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While running outdoors can be freeing and wonderful most days, on other days, it’s simply not possible. And on those days, we opt for the treadmill.

There are plenty of pros to working out on a treadmill. For starters, you control the environment, meaning you don’t have to deal with hot, cold, windy, rainy, or icy conditions. If you’re running in a home gym, you can stay close to your kids and fur babies, as well as your cell phone for work-related calls. And without having to deal with the outdoor elements, you can control your pace much more easily, ratcheting up the speed for intervals or slowing it down for an easy run.

Our goal here at Saucony is to make shoes that work for every surface you’re running on, whether that’s the road, trail, or treadmill. Here, we’ll guide you through choosing the right shoes for the treadmill and give tips for making the most out of your indoor workout.

What to look for when choosing shoes for the treadmill:

The nice thing about running on a treadmill is that you don’t have to compete with hot pavement, puddles, rocks, or other debris that wear your shoes down faster. That doesn’t necessarily mean your shoes last longer on a treadmill (as a general rule of thumb, you should retire your running shoes after 400 miles), but they don’t need to be quite as durable as your outdoor shoes.

  • The treadmill is a machine, so naturally it heats up when in use. To keep your feet from burning up on the belt, pick shoes with plenty of ventilation.
  • Just-right cushioning. Treadmills are softer than pavement, so you might consider a slightly firmer shoe than you would normally run in on the road.
  • Runners generally take shorter, faster strides on the treadmill than they do outdoors, so picking a lightweight shoe can make your run more comfortable.
  • Because treadmill belts can be slippery, it’s best to have a shoe with solid grip.

Tips for running on the treadmill:

  • Focus on your form. Because of its space restraints, the treadmill is not as forgiving as the open road (read: there’s no room to get sloppy). You’ll want to keep your hips level, core engaged, and legs tracking straight, to avoid side-to-side movement. Be cautious not to overstride, as landing too far back on the belt could send you flying off.
  • Pick a pace that feels comfortable. Paces on treadmills often feel harder than they do outdoors, likely because there are fewer distractions, less airflow, and you have to concentrate more on your form. Start at an easier pace than you would normally run, then gradually work up to your normal speed. The more time you spend on the ’mill, the easier paces become.
  • Break it up with intervals. An easy six miles might fly by outside, but it drags on a treadmill. To break up the tedium, incorporate short, fast bursts during your run. For example, if you’re running comfortably at 7 mph, increase the speed to 8 mph for one minute, then bring it back down for five minutes. Keep repeating throughout your run.
  • Invest in a pair of headphones. Yes, treadmill running may be duller than running outdoors, but that’s nothing an awesome playlist, podcast, or audiobook can’t fix.
  • Stream a fitness class. If you want to take the guesswork out of deciding your workout of the day, consider streaming a treadmill running class from an app such as Peloton Digital or Zwift.

Our favorite shoes for treadmill work outs: 

Tread to success.

With a treadmill, un-runnable days are suddenly runnable, which is no small win. Whether circumstances force you to run on the treadmill or you do so voluntarily, be sure to get the most out of it by wearing the right shoes and following these tips. Make the ’mill work for you, and your fitness will thank you!

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