What Shoes Should I Wear On The Treadmill?

You have no doubt heard of the new fad of barefoot running. Let me just say first and foremost: please do not run on your treadmill barefoot. There are several reasons for this. First of all, if you run barefoot outside, the ground beneath you isn’t moving. It’s pretty stable and not going anywhere. Second, if your feet sweat you have a low chance of slipping on the asphalt or concrete.

On a treadmill, the treadbelt is moving, making balance difficult without shoes. To top it off, if your feet sweat your treadbelt will get slippery in a hurry. And don’t think you’re helping by running in just socks. You’ll slip right off your treadmill.

A while ago I posted an article about choosing the right shoes. But today I want to answer a more specific question: what shoes should I wear on the treadmill? As with every treadmill question, it depends.

Are you training for a marathon? Plan to run at speeds of 10 mph or faster? Then you don’t want simple walking shoes. You want something lightweight and minimal so that you can imitate barefoot running as best you can. I recommend Altra shoes for this as they are what I run in and have been my favorite thus far. They weight less than 10 ounces and are very minimal. They help me run with the correct posture and foot strike. So for the hardcore runner, that’s what I would go with.

But most people will never put their treadmill to anything faster than 6-8 mph. If you just plan to casually walk a few days a week on your treadmill, then the durability, weight and shape of your shoe isn’t as important to consider. In fact, my preference for workouts like these is to just wear what I have on so I don’t have to always change shoes just to walk on the treadmill. If you are like this, I would go with the Kuru KINETIC walking shoe. It’s kind of minimal as the heel has nearly zero drop like Altra. They also don’t weigh much, just 12 ounces for a men’s shoe. But they are comfortable and great all around for wearing throughout the day. It’s nice to just keep what you have on and hop on the treadmill.

Now, if you already have a pair of running shoes you like, don’t feel the need to go out and buy a new pair just for your treadmill. Whatever works for your runs outside will work just fine on your treadmill. The only exception is barefoot running. I strongly advise running barefoot or in just socks on your treadmill. Always wear shoes you can tie (nothing floppy like sandals) so that you don’t injure yourself on your treadmill.

One more thing to think about. If you are pregnant you have hopefully read my infographic series on exercising while pregnant. If you are pregnant then you know you want comfortable shoes and only want to walk on the treadmill if at all. In that case, don’t go minimal like with Altra. The Kuru women’s KINETIC would be a really great choice.

As usual, if you have any questions, be sure to ask me!

About The Author

Treadmill Review Guru is an expert on all things related to treadmills and running. He is a former cross country runner and soccer player and hopes to soon be able to run a marathon. He loves training on his treadmill whenever he gets the chance. Check out his recommendations and see what he thinks are the best treadmills.

Why Should I Buy A Treadmill Instead of a Gym Membership?


Home Treadmill vs Gym Membership

I see where you’re coming from.  A treadmill is only good for running, while a gym membership will allow you to use a variety of fitness machines and give you a better workout.  However, a home treadmill might be a better choice, and here’s why.

It will save you money.  Yes, a treadmill is a lot of money upfront, but then you’re done paying for it.  A gym membership makes you pay anywhere from $20-150 every single month.  They also have sign up fees, which is still a significant sum you have to pay upfront.

You can use it whenever you want.  Gyms usually aren’t open 24/7, but your home is available to you any time of day.  Even walking for 5 or 10 minutes occasionally is better for you than nothing.  You won’t want drive all the way to the gym for a 5 minute run, but you can hop on the treadmill while you’re home from work for your lunch break or during commercials while watching TV.

Only 20% of Americans actually use their gym membership.  “Use” is considered going to the gym 1 or more times a week.  (source: Hidden Costs of Gym Memberships).  A treadmill is in your home, so you don’t have to worry about buying a cute outfit to work out in, driving to the gym, and setting aside 1 hour to do a 30 minute workout.  The trick is to actually use the treadmill a few times a week.

The choice is yours, but I recommend a treadmill.  Yes you can always just run outside, but when the weather’s bad, a treadmill still works.  A treadmill is also great for multitasking while running, like reading or watching a movie.

