Treadmill walking aims to simulate overground walking, but intra-stride belt speed variations of treadmills result in some interaction between treadmill and subject, possibly obstructing this aim. Especially in self-paced treadmill walking, in which the belt speed constantly adjusts to the subject, these interactions might affect the gait pattern significantly. The aim of this study was to quantify the energy exchange between subject and treadmill, during the fixed speed (FS) and self-paced (SP) modes of treadmill walking. Eighteen subjects walked on a dual-belt instrumented treadmill at both modes. The energy exchange was calculated as the integration of the product of the belt speed deviation and the fore-aft ground reaction force over the stride cycle. The total positive energy exchange was 0.44. J/stride and the negative exchange was 0.11. J/stride, which was both less than 1.6% of the performed work on the center of mass. Energy was mainly exchanged from subject to treadmill during both the braking and propulsive phase of gait. The two treadmill modes showed a similar pattern of energy exchange, with a slightly increased energy exchange during the braking phase of SP walking. It is concluded that treadmill walking is only mildly disturbed by subject-belt interactions when using instrumented treadmills with adequate belt control. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.