The treadmill is a useful piece of equipment for both avid runners and beginners.
It makes workouts possible in inclement weather and can help control workouts.
Running on a treadmill is different than running on asphalt or trails, and runners who train on one regularly can benefit by having a specific pair of shoes for running indoors. Running on a treadmill means you don’t encounter obstacles, uneven terrain, or curves. That typically means less worrying about large treads and traction because you won’t encounter slippery or bumpy terrain.
Our reviewers laced up countless pairs of running shoes and headed to the gym (or their home treadmills) to test them out. This review of the best treadmill running shoes includes the 10 shoes they agreed reign supreme for indoor running.
Our Review Process
We started this process by researching the top running shoes on the market and deciphering which would likely be best for treadmill workouts. Our reviewers laced up dozens of shoes over months of treadmill training to see which ones offered the best fit, performance, and durability.
They performed various workouts, from sprints to long-distance runs, incline runs, and more, to determine which shoes are best for those who avidly or occasionally run on treadmills.
Why Do You Need Separate Shoes for the Treadmill?
If you run in a popular daily trainer, you may not need a separate pair of running shoes for your treadmill. However, if you often switch between road or trail running and treadmill running, you’ll probably get tired of cleaning your shoes every time you decide to run inside.
Running on a treadmill is also quite different than running outdoors. The motion is more repetitive, causing your feet to land in nearly the same spot and position with every stride.
Generally, treadmill runners benefit from lightweight, supportive, and well-cushioned shoes. The treadmills track is softer than pavement, but the impact is repetitive. Cushioning provides comfort and impact protection, and lightweight construction is less jarring for joints and muscles. Breathability also helps keep feet cool and comfortable while training indoors.
If you’re an avid runner incorporating treadmill running into weekly or monthly training, you’ll appreciate having a pair suited to the unique running surface and specific treadmill workouts.
The 10 Best Running Shoes for a Treadmill
After months of research and testing, our Marathon Sports team members, avid runners, and reviewers reported their favorite shoes for treadmill workouts.
These are the 10 best running shoes for a treadmill.
- Brooks Ghost 15
- Nike Pegasus 40
- HOKA Clifton 9
- Saucony Ride 16
- Mizuno Wave Rider 26
- ASICS GEL-NIMBUS 25
- On Cloudstratus 3
- New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v12
- Alta Torin 7
- Adidas Adizero SL
Brooks Ghost 15
The Ghost is a legendary everyday trainer from the iconic athletic company Brooks®. Our team members have tested numerous editions of the Ghost on pavement, so they were eager to see how the latest edition, the Ghost 15, performed on the treadmill.
The Ghost 15 proved to be one of their favorite treadmill long-distance running shoes for the impact protection of the DNA LOFT v2 midsole cushioning and overall upper comfort. This year’s foam is lighter and less dense than previous versions, creating a more luxurious feel.
The Brooks Ghost 15 features an ultra-comfortable engineered air mesh upper that provides a snug, supportive fit and maximum breathability. This iconic daily trainer is also lightweight at 10.1 ounces for a men’s size 9.5.
Nike Pegasus 40
The Nike Pegasus is one of the most popular neutral running shoes ever sold. This year’s edition, the Pegasus 40, is one of our team’s favorites for daily training and the treadmill. It’s a consistent, neutral running shoe that doesn’t require many changes from edition to edition because it has been nearly perfected over the course of 40 years.
The Pegasus 40 does offer a few upgrades for 2023, including superior comfort in the toes and arches and a midfoot strap for support. The “Peg” 40 features medium cushioning underfoot for impact protection without sacrificing responsiveness.
Our reviewers described the Pegasus 40 as one of the most comfortable and responsive shoes they wore on the treadmill. It remained durable, supportive, cool, and luxurious when sprinting or logging hours.
Find out what our reviewers said about the new “Peg” for everyday training in our full Nike Pegasus 40 review.
HOKA Clifton 9
The Clifton is HOKA’s popular daily trainer. The Clifton 9 is their latest edition, and it boasts maximum cushioning, an engineered mesh upper, and a new, more comfortable heel tab. The shoe’s rocker design will propel you into your next stride on the treadmill, while the compression-molded EVA foam midsole protects feet and joints from pain due to repetitive movement.
In our Clifton 9 Review, our team continuously praises the Clifton 9 for its comfort, impact protection, and smooth transitions from heel to toe. They felt it performed just as impressively on the treadmill as on the road.
Saucony Ride 16
The Saucony Ride is another iconic daily trainer that has been around longer than a decade. It’s a well-balanced, straightforward running shoe designed to fit and perform optimally.
In our Saucony Ride 16 Review, we’ve highlighted the exceptional qualities that make this model a gem in the running world. The Ride 16 distinguishes itself as an ideal treadmill companion thanks to its superior PWRRUN foam midsole. This cushioning system assures generous impact protection, keeping your strides comfortable and confident.
