Best Shoes for Treadmill
We tested 30+ pairs of athletic shoes for men and women. We found the Merrell Men’s Trail Glove 5 Sneaker to be the best men’s shoe for treadmill use. For women, we found the New Balance Women’s Minimus 10 V1 Trail Running Shoe to be the best treadmill shoe.
For this article we took advice from over 25 treadmill runners. We spoke with them in person and through social media. Our testers include dedicated athletes, serious runners and casuals who warm up on the treadmill.
We chose the Merrell Men’s Trail Glove 5 Sneaker as the best men’s shoe for walking and running on a treadmill. We picked The New Balance Women’s Minimus 10 V1 Trail Running Shoe as the best women’s treadmill shoe.
These quality shoes provide support and cushioning, along with dependable grip and stability. They are lightweight and have great breathability. They also come with a reasonable price tag.
During our research, we looked at shoes designed especially for long distance running. We studied shoes with the best features for sprinting and racing. Not every treadmill user is a runner, so we searched for the best treadmill walking shoes. We looked at the best fingered shoes on the market. We also looked at the best casual, slip-on options, for wearing on and off the treadmill.
Keep reading to learn our top shoe picks, and read our buyers guide to choosing a shoe for treadmill use.
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Table of Contents
Best for Treadmill Walking and Running (Men)
The Merrell trail glove is a neutral, lightweight running shoe, ideal for use on a treadmill. It has a minimalist barefoot design. This gives a natural and comfortable feel, whilst supporting your foot. The shoe has excellent cushioning for comfort and stability. It is also light and flexible.
The slim but tough Vibram rubber outsole provides excellent durability and stability. It is flexible and responsive. Its tread pattern gives reliable traction. This helps you keep your balance when running or walking on a moving treadmill.
Our testers say the shoe has a generous toe box. This allows your foot to splay in comfort without rubbing on the front of the shoe. The shoe’s low to the ground feel increases stability. It helps to encourage your foot’s natural movements.
A reinforced heel counter secures your foot within the shoe. This gives a supportive, secure fit. The traditional lace-up system is adjustable, for added comfort and stability. A molded arch support provides extra stability. It helps limit impact from the treadmill on your feet and calves.
We liked the snug but flexible mesh and textile upper. The mesh is breathable, allowing air to circulate around your foot. This helps keep you cool and comfortable. An integrated insole gives a glove-like fit. It is breathable and contains anti-bacterial agents. This helps reduce odor, and encourage fresh, healthy feet.
Some customers report that this shoe comes up large, so you may wish to try a smaller size when buying. It comes with an affordable price tag, and with plenty of color options.
- Gives reliable traction
- Helps reduce odor
- Issues with sizing
Best for Treadmill Walking and Running (Women)
This lightweight women’s running shoe has barefoot features for a natural feel. It is a reliable choice for treadmill exercise.
We liked the soft cushioned midsole, which is flexible, lightweight, and supportive. The snug internal fit means you can wear the shoe with or without socks.
The outsole features Vibram rubber, which is lightweight and hardwearing. It also gives great traction. The sole has circular indentations or lugs, which provide impressive grip. This makes the shoe suitable for both outdoor and indoor running.
The outsole is quite thin, especially in the forefoot. This lightweight, barefoot feel helps your foot to respond to the treadmill surface. It has a minimal 4mm heel to toe drop, to encourage your natural gait when you run. A wide toe box lets your toes splay, for extra comfort.
A midfoot wrap holds your foot steady, giving a secure fit. The adjustable lacing system allows a snug, custom fit. A moderate arch support gives extra stability and comfort. It promotes even weight distribution across the foot. This in turn improves your balance. The reinforced heel area gives extra support and secures your foot in place.
The mesh upper is soft and supple. It’s also breathable, to keep your feet cool and comfortable when you exercise. The upper contains an anti-bacterial agent. This works to reduce foot odor and keep your feet healthy. The toe area has added reinforcement. This gives increased durability and protects your foot from injury.
This is a mid-price, lightweight and comfortable shoe, available in classic black.
