7 Best Treadmill Running Shoes in 2024

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
7 Best Treadmill Running Shoes in 2024
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Running on a treadmill resembles road running more than trail running because there are no twists, turns, puddles, or obstacles. Ideal for speed runs! But, the surface is softer than roads.

That’s why nearly all road running shoes (which is ⅔ of the market) can be used for running on a treadmill. We have selected various categories depending on what you may consider a priority. Is it the shoe’s versatility? Cushioning? Support? Ability to go fast? Price? We’ve got the top pick across many categories, all thanks to our field tests and lab tests.

In this guide, you will also find our very own expert advice on how to choose the best treadmill running shoes.

How we test running shoes

With nearly 500 shoes for treadmill running, it is our goal to help you choose the right one.

We spend hours scrutinising every single release through our independent shoe testing lab:

  • As committed testers, we log 30-50 miles in each pair to provide extensive feedback.
  • We then slice the shoes up into pieces and measure over 30 different parameters to translate "performance" into comparable data.
  • All tested shoes are purchased with our own funds to help us stay unbiased.

The best shoes for running on the treadmill end up on this list.

Best treadmill running shoes overall

What makes it the best?

After lab and run trials, we found Deviate Nitro 2 to be the best treadmill running shoe overall. It handled all kinds of runs we did — recovery sessions, speed workouts and LSDs — with finesse, ease and power.

Our treadmill runs felt easy on the legs as the midsole cushion gave a buttery and smooth ride. Our durometer showed that this pair is 33% softer than average. Even after placing the Nitro 2 in the freezer for 20 minutes (to simulate cold weather), it remained 13% softer than other running shoes at room temperature. The shoe is soft, no matter the temperature!

Teaming up with comfort is a midsole that fueled and electrified our speed intervals too! It brought so much vibrance to our indoor run and turned it into a sprightly ride. What also helped is the stiffness. The Deviate Nitro 2 is 90% stiffer than the average at room temperature! 

In the lab, we measured the thickness of the outsole and it turned out to be 9% thicker than average, cementing its position as a durable shoe that can handle miles and miles of treadmill running.

We do not recommend the Deviate Nitro 2 to runners looking for a roomy toebox since the shoe’s measurement of 96.3 mm is right below the average of 97.9 mm.

Pros

  • Great all-rounder
  • Super-smooth and responsive ride
  • Plush cushioning
  • Comfy upper
  • Grippy outsole
  • Above average durability
  • Fairly priced

Cons

  • Heavier than other similar shoes
  • Not many colours available
Full review of PUMA Deviate Nitro 2

Best speed trainers for running on a treadmill

What makes it the best?

We thoroughly enjoyed our test runs with the Endorphin Speed 4. It oozes comfort and instills a sense of security with each stride, delivering a powerful yet subtle stream of energy that helps us run faster and farther. Standing out in the all-rounder game, our lab results agree with what our feet enjoyed—this Saucony is our best speed trainer for treadmill running. 

The main source of power lies in the midsole. Our cut-in-half shoe reveals a nylon plate with a distinguished natural feel, making it comfortable for easy runs to race pace. True enough, our flex test reveals it takes the same force (29.4N) as the average running shoe to bend to 90 degrees.

Supporting our feet is the PWRRUN PB foam that keeps its stack high for comfort and its composition balanced for stability. Our durometer confirms its 22.3 HA firmness is around the average. Other than the steadiness, it feels bouncy, explaining why our legs feel great even after hours of running.

Another element that keeps us chasing the miles is its light 8.4 oz (237g) build, 10.9% below average. Topping it off is an incredibly breathable upper that ensures free-flowing winds beneath our toes. Our lab tests confirm this with a 5/5 rating.

Unfortunately, the 2.0 mm tongue lacks cushioning when tying the laces too tight. We recommend managing this before starting with the run.

Pros

  • Remains lightweight
  • Excels at all paces
  • Great for track workouts
  • More spacious fit
  • Bouncy and enjoyable ride
  • Enhanced stability over v3
  • Suits daily training
  • Exceptional value

Cons

  • Slightly heavier than predecessor
  • Could be a bit firm for some
Full review of Saucony Endorphin Speed 4

Best lightweight running shoes for treadmill

Hoka Mach 6
85
Good!

What makes it the best?

