Can I Wear Trail Running Shoes on A Treadmill?

Trail running offers an incredible experience since you not only get to breathe fresh air but also enjoy scenic nature views. This activity has been prevalent during the summer season, unlike winter, when weather conditions are extreme, making it difficult to run outside. Covid19 pandemic brought normalcy to a halt, forcing people to observe social distancing by staying indoors. This situation left trail runners with only one option; the treadmill.

Let’s face it; Can I wear trail running shoes on a treadmill? Yes. Trail running shoes can be used on a treadmill. However, you may feel somehow uncomfortable during high interval workouts and sprints compared to wearing a lighter road shoe.

Today, trail running shoes have been significantly advanced and offer more comfort than the older design. Initially, they were stiff and bulky with more extended lugs. Newer design trail running shoes are lighter in weight and offer remarkable flexibility. For this reason, they are well-suited for treadmill runs too. Using your pair of trail shoes on a treadmill can save you money.

In this article, we discuss using trail shoes on a treadmill, outline the difference between trail running and other shoes, and look at their advantages. Be sure to follow us for more insight.

What Are The Difference Between Trail Running Shoes and Other Running Shoes?

There is a massive difference between these two types of running shoes. Picking between trail and road running shoes has several considerations to keep in mind, especially for pro-athletes. When making this choice, you should understand these differences.

What Are The Difference Between Trail Running Shoes and Other Running Shoes

Trail Running Shoes Other Running Shoes (Road)
Have heavier soles with lugs Have flexible flat soles
They are generally heavy Usually very light in weight
Have thicker uppers Have breathable uppers
Have reinforced toe box Have an airy toe box
Have more stability features Have fewer stability features
Limited color (Dark colors) Wide range of colors (Bright)
Have a gusseted tongue Have different tongue styles

Let’s look at some of the significant differences between trail running shoes and other running shoes:

The Midsoles

Trail shoes are often built with stiffer midsoles compared to other running shoes. Stiff midsoles provide a more stable platform on rugged terrain. Some manufacturers include rock protection plates to keep your feet safe from sharp rocks and broken sticks. On the contrary, road running shoes are made with a softer midsole that cushions your feet when thrashing the pavement.

The Midsoles

The Outsoles

The outer sole of trail running shoes features deeper lugs for protection and grip. They are made of stickier rubber that creates perfect traction preventing you from skidding and falling when running on muddy or wet ground.  Trail running should be an exciting experience. However, navigating through rocky, tree roots, or muddy terrain can be disastrous


without proper footwear.

On the other hand, road running shoes have simple flat outer soles with shallow grooves to minimize friction, therefore, keeping you at top speed while running.


Weight is a crucial factor in the trail vs. road running shoe debate. While road runners need to be as light as possible to help you run faster and comfortably, saving more energy, trail shoes are pretty heavy due to the material used, and the reinforcement put in place to protect your foot. This makes them more durable than other running shoes.

Most importantly, there are different subcategories within the trail running shoe family with different weights. Light trail running shoes are best for well-groomed trails. Rugged trail running shoes are designed to protect your foot on various rough terrains. Lastly, off-trail running shoes are well-suited for rocky and extreme terrain. Off-trail offers maximum support and protection.

Strengthened Uppers

Trail running shoes have strengthened uppers that offer foot protection against broken tree branches and sharp rocks on the trails. The uppers of trail shoes have heel cups, laces, gusseted tongue, and a mesh. All these are vital for keeping your foot secure.

Road running shoes do not need this kind of protection and reinforcement; instead, they are built with breathable mesh to keep them lightweight.


Generally, with all the reinforcement that comes with trail running shoes, it is enough evidence that they are built to last. Trail shoes endure rugged terrains and extreme conditions. The build quality that makes them protect your feet consequently makes trail shoes last longer.

Road running shoes are made with soft material to cushion your feet while you run. This soft material tends to wear out faster with time.

What Type Of Shoes Are Ideal For Running On A Treadmill?

With the wide range of running shoes available in the market today, choosing a perfect pair for running on a treadmill can be quite a task. Although newer designs of trail running shoes are more lightweight, flexible, and stable, there are times when you will need a dedicated road running shoes for better performance.

What Type Of Shoes Are Ideal For Running On A Treadmill

Running on a treadmill is pretty much similar to running on pavement. There are no obstacles, twists, or puddles; the only difference is the treadmill surface is softer than the pavement. Here are things to consider when selecting the ideal shoes for running on a treadmill:


Treadmill shoes should be light in weight. This makes it easier to work out and move swiftly, especially when doing tempo intervals.


An ideal treadmill running shoe should be well cushioned, especially on the heel area. This extra padding will prevent your feet from developing pain after workouts. Most people who do treadmill runs tend to put excessive pressure on the heel area of the foot rather than the toe; thus, the extra padding is essential.


If your treadmill running shoes do not provide sufficient flexibility, you may begin to experience issues such as shin splints. Good running shoes should be flexible and bend at the area around the ball of the foot. This is similar to running shoes for working out on concrete. They are designed to save your foot from pain and sores.


Not only for treadmill running shoes, but a perfect shoe fit is also essential when buying any footwear. When it comes to running shoes, you need to be very cautious. Buying shoes that do not fit correctly can hurt your limbs during workouts.

Can I Wear Trail Running Shoes On A Treadmill?

Like earlier mentioned, yes. You can wear your trail running shoes on a treadmill. Most amateur runners use the same type of shoes, whether doing an outdoor run or having a session on the treadmill. There’s no harm in doing that; however, things are different for professional athletes. Because they are trained to maximize their potential, everything matters to them; thus, you’ll find them with different shoes dedicated to different terrain.

Can I Wear Trail Running Shoes On A Treadmill

Advantage And Disadvantage Of Wearing Trail Running Shoes on a treadmill

Wearing trail running shoes on a treadmill can be advantageous in the sense that:

  • It saves you money: You don’t have to worry about getting extra cash to buy a new pair of road running shoes.
  • Comfort: Trail shoes are comfortable to wear. They are designed to keep your feet comfortable while running in the rugged terrain. So, running on the smooth treadmill surface is even more advantageous.
  • Stability: The sole of trail running shoes has been built to provide sufficient stability to the wearer when running on an uneven surface. This stability feature is an added advantage for a smooth surface.

On the contrary, here are some disadvantages that might as well accompany trail shoes on a treadmill:

  • Weight: Since trail shoes are meant for rugged terrain, they are made with strengthened materials making them somehow bulky compared to road running shoes.
  • Flexibility: Trail running shoes have their outer sole reinforced to protect your feet from sharp rocks. This makes it lose its flexibility which is only an advantage on a rugged surface but a disadvantage on a flat surface.

Should You Wear Trail Running Shoes On A Treadmill?

It is okay to wear your trail running shoes on a treadmill, especially if you are not a professional athlete. If you are just a physical fitness enthusiast looking to keep your body fit, then your trail shoes will still serve you well on the treadmill.

Final Words

Trail running shoes have been designed to give the wearer more stability and traction to run comfortably on rugged terrain. Even though trail shoes are meant for off-road running, they are also safe and comfortable to use on the road or treadmill as well. Of course, they may not out-perform road running shoes on pavement, but if you are on a budget, then they’ll serve the purpose and save you money.

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