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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:

  • The 4 best running shoes for treadmills that money can buy (that’s in your budget)
  • Why treadmill running differs from running on the road
  • The features you should be looking for in a treadmill running shoe and why

In case you don’t have time to read any further, here’s my pick for the three best treadmill running shoes…

  1. Adidas Adios 6  – (For men), (For Women) – Best all around option for short and long distance running
  2. UA Charged Impulse – (For Men) (For Women) – Best for short to medium distance running
  3. Adidas Ultraboost – (For Men) (For Women) – Best for bigger guys who need extra padding
  4. Hoka One One Rincon 3’s – (For Men) (For Women) – Best for long distance running

**Further Suggested Reading: Best Workout Shoes For Women Who Run & Lift Weights

 
  
 
Best for...
Why we love it
Ratings
Adidas Adios 6
Best for... : ADIZERO ADIOS 6 SHOES
Why we love it : General running - versatile enough for all distances
Ratings: Mid-range price point but top-end features. Excellent value, padding and versatility
4.9*
UA Charged Impulse
Best for... : UA Charged Impulse
Why we love it : Treadmill runs at a short to medium distances
Ratings: Low price point but very good construction. Simply made, but great for indoor running
4.7*
Adidas Ultraboost
Best for... : Adidas Ultraboost
Why we love it : Big guys who want to run indoors - they’re extra padded
Ratings: Premium shoe with a lot of padding. Upper end price-wise, but with features to match
4.6*
Hoka One One Rincon 3’s
Best for... : Hoka One One Rincon
Why we love it : Long distance, high speed treadmill running
Ratings: Super lightweight, without sacrificing comfort. Race-style tongue
4.5*


My Picks For The 4 Best Running Shoes For Treadmills

#1 Pick Adidas Adios 6 Tokyo (For Men), (For Women) – Best all around option for short and long distance running

Best Running Shoes
Features
Our rating
Adidas Adios 6 Tokyo
product-image
Adidas Adios 6 Tokyo
Features
  • Excellent versatility – great all rounder
  • Mid-range price, premium quality
  • 8mm drop, in the middle of what we look for
  • On the lighter side, without sacrificing too much comfort
Our Rating
Our #1 Rated Best Running Shoes
4.9 out of 5
Adidas Adios 6 Tokyo

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…

Adidas Adios 6 Tokyo Reviews

Pros

  • Excellent versatility – great all rounder
  • Mid-range price, premium quality
  • 8mm drop, in the middle of what we look for
  • On the lighter side, without sacrificing too much comfort
  • Well made

Cons

  • Stiff action that some people don’t like
  • Adidas have a slightly narrow fit for some people

Verdict

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.


#2 Pick – Under Armour Charged Impulse Knit Running Shoes  (For Men) (For Women) – Best for short to medium distance running

Best Running Shoes
Features
Our rating
Under Armour Charged Impulse Knit
product-image
Under Armour Charged Impulse Knit
Features
  • Simple construction – no seams to rub etc
  • Low price but great build quality
  • 8mm drop, in the middle of what we look for
  • Knit construction, excellent breathability
Our Rating
Our #2 Rated Best Running Shoes
4.7 out of 5
Under Armour Charged Impulse Knit

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.

Pros

  • Simple construction – no seams to rub etc
  • Low price but great build quality
  • 8mm drop, in the middle of what we look for
  • Knit construction, excellent breathability
  • Heel support for comfort

Cons

  • Minimal padding – find for short runs, not great for long runs
  • Like Adidas, UA running shoes have a narrow fit which doesn’t suit everyone

Verdict

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!


#3 Pick – Adidas Ultraboost 20 Lab Shoes (For Men) (For Women)- Best for bigger guys who need extra padding

Best Running Shoes
Features
Our rating
Adidas Ultraboost 20 Lab Shoes
product-image
Adidas Ultraboost 20 Lab Shoes
Features
  • Super comfortable – you won’t get much better
  • Excellent construction and robustness
  • 10mm drop, ideal for treadmill running
  • Breathable and supportive
Our Rating
Our #3 Rated Best Running Shoes
4.6 out of 5
Adidas Ultraboost 20 Lab Shoes

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.

Adidas Ultraboost 20 Lab Shoes Reviews

Pros

  • Super comfortable – you won’t get much better
  • Excellent construction and robustness
  • 10mm drop, ideal for treadmill running
  • Breathable and supportive
  • Heel loop for tighter closure if needed

Cons

  • Extra padding means more weight – these are 10.9 ounces
  • The extra padding won’t be necessary for the lighter people

Verdict

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!


#4 Pick HOKA ONE ONE Men’s Rincon 3 (For Men) (For Women) – Best for long distance running

Best Running Shoes
Features
Our rating
HOKA ONE ONE Men’s Rincon 3
product-image
HOKA ONE ONE Men’s Rincon 3
Features
  • Very lightweight – 7.4 oz (lightest on test)
  • Well padded, despite the light weight
  • 5mm drop, so a very neutral shoe
  • Breathable and supportive
Our Rating
Our #4 Rated Best Running Shoes
4.5 out of 5
HOKA ONE ONE Men’s Rincon

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…

HOKA ONE ONE Men’s Rincon

Pros

  • Very lightweight – 7.4 oz (lightest on test)
  • Well padded, despite the light weight
  • 5mm drop, so a very neutral shoe
  • Breathable and supportive
  • No unnecessary padding and bulk

Cons

  • Lack of structural support in the midsole may affect longevity of the shoe
  • The absence of padding in the upper won’t suit everyone

Verdict

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.


Treadmill Running vs Road Running

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…

Treadmill running

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…

  • Speed – largely consistent. The speed doesn’t adjust because it is set by a computer, removing any variance.
  • Surface – totally flat (unless on a curved treadmill). This removes a lot of ankle instability because it’s a predictable, consistent surface.
  • Impact – soft. Most treadmills will have a shock absorbing capability, removing the need for a huge amount of cushioning. They do however need cushioning in specific areas, where you foot-strike.
  • Grip – total. On a treadmill you’ll never encounter ice, wet patches, spillages etc so you won’t need a huge amount of underfoot grip. You’re already running on a grippy surface.
  • Temperature – treadmills are usually inside, so you’ll want a lighter, more breathable shoe that you’d need outside.

Outdoor running

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.

  • Speed – varies considerably. If you’ve ever mapped a run on an app, you’ll see the variations in your running speeds – hills, flat sections, sprint finishes etc all make a difference.
  • Stability – unstable surfaces means ankles can roll and injuries can occur. You’ll need extra support to cope with this.
  • Impact – different terrains have a different level of impact. Roads and hard surfaces give lots of impact though, so you need more cushioning. This is usually generic, plus it adds weight to a shoe.
  • Grip – in the outdoors you’ll hit puddles, oil patches, ice, wet grass etc so you need to have a grippy sole to help deal with these. The more off road running you do, the more grip you’ll need.

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.


Treadmill running shoes – the important aspects

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.


4 Best running shoes for treadmills – Final Thoughts

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…

  1. Adidas Adios 6  – (For men), (For Women) – Best all around option for short and long distance running
  2. UA Charged Impulse – (For Men) (For Women) – Best for short to medium distance running
  3. Adidas Ultraboost – (For Men) (For Women) – Best for bigger guys who need extra padding
  4. Hoka One One Rincon 3’s – (For Men) (For Women) – Best for long distance running

Steve Hoyles

Steve is a Personal Trainer, Weightlifting Coach, and Gym Owner. He has written about fitness for over a decade. He lives with his girlfriend Rachel and their two sons.

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