How to Find the Right Shoes for Your Treadmill Workout

Welcome to the Fitness Fire Storyteller series! This week, our guest storyteller is Kaleigh Ray at Treadmill Review Guru. In this article, Kaleigh will help you find the best shoes for treadmill running, whether you're taking it slow, building endurance, or pushing the pace. Gather round and let's get into it!  


Finding the right pair of running shoes can be difficult. There are so many brands, styles, cushion levels, and fits from which to choose. Treadmill running is similar but not identical to outdoor running. The cushioning is different, you don’t have as much control over your speed, and you might follow different types of workouts on a treadmill than you would outdoors. When I step on the treadmill, I want a shoe I can trust because it makes me feel strong, fast, and ready to put my best foot forward. I hope I can share that feeling with you if you choose one of the shoes listed below.


I’ve been running for about 14 years and have been obsessed with running shoes for about as long. I’ve hoarded running shoes, worked in running specialty, and even completed my master’s thesis on running shoe cushioning in 2022. Now as a treadmill reviewer and marathon runner, I have some recommendations for building a great running shoe rotation for every treadmill workout:


Taking It Slow

Best for Treadmill Walking - New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v14 ($140)



The New Balance Fresh Foam X 880v14 has just the right amount of soft and airy cushioning. With the added cushioning from the treadmill, the Fresh Foam will feel really nice underfoot. The 8mm offset and gentle rocker sole will help you roll smoothly from heel to toe even if you decide to pick up the pace.


If you need extra support for overpronation, the New Balance Fresh Foam X 860v14 is almost identical to the 880 but has a stability plane to offer gentle correction.


Best for Run/Walk Intervals - Brooks Ghost 16 ($140)



Whether you are new to running, returning from injury, or in need of a recovery day, your new go-to shoe could be the Brooks Ghost 16. It has a contoured fit that runners love for its neutral support. The DNA LOFT v3 midsole cushions the heel for your walking intervals while its light weight keeps your running intervals feeling lively. I love this shoe for runners building up their mileage and tackling new paces.


Building Endurance

Best for Treadmill Long Runs: HOKA Skyward X ($225)



The long run might be the most difficult run to do on the treadmill because it feels even longer than normal. The HOKA Skyward X maximizes softness and bounciness with both PEBA and supercritical EVA foam. The stack height on this shoe is 48 mm! Its carbon fiber plate stabilizes all of that foam and keeps those later miles feeling snappy and efficient. The treadmill will also help the bright colors of the Skyward stay clean for longer than they would outdoors. You’ll feel fresh and look fresh during your longest runs in these shoes.





Best for Boot Camp Workouts: On Cloud X ($150)



The On Cloud X is the shoe that can do it all. It was built for workouts that take you on and off the treadmill for cardio and strength training. It has the support you need for agility training, a Speedboard primed for sprints, and a ton of cute color options. If you are logging on or showing up to treadmill boot camp class with no idea what the workout entails, the On Cloud X will have you ready for anything.




Picking up the Pace

Best for Treadmill Intervals: HOKA Mach 6 ($140)



A fast shoe will help you climb the leaderboard or push the speed limit on your treadmill. The HOKA Mach 6 has a supercritical foam midsole for that lightweight bounce you need to cross the finish line. The breathable upper keeps your feet from overheating–a common treadmill running complaint. While I was tempted to suggest a carbon fiber-plated shoe for this category, a shoe like the Mach 6 will keep you honest about your paces on the treadmill. Running on a motorized treadmill is easier than training outside, so the Mach 6 will have you feeling fast on the treadmill without you wondering where all that speed went when you head outdoors.




Best for Tempo, Threshold & Time Trial Runs: Saucony Endorphin Speed 4 ($170)  



The Saucony Endorphin Speed 4 will get you from the treadmill to the starting line of your next race. It has a super bouncy midsole, fast geometry, and a nylon plate to make sure none of your energy goes to waste. Long, fast efforts are some of the hardest workouts to tackle. When you are on a treadmill, you can’t speed up or slow down intuitively as you would outside, but a shoe like this gives you the confidence to choose a challenging speed.




Additional Tips for Choosing the Right Treadmill Shoes


Finding the right treadmill running shoes isn’t easy, but these tips can help you decide on the perfect pair!


  • Breathability: Treadmills don’t provide the same airflow that running outside does. I recommend choosing walking and running shoes with a breathable upper to prevent your feet from getting too hot.


  • Cushioning: Treadmills provide more cushioning than running on the road or pavement. You can choose shoes with less cushioning to keep the underfoot feel more consistent or maximize cushion for a very plush run. 


  • Outsoles: You don’t have to worry about the outsole traction as much. Treadmills have textured belts that provide good traction even for shoes with exposed midsole foam.


  • Colors: The treadmill is the perfect time to go crazy with your color choice. If your treadmill is at home, no one will notice if your neon shoes clash with every outfit you own. Bright and fun shoes could help you get more excited about your indoor run. The treadmill will help your bright shoes stay cleaner for longer, too.


The proper match of running shoes to treadmill workout will have your feet and legs feeling prepared for the challenge so you don’t dread the tread.


At Holabird Sports, we understand how overwhelming it can be when deciding between various options of running shoes. With over 1,500 styles in our inventory and over four decades in the industry, we have the knowledge and expertise to help you find the perfect pair. Think we missed a model or have any additional questions about a shoe? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below!

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