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!