Do You Need Running Shoes For The Treadmill?

Running barefoot on a treadmill

Since you’re not running outside, you might wonder, “do you need running shoes for the treadmill?” While you may not need running shoes, you should get them.

Since you don’t run outside when you’re on a treadmill, you might wonder, do you need running shoes for the treadmill? After all, for many, it’s an introduction to running, so you might be hesitant to purchase new shoes so early. You don’t necessarily need running shoes for short jogs on a treadmill, but they are advised. You might be interested in our explainer on can you run in Allbirds.

Why Do People Not Wear Running Shoes On Treadmills?

Because it’s the go-to machine for so many people, it’s common to see a lot of different running styles and fitness equipment when looking around the gym. One of the first things you see is that a lot of people are wearing regular sneakers. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see people wearing sandals or even running barefoot.

Do You Need Running Shoes For The Treadmill
A lot of people are wearing regular sneakers while running on the treadmill

While it can be tempting to assume that everyone at the gym knows what they’re doing, keep in mind that beginners often use treadmills. That means that many of them have no idea what type of shoes to wear. Treadmills are also good machines for people who are training for a very specific event. People wearing sandals may be training for a specific type of race or just breaking in their shoes so they can walk around a theme park.

But to be honest, the people you see who are not wearing running shoes on a treadmill are probably doing so because they don’t know why it’s so important. People who just casually run for thirty minutes every other day probably haven’t thought to invest in good running shoes.

Why You Need Running Shoes

If you’re going to spend just a few minutes a day on the treadmill, you can probably get away with regular sneakers or tennis shoes. These shoes were designed for running short distances, after all.

If you want to start seriously training for a race or just put time into improving your run, then you’re going to want to invest in a pair of good running shoes. These shoes provide support to your foot and ankle that regular tennis shoes don’t provide. Check out our Hoka X Rocket review. 

Woman running solo
If you want to start seriously training for a race, just put time into improving your run

FAQs Running Shoes For The Treadmill

What Should I Look For In A Running Shoe For The Treadmill?

Because treadmills don’t have variable terrain, it’s not necessary to invest in shoes that are made for rocky or sandy environments. You will want a shoe with a high-quality sole and good grip. Treadmills can be slippery, and because you don’t slow down when you trip, a good shoe is necessary to avoid accidents.

Is Running Barefoot On A Treadmill Dangerous?

While there are plenty of people who like to run barefoot on a treadmill, it isn’t a good idea for beginners. Until you get used to your gait change on a treadmill, it is more likely that you will slip, fall, or scrape your foot along the sides of the belt.  
If you don’t have running shoes and want to try using a treadmill, any foot protection will be better than nothing. Once you decide you like the treadmill, invest in a good pair of running shoes.

How Will I Know When It’s Time To Replace My Running Shoes?

Because you’re not exposing your running shoes to dirt and other weather conditions, it can be hard to see when it’s time to replace your running shoes. At the end of every week, inspect the bottom of your shoes for wear; if you start to see visible signs of wear, it’s time to replace the shoes. Also, be on the lookout for signs that the shoe materials are degrading; a loss of support means that the shoes aren’t doing their job anymore and they need to be replaced.
Many runners claim their shoes will wear out differently on a treadmill than the outdoors. This is because of small changes in the gait runners use on a treadmill. This may mean that you will want different shoes for running on the treadmill and outdoors.