Advertising Disclosure ⓘ
Rankings are generated from thousands of verified customer reviews. We do not accept free products from any company––we only review products we love. By clicking on the products below, we may receive a commission at no cost to you.
Best Advanced Treadmills
For Sprinters, Serious Runners, Marathoners, and long distance running
The Bowflex Treadmill 22 is a high-quality treadmill that can easily satisfy everyone including the most hardcore of runners with serious training programs. This heavy-duty model has a sturdy build, 400-pound weight limit, and highly effective Comfort Tech cushioning. The 60″ x 22″ tread surface is huge, and the 12 mph top speed and -5% decline to 20% incline allow for some proper long distance running and hill workouts. A 22-inch HD touchscreen allows you to easily navigate the JRNY app and view workouts while you run. JRNY also provides the option to stream your favorite entertainment through the screen, and it works with third-party apps like Zwift through your own device.
Horizon 7.8 AT
The Horizon Fitness 7.8 AT is Horizon’s highest grade treadmill in their Studio Series lineup. It has a full 22” wide and 60” long deck which is compatible with other high-end folding treadmills. This provides plenty of space for walking, jogging, or running and should offer enough kickback for even tall runners. Crush your fitness goals with Horizon’s most powerful treadmill, the Horizon 7.8AT. Connect directly to your favorite workout apps, such as Zwift or Peloton, or use the integrated Sprint 8 HIIT programming.
The T303 treadmill has all the hallmarks of Horizon’s much-loved fitness equipment. Its 3.0 CHP motor is quite powerful, not to mention steady and quiet, and comes with a lifetime warranty. Much like other models in the range, Horizon touts this motor as one of the best in the market for interval training, as it quicker to respond to speed changes than most of its competitors (especially those anywhere near its affordable retail price). The speed goes up to 12 mph, while the incline upper limit is 12%. While its speed is fairly standard, its 12% incline is a few degrees off of the industry standard. Whether you’re a walker, jogger, or runner, adding incline to your routine helps ramp up that calorie burn. That said, those looking for a lower impact workout and those recovering from (or coping with) joint issues or injuries are unlikely to be using their treadmill at full incline anyway, so this shortcoming will be less relevant.
Horizon 7.0 AT
The Horizon 7.0 AT was updated recently with some impressive features. The enhanced Bluetooth connects to multiple devices to stream media through integrated speakers so you can use various training apps on the 7.0 AT. This is one of the most attractive features on the 7.0 AT – you are not locked into one single subscription. Using your personal tablet or phone, you can use Zwift or Peloton or iFit while on the Horizon 7.0 AT.
At well under $1000, the T202 comes with more features than you’d expect from a treadmill in this price range. It’s rare to see a spacious running surface, bluetooth speakers, and a great warranty effortlessly combined together on a budget treadmill like this. The T202 is compatible with streaming entertainment services like Hulu, Spotify, YouTube, and Netflix and comes with a downloadable sports app allowing interface between a user’s personal device and the machine. It is an optimal machine for those looking to bring their fitness routine indoors.
The XTERRA TRX5500 is XTERRA’s top treadmill model. Its 10.1” touchscreen features 7 preloaded apps, Bluetooth connectivity, as well as 30 onboard workouts, and manual, custom, and heart rate training modes. You can stream directly from Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, as well as various news outlets once you log into your respective account within each app. You can also mirror content from your phone/tablet to watch pretty much anything. This feature is a great way to take trainer-led classes from third-party fitness apps as well. The TRX5500 has a 3.25 HP motor that feels hearty and is pretty quiet. The steel frame, uprights, and crossbar make this treadmill solid and sturdy as well. The screen and entire console remain still even while running at high speeds, which users of all sizes can do on this machine. The 20” x 60” deck and heavy 350 lb weight capacity can handle different levels of training and long-term use.