Hoka Mach 6 brought our treadmill experience to life with its refreshing ride and featherweight feel. This versatile trainer responds to interval training, provides comfort for LSDs, and offers flexibility for easygoing days. It's a vibrant companion, packed with features that elevate our indoor runs, earning the best lightweight treadmill running shoe title, as confirmed by our lab tests.

Weighing a mere 8.2 oz (232g), it’s 12.5% lighter than the average road running shoe. Its loose and fluid build adds to its weightlessness as it follows our natural foot contortions with ease. Our bend test confirms that Mach 6 is 36.4% more flexible than average, bringing unparalleled agility to our strides.

We’re in awe of how airy the shoe feels despite its generous cushioning. Each landing impact feels protected with the 36.0/26.4 mm stack that is composed of a light and balanced 20.4 HA foam. 

Wrapping up the breezy experience is an ultra-breathable knit upper, making heated indoor sessions more bearable. As we pumped smoke into the shoe, it escaped seamlessly, earning an impressive 5/5 breathability score.

However, its toebox tapers significantly in the big toe area. Those with square-shaped feet should find more comfort in other trainers.

Pros

  • Really lightweight
  • Fantastic outsole
  • Exciting ride
  • Highly cushioned
  • Great for heel strikers
  • Handles faster paces
  • Superb lockdown
  • Excellent value at £150

Cons

  • Drop varies from stated
  • Somewhat narrow fit
  • Thin tongue
Full review of Hoka Mach 6

Best low drop running shoes for treadmill

Saucony Kinvara 14
78
Decent!

What makes it the best?

Saucony’s Kinvara 14 is our best low-drop treadmill trainer and our lab confirms what we experienced: it’s a no-fuss shoe that feels easy on the foot, regardless of distance or pace. Its balanced and bouncy cushion, loose build, and airy nature keep us agile and fatigue-free in our runs. 

The ride has a hint of stability due to the shoe’s low configuration. With our caliper, we measured a heel-to-toe drop of 4.1 mm, 53.4% less inclined than average. This fosters a natural running sensation akin to barefoot strides, notably with its featherweight 6.8 oz (194g) design, shedding 27.1% off the average running shoe's weight. The midsole boasts a light yet responsive PWRRUN foam that adds life to our treadmill training. We found it easy to pick up the pace during speed training. We also felt like we were the main driver of our runs as the shoe freely adapted to our movements. Our bend test confirms its out-of-this-world flexibility to be 47.8% above average. To maintain comfort during indoor runs, Kinvara 14 has excellent ventilation, and our breathability tests agree with a flawless 5/5 rating.

Regrettably, durability is compromised by the exposed foam and thin rubber areas measuring only 2.4 mm. If longevity is a priority, it's advisable to explore alternative options.

Pros

  • More cushioned and protective than ever
  • Responsive foam
  • The lightest Kinvara yet
  • Offers some mild guidance
  • Good grip even on wet surfaces
  • Smooth, natural-feeling ride
  • Pleasantly airy
  • Works for fast and slow paces
  • Can go the distance
  • Also a worthy racing shoe
  • Fairly priced

Cons

  • A bit on the firm side
  • Less outsole rubber means less mileage
  • Lockdown is so-so
Full review of Saucony Kinvara 14

Best stability running shoes for treadmill

What makes it the best?

We never felt this level of security and comfort until we wore the ASICS Gel Kayano 30. Our lab findings show its substantial FF Blast+ cushioning delivers a luxurious feel, while the 4D Guidance System and expansive platform offer unwavering support. With these, it ranks as our top stability shoe for treadmill runs.

Its 4D Guidance System cleverly gives custom-made support as the soft foam under our arch adapts to our foot shape with further use. This ensures protection from any unsteadiness. Further securing safe landings is the wider-than-average midsole, with an extra allowance of 10.9/15.1 mm in the forefoot and heel to help us find our footing.

Since the stability features are so effective, GK30 has the advantage of offering plush cushioning. Our caliper reveals a whopping 39.7/27.7 mm stack that’s 29.9% softer than average per our durometer. This supportive shoe spoiled us with ASICS’ softest foam, giving us a smooth and forgiving ride.

Another surprising element is its unresisting midsole which freely flows with our natural strides. Our bend test confirmed our sensations as GK30 emerged 14.4% more flexible than the average road running shoe.

Unfortunately, GK30 stays true to the stability shoe’s branding in terms of weight. At a heavy 10.7 oz (303g), it burdened us during faster efforts.

