After many hours of research, I found that the best shoe for treadmill walking was the Adidas Adizero Adios 4 because of its secure fit, high-traction rubber outsole, lightweights, and arch support.
Although I have been an avid runner for most of my life and have helped countless peers and pupils find the perfect running shoe, I one day got a question that I didn’t have an immediate answer for: are the best running shoes also the best for treadmill walking?
So I started to research, determined never to be left at a loss for words again.
While I found dozens of similarities between running shoes and treadmill walking shoes–with many popular shoe models performing well for each–I found some interesting distinctions.
Great treadmill shoes are more about comfort and less about performance than running shoes. Treadmill users also prefer greater stability as opposed to elite agility.
But as is the case for most products in the running world, the best shoes for treadmill walking are not universal for everyone, with a number of products crossing my radar for their outstanding metrics in specific areas.
Therefore, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about 10 of the best treadmill shoes for every type of walker.
Top 10 Shoes for Treadmill Walking
Our 10 Best Shoes for Treadmill Walking Reviewed
Best Overall – Adidas Adizero Adios 4
The top pick on this list comes from one of the most recognizable names in sports gear: Adidas.
Crafted by Japanese shoemaker Omori, this shoe is widely regarded by everyone from the world’s top distance runners to everyday walkers to those simply interested in athletic casualwear.
Using a combination of textile, synthetic, and mesh materials, the Adios 4 offers the perfect balance of breathability and support for the treadmill walker.
Equipped with Adidas Boost technology, this shoe also provides some impressive pushback for those looking to level up a few notches during their workout.
- Known for its secure, snug fit
- Rubber outsole makesfor elite traction
- Outstanding arch support
- Some users note that these shoes run a little small, with some noticeable tightness around the toes
- Although unlikely a concern for treadmill walkers, not all users are impressed with this shoe for long, fast-paced runs
Best for Heavy Sweaters – Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 FlyEase
Nothing is worse than planning to log an hour on the treadmill, only to have your feet feeling like you’re walking through a swamp halfway through the session.
Enter the Zoom Pegasus 38 FlyEase.
Users love these shoes for treadmill use due to their lightweight feel and breathable mesh. In addition, the lightweight foam tongue eliminates unwanted pressure and friction on the top of your foot.
Finally, this sneaker uses an innovative rocker design. This helps the walker “rock” through each step, providing an exceptional return on energy and lowering feelings of exertion.
- Lightweight and breathable
- Rocker design for outstanding return on energy
- Foam tongue
- Air Zoom unit in front is twice as large as previous versions, offering greater elasticity
- This shoe uses a zipper and no-tie lace system. Some users love it, but others prefer traditional laces
- Some note the foam portions of the shoe are easily damaged and stained, possibly making them less ideal for purposes other than treadmill use
Best Premium Quality – Saucony Kinvara 9
While Saucony may not have as recognizable a name as Adidas or Nike outside of the running community, it is quickly garnering a reputation among runners for its superior products.
A lightweight shoe designed for premium performance and aesthetics, the Saucony Kinvara 9 is equipped with EVERUN cushioning technology, making it one of the most lively, responsive shoes on the market.
- Lightweight upper that allows for greater mobility without detracting from support
- Gradual drop from heel to toe to allow for a more natural stride
- EVERUN cushion technology to enhance responsiveness
- Some users report that the traction wears too quickly for a premium treadmill shoe
- Not preferred by people with narrow feet
Most Versatile – Brooks Ghost 13
If you are looking for a shoe that can offer more than top-quality treadmill performance, the Brooks Ghost 13 definitely fits the bill. It makes for a stylish shoe for casual wear and performs well on cross-country distance runs.
- Neutral support type for high-energized cushioning
- Soft feel with each foot strike
- Well-suited for those with high arches
- Not the best shoes for people with wide feet
- May wear out quickly if used as a daily shoe
Best Bang for Your Buck – Asics Gel Venture 6
If you have those feet that just seem to burn through treadmill shoes and don’t want to break the bank each time you are due for a new pair, the Asics Gel Venture 6 fits the bill.