- Protects foot from injury
- Gives great traction
- Contains anti-bacterial agent
Best for General Running (Men)
These excellent lightweight running shoes are great all-rounders. They are suitable for both speed and distance running.
The EVA foam midsole has moderate cushioning and is lightweight, flexible, and responsive. It supports your foot, acts as a shock absorber, and gives increased bounce. The midsole has gel cushioning in the rear foot. This provides excellent shock absorption and comfort. It also helps limit foot fatigue.
The internal heel counter holds your foot in place. It increases stability and encourages a more efficient stride. The Ortholite sock liner molds to the shape of your feet. It provides extra cushioning underfoot. The shoe has a removable insole for added arch support and comfort. You can replace these with custom orthotics, if preferred.
The outsole uses tough durable rubber, which makes the shoe last longer. Our testers say it gives good traction on the treadmill. The tread has a reversed lug design, which gives extra grip. Our testers found it particularly beneficial when running uphill on the treadmill.
The lightweight uppers feature sturdy synthetic material and flexible, breathable mesh. This combination provides durability, foot protection, and ventilation. It helps keep your foot cool and comfortable during workouts. The breathable fabric sock liner and padded tongue and collar give added comfort.
This is a good value shoe, available online and in sports shops. It is on sale in a varied choice of colors.
- Acts as shock absorber
- Helps limit foot fatigue
- Gives good traction
Best for General Running (Women)
This women’s running shoe is lightweight, comfortable, and durable. It’s a solid all-rounder, perfect for both short and longer distance running.
The shoe features a lightweight and flexible EVA midsole. This gives moderate, responsive cushioning. It protects your foot, and aids rebound when running.
Extra gel cushioning under the heel absorbs shock during impact. This helps to protect you from injury.
An Ortholite sock liner provides extra underfoot cushioning. It molds to your foot’s shape for a custom style fit. It is breathable, to keep your foot cool, especially during long workouts. The padded tongue and collar provide extra comfort.
The shoe has a breathable mesh and synthetic upper. The mesh allows air flow to your foot, keeping it cool during exertion and in warm temperatures. The synthetic materials add strength and durability to the upper. This results in extra support and stability for your foot.
A removable insole provides increased support and stability around the arch of your foot. You can replace this foam insole with custom orthotics if you prefer. The internal heel counter adds extra stability, keeping your foot in place.
The outsole features high abrasion rubber. This is tough and hardwearing, to prolong the life of the shoe. It is also slip resistant, giving excellent traction. The reversed lug pattern on the outsole helps you maintain grip when you’re running uphill.
This mid-priced shoe is available in a wide range of color combinations.
- Protects foot
- Aids rebound when running
- Gives excellent traction
Best for Walking (Women)
Our testers found this lightweight shoe to be a good choice for fitness walking on the treadmill. They liked its combination of flexibility, stability, and foot protection.
This is a minimalist style, neutral walking shoe. It is supportive yet flexible, encouraging your foot’s natural movement.
The thin and supple foam midsole provides moderate cushioning. It helps to limit impact on your joints and gives increased bounce when you are moving. There is an integrated cushioned insole, which supports the arch. Beneath the midsole is a lightweight plate which protects your foot from the ground.
The shoe’s close-to-the-ground profile and lightweight construction give a minimalist feel. Your feet are in tune with the treadmill, and they can bend and adjust as needed.
The outsole uses durable Vibram rubber. This gives great traction. The thin outsole is flexible. It allows your foot to bend naturally during exercise.
The flexible knitted upper has a synthetic sock-like lining. It cushions your foot. A sturdy TPU heel counter reinforces the back of the shoe and holds your foot in place. The lacing system provides added stability. The upper contains an anti-bacterial treatment, to prevent odor and promote healthy feet.
A wide toe box accommodates natural toe spreading. The reinforced front of the shoe protects your toes from injury.
Customers report that these shoes come up large, so you may wish to try a smaller size than usual. This is a stylish, contemporary pair of walking shoes. They’re available in a choice of attractive colors.
- Provides moderate cushioning
- Gives increased bounce
- Gives great traction
- Contains an anti-bacterial treatment
- Issues with sizing
Best for Walking (Men)
A comfortable shoe with a lightweight construction. This is a perfect choice for fitness walking on a treadmill.
