January 3, 2019

Best Shoes For Treadmill Running & Walking: Reviews Guide

Some shoe features are generally ideal for treadmill use, but others depend on individual foot shape and whether you’re walking or running. 

Foot condition (previous injury, health problems, etc.) and budget may also be factors in choosing the best shoe for an individual. Here are some tips to help you select your best shoes for treadmill use.

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Product Name
Entirely Synthetic
Colour Options
Price Guide & Amazon Rating
View Product
ASICS Women’s Gel-Nimbus 16 Running Shoe

ASICS Women’s Gel-Nimbus 16 Running Shoe

Yes

Titanium/White/Turquoise, Turquoise/Iris/Methyl Blue, Silver/Titanium/Hot Pink, Flash Yellow/Pink Glow/Asics Blue, Carbon/Black/Cockatoo, Indigo Blue/White/Spring Bud

$$

New Balance Women's 990v4 Running Shoe

New Balance Women's 990v4 Running Shoe

No

Black/Silver, Gray/Castlerock, Navy

$$

ASICS Women's GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe

ASICS Women's GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe

Yes

11 Options

$

Saucony Women’s Ride 10 Running Shoes

Saucony Women’s Ride 10 Running Shoes

Yes

White Blue, Black Coral, Gray Berry, Purple Citron, Gray, Blue 

$

Brooks Women’s Ghost 9

Brooks Women’s Ghost 9

Yes

Black/Sparkling Grape/Ceramic, Silver/Blue Atoll/Lime Punch, Azalea/Black/Cyber Yellow, Purple Cactus Flower/Diva Pink/Patriot Blue, Primer Gray/Lilac

$$

ASICS Women’s Gel-Nimbus 16 Running Shoe

ASICS Men’s Gel-Nimbus 20 Running Shoe

No

13 Options

$$$

New Balance Men’s MR993 Running Shoe

New Balance Men’s MR993 Running Shoe

No

Navy, Gray, Black

$$$$

Brooks Men’s Launch 4

Brooks Men’s Launch 4

Yes

10 Options

$

Saucony Women’s Ride 10 Running Shoes

Saucony Men’s Ride 10

Yes

10 Options

$

Brooks Women’s Ghost 9

Brooks Men’s Ghost 9

Yes

Anthracite/Electric Brooks Blue/Lime Punch, Alloy/High Risk Red/Black, Peacoat/Red Orange/Black, Electric Brooks Blue/Black/Silver

$$


How is treadmill running different to outdoor running?


Treadmill running is somewhat different from outdoor running. The monotony of the treadmill makes people run faster. The relative smoothness and shock absorption of the treadmill surface also induce faster running.

Most outdoor running surfaces don’t absorb shock as well as the treadmill and are more likely to be uneven. The treadmill looks like a safer option and a better workout.
However, it turns out that treadmill running actually puts more pressure on both the balls of the feet and the heels. Furthermore, the monotony of the treadmill means more monotony for muscles: you end up using the same muscles the same way over and over.

A treadmill will move steadily—regardless of what you’re doing—and the treadmill is a path of restricted width. To make matters worse, the steady movement of the treadmill combined with a sense of being encouraged to run faster makes some runners feel out-of-control or dizzy. Also, you may be getting tired, but unlike pavement, the treadmill will not support arbitrary slowing or stopping.
Even if there is a security mechanism to stop the treadmill, you’ve probably already tripped before the treadmill comes to a complete stop.

Can you use the same shoes for treadmill and outdoor running?

Differences aside, shoes that work well for treadmill generally will work for pavement (and other outside surfaces) as well.

 
If your running is predominantly treadmill, then you probably can wear a thinner-soled shoe, because the treadmill surface absorbs more shock and has no bumps. Also, you can wear a softer-bodied shoe, because there is less risk of ankle-twisting.


Features to look for in shoes for treadmill running:


Lightweight

 

While there’s no indication that a heavy shoe is harmful, it will make the workout feel more difficult. This could contribute to loss of motivation.


If you’re serious about seeing how fast you can sprint, a heavy shoe will always slow your time. However, don’t try so hard to get a light shoe that you neglect to have proper cushioning and support.

Breathable

 

The structure of the shoe body (the part covering your feet) should allow air to flow, and the interior material lining should have a wicking effect.