Despite the competitive price, the Venture 6 offers a strong combination of comfort, traction, stability, breathability, and support.
- Arguably the best shoe for those with wide feet
- Extremely durable when using off of the treadmill
- Gel cushioning allows for smooth transitions on interval workouts
- Not the best arch support
- This shoe frequently gets mimicked by knockoff companies, so you may need to buy directly from the Asics store to feel safe
- Shoe will probably fit a bit larger than expected
Most Cushion – Hoka One One Clifton 7
If walking on air is your first priority in a treadmill shoe, the Hoka One One Clifton 7 should be at the top of your list.
Equipped with higher-than-normal levels of cushioning and rocker design, each step will feel light and easy while the belt runs.
- Perfect for people with medium arches
- Open-weave mesh for breathability
- Advanced cushioning makes them ideal for people with plantar fasciitis
- A bit pricey
- Reported to run small in some cases
- The extra cushioning makes them appear a bit chunky
Most Classic Appearance – New Balance 890v6
The New Balance 890v6 is a great treadmill shoe for those wanting a classic, no-frills look.
However, while the exterior may have that nostalgic retro look, the interior is equipped with the most contemporary designs that give users well-cushioned support for long sessions on the belt.
- Higher top than other models for added ankle support
- More lightweight than other shoes with a “bootie” construction
- Outstanding durability and breathability
- Not enough arch support for people with high arches
- Some users notice an annoying insole rubbing
Best Stability – Asics Gel-Kayano 27
Those people that tend to roll their ankles a lot when walking on the treadmill will undoubtedly be looking to upgrade their shoes for additional support.
Enter the Asics Gel-Kayano 27.
The Gel-Kayano 27 has a structured design for a snug heel fit, along with stiffer materials around the ankle, to increase support and keep your feet in a stable position throughout your session.
- Despite the stable design, the shoe remains lightweight and responsive
- Synthetic and mesh fabrication for elite durability and breathability
- Flyte-Foam midsole technology for strong bounce and responsiveness
- Some users report an inferior toe box that causes distracting rubbing against the toes
- The lacing system is too short for most people’s tastes
Best for Agile Runners – Brooks Launch 5
Those treadmill users who like to frequently transition from walking to brisk walking to running need the best in shoe mobility.
The blown rubber outsole in the Brooks Launch 5 makes for elite responsiveness when you want to ramp up the speed and work at a higher pace.
- The blown rubber outsole makes outstanding agility
- Strong arch support
- Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use
- High price tag
- Not ideal for wide feet or people prone to rolling ankles
Most Lightweight – Saucony Kinvara 12
If you want the feel of walking with no shoes at all, the Saucony Kinvara 12 is the product that fits the bill.
Extremely lightweight, the Kinvara 12 will not offer as much cushion or support as other shoes on this list, but it is ideal for those that like the feel of the belt beneath their feet.
- Great for brisk walkers and joggers
- Responsive strike
- Reasonably priced for Saucony
- Lower cushion levels than other treadmill shoes
- Fans of the Saucony brand may prefer the Endorphin line over the Kinvara
Things to Consider When Buying Shoes for Treadmill Walking
Although the previous section gave an in-depth review of the 10 best shoes for treadmill walking along a variety of considerations, each treadmill user will have to evaluate shoes based on their unique body types and personal preferences.
To help in this regard, the following breakdown looks at important things to consider when comparing treadmill shoes on a case-by-case basis.
Fit – Know Your Feet
Generally, you will want your treadmill shoe to be slightly larger than the shoe you wear for day use.
As your feet swells during exertion, a shoe that is too tight will cause excess friction that could lead to blisters.
Therefore, you probably want your treadmill shoe to be .5 sizes larger than your normal shoe.