The shoe has a three-level molded EVA midsole, with comfortable GEL cushioning across the shoe. The cushioned insole provides moderate arch support. A textile lining gives you an added layer of comfort. Our testers noted the shoe has good toe space, so your feet have room to splay.
The hardwearing rubber outsole provides reliable traction and stability. The tread pattern features flex grooves, which allow your foot to bend and flex as you walk.
The shoe’s standard lace-up system gives you a comfortable and adjustable custom fit.
We liked the stylish design of the lightweight upper. It has a combination of breathable mesh and hardwearing, flexible leather. The mesh allows a constant circulation of air into the shoe. This air flow helps to keep your foot cool and comfortable during exercise. The durable leather improves stability. It protects your foot and helps the shoe to last longer.
The shoe has a padded split tongue for extra comfort, giving you increased ankle mobility as you walk.
Our testers rated this shoe very comfortable out of the box, and found it required little or no break in time. Most runners we spoke to reported that this shoe fits true to size. But some wearers with wider feet felt it came up a bit narrow.
This attractive sneaker features a 90s retro design. It comes in a good range of stylish color options.
- Provides reliable traction
- Lightweight upper
- Breathable mesh
- Hardwearing leather
Best for Long-Distance Running (Women)
This is a lightweight, comfortable, and responsive shoe, great for distance running.
Our runners liked Adidas’ Bounce technology in the midsole. It’s designed to be comfortable, flexible, and durable, as well as responsive. It aims to deliver a high level of ‘bounce’ or energy return each time your foot hits the ground. This results in a consistent and energy efficient performance, each time you work out. It’s ideal for running longer distances.
The midsole contains a torsion stability bar. This is a lightweight bridge linking your heel and forefoot. It supports the arch and reduces the risk of injury. It also increases control and stability whilst you are running.
The synthetic outsole features Continental rubber. This is the same rubber made by the car tyre manufacturers. It is durable and flexible, whilst delivering excellent grip.
The uppers have a soft textile and mesh lining for comfort. The synthetic mesh is flexible. It’s also breathable, to keep your feet comfortable and cool during long runs. There’s an adjustable lace closure for added stability. The toe box has good width to allow natural toe splay.
These shoes come in a regular width fitting, and in a choice of three color combinations: blue, black or red. The buyers we spoke to say they fit true to size.
- Supports the arch
- Reduces the risk of injury
Best for Long-Distance Running (Men)
This neutral shoe has responsive cushioning and a lightweight structure. This makes it ideal for longer distance treadmill running.
The flexible but supportive midsole is plush and comfortable. It uses responsive Boost cushioning. This midsole technology supports the heel into the midfoot. It works as a shock absorber, and also relays energy back to your foot. So, you get increased ‘bounce’ each time your foot strikes the treadmill. This improves your performance when you run.
The midsole also contains a stabilizing torsion system. This is a lightweight plastic arch. It sits between the forefoot and heel, supporting the midfoot. It helps to limit improper flexing of the arch, relieving foot arch strain. It also allows your foot to move and adjust to the ground. This gives you extra stability and control.
The Continental rubber sole flexes to adapt to how your foot hits the ground. It also provides superior traction. It’s strong and hardwearing, helping to prolong the life of the shoe.
The breathable multi layered mesh upper is lightweight and stretchy. It cushions your foot and supports movement whilst adding stability. The ventilated mesh encourages air to reach the foot. This keeps your foot cool and comfortable. The lacing system has reinforced eyelets, for improved stability and extra durability. A roomy toe box allows space for toes to splay.
Some runners commented these shoes can be a little stiff on first wear. So, you may want to break them in over several runs.
The excellent shoe comes in a medium width fitting. Our testers say it is true to size.
- Flexible but supportive
- Increases ‘bounce’
- Can be a little stiff on first wear
Best for Sprints/Racers (Women)
This women’s racing shoe is ideal for sprints. It has an ultra-lightweight construction, stable cushioned midsole, and a breathable upper.
