#Cardio #Treadmill

May 11, 2022

Do You Need to Wear Shoes on a Treadmill?

Wearing shoes while you walk around the house is optional but is it also optional to wear shoes on the treadmill? Whilst going barefoot on the treadmill may seem like a harmless idea, it will end up doing more harm than good. It is recommended to always wear running shoes whilst using the treadmill whether you are walking, running or sprinting.  

Treadmills are high impact machines so wearing shoes on the treadmill will help protect your lower body joints as your shoes absorb most of the impact from each step. Having a layer between your feet and the treadmill will reduce your risk of injury by providing proper cushioning. Running barefoot does not distribute your weight evenly, therefore increasing the likelihood of straining your ankle or causing more serious injuries in your joints. Using a treadmill is different from going for a run or walk outside. As the running belt moves beneath you some balance is required, this is where shoes help you out. If you are running for longer periods on the treadmill your feet are likely to sweat, without the grip from your shoes this can cause you to slip or lose balance. Running in just socks also puts you at risk of slipping off the treadmill.  

Barefoot running is a popular trend but it can be unsafe and not to mention uncomfortable. People who have used a treadmill barefoot complain of stubbing their toe against the front of the machine and blisters caused by the heat and friction of the running belt. 


What shoes should I wear on the treadmill?  

The shoes you use for outdoor running can also be worn on the treadmill. While some people will be comfortable wearing any running shoe, others may need specific support from their shoe. There are a wide range of running shoes to cater to different feet types from extra cushioning, firmer base, wider sole and more. Finding the correct shoe for you will prevent you from injuries and provide a more enjoyable treadmill workout.  

There are three different foot types: neutral arch, low arch and high arch. The height of your arch affects the direction your foot rolls or pronates.  

Foot Type 


Recommended Shoe 

Flat Feet (Lower Arch) 

Tend to overpronate causing the feet to turn inwards causing pain to the knees and ankles. 

Motion Control Shoes  

Normal Arched Feet 

Most running shoes will accommodate this foot type which pronates properly. 

Stability Shoes 

High Arched Feet 

Lacks proper shock absorption flexibility resulting in the feet rolling outwards. This leads to a higher risk of ankle injury. 

Cushioned Shoes 


Benefits of Shoe Support 

There are several benefits to wearing shoes while on the treadmill, which is why it is necessary. Expect to reap these 3 benefits from running on the treadmill with shoes. 

Protection against injury 

Going barefoot leaves your ankle and sole vulnerable to impact from running on the platform. Without support at your ankle, you become more prone to rolling your ankle or soreness from landing awkwardly. The soles of your feet are also susceptible to burns and callouses from the friction of the running belt if running barefoot. 

Increased cushioning 

Even treadmills with an advanced cushioning system will damage your feet over time if used barefoot consistently. The cushioning from your shoes can reduce excessive stress placed on your heels, toes and ankles while running. Extra cushioning will also soften the impact on your joints while running, minimising your risk of injury. You will also get a better bounce from your shoes cushioning allowing you to easily propel yourself forward while running.  

Improved performance 

Wearing shoes whilst using the treadmill is going to offer you the right support and comfort to perform to your maximum potential. Improvements in your running capacity, form and speed will become more visible as you practice.  



Although the idea may seem appealing at first, running barefoot will do more harm than good. Whether you are going for a short walk or long run it is always best to put on a pair of shoes before hopping on the treadmill. Barefoot running can lead to a number of complications including a higher risk of injury and joint pain. Running on a treadmill with a comfortable pairing of running shoes will prove to be a safer and more supportive option.  

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