The F80’s full-steel frame supports up to 375 pounds but it still easily folds up. With a nice 60” by 22” belt and a Lifetime Warranty on the frame, motor and deck, the Sole F80 is a solid investment. Although it offers limited tech options, this is ideal if you are looking for a treadmill that doesn’t require a monthly subscription to use. We highly recommend this quality machine if you’re looking for a capable treadmill that can handle a lot of use. Sole gave the F80 a reversible deck when it upgraded the model, which not only doubles the life of the deck but also reduces the sound of each step and reduces impact by up to 40% compared with outdoor training. Especially if you have joint injuries, this feature reduces your risk of developing arthritis.
What Makes a Great Running Treadmill?
These are a few of the key features you should keep in mind as you shop for a machine that can last for many years of high-mileage training.
- Belt size: For faster running speeds, you need a longer belt to accommodate your longer strides. Look for a treadmill that has a belt at least 60 inches long. You’ll also appreciate a few extra inches of width—it’s hard to hold a perfectly straight line when you’re sprinting. The machines here are all at least 20 inches wide, the narrowest width we’d recommend for hard efforts.
- Belt type: Woodway has long been a top performer in our tests thanks to its boardwalk-style belt. The rolling slats provide a firm, road-like sensation underfoot, which feels more natural than a belt that drags between your foot and a platform. Other brands like Technogym, Peloton, and TrueForm Runner all use similar construction on some of their machines.
- Interactive features: Connected fitness has exploded in recent years. Peloton gets a lot of hype because of its star-studded lineup of coaches and trainers. But a great training alternative is iFit, which you’ll find on NordicTrack, Pro-Form, and, now, Matrix treadmills. iFit offers similar interactive studio-style classes along with engaging training runs. But choose your platform wisely: You’re locked into Peloton’s ecosystem, whereas you can use iFit on a tablet with other brands’ machines.
- Speed and incline: All of the treadmills here let you run at 12 mph or faster. That’s a five-minute mile, which is quicker than most non-elite runners will ever go, even during interval sessions. Incline, however, is another area that deserves attention. If you want to replicate hilly races, look for a treadmill that can raise to grades as steep as 15 percent, but also one that rises quickly and smoothly. The faster and smoother it changes incline, the more realistic it’s going to feel during your run.
How to Choose the Best Treadmills for Sprinting
Here is what our team looked for when choosing these free-run treadmills.
Types of High-Intensity Treadmills
There are hundreds of running machines on the market, but there are two main types of treadmills for sprinting to consider.
- Curved manual treadmills – U-shaped treadmills have been around for some time now. Most athletes love this type of treadmill because of the non-motorized concave belt. The belt is human-driven. This means that the force you put out as you run determines your speed. The slats on the belt move up and back as you run.
- Motorized treadmills – You have to be careful when choosing a running treadmill. Motorized treadmills are not created equal. Some, such as these best walking pads, are not ideal for sprinting. Their running belts are a bit too small. We recommend you opt for larger exercisers that offer larger running belts. An exerciser with a foldable frame would be a great pick.
Most options on this running treadmill list are large. So, make sure you have enough room in your home gym or you may also opt for a folding treadmill that you can stow away after use.
Curved treadmills do not come with preset workout for running, but you can subscribe to training apps on your phone and use them while exercising. Motorized treadmills usually come with preset programs for a more focused and intense training. So whether you choose motorized or manual, make sure that it will meet your needs.
Your feet hitting the belt continuously may strain your joints, knees, ankles and back. To minimize the impact, we recommend you choose a machine with good cushioning. The machines above are all great picks and will protect your feet.
You’ll want a simple console so you can work out without having to stop to change incline level, decline, or programs. You should opt for an exerciser with a large, well-lit console that responds fast to touch commands. The console should at least have speed and incline controls.
Honestly, free-run treadmills are more costly than their lighter siblings due to their larger frames, so designed for stability when sprinting. If you plan on doing HIIT training on a treadmill, make sure that you have saved enough for a piece of running equipment that will withstand your intense workouts. No use buying cheap if it gives up on you and leaves you high and dry.