Deciding to hop onto a treadmill to get a workout is a great first step to losing those extra pounds you’ve put on the past year. But before you take too big of a first step, let’s make sure you have the proper gear. Being too eager to achieve your goals too fast will likely lead you down the path of failure. If you don’t have the correct gear, you’ll most likely experience chaffing or blisters. Your foot arch will hurt or if you are like me, your knees will get sore from lack of cushioning.
When searching for a perfect pair of treadmill shoes, there seems to be so many choices. I’ve spent hours looking at hundreds of shoes in stores and online to find out what I need to achieve my goals. The most important thing I learned from going through several pairs of shoes is that looks do not matter. What’s the point of attempting to look good while working out anyway? You are there for a purpose and you don’t care what anybody else thinks.
A treadmill workout is a lot different than a typical gym workout. Shoes for the gym tend to be less flexible, sturdier and less arch. Running shoes need to have flexibility from heel-to-toe and allow the foot to breathe. They need adequate cushioning and support because all of your weight is being absorbed by the shoe. If you ever heard of plantar fasciitis, which is the inflammation of connect tissues in your foot, is a difficult injury to come back from. We will go through all of aspects of a proper running shoe for a treadmill should have.
What to look for
Treadmill shoes are similar to running shoes, except they don’t cost as much. You want durability, but you aren’t running a marathon any time soon. Or alternatively, you want to use them for everyday activities after you exercise. I will go through the most important characteristics to look in treadmill shoes.
The shoes need to be able to breathe! Meaning it allows air to pass through and circulate as you exercise. Your feet are one of the top areas sweat is generated, so why wouldn’t you want air to circulate there. Air circulation will allow you to exercise longer without overheating or drenching your socks in sweat. Moisture is able to evaporate with breathable material. The material we prefer are layers of weave mesh.
No matter how much you weigh, your knees and joints can handle only so much amount of force. When running on a treadmill or any surface, your entire body weight is absorbed first through your foot, then your knees and finally your hips. Having shoes with good support is vital. Cushioning is a highly debated topic among runners. You’ve probably seen people wearing Vibram’s which is as close to barefoot as possible, to people embracing “maximalist” shoes, which have tons of padding.
Research is mixed, and the most important thing is to find a shoe that you find most comfortable. Shoes are a very individual choice and is like a fingerprint; everyone is unique. We recommend trying out different shoes and judging how it absorbs shocks. We don’t suggest Vibram’s for beginners. Many people experience aches and soreness in their foot arch when switching to Vibram’s. Advocates of Vibram’s would say to slowly transition to them, but for the vast majority of people, sticking with a standard shoe shape is preferable.
Any shoe you wear needs to have about a quarter inch of room towards the toes. This will prevent your toes from being crushed or blisters. This is known as “wiggle room”. In your midfoot, your shoe structure should hug gently but securely. If you feel there’s no contact with your foot then try a new shoe. Your heel should also feel secure. No slipping here! If there’s slipping on the heel it means either the shoe is either too long or wide and won’t keep your foot stable when running.
Best Men Shoe
We have high marks for Under Armor’s Charged Assert 8 Running shoe. These are made for casual runners as the shoe is made from lightweight mesh to allow for breathability. The cushioning is very neutral, not too much or too little. Under Armor did a good job with size options as they have wider variants. They also have a sockliner. On the plus side, you can wear these for long periods of time if you need to stand for a job or during your daily activity.
Best Overall Women Shoe
For women, we have to go with the Nike TR8 Cross Training Shoes. These shoes are really comfortable. Again, like all of our recommendations they are made from a lightweight mesh that provides airflow and circulation. The shoe itself is very lightweight, due to the raw materials. One thing we like about these shoes are the grip. You can use these in a multitude of scenarios whether it be rainy, snowing or perfect weather.
Best Women Shoe for Wide Feet
I turn to Reebok Nano 9 Cross Trainers for a shoe recommendation when it comes to people who have wider feet. My gymnast friend swears by these as she often complains that she’s always having issues finding comfortable shoes. Not everyone is built the same and for her, these work.
With whatever treadmill shoe you decide on, be sure to check its fit. If you order online, you can always return it. And if you go into the store, ask the rep to help you out. Break your review into three pieces. Toe, midfoot and heel feel. If these areas feel comfortable to you, then you most likely have a long lasting shoe. Shoes are the first step to getting ready to begin your treadmill adventure. With a good base, you will be surprised how much you can achieve.