Can I Wear Trail Running Shoes on a Treadmill

Determining whether or not you can wear your trail running shoes on a treadmill depends on the type of tread on your shoes. Many trail runners don’t think about this and end up wearing their shoes to the gym, where they quickly learn that their tread isn’t suitable for pavement.

If you like to switch up your workouts by going between the trails and the treadmill, it’s essential to be aware of this distinction so you can have the proper footwear for each activity. This article will discuss can I wear trail running shoes on a treadmill.

Can I Wear Trail Running Shoes on a Treadmill

What is Trail Running Shoe?

Trail running shoes are like minimal, low-profile running shoes meant for trail use. They are designed to provide more traction on trails, making running on rocks, mud, and other uneven surfaces safer. These shoes generally have low-profile soles that do not make contact with the ground but provide more support when you strike on the hard surface during trail runs.

Trail running shoes typically have aggressive lugs or cleats embedded into the bottom section of their outsole to grip all terrain types, including snow, wet slippery rocks, and muddy trails. The midsole is made of durable yet flexible materials, so it will absorb shock upon impact without sacrificing lateral stability.

It also has an aggressive arch that offers better midfoot support. The upper part is made of synthetic mesh material to maximize breathability. It also allows the shoe to maintain its structure without sacrificing flexibility and comfort during trail runs.

Trail shoes are generally designed with a lower heel-to-toe drop compared to road running shoes, so it doesn’t put too much pressure on your calves upon takeoff or landing. In addition, they are usually lighter than their road running counterparts, making them suitable for runners who prefer speed over long-distance training.

A Detailed Guide on Can I Wear Trail Running Shoes on a Treadmill

Specs of Trail Running Shoes


Each trail running shoe is different, so that it will vary depending on the size. Most shoes range anywhere from 7 ounces to 12 ounces or about 30 cm3 each. Generally, lighter shoes are made with mesh materials, while heavier ones are built with stiffer soles for added support. Softer outer sole materials weigh less than harder rubber, but they wear out faster. A solid midsole material weighs slightly more than foams of equal firmness.

 Different Running Shoes


Trail running shoes are usually about an inch wider than your regular running shoes and a half-inch longer. Some trail running shoes have a low profile closer to the ground, which effectively helps you keep your balance on technical trails and in high grasses.

Types of Sole Materials for Trail Running Shoes

There are four main types of soles available in trail running shoes. They are made from different materials, which determines your shoe’s durability and performance level.

Rubber Soles

These are the most common type of sole material, as they provide good traction on various kinds of surfaces. The treads are designed to prevent mud build-up and bite into soft ground, sand, dirt, wooded trails, grassy fields, and loose gravel. Unfortunately, their flexibility makes them easy to wear out over time.

Foam Soles

This type is flexible for a smooth ride that feels natural underfoot. However, it has poor durability and tends to wear out quickly compared to rubber.

Carbon Rubber Soles

This is a mix of foam and rubber that provides more excellent durability than pure rubber and good traction on different surfaces.

 Different Types of Sole

Plastic/PVC Soles

These are primarily found on trail running shoes used for speed, so they protect the wearer’s feet during quick starts and stops on trails. These features will help in understanding can i wear trail running shoes on a treadmill.

Difference Between Trail Shoes and Other Running Shoes

The main difference between trail shoes and other running shoes is the tread on the outsole. In addition, trail running shoes have a deeper, more aggressive lug pattern to provide better traction on multiple surfaces. Unfortunately, these added features make trail running shoes heavier than road running shoes, which you would think are useless on a treadmill.

However, when talking about treadmill running shoes to wear, trail runners offer a distinct advantage in the snow and snow-covered areas because they provide better grip than pure road running shoes. In addition to being ideal for running in wintertime conditions, trail shoes also have a lower drop from heel to toe at 4-9mm versus 12-16mm in traditional trainers.

A lower drop means your foot sits closer to the machine and puts you in a more natural position, whether walking or running. As a result, trail running shoes are ideal for treadmill running in winter conditions.

There is no comparison when comparing the damage done to road running shoes versus trail running shoes. A treadmill will shred any shoe (the belt moves up to 16 miles per hour!). However, buy a quality treadmill shoe that offers durability with cushioning and support.

Trail Shoes Vs Other Running Shoes

It can be easy on your feet compared to other good options like stability shoes that provide little flexibility or motion control, which may stress joints when worn regularly. There certainly are many options available when looking for the best treadmill shoe that fits your needs. 

If you want extra protection with adequate cushioning and support, wearing trail runners on a treadmill is viable.

Selecting Shoes for Treadmill Running

The treadmill is a great training tool. Although it might not replicate the challenges encountered when running outside, such as uneven terrain and changing surfaces, there are still considerations you must take to make sure your workout is safe and effective. For example, incorrectly fitting or poorly chosen shoes can turn what should be an enjoyable session into a painful chore or even cause injury.

