A treadmill workout requires different shoe features than an outdoor workout, both for running on a treadmill and walking on a treadmill. To prevent injury and keep your feet comfortable during your treadmill workout, you may benefit from a trip to an athletic store where your feet will be measured and your gait analyzed. But to get you started, follow these basic tips to guide you as you wade through the myriad of athletic shoes on the market today.
Fit and Feel
The Mayo Clinic states that the first thing to consider when choosing shoes for your treadmill workout is the shape of your foot. Shoes that are too wide or narrow, or that don't provide enough room for your toes to fit comfortably, lead to blisters, callouses and foot pain. Your arch type is also an important factor. High arches need more cushioning to compensate for a lack of natural shock absorption; flat arches need stabilizing shoes with motion control. Neutral arches need shoes with more moderate motion control and firm mid-soles. Your workout shoes should fit well and feel good on your feet right out of the box.
As the treadmill belt moves during your workout, it generates heat that eventually heats your feet. Choose a treadmill shoe that was specifically designed to allow for airflow and that is made from breathable fabrics. Many athletic shoes have mesh lining to ensure adequate breathability.
Walking Versus Running
If you walk for fitness on a treadmill, the best shoe for you will provide very flexible soles that allow your feet to roll easily from heel to toe and will be well cushioned. Consumer Reports notes that running shoes must also provide much flexibility, but more so in the ball of the foot. Stability control, good traction and extra cushioning are also important running shoe features.
Mixed Treadmill and Outdoor Workouts
For folks who like to mix things up and head outdoors for some of their workouts, Shoe Guide recommends focusing more on your needs for treadmill workouts, even if you'll be wearing the same shoes outdoors. Choose athletic shoes that are breathable to accommodate the heat generated by the treadmill's belt and that are more cushioned than you would normally use for outdoor workouts.
Shawna Van Trease has been a freelance copy editor and writer since 2007. She has written extensively for private clients, including market research and website development firms. Van Trease holds a Master of Arts in social work from the University of Chicago.