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Best Shoes For Treadmill Walking in 2021

 

Walking on the treadmill is an excellent fitness option. It’s convenient, can be done in all weather or conditions, and you can increase the speed or incline to simulate real-world walking.

Even if you opt for the treadmill rather than on the road, it’s important to consider the type of shoes you’re wearing. The best shoes for treadmill walking should still provide adequate support and cushion your feet properly.

The Brooks Ghost 14 is our top choice, as it features a plush midsole, has a soft and breathable engineered mesh upper, and a thicker rubber outsole than many other shoes.

We’ve reviewed ten shoes that would be an ideal choice for walking on the treadmill so you can choose the right one for you.

Top 3 Best and Favorite

 

Brooks Ghost 14

 

  • Open-engineered air mesh upper
  • Plush midsole cushioning
  • Full contact outsole
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

 

ASICS GT-1000 10

 

  • AHAR rubber outsole
  • Rearfoot GEL technology
  • DuoMax Support System
CHECK MEN’S PRICECHECK WOMEN’S PRICE

 

New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11

 

  • Molded footbed
  • External heel counters
  • Fresh Foam X cushioning
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Best Overall

1. Brooks Ghost 14

The Brooks Ghost 14 is one of the brand’s most popular shoes for walkers with a neutral foot. It’s a high-comfort shoe, ideal for walking on the treadmill.

The outsole uses two different rubbers to increase durability. There’s soft-blown rubber on the forefoot of the shoe, which provides a good grip on your treadmill deck. On the heel is a harder rubber, which is highly durable especially for those individuals who are heel strikers. Both of these rubbers are thicker than the usual outsoles on most shoes.

In the forefoot, you’ll find three flex grooves to increase flexibility, allowing you to have the freedom to walk comfortably at an incline on the treadmill or keep it flat.

There are two midsole foams in the Ghost 14—DNA Loft and BioMoGo. DNA Loft runs down the lateral side of the midsole, and BioMoGo runs down the medial side. This combination of foam allows the shoe to be both soft and responsive at the same time.

The air mesh upper is ventilated and has a spacious toe box for comfort. The tongue, ankle collar, and heel are well-padded. Both the heel and the toe have stiff reinforcements for structure and durability.

Some users report that this shoe isn’t very durable, despite the thick layer of outsole rubber. If you’re only using this shoe for walking on the treadmill, it should still last a long time.

PROS:

  • Open-engineered air mesh upper
  • Plush midsole cushioning
  • Full contact outsole
  • Forefoot flex grooves

CONS:

  • Users report that the outsole wears away quickly
 

Top Runner Up

2. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38

The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 is the latest iteration of Nike’s Pegasus line, which is known for being versatile and comfortable.

It’s designed to be both comfortable and to perform, and it would be an excellent option to use for walking on the treadmill in optimal comfort.

The upper is soft and features midfoot webbing that alleviates pressure across the foot and reduces hotspots. A padded tongue not only improves comfort but also locks the foot down more securely, getting rid of the heel slippage that was a problem with the previous version of this shoe.

Nike React foam in the midsole is responsible for the comfort and the bounciness of this shoe. It offers lightweight comfort, padding the shoe without adding unnecessary weight.

There is also a Zoom Air unit in the midsole forefoot, which not only absorbs the impact of your footstrikes but provides a good energy return, allowing you to have a powerful toe-off.

The outsole of the Pegasus is extremely durable, and if used only on a treadmill belt, should last a long time. The lugs on the bottom of the shoe are not so large that they interfere when walking on the treadmill.

The Pegasus 38 runs small, so you may need to order a size bigger than you usually would.

PROS:

  • Zoom Air unit
  • Midfoot webbing
  • Lightweight, responsive foam
  • Nike React foam

CONS:

  • This shoe runs small and you may need to order a size smaller
 

Best Value

3. ASICS GT-1000 10

If you want a pair of shoes that is affordable but durable enough for regular treadmill use, the ASICS GT-1000 10 would be a good choice. It features ASICS’ FLYTEFOAM cushioning, which is light and comfortable but also responsive in terms of energy return.

This foam uses organic super fibers which don’t flatten out like other foams do, keeping the midsole of your shoe spongy and responsive even after many miles of use. There is also GEL cushioning in the rearfoot to protect the heel and joints from impact.

This is a stability shoe, so walkers with a neutral shoe may not feel comfortable wearing it. It uses DUOMAX technology to reduce the effects of overpronation, which is a firmer section of foam in the medial side of the shoe for support.

It also uses a Guidance Trusstic System that includes Guidance Line technology, which is a vertical flex groove on the outsole that decouples the sole, providing more flexibility and maximizing stride efficiency.

Jacquard mesh, a fabric lining, and plush ankle collar and tongue make this shoe comfortable and ventilated. ASICS’ AHAR rubber outsole is durable and allows one a good grip on the treadmill belt.

The shoe can run narrow in the toe box area, so you may need to order a half size larger.

