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 there are no sidewalks or parks nearby. And that would make sense during this time of the year; Fall is almost over now.
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. Also, people tend to run slightly faster on treadmills when compared to road running. Which makes sense; considering how boring it is to run on a treadmill, you want to get it over with.
To account for both of these factors, you need a running shoe that 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 you’ll likely include stretching or lightweight 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 some of the shoes 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 12 running shoes for treadmill use. We’ve prefixed the shoe name by its category so that you know what you are buying.
1) Lightweight trainer/racer: Adidas adizero Adios 4
The 8-ounce adidas adizero Adios 4 is a low-profile and cushioned road racer with a tight upper fit. Such running shoes are ideal for treadmill workouts; you get the rock-solid stability you need without compromising on cushioning. The tried-and-test Boost midsole and Continental outsole deliver responsive damping and superior grip.
We do wish the adios 4 had the DSP outsole of the adios 2 though – that would have made it perfect. The upper fits short and very snug so buying a half-size larger is required for most.
2) Lightweight trainer/racer: New Balance 1400V6
The 1400V6 has a more forgiving upper fit than the adidas adios 4. It is reasonably priced too – its $100 MSRP doesn’t break the bank.
The lightweight Revlite foam midsole provides excellent feedback and the rubber lugs grip very well. There’s enough cushioning to see you through treadmill runs of 10K and beyond.
It’s one of the few road-racers which is also available in a wide.
Also see: The New Balance 1500V6.
3) Lightweight trainer/racer: Mizuno Wave Shadow V3
This ultra-grippy and stable racer by Mizuno is in its third iteration now. The Wave Shadow 3’s breathable mesh upper has a snug fit which keeps the foot locked-down during fast treadmill workouts.
The combination of the heel Wave Plate and firm forefoot makes the loading efficient and supportive. The small lugs provide excellent traction over treadmill belts.
4) Low profile cushioned trainer: Skechers GoRun Razor 3 Hyper
The Skechers GoRun Razor 3 invariably shows up on one buyer’s guide or the other, and there’s always a good reason. In this context, the GoRun Razor is a good fit for motorized running surfaces due to its hyper-lightweight and cushioned ride.
Here, the cushioning doesn’t equate to mushy. The Hyperburst foam has a rebound quality tinged with firmness so there’s plenty of stability for fast-paced runs. The snug upper help keep the foot locked-down.
5) Low profile cushioned trainer: adidas Boston 8
The Boston is a running shoe with greater long-distance comfort over the road racers listed above. It’s long been our pick as a lightweight neutral trainer, the kind which also works great on human conveyor belts and gym floors.
This year’s adizero Boston 8 which gets a brand-new upper, midsole, and outsole. Except for minor updates in the upper fit and ride, the Boston 8 retains all the traits which have made the series successful.
The Boost midsole has all the responsive cushioning you need; components like the Torsion shank and Continental outsole provide stability and traction. The upper is snug yet packs creature comforts like a padded tongue and heel.
Also see: The Reebok Floatride Fun Fast.
6) Lightweight cushioned trainer: New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Pursuit
The Zante Pursuit is the spiritual successor to the Zante V4 rather than a direct replacement. What’s new? It is much lighter due to the lower-volume midsole and a more minimal fabric upper.
The Pursuit carries forward performance traits like the low-profile cushioning and a snug fit; all of which complement treadmill use. Want to know more? Read our full review.
7) Firm Lightweight trainer: Asics Dynaflyte 4
Asics has recently updated the Dynaflyte. The changes aren’t huge because the Dynaflyte 4 is based on the same midsole and outsole as the 3. In functional terms, that translates into a firm and supportive ride that is suitable for running inside the gym.
We like the changes on the new upper. The external logo placement makes the midfoot fit smoother, and the segmented eyelets keep the lacing flush over the foot. The heel and tongue feel plush for a lightweight trainer.
There’s plenty of rubber outsole coverage for excellent grip. Also, look at the Asics DS-Trainer 24 as a mild-stability option.
8) Lightweight firm trainer: New Balance 890V7
The New Balance 890V7 isn’t the 890 you were once familiar with. The 2019 model is a very different shoe by the same name, one which is near-perfect for treadmills.
The firm Revlite midsole is quick and supportive enough for treadmill runs; the knit upper keeps the foot ventilated indoors.
9) Lightweight cushioned trainer: Saucony Kinvara 10
There’s a drought of low drop trainers in this guide, so here’s the venerable Kinvara 10 to the rescue. This 4 mm drop running shoe weighs less than 8 ounces but has plenty of supportive cushioning for treadmill workouts. Even without the context of this buyer’s guide, we rated the Kinvara 10 very highly in our review.
We like Kinvara 10’s cleaner upper design without the gratuitous ‘pro-lock’ strap. In some ways, the S-10’s upper is a homage to the original Kinvara.
10) Daily neutral trainer: Mizuno Wave Rider 23
With this shoe, we’re heading into the regular trainer territory. This means that the Wave Rider 23 and the two other shoes which follow have a lot more midsole than the models featured so far.
We assume that you have already read our review of the Rider 23, but here’s the gist of why it works well for indoor running. The midsole has a wide forefoot flare along with a rearfoot which is made supportive by a Wave Plate. With this set-up, you get all the cushioning you need but without the mushiness.
The spacious upper is smooth on the inside while providing a secure fit.
Also see: The Mizuno Wave Inspire 15.
11) Daily neutral trainer: Saucony Ride ISO 2
As far as neutral trainers go, the versatile Saucony Ride has held its own for many years. An Everun layer over a firm EVA midsole creates an experience that blends high-mileage cushioning with smooth transitions. Despite its 10-ounce weight, the Ride ISO 2 is very efficient with its cushioning delivery.
12) Daily neutral trainer: Nike Zoom Pegasus 36
Like the Ride ISO 2, the Nike Pegasus 36 is a do-it-all trainer. You get the treadmill-friendly cushioning and outsole grip you need without the unwanted soggyness. Zoom Air isn’t as cushioned or responsive as some of the newer foams, but then, the firm-ish ride is what makes the Pegasus good for treadmill runs.
The Pegasus 36’s upper has sufficient room even in the standard ‘D’ width. If you fall short of interior space, there are additional widths. The Pegasus 36 carries forward the same midsole and outsole as the 35, so the medium-soft ride stays the same.
Also see: The Nike Zoom Winflo 6.
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