At the end of the day, you should choose the fitness option you will use.  If a home treadmill will turn into a storage area, then don’t buy one.  If a gym is something you’ll actually use, then go ahead and spend your money.  But if you feel like either would get used, then save money in the long run and buy a treadmill.  Just make sure you are doing some strength training too!

How Accurate are Treadmills?

At the gym, exercise machines usually have heart monitors and tell you how many calories you’ve burned. But can these machines be trusted? Last month a study was done to see just how accurate these machines are.  The results are a little mixed. [Read more…]

Which is Better – Manual or Electric Treadmills?

Electric vs Manual TreadmillI was recently emailed this exact question. After all, with so many treadmills on the market, it’s difficult to know where to begin when selecting a treadmill. To start things off, let’s cover exactly what manual and electric treadmills are. [Read more…]

How High Should my Ceilings be to Comfortably Accommodate my Treadmill?

One thing that should always be considered before you make a treadmill purchase is how high the ceiling is in the room where you are going to use it. Many people keep their treadmills in the basement, and that is usually the area of a home with the lowest ceiling clearance. So a little measuring before you decide on a purchase can make a big difference, depending on which machine you are interested in.

As a general rule, for a normal treadmill, I would plan on the belt sitting about 6″ off of the ground without incline. Of course there are several makes and models that have a belt that is much closer to the ground, but if you can’t find the specs online for the belt height of the treadmill that you are interested in, and have no way of obtaining an accurate measurement, 6″ is usually a pretty safe bet. For these regular treadmills, the incline will probably max out at 10-15%. This should amount to about 6″ of height when the belt is at it’s highest. So for a regular treadmill, plan on the maximum height being around a foot tall.

If you are considering an incline trainer, or any treadmill that features decline, the belt will sit higher than a normal treadmill to allow the belt to slope downwards when it is declined. For example, if you are getting a NordicTrack X9i Incline Trainer, the belt height at 0% incline is around 12″ tall! So be aware that some machines will sit up higher than others when they aren’t in use. Now, when you try to use an incline trainer at full incline (up to 40% for some machines), add on as much as 18″ to your 0% measurement. So the X9i turns into a two and a half foot tall belt!

The next step is to know the height of the tallest person who will be using the treadmill. Always add about an inch to their height to account for their running shoes.

After obtaining these height measurements (belt at full incline and the height of the tallest user including an extra inch for shoes) add them together and subtract that height from your ceiling height! Now add 6″-12″ of extra space so that your head doesn’t hit the ceiling, and you’re done. For example, I am 6′ 1″ tall. My basement ceilings are 8′. If I wanted to install a NordicTrack X9i in my basement, I would add 2′ 6″ to 6′ 2″ (my height plus shoes). We are already at 8′ 8″. So this incline trainer will not fit into my basement, if I was planning to use the full incline on it. But if I wanted to get a regular treadmill and use it at it’s max incline, then I would add 12″ to 6’2″ and I would be at 7′ 2″. Subtract that from my ceiling height, and I have a generous 10″ of clearance.

metal_retractable_measuring_tape_2If you are unsure about height clearance, it is always a good idea to ask a representative from the company you are thinking about buying from. For some reason, the belt height isn’t usually displayed in the specs for a machine, but the other measurements such as the footprint of the belt are. But it is very easy to email or chat with a representative online about the height requirements, and know for sure before you place an order that your treadmill will fit in it’s allotted space. If you are buying a treadmill in-store, or are buying a used treadmill locally, take careful measurements of your ceiling height before you go to take a look, and bring a tape measure with you to measure the belt height.

I hope this has been helpful for some of you who are struggling to decide whether or not that new treadmill will fit into the space that you have allotted for it!

How Often Does My Tread Belt Need To Be Lubed?

I received a great question from @IamLNTK on twitter! The question was asking how often you should apply lube to your tread belt.

