Hello there, human hamster.
If you’re reading this article, then you probably do a part of your running on a mechanical contraption called the treadmill. That’s the closest thing to a Hamster wheel, and nobody should have to run on one.
But hey, we get it. Most people run on treadmills only if they have to. Maybe you’re a business traveler trying to catch a quick workout. Or you live in one of these cities where the polluted air outside will turn your lungs black. Perhaps it’s a snowy winter, or hordes of murderous zombies prowl the streets.
Whatever the reason, you’ve finally decided to embrace treadmill running, and guess what, you need a pair of running shoes. Sounds easy, right?
Before you go shopping, know that there are a couple of differences between road and treadmill running.
We’ll begin by stating the very, very obvious:
On the road, if you stop running, you stop. On the treadmill, if you stop running, you don’t. The hamster wheel doesn’t care and keeps on spinning.
People tend to run slightly faster on treadmills compared to road running. Which makes sense; considering how boring it is to run on a treadmill, you want to get it over with.
The moral of the story is: Treadmills are dangerous, and unfortunately, you run faster when on one.
To account for both of these factors, you need a running shoe which is firm, stable and grips well. Unless you’re walking on a treadmill (why on earth, though?), a soft shoe is a big no.
Most treadmills are located inside a gym, and it is likely that you’ll include stretching or light weight training before or after your runs. So again, a firm and stable shoe comes in handy. Needless to say, a shoe meant for treadmill running works very well on open roads too.
Another thing. We’ve made sure that nine out of ten shoes (damn you, Asics!) on this curated list have flat laces. Why? Because they stay tied better than round laces, and there is nothing more irritating than to pause the treadmill and do up your laces mid-workout.
Here’s our list of top 10 running shoes for treadmill use.
1) Nike Free RN Flyknit
The RN Flyknit’s flexible, yet planted base makes it the ideal choice for this use case. Note, that in some instances, using this flexible shoe for the first time might cause temporary foot soreness.
2) New Balance Vazee Pace 2
Firm, stable and fast, the Vazee Pace checks all boxes when it comes to treadmill and gym use. The upper fit is typical New Balance excellence, with an inner sleeve and smooth interiors.
3) New Balance Zante V3
Want something slightly softer than the Vazee Pace 2? The tried and tested Fresh Foam Zante is the shoe to buy. It is lightweight, fast and fits like a glove.
4) Underarmour Speedform Slingshot
The Slingshot is UA’s lightweight speed shoe, combining a knit upper with a fast midsole. It fits snug.
5) adidas Boston 6 Boost
Light, cushioned, supportive and responsive. What more can you ask for?
6) Asics Dynaflyte
This could be the change-averse Japanese brand’s most sensible release. It’s a surprising blend of many things good; it has none of the usual Asics mushiness or midsole bias. It is light, supportive and adequately cushioned. The toe-box is shallow, though.
7) Skechers GoMeb Razor
Some of Skechers’ new performance running shoes are solid gold. In the past few years, the Californian brand has upped their game in the technical running shoe business, bringing competent products to the market.
The GoMeb Razor is supportive and lightweight with a low heel offset of 4 mm, which makes ideal for treadmill running.
8) Mizuno Wave Rider 20
You know what, most Mizuno shoes will do for gym and treadmill use – because of the characteristic firm ride character.
The Wave Rider 20 is a neutral shoe which might feel a bit clunky compared to the rest of the shoes on the list, but that tiny drawback is eclipsed by the shoe’s very supportive nature.
9) Saucony Ride 9
Need a cushioned ride for your treadmill runs, but minus the mushiness? The Ride 9 fits the bill. There’s plenty of padding packed within the midsole, and the ride feels very planted.
10) Brooks Launch 4
The Brooks Launch 4 offers tremendous value-for-money. Its firm yet thick cushioning does a great job of damping the ride, and the upper materials used are top-notch for the price.