The midsole features REVlite cushioning. This is an engineered foam compound. It is 30% lighter than its peers, but equally hardworking and responsive. So, you get a more lightweight shoe with plenty of cushioning and stability. This protects your joints from injury.
The internal sock liner gives you extra underfoot cushioning. It has a snug but flexible fit.
The outsole uses air injected, blown rubber. This is lighter, softer, and more flexible than traditional rubber. It also delivers good traction on all surfaces. Our testers loved this lightness in weight, which makes the shoe great for sprints. However, it is less durable than traditional rubber. For this reason, it’s not so suitable for distance running.
The synthetic sole has extra durable areas on the heel and toe. They help to limit wear and tear during heel strikes and toe offs. The tread pattern has flex grooves, to encourage natural foot flexion as you run.
The shoe has a flexible synthetic mesh upper. This lightweight and breathable upper material allows increased airflow. It keeps your foot fresh and comfortable. The slim felt tongue gives a streamlined smooth fit against your skin.
The upper features a lightweight support cage which secures your foot in place. This results in a snug but supple fit, with reduced bulk. The seamless design reduces the risk of rubbing and blisters.
Consumers tell us the shoe fits true to size. This good value running shoe is available in a range of vibrant colors.
- Ultra-lightweight construction
- Stable cushioned midsole
- Breathable upper
- Protects joints from injury
- Less durable than traditional rubber
Best for Sprints/Racers (Men)
This lightweight running shoe is excellent for sprints and shorter distances. It boasts a lightweight but stable construction. It also offers excellent breathability.
The REVlite midsole provides cushioned support. This is 30% lighter in weight than similar materials. Its delivers excellent stability and lightweight, responsive cushioning.
The seamless sock liner hugs your foot and gives extra underfoot cushioning. This barefoot friendly interior allows you to run without socks.
The blown rubber outsole is air injected. This results in a softer cushioned sole. It is lighter in weight than traditional rubber, so great for speed running. It is also durable and flexible. It provides good traction on the treadmill and other surfaces.
Flex grooves on the outsole encourage your foot to bend as you run.
The ‘FantomFit’ upper delivers a combination of comfort and stability. A lightweight support cage wraps the midfoot for a snug and supportive fit.
The upper uses synthetic mesh, which is soft, supple, and seamless. It encourages flexibility whilst avoiding friction rubs and blisters. The mesh is breathable, allowing air flow to cool your foot. This helps keep you comfortable whilst running. The slim tongue sits snugly against your skin without unnecessary weight or bulk.
This is a great running shoe at a good price. It is comfortable, lightweight, and supportive. It comes in a choice of three color combinations of black, blue, and yellow.
- Allows to run without socks
- Provides good traction
Best Fingered Running Shoes (Men)
For several reasons, barefoot running on a treadmill may not be practical. The moving treadmill can cause friction and blisters to your bare skin. There may also be hygiene issues to consider. Do you have shared use of a treadmill? Do other runners wear shoes to use the same equipment? This is where fingered shoes are a good compromise. They let you simulate the barefoot running experience, whilst protecting your feet.
Vibram Men’s V-Run is an ultra-lightweight running shoe, great for the treadmill. It’s a good compromise between a traditional running shoe and a minimalist shoe. It offers a combination of responsiveness, cushioning and comfort.
The midsole showcases Vibram’s ViLite. This hardwearing, molded EVA foam sole gives lightweight, responsive cushioning, and great support. It absorbs shock when your foot hits the treadmill and transfers this energy back into your foot. So, you get increased rebound and energy for a more powerful toe off.
The lightweight Vibram rubber outsole construction is flexible, yet hardwearing and supportive. It lets your foot connect to the ground, to mimic a barefoot running experience. It provides protection and stability. It also gives good grip on the treadmill and other surfaces.
The upper features synthetic mesh and microfiber. This soft, supple fabric has perforations, giving it great breathability. It keeps your feet snug and comfortable whilst it allows good air flow to keep your feet dry and cool as you run. There is a single lace closure for an improved fit.
The manufacturers suggest if you have wider feet you may need to go up a size. But several of the runners we spoke to said they found the shoe comes up large. They actually went down a size after trying on. So, it’s important you try this shoe for size before you buy.
