Do I Need Running Shoes On A Treadmill? (Yes, Here's Why)
By Simon Gould
When running outside running shoes are essential. They provide vital cushioning for your joints and muscles. Expert and beginner runners alike need running shoes for this purpose. These shoes are different than a normal training shoe. Training shoes are designed with different sports in mind.
Other training shoes are designed for a side to side motion. Like tennis or football. These sports need a shoe that supports the ankle which takes a lot of the hard work from the sideways movement. Runners and indeed walkers don't have this trouble, never do they have to turn abruptly or at a complete 180 degrees.
Running outside requires a forward stepping motion from the runner. The shoe needs to support and enhance this motion. You can't have elements of a training shoe combined with a running shoe. They would be too bulky and have many unnecessary features. So running shoes are needed for the forward running action and gait.
Running on a treadmill compared to outside
A treadmill is slightly different from running outside. Outside you have all kinds of terrain to deal with. A treadmill has the ground being passed from beneath you. This doesn't happen outside. Plus the cushioning of the treadmill itself is something to bear in mind when it comes to the shoes to wear.
However, even though the surface of a treadmill is different to outside you still need proper running shoes. These are specially designed for running which is what you do on a treadmill. If you're a beginner and plan to do some walking then I would still advise on getting running shoes. What ever speed you go or on any incline you're better off with running shoes on a treadmill.
What running shoes do I need for a treadmill?
The running shoes need not be any different than the shoes you'd need outside. You do a similar motion on a treadmill. You need running shoes that are designed for your feet and they way you run. Your feet can be divided into 3 types and there are broadly 3 types of running shoe.
- Low arched feet - If you have low arched feet you tend to have a large footprint because a lot of the arch reaches the floor. Your foot naturally turns too much when you run because of your low arch (flat feet). Here is more information about your feet and why you need motion control running shoes.
- Normal arched feet - Most people will fall into this category. Most running shoes are built for people with this type of foot because it's the most common. Your feet naturally strike the ground and roll to the front where you push off through your stride. Here is more information about your feet and why you need stability running shoes.
- High arched feet - If you have high arches your foot print will almost be separated from the toes to the heel. This is because the arch is high. Your foot does not rotate enough for your stride and the right running shoe corrects this. Here is more information about your feet and why you need cushioned running shoes.
The reason you need the correct shoe is to prevent injuries. This is still important on a treadmill even though the surface is more forgiving than running outside. These shoes have come along way since many years ago. They are made using fashionable colors from big brands that specialize in making better shoes.
How much should I pay and how long will they last?
Running shoes are always updating themselves. As soon as any new technology comes forward in shoe design, a company will make running shoes that contain it. If you buy shoes with the latest technology you will be paying a premium. If you can afford it then go buy them if you wish. They would cost around $160.
You don't need to pay for premium shoes whether you're running on a treadmill or not. You pay a lot less for running shoes that are the model before the premium ones. These will have some of the latest technology in them. They will be perfectly designed for your feet. Expert runners were probably wearing them 6 months ago but now they've been superseded. They are good enough for 95% of runners out there and will cost around $100+.
The length of time new running shoes will last doesn't make a difference if they're premium or the model below. If you were doing the majority of your runs on a treadmill then they will last longer than running outside. We would recommend you replace them after 400 miles. If you do most of your running outside then they should be replaced every 300 miles.
If you take your running seriously and are willing to pay for 2 pairs of running shoes. Then it may be a good idea to have shoes for the treadmill and shoes for outside. The act of running outside wear's the shoe in a different way to treadmills. There needs to be more stability in your stride to deal with different terrains and surface. So 2 pairs does make some sense.
There are 2 types of runners who would be buying running shoes for treadmill work. There are those who are beginners who have only just started running and maybe choosing to start on a treadmill. Then there will be those experienced runners who want treadmill running shoes to do their speed work, tempo and hill work.
The experienced runners will already know what type of shoe works best for them. They are also the type who would buy 2 pairs. My advice is to stick with the shoe you would buy for outside running and enjoy doing your specialized treadmill work with these running shoes. This is the recognized advice for runners of this type.
If you are new to running and are using the treadmill as a base to enhance your fitness. Then enjoy your training with the running shoes you've bought. As long as they are proper running shoes it gives you something less to worry about. Thenb you can concentrate on getting the most enjoyment out of your treadmill runs (or walks).
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here's my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*