Ideally, you want a highly breathable shoe when exercising on a treadmill to prevent sweating.
However, not all highly breathable shoes offer adequate support and stability, so take that into consideration.
Most walkers prefer a lightweight shoe. You don’t want to feel like you are walking with kettlebells tied to your feet.
However, it is important to remember that some lightweight shoes may not offer the most cushioning or support. If you hate the feel of the belt, then ultra-lightweight shoes might not be best for you.
If you are an agile runner that frequently likes to pick up the pace, you will need an agile shoe.
Most agile products have a high degree of cushioning and advanced rubber outsole technology to aid in seamless transitions.
Cushioning and Comfort
Everyone wants a comfortable shoe.
However, if you are coming off injury and need to keep things at a moderate pace, you will need to find a shoe with more cushioning.
Be aware that extra cushioning may create a “chunky” shoe that is not ideal for those looking to pick up the pace.
Finally, budget is usually a concern for most people.
While there are some premium treadmill shoes that can go for over $200, it shouldn’t be a problem to find a quality product in the $50 – $75 range that performs well along the performance lines you desire.
Features of a Good Shoe for Treadmill Walking
The best treadmill walking shoes will have a combination of any or all of the following features.
The upper is the combination of materials that wrap around the foot. It holds the foot in place and prevents excess lateral shifting.
Some common components of the upper include the toe box, heel counter, collar, and overlays.
Many treadmill walkers prefer a mesh upper for lightness and breathability.
The insole is the generic name for the part of the shoe that lies beneath the foot.
Sometimes called the foot bed, over-the-counter insole, or inserts, can be added to the shoe for extra padding.
The midsole is the part of the shoe where the cushioning and pronation control technologies are located. It is usually made of a plastic material that behaves like foam or rubber.
The midsole will impact the overall performance of the shoe but is directly related to comfort and durability.
Treadmill users will need to choose a shoe with the correct level of arch support.
Shoes with a lot of support will have a narrow, constrictive feel for people with wide feet, while inadequate support could lead to injury for those with high arches.
The outsole of the bottom of the shoe. It is typically made of rubber.
Treadmill walkers should be primarily concerned with outsoles that provide good traction. More agile runners will likely want a blown rubber outsole that offers more flexibility.
FAQs – Best Shoes for Treadmill Walking
Why Do You Need Shoes When Using a Treadmill?
The main reasons you need shoes for the treadmill are for protection against overuse injuries.
As the treadmill belt is a hard surface, constant pounding on bare feet could lead to injuries such as shin splints or plantar fasciitis. It could also lead to blisters on your feet.
In addition, shoes provide traction that can prevent you from slipping and falling.
How Does Using a Treadmill Affect Your Shoes?
Generally, treadmills are easier on shoes than outdoor trails, as the treadmill provides a consistent, even surface that is less likely to do acute damage.
However, consistent use over time can cause cushioning to deteriorate and the outsoles to become thin. Any idiosyncrasies in your gait can also expedite the breakdown of the shoe.
Do I Absolutely Have to Wear Shoes While Using the Treadmill?
It is not absolutely essential to wear shoes when using the treadmill. However, it is highly recommended.
Unless you move with perfect form and are in top physical shape, walking/running without shoes on the treadmill will result in injuries that could have easily been prevented with the proper shoes.
Do Treadmill Shoes Offer the Right Amount of Arch Support I Need?
Different brands and models of treadmill shoes will offer varying amounts of arch support. For those with high arches, we recommend the Brooks Ghost 13.
Although great running shoes and treadmill walking shoes share many common characteristics, there are some notable points of distinction.
Treadmill walking shoes are all about comfort, traction, and stability.
Although we rank the Adidas Adizero Adios 4 as the best overall shoe for treadmill walking, there are many other factors to consider.
To help you find your ideal pair of treadmill shoes, browse our breakdown of the 10 best shoes for treadmill walking and get moving today!