This ultra-lightweight shoe comes with a higher price tag. It’s a quality shoe offering great breathability and responsiveness. It comes in limited color options of blue, grey or black.
- Absorbs shock
- Provides protection
- Gives good grip
- Allows good air flow
- Issues with sizing
Best Fingered Running Shoes (Women)
This is an ultra-lightweight five finger running shoe. It is breathable and flexible, ideal for treadmill running.
The cushioning in the midsole is ViLite EVA foam. This is hardwearing, lightweight, and responsive. Its molded shape supports your foot and absorbs shock on impact. This energy is then transferred back into your foot as it leaves the ground. This results in increased ‘bounce’ or rebound as you run.
Our testers say the Vibram rubber outsole gives good traction on the treadmill. It is lightweight yet hardwearing. The toe and heel areas have extra reinforcement. This gives you increased support and durability.
The shoe has a slim, flexible outsole. It encourages your foot to respond to the moving treadmill. It strikes a good balance between a traditional and a minimalist running shoe. So, you enjoy the minimalist barefoot feel, but you still get protection for your feet.
The synthetic Lycra and mesh upper is supple and soft for comfort. It has perforations to allow air flow, keeping your foot cool and dry when you run. We like the single adjustable lacing system which gives a snug and comfortable fit.
The manufacturers say that the shoe runs large. So, you might want to try a smaller size than usual when buying.
This shoe falls within a higher price bracket. We found it to be well made, comfortable and hardwearing. It is available in an attractive variety of colors.
- Breathable and flexible
- Absorbs shock on impact
- Gives good traction
- Provides increased support
- Shoe runs large
Best Slip-Ons (Men)
This is a lightweight, slip-on running shoe, which comes with a budget friendly price tag.
The midsole uses Adidas’ Cloudfoam technology. This is a lightweight cushioning foam which works as a shock absorber. It protects your joints from impact, helping to prevent injury when you work out.
The outsole is rubber and provides good traction and stability when you exercise. It has a sturdy construction. This helps limit wear and tear to the shoe during your treadmill workouts.
A molded and reinforced TPU heel and toe provide extra stability and protection for your foot.
The upper features a breathable stretchy mesh textile. An Ortholite sock liner provides a snug fit and extra comfort. The shoe’s low top design allows your ankle to move without restriction. The upper features a stylish but non-adjustable elastic or lace strap.
The lace-free, slip-on construction makes this shoe easy to put on and take off. This is particularly useful if you have problems with bending or mobility. The tongue and heel pulls are a helpful addition when you’re putting on or removing the shoe.
This inexpensive shoe comes in a regular width, and our testers report it fits true to size. It comes in two styles, with either an elastic strap or lacing detail across the upper. It is available in a variety of color schemes.
- Protects joints
- Prevents injury
- Provides good traction and stability
Best Slip-Ons (Women)
This is a comfortable, lightweight women’s sneaker, with a convenient, slip on design. It is a stylish and versatile shoe, suitable for wearing on and off the treadmill.
The slip-on construction, heel pull, and stretchy collar make this shoe easy to get on and off. It is a perfect choice if you have restricted mobility when bending.
The upper contains breathable mesh fabric, allowing air to circulate around your foot. This helps keep your feet cool and fresh during exertion or in warm temperatures. The low top, comfortable design allows your ankle full freedom of movement.
The midsole and outsole are both constructed from lightweight and durable EVA foam. This provides a comfortable, moderate level of cushioning. The hardwearing properties help to limit wear and tear on the outsole. This helps the shoe to last longer. The outsole gives good traction on the treadmill. This traction helps helping you maintain stability and balance when you exercise.
The internal sock liner molds to your foot for a snug and comfortable fit. It provides added light stability. It also allows your foot to move and flex without restriction.
Our testers found this lightweight and comfortable shoe provides a reasonable level of stability when using a treadmill.
These popular shoes come in a medium width, and wearers report that they fit true to size. They are available in a classic black and white color scheme. They are a good budget choice, with a competitive price tag.