Pros

  • Exceptionally cushioned
  • Impressively stable with 4D Guidance System
  • Lighter than it seems
  • Top-notch breathability
  • Effective maximalist design
  • Superior durability and comfort
  • Ideal for high-mileage runners
  • Ultra-plush FF Blast+ foam
  • Amazing build quality

Cons

  • Actual drop exceeds stated measurement
  • Midsole might require a break-in period
Full review of ASICS Gel Kayano 30

Best cushioned running shoes for treadmill

What makes it the best?

Our search for the best cushioned treadmill-running shoe ended when we found the ASICS Gel Nimbus 26, which fully embodies maximalism. This shoe envelopes our feet with luxurious padding, offering cloud-like plushness from all angles, as proven by our lab. It elevates comfort to new heights as it delivers surefootedness—a crucial feature often overlooked in maximalist shoes.

Upon dissecting the shoe, Gel Nimbus 26 cements its status as our caliper reveals a mega 40.4/32.0 mm stack, boldly exceeding the 33.6/24.8 mm average. It erases landing impact and ground feel almost entirely, with our durometer showing a 20.9% plusher-than-average foam. Further providing gentler landings is the PureGEL technology in the heel.

The padded upper features a stretchy knit with a premium touch. Despite its plushness, we had no encounters with hotspots and blisters in our indoor runs, courtesy of the well-ventilated upper. And breathable it is as our lab reveals an above-average 4/5 rating.

Surprisingly, the ride feels stable despite its height, ensuring proper form even as our feet get tired. The unexpected support comes from the broad base that highly resists twists. Our caliper reveals a generous landing space of 118.4/101.7 mm in the forefoot and heel, more than enough width to find our footing securely.

All the extra comfort comes with additional baggage. At 10.7 oz (303g), Gel Nimbus 26 feels too heavy for faster efforts.

Pros

  • Premium all-around comfort
  • Enhanced toebox design
  • Exceptional durability
  • Best-in-series outsole
  • Ideal for long distances
  • Superb knit upper
  • Surprisingly stable
  • A dream for heel strikers

Cons

  • Increased weight
  • Limited energy return
  • Tongue lacks padding
Full review of ASICS Gel Nimbus 26

Best budget running shoes for treadmill

Saucony Axon 3
86
Great!

What makes it the best?

We searched far and wide for the best budget treadmill shoe and our lab results and actual runs led us to Saucony Axon 3. At only £110, it’s a reliable companion for burning mileage with its comfy cushioning, light build, and durable outsole. The value it delivers can match or even outperform other treadmill running shoes that average £150.

A bang for the buck and a treat for our feet, Axon 3 weighs an airy 8.6 oz (244g), 8.3% lighter than the average road running shoe. Adding to its lightness is the breathable upper that scored a high 4/5 in our lab tests.

The PWRRUN foam has a gentle feel underfoot, boosting comfort during our indoor runs. We counterchecked using our durometer and it revealed a soft 18.3 HA measurement, confirming our experience. Despite being lightweight, its 33.6/27.9 mm stack surprisingly stands above average.

The Carbon Rubber outsole is a winner—ensuring grip while keeping the material sturdy. We barely saw any signs of wear even after running on the treadmill for countless hours. Our measurements confirm the rubber is harder and thicker than the average, promising a long lifespan.

Given its low 5.7 mm drop, we don't recommend this pair to extreme heel strikers or runners who aren’t used to a low configuration.

Pros

  • Incredible value at only £110
  • Significant weight reduction from version 2
  • Impressively cushioned with PWRRUN foam
  • Fantastic durability
  • Suitable for quicker paces
  • Excellent as a daily workhorse
  • Lovely upper
  • Works for short and long runs

Cons

  • Probably too stiff for very relaxed runs
  • Slightly narrower forefoot than before
Full review of Saucony Axon 3

4 things to look for in treadmill running shoes

If you’re new to running and you’re buying your first running shoes, get familiar with the terminology and make the best choice by reading our guide about buying running shoes.

Treadmill-running-shoe-features.png

1. Lightness

The treadmill is great for doing tempo runs, but also long runs. The best thing: it’s running on a somewhat soft surface under controlled conditions. This means you don’t need the features (e.g. fancy grip, rugs, plates) that would make your shoe heavier and durable.

saucony-kinvara-12-weight.jpg

2. Breathability

Running indoors usually means no natural airflow. Avoid too much sweating by choosing highly breathable shoes. On RunRepeat, you can filter only breathable treadmill running shoes.