When choosing footwear to wear while on the treadmill, it may seem logical that wearing your regular training shoes will suffice; however, this is often not the case. If you do opt to use your normal shoes, then it is advised that you have them fitted at a professional shop, so they are appropriate for use on the treadmill.


The weight of your foot bears down on the treadmill and impacts how your gait moves during running. If you are significantly overweight, or underweight for that matter, then you will need to adjust accordingly by wearing a shoe with more cushioning due to the added stress placed on the body.

A heavier individual should opt for shoes with more significant support and cushioning. Conversely, a smaller runner would be better served by a lighter, flexible shoe that places less strain on their joints and muscles as they run and provides enough flexibility to move naturally.

Heel-Toe Drop

The heel-toe drop measurement determines if a shoe is suitable for use on a treadmill or not. The drop allows all runners, regardless of ability or experience, to move naturally while they run.

Shoe Is Suitable for Use on Treadmill

The heel-toe drop is the difference in height between the heel and toe of a shoe. A standard trainer has around 8mm of drop, an average metric for many running shoes today. Still, this figure can vary depending on your personal preference for using a specific type of trainer.  


There will inevitably be increased friction and heat on your feet when you run on a treadmill. Your shoes need to be able to withstand this without causing excessive wear and tear; if they do not, then you could end up with some significant problems.

Water Resistance

When running on a treadmill, the belt will likely accumulate a significant amount of moisture over time, regardless of whether you are going at a fast or slow pace. Your shoes need to be able to protect your feet, ankles, and lower leg from this dampness as it can lead to foot infections or other problems. Shoes that have been designed with water-resistant material should do well in this area.


Running on a treadmill creates an artificial surface for your feet to grip against, so tread when using one. Although they might have good traction outside, chances are the exclusive design of your standard training shoe won’t cut the mustard when it comes to providing grip over a machine like a treadmill.

You can buy specific shoes designed for use on a treadmill, or you can opt to purchase separate ‘treadmill running shoes.’ These provide much more excellent grip and support when you’re pounding the belt. This information will help you in deciding can i wear trail running shoes on a treadmill.

Is It Okay Wear Trail Running Shoes on the Treadmill?

If you are an avid trail runner, using the treadmill when there is snow outside might be your best option. Can you use trail running shoes on a treadmill?

Most runners will tell you that when it comes to treadmill running, stability and cushioning in the shoes are unnecessary. If this describes you, then yes, use Trail Running Shoes On A Treadmill. Trail running shoes on the treadmill will help reduce impact forces on your feet and ankles during footstrike while also preventing lateral rolling of the ankle, which could cause injury.

Trail Running Shoes on the Treadmill

However, suppose you are looking for higher mileage week or have been experiencing some overuse injuries of the lower extremities, such as iliotibial band syndrome or plantar fasciitis. In that case, you might be better off wearing shoes with more stability and cushioning. These features will help reduce impact forces on your feet while also helping prevent the rolling of ankles.

Your body is likely trying to tell you that it needs a break from running trails for a while. This could be because you are increasing mileage too quickly or wearing worn-out shoes that do not provide enough support.

So, Can You Wear Trail Running Shoes On A Treadmill! Sure, go ahead, but if you want to get back outdoors to rerun trails soon, change up your running program by adding in some cross-training activities like swimming or biking. Keeping variety in an exercise routine can keep boredom away, making it easier to stick to your training program.

Which Shoe is Right for You?

Not all shoes are created equal. However, choosing the right shoe for your activity is an important decision that can help you be more efficient and injury‑free while working towards your goals. Whether you’re training to run your first race, getting ready for a marathon, or anything in between, Skechers Performance footwear has just the thing to get you closer to completing your goal!

Try these tips to help you find the perfect fit:

  • Start by assessing your current footwear and choose a stylish new pair that allows freedom of movement.
  • Stand up straight with your knees slightly bent while wearing the running shoes you plan to wear for your activity. Your toes should have a slight bit of room in front of them and enough wiggle room for your feet to move comfortably. Also, many training shoes have an adjustable lacing system, so they can be tightened perfectly to meet your needs. That being said, it’s best to get fitted at a specialty store where experts can ensure the proper fit for maximum comfort and performance.
  • Once you’ve found a few pairs that feel good, try walking around the store in each one to see which shoes provide the most comfort.
  • Wear your new training shoes for a few hours at home to ensure they’re still comfortable and fit properly before working out in them.
  • If you need additional arch support, insoles can be easily removed or added to any shoe for extra cushioning. You can also try wearing thicker socks with more padding to improve the fit of your running shoes if necessary.


We’re here to answer your questions and give you the best possible advice about which footwear is proper for you. So, we hope you have the answer can I wear trail running shoes on a treadmill!

While there may be some debate as to whether or not it’s the safest option, we believe that if you enjoy wearing them and they work well enough for what you need them for (primarily walking), then go ahead and rock those kicks! But make sure to take care of your feet properly by washing off dirt with soap after every use and switching out socks regularly. Happy trails!

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