When it comes to treadmill running, most people spend a lot of time thinking about the treadmill, but almost no time thinking about the running shoes they’re going to be wearing whilst actually running on it.
This is a problem…
Especially when you consider that 56% of runners experience a running-related injury every year.
As a gym owner and personal trainer, I am going to explain to you in this article what I explain to my clients and gym members–that you need to have proper shoes to prevent injuries, unnecessary doctor bills, and lost training time.
I have spent hours and hours researching what running shoes are optimal for treadmill running and have personally tried 11 different running shoes myself–and will be sharing that knowledge with you in the article below–so you can make sure you’ll find the best treadmill running shoes in your budget.
In this article, you’ll find:
In case you don’t have time to read any further, here’s my pick for the three best treadmill running shoes…
**Further Suggested Reading: Best Workout Shoes For Women Who Run & Lift Weights
The Adidas running shoe line up is pretty solid, but the Adidas Tokyo Adios 6 stands out as a great all round shoe that’s great for anything you throw at them–including those 10+ mile runs.
Let’s start with the construction.
They’re made from a series of high-performance recycled materials: 50% of the upper is recycled content, so they’re an eco-friendly box.
Having been the victim of some pretty crappy quality from Nike (Flyknit, I’m looking at you), the robustness of the Adidas running shoes is reassuring.
The Continental rubber is a nice extra touch of quality as well, so these things will last the distance.
Given the mid-range pricing here, the extra touches aren’t expected.
As a shoe, the reason it’s number one for me is versatility at the price point.
It has an 8mm drop, so slap bang in the middle of the range we look for.
At 8.1 ounces it’s on the lighter side, which is perfect for treadmill running. There’s also a torsion bar that offers stiffness for the speed runs, in case you get tired of the those long runs and want to mix it up.
The padding is sufficient without being too heavy, making for a great all round shoe.
Whether you’re doing a speed session or a long run, the Adios 6 Tokyo is up to the task. The community seems to agree – excellent rating and nearly 300 reviews…
The Adidas Adios 6 offers great versatility, saving the need to spend extra money on speed shoes or distance shoes. If you’re a part-time runner (as in you do other exercise as well and running isn’t your sole focus), I’d opt for these shoes as a mid-price offering that does everything you need it to. You don’t need to drop north of 200 bucks on a versatile running shoe.
For the price, these are excellent treadmill running shoes. Think of a box that a treadmill running shoe needs to tick, and these do.
They’re comfortable, they’re super breathable, they’re supportive and they’re lightweight–and considering they’re at around half the price of most of the running shoe market, they’re a bargain.
The simple construction makes for a really comfortable shoe.
They have a fully knit upper, which means all-round breathability, keeping your feet cool.
In addition, the lack of seams in the upper removes any chance of rubbing and blisters, which can be a big issue for runners.
The reason these shoes are in second spot is they are lighter on cushioning than the Adidas Adios.
Whilst I’ve said less cushioning is fine for treadmill running (and I stand by that), the Adidas has the additional cushioning at almost the same weight (the Under Armour are 8 oz, the Adidas are 8.1 oz).
They also lack one of two of the higher end features (torsion bar, upgraded rubber sole).
That being said, they’re significantly cheaper. These are perfect for shorter runs, but I wouldn’t take a marathon on wearing them!
Like our first option, they also have fantastic ratings–4.5 average rating with nearly 50 reviews.
If you want a low-price, high performance shoe then the UA Charged Impulse is the shoe for you. It’s a very simple shoe, which helps to keep the cost down. The breathability and the heel support make for a great low-cost treadmill running shoe. Just don’t expect elite comfort if you head out to pound the roads for long distances!
The Adidas Ultraboost 20 Lab Shoes aren’t an obvious choice for treadmill running shoes, but let me explain why they’ve made the list.
These are a high-end shoe, with a price tag to reflect (not the most expensive shoe around, but upper echelons price-wise).
The reason they’ve made the list is they’re super comfortable, and some people prize comfort above everything else.
If that’s you, these are the choice to go for.
They’ve got the Adidas boost midsole and a tonne of cushioning.
The price you pay for the cushioning is extra weight (these are nearly 11 ounces, which is heavy for a running shoe), but it’s a luxury level of comfort that is like a sofa for your feet.
I’m willing to overlook the weight because many of you guys reading this are likely to be lifters as well, making you significantly stronger than the average runner!