This is a good question because many treadmill owners have purchased their treadmills used, and oftentimes the manuals are not included, so they don’t know or don’t even think about the fact that their treadmill needs lube. If you buy your treadmill new, it will usually come with a small supply of lube from the manufacturer (generally enough for one lubing), but again, if you buy used, you probably won’t be provided with the original lube and will need to purchase some.

In general, it is suggested that most treadmills be lubed at least once per year. I would suggest that even if you rarely use your treadmill, you should still apply lube every year to keep the belt in good shape. For those who use their machines often, every six months may be more appropriate in order to keep your treadmill in tip-top shape. Instead of giving a time frame, some manuals will say that lubing is needed every “x” miles or hours spend on the treadmill. But for those who don’t use their treadmills often, it could take several years to reach “x” so I would suggest lubing once a year OR when you reach “x,” whichever comes first.

Some people don’t even realize that a treadmill needs lube to protect the belt from friction. Most treadmills are pre-lubed when they are new, so you don’t have to worry about lubing for the first 6 months to a year. Some brands (Precor comes to mind) advertise that no lube is needed. While it is true that these belts may be able to go for longer in between lubes than most treadmills, it is still a good idea to lube as needed. There is no such thing as a maintenance free treadmill!

My best advice is to find your owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer of your treadmill. Since every treadmill is a little different, and they all receive different amounts of use, you may find that you have to lube your belt more or less often than you thought! By keeping the belt lubed when it’s needed, you will save money in the long run because it’s far cheaper to buy and use tread belt lube, than it is to buy a new belt every couple of years!

Now that you have figured out how often to lube your treadmill, make sure that you know what type of lube to use so that you don’t end up voiding your warranty!

Feel free to ask questions through Facebook (fb.com/TreadmillReviewGuru) or Twitter (@TReviewGuru), and I will answer them for you as quickly as possible!

oil can

Why Run On A Treadmill?

When it comes to treadmills as fitness equipment, the most common question people have is why bother running on a treadmill. After all, the road is free, why not just run on that? First let’s look at the benefits of running in general, then look at the benefits of a treadmill.

First, running is an excellent cardiovascular exercise. Not only does it exercise your heart, but it works you muscles as well, from your legs in propelling you to your arms in balancing you and your back in stabilizing you. Going up hills can give you an even better workout in all of these areas.

I don’t suppose I need to list the mountains of research that show why cardiovascular and muscular exercise is a good thing. And to be fair, there are other ways you can do these exercises that won’t result in as much stress on your joints.

But the human body was engineered to walk and run. It’s how we are built. Elliptical machines create unnatural movements that are meant to mimic natural movements but without the stress on your joints. Biking is lower impact but puts your body in a slightly unnatural position which isn’t great for your posture. Swimming is probably a better workout for you but it requires a pool which not everyone has access to.

And so running has always been America’s preferred exercise. But why a treadmill? There are a couple of reasons. First, no matter where you live, you can always run. If it is 140 degrees outside or -140 degrees, you can still go for a job. And with neat features like iFit you can feel like you are running anywhere in the world.

Many complain that a treadmill is boring or running in place on a moving belt is bad for your hip flexors. These arguments have some merit, but who said that’s how you have to use your treadmill? Just check out this guy.

Treadmills can enable you to do some pretty extreme and unique exercises otherwise unavailable. So running is good, running on a treadmill is good, and using your treadmill in other creatives ways to exercise is good too. Think about all that the next time someone rags on a treadmill.

Should I Lubricate My Treadmill And If So, With What?

Yes, you should lubricate your treadmill. No, you shouldn’t spray it with WD-40 or something like that. Many treadmills will void the warranty if you use anything outside of the manufacturer’s approved list of lubricants. Oddly, this list only ever includes their own products.

If your treadmill came with some kind of lube, hold on to it and use that maybe once a year to keep things good under the hood. If you don’t have any treadmill lubricant, DO NOT use something like WD-40 or oil or anything like that. You can actually damage your treadbelt with these products.

My recommendation is to go to a hardware store and see if you can find some grease or the easier thing might be to check out these lubricants from Treadmill Doctor. These will not damage your treadmill and you can get a cleaning kit as well to keep your treadmill in good shape.

