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Psst. We’ve got something new to show you today. Ever heard of a curved treadmill?
Unlike a regular ol’ flat treadmill with a belt, these treadmills feature a slightly concave running surface composed of several slats. And they’re not powered by electricity — they’re powered by you. The design of the treadmill makes it super responsive to your movements, so you’re able to set the pace — unencumbered by the speed restraints of a regular treadmill.
This makes a curved treadmill great for speed training, along with HIIT workouts, according to a 2018 study — because you can stop on a dime or change your speed instantly without busting it. The curved treadmill also provides a more intense workout. The drawback? They’re massive, both in size and price.
Regardless, using a curved treadmill is a totally different experience from a traditional treadmill, and one that’s favored among competitive runners, pro athletes, and Sonic the Hedgehog — gotta go fast!
Here are our fave curved treadmills if you want to give this human hamster wheel a try.
Other than looking really cool, why should you invest in a curved treadmill for running? We asked Dr. Helen Goldstein, the Director of Physical Therapy at FlexIt, a virtual personal training service. According to her, there are three key benefits of using a curved treadmill:
- A better workout. “You work harder on a curved treadmill,” she explains. She goes on, “The curved shape allows for the weight of the body to utilize gravity to pull the belt down and back, adapting to your speed. With a bigger stride, the foot strikes further up on the treadmill, allowing you to gain more speed.” She says to think of it like a skateboarder on a half-pipe: the higher up on the half-pipe the board goes, the faster it’s gonna travel back down. So, does Vans make running shoes?
- Improved safety. On a curved treadmill, Dr. Goldstein explains, “your own feet set the speed, rather than clicking a 10.0 speed that you realize too late you can’t keep up with.” No more getting yeeted off your own treadmill. She does remind us that a curved treadmill is a totally diff experience from a standard treadmill and may take some getting used to, though.
- Convenience. Finally, adds Dr. Goldstein, curved treadmills are hella convenient — OK, she didn’t say “hella.” No electricity required, so you can set it up wherever you want and use it whenever you want.
OK, so there really aren’t that many curved treadmills on the market, nor are there many reviews on those treadmills. We went with the ones that were made by otherwise trusted brands (like NOHrD, Technogym, Woodway, and Assault Fitness) and the ones that we could find reviews for. On the whole, they seem to be remarkably well made and haven’t yet reached the popularity needed for there to be lots of cheap Amazon knockoffs.
We also made sure to choose curved treadmills at a variety of price points. They’re all expensive TBH, but for some of us *raises both hands* there’s a huge diff between $3 grand and $10 grand.
- $ = less than $3,000
- $$ = $3,000–$6,000
- $$$ = $6,000+
The AssaultRunner is our best overall pick because it’s got great reviews (over 100, which is rare for curved treadmills) and its price keeps it kinda within reach for your average running enthusiast. It’s also got Bluetooth connectivity to sync with your go-to fitness app. All you need is 4 batteries to power the display, and you’re good to go.
Pro tip: We recommend moving fast if you want one, because this baby is often sold out.
Best high end
Can we just say that this is the most beautiful piece of fitness equipment we’ve ever laid eyes on? Because wow. The woodgrain look is just *chef’s kiss.* According to NOHrD, the Sprintbok is super quiet thanks to its vibration-minimizing design. It also comes equipped with a 17-inch (43 cm) tablet that you can use with the Sprintbok app to track your progress and stream workouts.
Best budget option
With its sub-$3,000 price, this was by far the least expensive curved treadmill we found in our hunt — and with a solid 5-star rating on Amazon from 8 reviews that didn’t set off our fake review detector. It has Bluetooth connectivity for heart rate monitoring, and even has three manual resistance levels if you need to add a bit more challenge to your workout.
Best for larger bodies
The Woodway Curve is a well-known curved treadmill that’s actually used in a lot of scientific research on curved treadmills, so it’s def a trusted brand. And although most curved treadmills have a 350-pound (159-kilogram) max user weight, this model (the Curve XL) can accommodate up to 400 pounds (181 kilograms) when running and 800 pounds (363 kilograms) when walking.
It’s made for taller folks, too — the treadmill measures in at over 6 feet (183 centimeters) tall and 7 feet (213 centimeters) long, placing the handrails at a comfortable height for the vertically blessed and leaving plenty of room to maximize your stride.
Best for full body workouts
The Skillmill is essentially a whole gym wrapped up into one tricked-out treadmill. It comes with dual handlebars, allowing to you safely adopt different positions to activate different muscle groups. You can also add on the optional accessory kit, which contains straps, handles, and a waist belt — allowing you to get in a resistance training sesh during your cardio sesh.
The Skillmill Connect is also Bluetooth-enabled for heart rate and progress tracking, and you can use the Technogym mywellness app to access Skillmill workouts.
Best for work
TrueForm makes two well-known curved treadmills: the Trainer and the Runner. But they’ve also branched out into standing-desk-friendly treadmills to suit the WFH crowd. The Office Cruiser is a Runner with no display and open handlebars, so you can use it with a standing desk. It’s a minimalist choice with no connectivity and no display, but you’ll get one heck of a workout while you work.
A curved treadmill just might be your new BFF if you wanna get faster. The foot-powered slat design gives you total control over your speed and provides a more intense workout than a flat treadmill with a belt. They’re also ideal for HIIT workouts. Curved treadmills are bulky and expensive, but may be worth it if you wanna take your running game to the next level.