- Design offers slip-on construction
- Lightweight and durable
- Gives good traction
Buying Guide - What to Look for When Buying Best Shoes for Treadmill
1. Light to Moderate Cushioning
Every treadmill has cushioning on its running bed. This acts as a shock absorber, helping to reduce the stress on your ankles and knees when you exercise.
But even with this cushioning, a treadmill belt is still a hard surface to run on. You want your foot to hit the running bed with as little impact as possible. Less impact leads to reduced strain on your feet and joints, which helps prevent injury.
A 2018 study looked at runners and cushioned shoes. It shows runners in shoes with high levels of cushioning bend their knees less when running. This results in your foot hitting the ground harder. This harder impact is especially evident when running at high speeds.
The study concludes that running in shoes with high levels of cushioning makes your foot land harder. This increases the risk of injuries such as stress fractures.
So, when running on a treadmill, you should look for a shoe with light or moderate cushioning. Runners we spoke to say they feel impact in their midfoot when using a treadmill. So, we recommend a shoe that has decent cushioning in the midfoot area.
2. A Non-slip, Non-marking Sole
The moving belt on a treadmill can be a slippery surface. This is especially true during a long workout or in a warm gym environment. You often run faster on a treadmill than outdoors. This is because there is no wind resistance to slow you down. There are also no turns, uneven surfaces, or puddles for you to negotiate.
So, a shoe with a non-slip sole is vital when using a treadmill. It will help you keep your balance when running, so will limit your risk of slipping and possible injury.
You don’t want your shoes to leave scuff marks on the treadmill. So, you should choose a treadmill shoe that has a non-slip, non-marking sole. This is generally a flat rubber sole with a small tread pattern. This type of sole delivers good traction on the smooth moving belt.
Rubber is a tough, hardwearing material. So, shoes with rubber outsoles also tend to last longer.
When you run or walk on a treadmill, the belt beneath your feet is moving as your feet land and take off. The treadmill continues to move, even if you stop. You are exercising on a moving surface. So, keeping upright and maintaining good balance is vital.
So, you want the shoes you are wearing to give you balance and stability. This is important, to help you avoid falls and potential injury. With this in mind, you should choose a supportive shoe that hugs your foot comfortably and firmly. This helps keeps you stable and balanced when you move.
Choose a shoe with a flexible upper, to allow your foot to bend and flex without restriction. You also want cushioned support around the heel, to keep the foot in place. Look for a supportive heel cuff, wrapping around the back of the foot. This will stop your shoe from slipping and give your foot that all important stability.
Working out on a treadmill means you have no hills, turns or uneven road surfaces to worry about. So, your shoes don’t need heavy rugged soles or bulky features intended for outdoor use. Keep this in mind when choosing your treadmill workout shoe.
Running or walking on a treadmill is an intense and repetitive activity. Wearing heavy shoes can interfere with your natural stride. It can make you land with more force on the hard surface of the treadmill. This repeated impact puts extra stress on your feet and joints and can lead to injury. So, avoid shoes with unnecessary weight. Choose a lightweight shoe for treadmill work.
Wearing lightweight shoes will reduce fatigue when you run and walk. A lightweight shoe has flexible cushioning. This gives you increased comfort and impact protection when you work out. It also encourages the natural movement of your foot.
You use a treadmill indoors, where there is no natural flow of air to cool your feet. During exercise, your body temperature increases as you work. So, you should look for a pair of shoes with good breathability. They will help prevent your feet from getting hot, sweaty, and uncomfortable.
This usually means a shoe with a ventilated, flexible mesh upper. This type of shoe will maximize the amount of air that gets to your feet. This will help keep your feet cool and dry, so you can enjoy your workout in comfort.
These shoes have an excellent lightweight build. They’re also comfortable, stable, and breathable. We loved the light, supportive cushioning in the midsole. The durable rubber outsole is also flexible. It delivers stability and reliable traction on the treadmill. And these shoes have a reasonable price tag, which is another plus.
You can buy the Merrell Men’s Trail Glove 5 Sneaker and the New Balance Women’s Minimus 10 V1 Trail Running Shoe by clicking on the links below.