That way, less sweat accumulates during a workout—this is more comfortable and reduces odor. Breathability may increase the longevity of the shoe, as shoes that stay drier resist interior deterioration.

Cushioning

 

Running on a treadmill (and any running for that matter) causes the foot—especially the heel and ball of the foot—to sustain greater impact. Beware, though: more cushioning might mean a heavier shoe, which is not ideal for sprinting.


Cushioning is especially important for treadmill running, because of the repetitive nature of the movement; cushioning reduces post-workout soreness. Two of the best cushioning materials that don’t add much weight are EVA foam and fresh foam.

Flexible

 

A running shoe should be fairly flexible, especially in the ball of the foot. The heel and the arch should be relatively less flexible and more stable. A suitably flexible shoe is especially important for people prone to shin splints.

Correct Arch Support

 

Correct arch support is universally critical for healthy running, but the shape of support needed depends on your arch height. Furthermore, arch height tends to impact the way the foot absorbs the force of a stride.


High-arched feet tend to roll out (under-pronate or supinate) on impact. Flat-arched feet tend to roll in (over-pronate) on impact.


Most shoes are targeted for normal (neutral) pronators. Note that while arch height and pronation are generally related, they’re two separate characteristics.

Suitable for Other Gym Activities

 

It would be tedious to change shoes before switching to a different gym activity, and most gym visits include at least a few other activities besides treadmill work.


Even if the treadmill is the only activity you want to do now, you might someday want to extend your repertoire to include a greater variety of activities. A multi-purpose shoe is better value.

Support

 

The body of your shoe should be supportive of your individual foot shape so that it holds your foot stable as you move.


Having your foot sliding and shifting in your shoe will be distracting and will probably undermine any good features of the shoe. The wrong support may also change the way you run and walk in a way that’s injurious.

Flat Laces

 

Flat laces aren’t just a minor fashion choice. Flat laces tend to stay tied longer, so you’re less likely to have to stop the treadmill (and your workout) to bend down and retie your shoe. Also, untied shoes left unnoticed are a safety hazard.


10 best shoes for treadmill running reviewed:



Womens


1. ASICS Women’s Gel-Nimbus 16 Running Shoe

The ASICS Women’s Gel-Nimbus 16 is a shoe with above-average cushioning and shock absorption. This makes it especially good for endurance training and for people with any sort of foot condition.

The Gel-Nimbus 16 is especially lauded by those with high arches. Somehow, this model seems to work for people with unusual foot shapes—high insteps (top surface of the foot comes up high), narrow feet, etc. It has a relatively wide toe box, which makes it more comfortable for those who like a spacious shoe—all the while, it still offers adequate support in the arches.

Users repeatedly report that these shoes make them feel as if they were walking “on clouds.”

ASICS Women’s Gel-Nimbus 16 Running Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

80%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Good for almost all levels of pronation
  • Excellent cushioning
  • Good for long runs
  • Good for high arches
  • Work well for unusual foot shapes

Cons

  • Not always true to size
  • Limited color options
New Balance Women's 990v4 Running Shoe

Our Rating

2. New Balance Women's 990v4 Running Shoe

The New Balance Women’s 990v4 is just an all-around great shoe. It comes in a selection of 7 colors that are not overly fluorescent-looking.

Its removable insert leaves the option for you to replace it with a custom insert. This, along with its excellent support structure, make it the best running shoe for people with plantar fasciitis and other foot conditions.

The 990v4 is an ideal balance of understated style, support, and flexibility. The shoe’s EVA midsole likely indicates that it’s appropriately lightweight for running.

It effectively delivers all other important running shoe features, such as breathability and cushioning. Also, the 990v4 provides support and comfort during other non-running activities.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

95%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Good color selection
  • Frequently true to size
  • Good for plantar fasciitis
  • Removable insert

Cons

  • Colors not available in all widths
  • Colors not exactly as in photo

3. ASICS Women's GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe

The ASICS GEL-Venture 5 is a good running shoe for both treadmill and trail. It comes in 11 color patterns.

As its name suggests, the shoe has an excellent GEL cushioning system, but it’s still noticeably lightweight and breathable. Users report that it isn’t waterproof, but if you just want to use the treadmill, this is a non-issue.

The GEL-Venture 5’s sock liner is removable, so you can insert one of your choosing. This makes the shoe good for people with a variety of foot conditions.