PROS:

  • AHAR rubber outsole
  • Rearfoot GEL technology
  • DuoMax Support System in the midsole
  • Responsive FLYTEFOAM midsole cushioning

CONS:

  • This shoe can run narrow in the toe box and you may have to order a half size up
 

Best For Wide Feet

4. New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11

Individuals with wide feet may struggle to find shoes that are both comfortable and supportive. The New Balance Fresh Foam 880v11 is an ideal choice if you need more space in the shoe.

The shoe is available in wide and extra-wide sizes. An engineered jacquard mesh upper is soft to the touch and flexible enough to accommodate wide feet without causing hot spots. There are few overlays on the upper, which may reduce the structural stability but significantly improves the breathability.

Fresh Foam X in the midsole is plush and soft, but also offers enough bounce to be responsive whether on the road or on a treadmill. When you put your foot into this shoe, the molded footbed contours to your foot, making you feel like this shoe was made for your foot. There’s also an external heel counter—or heel clip—to add extra stability to every stride. A slight flare on the Achilles also reduces the chances of chafing.

Although New Balance shoes come in a variety of sizes and accommodate a wide foot, many buyers have reported that the shoes run narrow, so you may need to order an extra width.

PROS:

  • Engineered jacquard mesh upper
  • Molded footbed
  • External heel counters
  • Fresh Foam X cushioning

CONS:

  • These shoes run narrow so you may need to order a size wider
 

Top For Overpronation

5. New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v5

Even if you’re only walking on the treadmill at a moderate pace, you still need the right type of shoes to support your feet. Individuals who overpronate will need a stability shoe like the New Balance Fresh Foam Vongo v5.

The generous midsole is made up of Fresh Foam X, an energetic but comfortable foam. Gradient Stability technology is what New Balance uses to correct overpronation. It’s a unique technology that makes the midsole denser in the medial side by the addition of pellets inside the foam.

This will keep the foot in the optimal position and prevent it from falling inwards on each step. In turn, this keeps the joints aligned and prevents injuries.

Another feature that will help is the extra-wide forefoot, which has 5mm more space than the previous version of this shoe. A wider platform makes it more stable, as well as dispersing impact better.

The blown rubber outsole will grip the treadmill belt effectively so you can walk safely. The forefoot rubber also adds more cushion, and flex grooves in the outsole also provide more mobility when walking. It also has a rocker-shaped bottom which helps the heel-to-toe transition to go more smoothly.

This shoe can run large so you may need to order a size down.

PROS:

  • Gradient stability technology
  • Wider midfoot
  • Fresh Foam X cushioning
  • Blown rubber outsole

CONS:

  • This shoe runs large so you may need to order a smaller size than usual
 

Best Ankle Support

6. ASICS GEL-CUMULUS 23

If you need extra ankle support to stay safe when walking on the treadmill, the ASICS Gel-Cumulus is a good shoe choice.

The single-piece mesh upper is soft and breathable, so the shoe is comfortable on the foot. It’s lightweight but may absorb water if you run in a rainstorm.

For better ankle support, the ankle collar and heel are generously padded, keeping the ankle snug in the shoe and providing comfort while preventing chafing.

The midsole consists of dual FlyteFoam layers—of different densities—and a GEL unit in the rearfoot for better impact absorption and energy return.

It also uses Space Construction, which is a hexagonal pillar technology that’s built into the midsole. It’s gender-specific, featured only in the heel of the men’s shoes but in the heel and the forefoot of the women’s shoes. This helps provide more softness in the midsole, which diffuses vibrations and protects the joints.

The outsole is thick and durable and will last many hundreds of miles on the treadmill. It features AHAR rubber on the forefoot and AHAR+ on the heel. There are also deep flex grooves in the outsole, which help the foot and shoe to move together in a natural way.

PROS:

  • Gender-specific midsole construction
  • Rearfoot Gel Technology
  • Dual layer, full length cushioning
  • One-piece engineered mesh upper

CONS:

  • Some may find that the FlyteFoam layer feels too firm
 

Top Slip-On Shoe

7. Brooks Levitate 4 LE

If you prefer a shoe that has a slip-on design, the Brooks Levitate 4 LE might be the right choice for you.

The sock-like FitKnit upper has built-in elasticated laces, which are hidden by an integrated wraparound cover that supports the midfoot. This makes it easy to slip the shoe on and off and still get a good level of support and stability.

The DNA AMP midsole is 20% lighter than it used to be, and offers a good amount of energy return, making you feel like you have a spring in your step. There’s also a cushioned footbed which provides extra support and shock absorption. It’s removable if you want to use a custom insert instead.

The arrow-point tread pattern offers good grip on surfaces like a treadmill belt, and also helps you to move from heel to toe quickly and easily in your stride.

PROS:

  • Sock-like, Fitknit upper
  • Built-in elastic laces and a wraparound collar
  • DNA AMP midsole
  • Cushioned, removable footbed

CONS:

  • Some people may find the sole of the shoe to be a bit stiff
 

Best Lightweight

8. Brooks Launch 8

People who prefer lightweight shoes may like the Brooks Launch 8. It’s a light and comfortable trainer, made for both long, leisurely walks or a bit of speed work on the treadmill.