We’re not surprised when our customers tell us they have one pair of Saucony Rides for the street and one for the treadmill; it’s that consistent, reliable, and comfortable.
Mizuno Wave Rider 26
The Mizuno Wave Rider 26 is all about balance and comfort. Soft and responsive cushioning is provided by the MIZUNO ENERZY foam, designed to help runners perform their best. The engineered mesh upper provides additional comfort with a snug, hug-like fit and breathability.
The Wave Rider 26 also features Mizuno’s WAVE® plate that disperses impact energy throughout a broader area for a more comfortable and stable ride. It’s a high-performance stability running shoe ideal for runners who like to incorporate treadmill workouts into their training.
Our reviewers appreciated Mizuno’s X10 outsole on the treadmill, as the carbon rubber remained durable without adding too much grip.
ASICS GEL-NIMBUS 25
The ASICS GEL-NIMBUS underwent numerous changes for 2023, and our reviewers were more than pleased. They first tested the GEL-NIMBUS 25 on pavement and returned with rave reviews. Training on the treadmill in this neutral daily trainer turned out to be just as comfortable and enjoyable.
The GEL-NIMBUS 25 features new FF BLAST™ PLUS cushioning that our reviewers likened to running on clouds. They described the treadmill running experience in these shoes as lively, energetic, light, and soft. Feet, joints, and muscles are continuously protected from the repetitive impacts of the treadmill.
Another perk is the new knit tongue that’s stretchier and more flexible than previous versions. The fit is adaptive yet snug, providing support and breathability.
Our reviewers also commented on an improved look from previous versions. Overall, the GEL-NIMBUS 25 is one of the best cushioned running shoes for the treadmill we found.
Read more about what’s new in our complete ASICS GEL-NIMBUS 25 review.
On Cloudstratus 3
The On Cloudstratus 3 is an ultra-cushioned trainer that will keep you cool, comfortable, and protected from repetitive impacts on the treadmill. The most significant feature of the Cloudstratus is its two layers of CloudTec® cushioning, providing impact protection and comfort horizontally and vertically.
The Cloudstratus also features On’s Speedboard® technology, designed to flex with your stride to push you forward and help you run faster. In addition to loads of groundbreaking running shoe technology, our reviewers appreciated the wide-toe box and secure lacing system that made running on the treadmill more worry-free.
About 75 percent of the upper’s polyester is recycled, an added environmentally-friendly bonus.
New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v12
You’ve probably noticed that our reviewers, and most treadmill runners, appreciate cushioning when running indoors. The New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v12 is another daily trainer with an impressive amount of cushioning for a smooth, comfortable, and protective ride.
In our New Balance 1080v12 review, our reviewers expressed how they especially appreciated the fit of the Fresh Foam 1080v12. The knit upper is flexible yet supportive, remaining spacious in the toe yet snug at midfoot. It’s a stretchy shoe that can accommodate varying foot shapes while maintaining breathability.
Team members noted that the stretchy upper did make the shoe less stable for side-to-side movement. It’s ideal for treadmill running but is not as functional as an all-around gym workout shoe.
Altra Torin 7
The Altra Torin 7 received rave reviewers from our team members as one of the most comfortable shoes for treadmills and road running. This latest version of the iconic Torin shoe features Altra EGO™ MAX cushioning, a new molded heel collar, and a more luxurious tongue.
Our team members have tested numerous editions of the Torin over the years, and they praised the Torin 7 as the most comfortable, plush version yet. Altra’s Standard FootShape™ fit is also a favorite for its wide toe box that allows the toes to move freely for a more comfortable and natural run.
The verdict is in, and the Altra Torin 7 is just as comfortable, well-cushioned, and reliable on the treadmill as on the road.
Adidas Adizero SL
The Adidas Adizero SL is a lightweight daily trainer made for running fast and pushing limits. Features that make it an ideal treadmill running shoe include the lightweight LIGHTSTRIKE EVA foam cushioning, breathable engineered mesh upper, and padded heel and tongue for comfort when performing a repetitive motion.
The rubber outsole is made for the road, so it’s a bit grippy, but our reviewers didn’t find that it held them back when performing fast-paced or long-distance treadmill workouts. They appreciated the Adizero SL’s cushioned yet responsive ride making it ideal for more high-performance training yet comfortable for walking or slower paces too.
Recap of the Best Shoes for Treadmill Running
The year 2023 has brought some groundbreaking running shoe technology that is bound to improve your comfort and performance on the treadmill. Additionally, some tried-and-true favorites have remained similar to years past because they’re already so near perfection.
You can find all the shoes listed at Marathon Sports, so shop and upgrade your treadmill workouts today!