Can I Run Barefoot on a Treadmill?

Running on a treadmill is a very popular indoor workout. Most treadmills feature different levels of speed and inclines, and it can be a great cardio workout that’s beneficial to your health and well-being.

Sometimes people are unsure of whether or not to use shoes when running or walking on the treadmill, and this question is quite commonly asked. It is important to know the answer and understand the reason behind it because you want to be safe and comfortable at the same time.

You can run barefoot on a treadmill, but wearing shoes on the treadmill is highly recommended. Shoes offer support for your feet and protect you from potential injuries, and the padding in your shoes offers shock absorption which will save you from discomfort and strain on knees.

Performing exercise on a treadmill without the proper equipment may cause injuries. This can include ankle sprains or breaks, falling off the treadmill, injuries to the bottom of your foot, and more. It is not worth taking these risks just to get on the treadmill quicker or running with a purpose of lighter weight.

As we have your safety in mind, let’s dive in a little deeper to see what the benefits of wearing shoes on the treadmill are and how to find the best fit for your feet to run more comfortably and better avoid injuries.

Benefits of Wearing Shoes While on the Treadmill

There are several benefits to wearing shoes while on the treadmill, which is why they are so necessary. Since we have decided that wearing shoes on the treadmill is necessary, here are 3 basic benefits of wearing them while exercising on the treadmill.

  1. Injuries Protection: The midsole can protect your feet from unnecessary agony such as knee pain, back pain, or joint pain. It is unsafe to not wear shoes while on the treadmill because there are risks of injuries like cuts, scrapes, fractures, and tendonitis may occur.

  2. Improved Performance: When you play any sports, you need the appropriate gear. You need the right outfit, shoes, etc. Running on the treadmill is the same, and shoes will give you better run capacity and improve performance in the exercise.

  3. Comfort from Cushioning: Cushioning from shoes can reduce the stress you’re putting on your heels, toes, and ankles while you’re running. It gives you a better bounce toward the direction you’re moving to, and it can also relieve discomfort from overuse. 

Can I Run on Treadmill with Socks?

Socks is not a recommended method to run on the treadmill. Running with socks can cause blister over time, and after a while you’re not going to like the heat that comes from the belt of the treadmill.

If you’re trying to do a slow and short walk on the treadmill, it is ok to do so with socks. However, this applies to home only. Don’t even think about walking or running on the treadmill shoeless at the gym. It is poor hygiene and inadvisable. Think of it as if you’re walking in public restroom barefooted or even worse, bringing all the germs under your socks home. Yikes.

What Kind of Shoes should you wear on a Treadmill?

When people have certain problems with their feet, it is quite common that they will run less. If a person has flat feet, they tend to finish their run with 2 miles instead of 5. With the right shoes being worn, people can run 3 miles instead of 2. Figuring out what type of shoes suits your feet type should be your top priority in running on a treadmill.

Foot TypeDescriptionType of Shoes NeededReason
Flat Feet (Lower Arch)Tend to overpronate, this causes legs to turn inward and can lead to pain to lower back, hips, knees, and ankles.  Motion Control ShoesProvides even more stability
Normal Arched FeetRunning shoes are generally built to fit this type of foot which pronate properly.Stability ShoesSustain normal pronated feet
High Arched FeetLacks shock absorption flexibility. Your foot tend to supinate and roll outward. This is a high risk of ankle sprain and fracture.Cushioned ShoesSupport high arches & alleviate strain

Related: Top 10 Best Running Shoes for High Arches

Can I use Training Shoes for Treadmill?

The short answer is yes you can use training shoes for treadmill, but it is not the best choice. Think about what your purpose is when you get on that treadmill. If you’re warming up for the upcoming dance session, indoor basketball, or spin class, it’s perfectly fine for a 5-10 minute warm-up run. If you’re using a treadmill for slow and relaxed walking, it is ok to use your trainers as well. However, running shoes are suitable for you if your purpose of getting on that treadmill is to run. Let’s take a look at the difference:

  • Training Shoes: Designed for the movement that’s multi-directional, especially for lateral movement (side to side). Trainers are flatter and allow a wider range of movement. Best for workouts at the gym.

  • Running Shoes: Designed with extra cushioning for higher heel drop. This supports the heel to toe movement and is best for running on the treadmill or on the road.

Can I wear Trail Running Shoes on a Treadmill?

You can use trail running shoes on a treadmill, but it’s a bit overkill. Trail running shoes are designed to protect you from uneven surfaces and prevent sharp objects from hurting your feet. That’s why it’s designed heavier and bulkier but these attribute does not contribute to any benefit when you’re running on the treadmill. 

When you’re running on a treadmill, you’re simply propelling forward to lift your body just high enough over the belt to glide in the air for a moment. It is an easy and safe run in place exercise, and trail running shoes can be worn on a treadmill but it is overkill. Go with regular running shoes for better experiences on your treadmill.

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