash Pad is designed to adapt to each foot fall, so no matter how your foot lands, you’ll enjoy the smoothest ride possible.
- The use of dual cushioning systems creates an unparalleled level of comfort and support
- Customisable sizing that is good for people with feet up to size 15
- Available in a wide range of both neutral and vibrant colours
- Snug fit ensures they won’t feel loose or fall off during a run
- Specially designed to produce optimal levels of performance
- A lowest size of 7 makes them unsuitable for people with smaller feet
- Quite expensive, even at the lower end of their price range
That brings us to the end of our analysis of the best treadmill shoes to maximise your performance.
While not necessarily a must have item for using a treadmill, they are certainly something that needs to be considered for regular users or those looking to perform at the highest level.
You will hopefully now have a much better understanding of not only the benefits of using specially designed treadmill shoes and how they achieve their goals, but also which pair is best suited for you, based on your own individual wants and needs.
So, all that’s left is to go and purchase your preferred pair of treadmill shoes and try them out for yourself.
That way, you can look forward to achieving elite levels of performance, comfort, and support, which will take your training to the next level, as soon as possible.
Dr. Ahmed Zayed holds a bachelor’s degree in medicine from Alexandria university and is a practicing plastic surgeon. He’s our expert on all things nutrition, medicine, rehabilitation, and flexibility. Dr.Ahmed has been a medical content writer for more than 11 years and his work reached top publications such as the HuffingtonPost