The most breathable shoes come with an ultra-thin see-through upper.

3. Pronation control

If this is something you usually look for in running shoes, don’t deviate. Running on a treadmill means more repetitive movements without oscillating, so make sure you have all the control you need.

The table below will help you understand if you need a neutral, stability, or motion control treadmill shoe.

Arch types and recommended shoes.png

See how the level of support increases from neutral to motion control running shoes:

neutral-stability-motion-control.jpg

neutral shoe (left) vs. stability shoe (centre) vs. motion control shoe (right) 

Still confused? Go with a neutral shoe or read our in-depth guide on arch support and who needs it.

4. Cushioning

Don’t avoid cushioning you’re used to, especially if you’ve been running on softer terrain before.

asics-shoes-cushioning.jpg

Novablast has a visibly thicker cushioning under the heel (7 mm more)

Advanced tip: try running on a treadmill and see if your foot strike changes. Since you’re not moving forward, you might use your heel more. This might call for heel-strike cushioning options.

Expert advice for running on a treadmill

  1. Since there’s no wind resistance nor variation in the terrain, running on a treadmill with no incline equals to running on an easy downhill outside. That’s why setting a 1-2% incline works the best if you want to run as hard as you would outdoors. To learn more, read this study that proved that 1% treadmill grade most accurately reflects the energetic cost of outdoor running. 
  2. The perception of speed differs when running on a treadmill and overground (as explained here). Runners might run slower than in overground conditions while feeling like they’re achieving the same speed. In order not to overtrain, set the treadmill speed according to your running abilities. This might be your perfect opportunity to work on a step count (cadence). Shorter strides, improved cadence. To improve cadence usually refers to getting that number higher.
  3. Keep your hands moving naturally while running and don't hold on to the handrail.
  4. Keep your body in an upright position and don’t look down, it will help with your balance.
  5. Shoes you’ve chosen for treadmill running might be used for easy gym sessions too.

Expert-advice-for-running-on-a-treadmill.png

If you happen to enjoy spending time in the gym and want to level up, RunRepeat has a database of workout shoes, training shoes and weightlifting shoes ready for you. 

Treadmill shoes vs. other running shoes [FAQ]

Can I run on a treadmill in my regular running shoes?

Yes, under a few conditions.

  • You have shoes for road and not trail running. Lugs/crampons aren’t suitable for a treadmill. 
  • Your shoes are comfortable, breathable, and lightweight. 
  • You need to wash/clean your regular running shoes. 

Can I use treadmill running shoes for gym workouts? 

Yes, if you’re doing light gym workouts (easy functional training, easy weight-lifting). If you’re doing specific workouts, you should look for a type of shoe that offers features (stability) needed for such a workout. That’s why we have a collection of CrossFit shoes, weightlifting shoes, training shoes, and HIIT shoes ready for you.

treadmill-shoe-vs-cross-trainer.jpg

Saucony Ride (left) is a well-cushioned running shoe that is best for continuous forward movement. Nike Metcon (right) is one of the best-rated gym shoes. It has a low, firm platform for weightlifting and plenty of side support for agility movements.

Can I use gym shoes for running on a treadmill? 

Yes, if you own a regular training shoe that’s a perfect fit for you and you’re not running longer distances. 

No, if you have shoes made for specific workouts such as weightlifting, HIIT, CrossFit. Basically, a shoe needs to fit in the treadmill-running shoe description for you to be OK to run in it on a treadmill. 

When to replace treadmill running shoes? 

A shoe can last only so much. It depends on how much you run, how you run, and shoe features. It’s time to change your treadmill running shoes once you notice: 

  1. Pain or muscle soreness that hasn’t happened before, during, or after a run. Pay special attention to pain in your (both) knees. 
  2. You’re wearing the shoes unevenly (because you overpronate or underpronate) and you start to miss original functionality - stability, control, or cushioning. You’ll recognise this happening because you will feet will be aching after the run, you’ll feel pain at each impact, or your feet won’t feel stable enough during the run.
Author
Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic
Whether it's a vertical kilometre or an ultra, climbing in the Alps or exploring local mountains, Jovana uses every opportunity to trade walls and concrete for forests and trails. She logs at least 10h/week on trails, with no off-season, and 4x more on research on running and running shoes. With a background in physics and engineering management, she prefers her running spiced with data.