Users generally experience the shoe as being tight in the midfoot area but roomy in the toe area. However, for many users, this feels comfortable.

ASICS Women's GEL-Venture 5 Running Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

84%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Good color selection
  • Removable sock liner
  • Good for outdoor running
  • Keep feet cool
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Wide toe box
  • Tight fit in midfoot
Saucony Women’s Ride 10 Running Shoes

Our Rating

4. Saucony Women’s Ride 10 Running Shoes

The Saucony Ride 10 has all the features of a good running shoe: the EVERUN top sole gives cushioning to whole shoe body, the TRI-FLEX outsole gives improved flexibility; the mesh lining is breathable. The body of the shoe is generally wide.

Ironically, it’s repeatedly reported as comfortable for narrow feet, but the size may need to be adjusted (smaller size or narrow width size). This model may not be as suitable for orthotic use as other models of the same brand. However, those with bunions love this shoe.

Despite the fact that it’s intended for neutral pronation, people with high arches (usually inclined to under-pronation) tend to love this shoe.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

81%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Good for high arches
  • Good for bunions
  • Great cushioning
  • Good for narrow feet

Cons

  • Not always true to size
  • Does not work for all orthotics
  • Too narrow for some

5. Brooks Women’s Ghost 9

The Brooks Ghost 9 offers, above all else, excellent cushioning—sufficient even for people with foot and leg pain.

The interior is soft and comfortable. The tongue and ankle area is soft and insulating, which makes them great for outdoor use. All the while, the Ghost 9 manages to be lightweight and breathable.

The sole is composed of the Full-Length Segmented Crash Pad and the Omega Flex Grooves, which together guide foot movement for a healthy stride with less damaging impact.

Despite being a shoe for normal to under-pronators, over-pronators seem to have a good experience with the Brooks Ghost 9. 

Brooks Women’s Ghost 9

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

83%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Good for sprinting
  • Good for under-pronators
  • Removable insole
  • Snug around ankle

Cons

  • Overly prominent logo
  • Not always true to size

Mens


ASICS Women’s Gel-Nimbus 16 Running Shoe

Our Rating

1. ASICS Men’s Gel-Nimbus 20 Running Shoe

As with the women’s Gel-Nimbus 16, the men’s shoe makes you feel as though you are walking “on clouds.” It offers excellent, even “luxurious” cushioning, and its shock-absorbing soles give an energizing feel.

Even though the shoe is for neutral pronators, all types have a good chance of liking this shoe, because of its high-quality support system.

With all of this excellent support and cushioning, the Gel-Nimbus 20 is a little heavy relative to similar quality running shoes, and it may not keep your feet as dry and cool. These shoes are expensive relative to other running shoes, so they’re only for those who really want to make an investment in endurance running.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

77%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Good for under-pronators
  • Good for endurance workoutsSlightly heavy
  • Excellent cushioning
  • Excellent shock absorption

Cons

  • Breathability not top-notch
  • Slightly heavy
  • Expensive

2. New Balance Men’s MR993 Running Shoe

The New Balance MR993 is a long-lasting shoe that it has all the qualities of a great treadmill shoe, all the while being especially great for outdoor use.

The ABZORB material of the soles gives energizing return on impact. Ndurance rubber slows the usual wear in high impact areas of the sole and offers above-average shock absorption.

For those with foot conditions, such as bunions, it’s worth noting that the heel-toe drop is relatively high: 1.2 centimeters. Most users have no problem with this, though. New Balance has improved many features (more lightweight, more cushioning, better support, better appearance) in the MR993. 

New Balance Men’s MR993 Running Shoe

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

93%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Good traction
  • Great energy return
  • Great forefoot cushioning

Cons

  • Not extensive color/pattern selection
  • Relatively high heel-toe drop
Brooks Men’s Launch 4

Our Rating

3. Brooks Men’s Launch 4

The Brooks Launch 4 offers such good shock absorption, support, and energy response, that it can be the difference between being in too much pain to exercise and having an excellent gym experience.

All the while, it’s also comfortable and lightweight. Customers repeatedly report that the Launch 4 is an improvement in almost every way from the Launch 3. The shoe is a great value because of its above-average resistance to wear in high-impact areas of the sole.

Users sometimes have difficulty finding the right size for their feet, but when they do, they have only good things to say. (Usually, the problem is the sizing runs small.)