Unfortunately, all treadmills require maintenance. There is no way around this. If you don’t maintain your treadmill, then it will require repairs. Either way, no treadmill will last forever so if you want yours to last long, be sure to take good care of it with some lubricant and cleaning each year, maybe even twice a year. But remember, don’t just spray WD-40 on there and call it good. In fact, don’t ever spray WD-40 on there. Stick with items from the manufacturer or the products from Treadmill Doctor.

About The Author

Treadmill Review Guru is an expert on all things related to treadmills and running. He is a former cross country runner and soccer player and hopes to soon be able to run a marathon. He loves training on his treadmill whenever he gets the chance. Check out his recommendations and see what he thinks are the best treadmills.

Why Do Some Treadmills Cost So Much Money?

It only takes a few minutes of research online to figure out that some treadmills are very expensive. Likewise, you will find that some treadmills hardly cost a thing. So what’s the difference? Why are some of them so expensive?

First and foremost, the parts play a big role. If you look at $500 treadmills, you will see most have a motor of 1.5 HP or so. Look at a $2,000 treadmill and you will see a 3 HP motor. More powerful motors are more expensive, and these drive up the prices.

Also, some have very sophisticated computers. Some treadmills even have touchscreen browsers. The electronics in the consoles can be another big expense.

Another issue with the parts is that some can be cheaply made while others are of higher quality. The belt you walk on can be easily ripped like a paper towel or it can be very durable. Some parts in the deck can be made of plastic or steel. Construction plays a big role here.

Warranties can also drive up the cost. If a manufacturer gives you a 1 year warranty on everything, they probably aren’t charging you much. If they give you a lifetime warranty on everything, they are charging you a ton because you’re not going to buy another machine from them again.

So why are some treadmills that are seemingly the same priced so differently? It’s called branding. Why does your Apple laptop cost twice as much as a computer that does the same thing? Because there is an Apple logo on it, that’s why.

Treadmills are no different. In the home market, brands like NordicTrack dominate. However, in the commercial market, names you might not be familiar with dominate. That’s why they charge so much. If you can only find Precor machines in high end gyms, then when Precor sells to the public they are going to charge double what they need to just because they have a brand image to maintain. And rich people will buy them because they have an image to maintain.

That’s just how it goes unfortunately. You can find similar features in a $1,500 NordicTrack treadmill as a $3,000 Precor treadmill. You’re only paying for a brand name. Think of it like shoes. Nike doesn’t have a superior shoe to other shoe manufacturers. They just have the most well known brand. So they can charge more because people will pay it.

Don’t be deceived by high prices as a sign of high quality. Always research thoroughly as you don’t want to waste any money on overpriced treadmills.

About The Author

Treadmill Review Guru is an expert on all things related to treadmills and running. He is a former cross country runner and soccer player and hopes to soon be able to run a marathon. He loves training on his treadmill whenever he gets the chance. Check out his recommendations and see what he thinks are the best treadmills.

Which NordicTrack Treadmill Is The Best?

This is a fun question. NordicTrack makes some great machines, my favorite in fact. I guess there are two ways to answer this. First, which NordicTrack treadmill is the best overall, and second, which NordicTrack treadmill is the best for its price.

First off, the X9i incline trainer is definitely the best NordicTrack treadmill out there right now. It can incline up to 40% and decline up to 40% and comes with all kinds of goodies, like iFit and a touchscreen web browser. I have one in my home and it is the treadmill I use.

The best NordicTrack treadmill for the price is probably the T5.7. If you have a little more and can go up to $1,000, I would go with the C900 Pro. But if you are on an extreme budget, this $600 treadmill is a steal. Not the best motor, not the largest walking surface, but a good all around treadmill that works for the average person.

I hope that answers your question and helps you find the best NordicTrack treadmill!

About The Author

Treadmill Review Guru is an expert on all things related to treadmills and running. He is a former cross country runner and soccer player and hopes to soon be able to run a marathon. He loves training on his treadmill whenever he gets the chance. Check out his recommendations and see what he thinks are the best treadmills.