A streamlined air-mesh upper gives the shoe a snug feel but it remains breathable. On the heel, an elf-ear design makes it easy to slip your foot in and out of this shoe.

On the bottom, blown rubber on the forefoot is durable and provides good traction on the treadmill. A unique Midfoot Transition Zone on the outsole is designed for a comfortable and efficient heel-to-toe transition.

The BioMoGo DNA midsole combines BioMoGo and DNA cushioning. This makes it very soft and comfortable, but some might feel that the shoe lacks responsiveness and feels a bit flat.

PROS:

  • One-piece mesh upper
  • BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning
  • Midfoot Transition Zone
  • Forefoot has added blown rubber

CONS:

  • The shoe may feel a bit “flat” and lacks responsiveness
 

Most Secure Fit

9. Nike React Miler 2

Even if you’re only planning on walking slowly on the treadmill, wearing ill-fitting shoes can lead to injury or discomfort. It can be difficult to find the right fit for your feet, but the Nike React Miler 2 has a secure-fit system that should work for most people.

The engineered mesh upper is lightweight but reinforced with synthetic overlays on the toe and midfoot. Four bands in the midfoot with the laces, tightening around the foot when you lace your shoes up to provide a personalized fit. There’s also a stiff strip running around the heel to provide extra support.

The full-length Nike React foam midsole is plush and comfortable for many miles. To keep with the plush feeling, the heel and ankle collars are well-padded and lock the foot down well. The midsoles are also rocker-shaped, for better movement through the gait cycle.

The rubber outsole is high-abrasion and suitable for a variety of surfaces, including the treadmill deck.

The Nike React Miler runs small so you may have to get a size larger.

PROS:

  • Midfoot bands for a tight fit
  • Stiff heel clip
  • Rocker midsoles geometry
  • Full-length Nike React midsole

CONS:

  • This shoe runs small so you may have to go up a size
 

Best Support

10. ASICS GEL-KAYANO 28

For overpronators, the ASICS Gel-Kayano is a stability shoe that provides support to keep the foot aligned and in a safe position that protects the ligaments, tendons, and joints.

A Jacquard mesh upper offers breathability but also is reinforced with synthetic overlays to provide extra stability to the foot and a better fit. A traditional lace-up closure also allows one to get a custom, tight fit for better stability.

This stability shoe uses Dynamic DuoMax Support System to prevent overpronation. This is a dual-density foam with a firmer section on the medial side of the shoe where extra support is needed for the overpronating foot.

The Guidance Trusstic System with Guidance Line technology helps your foot to move through a natural gait without shifting out of alignment. An external heel clutch system also helps to lock the heel in and prevent excess movement, preserving the stability of the foot.

ASICS’ FLYTEFOAM midsole with FLYTEFOAM Propel technology makes the midsole light, spongy and responsive. The addition of both front and rearfoot GEL technology improves the shock-absorbing properties of the shoe.

PROS:

  • Guidance Trusstic System
  • GEL cushioning system
  • Dynamic DuoMax Support System
  • Heel clutch technology

CONS:

  • Some might feel that the shoe is heavy
 

FAQs

Tips for walking on a treadmill

Walking on a treadmill may sound like a simple thing to do, but it’s key to always follow safety precautions even when walking at a moderate pace.

Before walking on your treadmill, learn and understand the safety features the treadmill has. Many treadmills have a safety key that has a quick-stop function. You clip this onto your shirt or hold it in your hand, and if you fall and the key is pulled out of the machine, it automatically stops to prevent worse injury.

When you begin, start off slowly and work your way up at a comfortable pace. Hold onto the handrails if you need extra support or balance. Try to step in the center of the belt with each step and not stray too close to the sides, but also try not to watch your feet while you’re walking as this can cause one to lose their balance.

Even if you aren’t leaving the house to exercise, remember to stay hydrated when you’re walking on the treadmill. Keep a bottle of water with you; many treadmills have holders where you can place your bottle within easy reach.

You can listen to music or podcasts if you want something to keep you busy. But try to use headphones that allow you to still be aware of what’s going on around you.

If your workout is getting too easy and you don’t want to increase your speed, you can increase the incline, which will work your muscles differently and offer more of a challenge.

When do you need a neutral or stability shoe?

The majority of people—around 50 to 60 percent—have a neutral foot with a medium arch. Most running shoes are created as neutral shoes.

However, about 30 to 40 percent of people overpronate, which means they roll their foot inwards when they step. This is common in people who are flat-footed. In these cases, one would need a stability shoe, which is created with extra support on the medial—inside—side of the shoe, to stop the arch from collapsing inwards.

The smallest percentage of people are underpronators—supinators—which is when the foot rolls onto the outer edge. These people can use neutral shoes.

The Wired Runner