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

80%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Excellent energy response
  • Supports healthy strideSmall for size
  • Extensive color/pattern selection
  • Excellent shock absorption
  • Durable

Cons

  • Not so true to size
  • Small for size

4. Saucony Men’s Ride 10

The Saucony Ride 10 has excellent cushioning and flexibility that guides and protects the foot through a stride.

Generally, users with wide feet find that the shoe is a fantastic fit once they get the right size, which is usually about one size up from normal; this might be especially true for those with wide front feet (who need a wide toe box).

Most users find this shoe to be very cushioned, but marathon runners find that the shoe wears down quickly. That said, if you have wide feet and are not looking to run a marathon, the Saucony Ride 10 is probably your perfect shoe. An added plus is that the Ride 10 comes in a variety of color patterns.

Saucony Women’s Ride 10 Running Shoes

Our Rating

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

83%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Great for under-pronators
  • Good for wide feetNot so durable
  • Great flexibility
  • Excellent cushioning
  • Suitable for treadmill and track

Cons

  • Not so true to size
  • Not so durable
  • Fit can be uneven
Brooks Women’s Ghost 9

Our Rating

5. Brooks Men’s Ghost 9

The Brooks Ghost 9 is an exceptionally comfortable shoe with exceptional energy response. It’s ideal for neutral to under-pronators. It has many great support and energy features, including Omega Flex Grooves in the sole improve the stride movement of the forefoot.

The 1.2 cm heel-toe drop may make the Brooks Ghost 9 less ideal for those with bunions or other front foot issues. However, the support system and cushioning might make up for this, and make this a speed-promoting shoe even for those with foot trouble.

Users note this that shoe is exceptionally neutral, so it’s likely a poor choice for over-pronators.

Will These Shoes Fit Me?

90%
 Chance of Success

Pros

  • Good for under-pronators
  • Good for long runs
  • Removable insole
  • True to size

Cons

  • Relatively high heel-toe drop
  • Not good for over-pronators

Tips for running on a treadmill

The best shoes for sprinting on treadmill are those that have thoroughly the critical features of support, flexibility, and cushion; while the treadmill isn’t like open terrain, traction is more crucial at high speeds. 


Simply running causes impact points on your foot to take 3 times your body weight, and with the monotonous and intense impact of running top speed, the effect is even greater. A springy sole, lightweight shoe body, and excellent wicking in the interior are even more important when sprinting.


In contrast, the best shoes for treadmill walking still have these key features, but they’re somewhat less important, unless you have a foot condition.


As a rule, shoes referred to as neutral are for under- to normal pronators; those referred to as stability shoes are specifically for over-pronators.


The best running shoes for treadmill will only get you so far. You need to keep some other things in mind. The most important rule for exercise of any kind is to not overdo it. The luxurious springiness of the treadmill and your great running shoes might lead you to run too fast too soon.


Enthusiasm to start an exercise regimen also drives hordes of people to overdo it at the gym, injure themselves, and then quit.


As stated earlier, you have to respect the differences between treadmill running and track or trail running; the treadmill is deceptively dangerous. To make matters worse, even new treadmill users may have a tendency to get bored and stare at the TV or an electronic device and not pay attention to the exercise.


While the treadmill may feel easier, it’s actually harder on impact points of the foot, so pacing yourself and being sure you have the best shoes for your foot is all the more important.


Conclusion


You should always try on and thoroughly try out shoes before purchasing them. Heel slipping especially is an annoying problem that you might overlook without mindfully walking around in the shoes.

Individual idiosyncrasies in foot shape, such as a wide forefoot or high instep (top of the foot comes up high), make a difference in proper shoe choice. Therefore, do not assume that just because a shoe is well-ranked or looks good that it’s the best for you.

Also, foot conditions such as plantar fasciitis may mean you need more cushioning in the entire shoe or maybe just the affected part. A shoe that has a removable insole might be best for foot conditions. Note, however, that an orthotic might mean you need to get a slightly larger shoe size.

One last piece of helpful information: Wide and narrow sizes have letter labels—for men, B is narrow and E is wide; for women, A is narrow and D is wide. Some shoes might even come in more width divisions.

If you generally select shoes with the key features in mind, use the treadmill safely, and listen to your own body, the treadmill should be a path to less foot pain and a healthier body.

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