Choosing Shoes: Running on treadmill or outside

treadmill or outside

When looking for the perfect running shoes for you, it is not only your body mechanism and the shape of your footprint that matters. It is also about where and on what type of surface you put down your sole. Do you plan to be running on treadmill or outside? And if it is outside, is it on roads or the trail with soil under your feet?

Think of the shoes like it is your tires needing right grip for right surface.

Road Running Shoes

Road running shoes are made to handle hard strides against pavements and packed surfaces. They should be light and flexible with a cushioning and stabilizing effect.

Trail Running Shoes

Trail running shoes are made for off-road running, to help you manage routes with more obstacles than road running. The sole need to be a more aggressive outsole to help your feet on mud, rocks, and to not slip on roots. The shoe needs to give stability and traction.

Treadmill Running Shoes

Some runners use the same shoes as running outside when running on a treadmill. In that case, you probably should go for the road running shoes, with not so aggressive soles. But it is probably better aiming against an even lighter pair of shoes with less cushioning if a treadmill is your main place to run. This because the surface on a treadmill is often softer than all type of surfaces your feet meet outside.

My first choice

I personally did choose a pair of “easy” trail running shoes as my first shoes, fit to run on roads in the forest. But I usually not run so much on smaller footpaths yet, so they didn’t need to be too aggressive with the outsole. So my shoes work quite good as beginners in between shoes. But if I keep up the training, I maybe should think about using a couple of different pairs if I also start with some treadmill running.

What type of surface is it where you usually run? And did you think about this when you bought your running shoes? Love to read about your experiences if you leave a comment below.




  1. I could remember running with my friend with in the forest wearing a light soled running shoes stepped into the mud and had a very bad fall which my friend didnt’t.I didn’t know it was because of the soles,I thought I was weightless.Lols.
    Thanks for this awesome post.

    • Hi Buny. Hope you didn’t got hurt falling in the mud! You never know, but maybe you had saved yourself from that flip with other shoes.
      Take care of you and your running feet in the future 🙂

  2. Although I often bought sneakers as running shoes, I admit I purchased them for all-purpose wear rather than practical wear. Had I thought about the types of environments I’d be running in, I would’ve at least bought two different pairs of shoes and ultimately save money. Most of the time I run on treadmills or indoor gym tracks; smooth flat surfaces with a little traction.

    • Hi Dawn. You have a point. And I also read somewhere that “all-purpose” shoes often get worn out in a different way, and allot quicker, when going around doing everyday things (in comparison with what the shoes get when you are running). So if you have bought shoes for running, it can be a good thing thinking of not using them more then for this purpose and put them aside between the runs. So if buying two pairs you should probably be able to use both your all-purpose shoes and running shoes for a longer time 🙂

  3. That’s good advise. If you are a serious runner, it would be wise to get shoes appropriate for the different surfaces you run on. In any case, getting the best shoes for your particular feet is very important.

    • Hi Sandra. For sure it’s important to have shoes fitting your feet! But don’t to forget, that the surface matters quite much for all runners too.
      And even if you maybe not have possibility to change shoes for runs on different surfaces if not being a very serious runner, you still can have in mind what surface you are running at and what type of shoes you put on your feet. Then you probably are a bit more cautious and aware, and hopefully decreasing risk for tumbling in that way when knowing your combination of sole and grip.

  4. Great information for picking out running shoes! Some of my hippy friends go “earthing” and used to run barefoot in the sand but I need support myself for my knees. I remember when I was in LA their was a sneaker company, maybe a chain, but I cant recall the name. They have you stand on a machine and take a 3D picture of your foot and take notes of what you would primarily be using the sneaker for. Then they would have the sneaker customized just for you! Considering the cost of new sneakers they were pretty reasonable too 🙂

    • I’m in need of support too. My knees should probably not like barefoot running for too many meters. But believe it maybe give a extra feeling of freedom 🙂
      Sounds like a really good store for sneakers I have to say. Believe it’s very important to get shoes matching specifically your feet if you will use them much.

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