The Adidas Ultraboost 20 are great to look at, perform well, have the heel support and the continental rubber outsole, giving the extra grip and durability you’d expect from an elite level shoe.
There’s an additional heel support to round off the comfort element of the shoe. If you’re a big, strong and heavy guy (200LBS and over), these are the running shoes for you if you need the extra help in the comfort department.
And with 56 reviews and a near perfect 5 star rating, these are the highest rated shoes on the list.
The Adidas Ultraboost aren’t the cheapest shoes around, but they’re definitely the most comfortable and I’ve put them in this list because if you’re big and heavy, that’s what you’ll need to prize above everything else. They’re well made, feature-heavy and will last you a very long time!
When you’re looking for a shoe to eat up the miles in, most of the time you’ve got to trade off one feature against the other. You want the shoe to be padded and comfortable, but at the same time you want it to be light and fast. The two goals are often contradictory.
Not with the Rincon 3’s though. Not a chance.
First off they weigh 7.4 ounces – that’s cloud-like. These things are so light you’ll forget you’re wearing them. Perfect for covering long distances on the treadmill.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that a shoe so light couldn’t offer much padding, but you’d be wrong. The Rincon 3’s have a signature EVA midsole that is light, bouncy and snappy. It makes the shoe both responsive and fast.
The sole also contains extra rubber, so it’s impressive that they’ve managed to keep the weight of the shoes down so well.
The reason the Rincon 3’s are so light, despite the padding and rubber sole is because weight is lost from the upper – there’s no unnecessary padding there and the mesh is lightweight and breathable. The tongue is a flat, racing style, saving extra weight.
The 5mm drop is perfect for a neutral-footed runner as well.
The shoes are comfortable underfoot and the simple design of the upper helps too. There’s no bulky padding and unnecessary seams that can cause rubbing, making them long-run friendly.
They’ve won a lot of fans in the running community too…
The Hoka One One Rincon 3’s are a triumph in minimalist design running shoes. They keep the weight light but don’t sacrifice the comfort under foot. By removing the extra padding they’ve saved weight but kept the features needed in the right places. If you want a long distance treadmill shoe, this is the one to go for.
If you think ‘running is running’, well you’d be a bit naive – of course on face value it’s right, but when you scratch a little deeper you’ll understand that from a physiological point of view, there’s a lot more to it than that.
Here’s a comparison of the differences in running on both machines…
A few points to consider regarding the nature of treadmill running. These are the kind of things you need to be thinking about whilst making a treadmill running shoe choice. With a predictable surface and reduced impact, we can think about choosing a shoe designed with these points in mind…
With outdoor running the environment is much less predictable, therefore you have to think about how your shoe will react to the unpredictability. It’ll need to be rigid, grippy, supportive etc.
This little snapshot is an outline of the differences between the two types of running, so it’ll help to inform your decision making around the best running shoes for treadmills.
The best running shoes for treadmills are lighter weight on account of the need for less cushioning. Typically you’ll be looking around 5-10mm for a heel to toe drop (unlike weightlifting shoes and crossfit shoes), which is considered relatively high but it’s the most common drop in running shoes around. These offer good injury protection, solid cushioning whilst maintaining good functionality and ‘feel’.
The indoor element needs you’re going to need a breathable shoe, so be on the lookout for a shoe that allows excellent airflow. Nobody wants super sweaty feet every time they go for a run!
There’s no need for extreme grip on the sole, so avoid trail and fell running shoes entirely. They’re just unnecessarily bulky for what you’re going to be doing.
Ankle support and heel rigidity isn’t a massive consideration either. The treadmill surface is totally flat, so you won’t risk rolling your ankles whilst on a run. This can help save weight on the shoes.
In this review I wanted to make sure there was something for everyone. The three shoes that have won out here tick all the boxes – if you’re looking for max padding and comfort and don’t mind the higher price, go for the Adidas Ultraboost.
If you’re happy to forego the padding because you just want a low-price, good value and treadmill-specific running shoe, you’ve got the UA Charged Impulse.
If you want a jack of all trades at a mid-range price point, the Adidas Adios 6 will never let you down.
You want to eat up the miles on the treadmill, whilst staying comfortable throughout? The Hoka One One Rincon 3’s are the shoe for you.
4 Best treadmill running shoes…