The TrueForm Runner is a non-motorized treadmill designed to teach proper running form. Although recently, there have been more companies marketing non-motorized treadmills, in our research and testing, the TrueForm Runner is the best non-motorized treadmill available.
Table of contents
- Why purchase a non-motorized treadmill?
- TrueForm Runner review
- Suggested improvements
- Full rating
- Where to purchase
Why purchase a non-motorized treadmill?
Treadmills have been used in commercial gyms, training facilities, and home gyms ever since their introduction. The idea of pressing a button and being able to run in the comfort of your own home or facility is pretty appealing.
The traditional treadmill features an array of electronics and motors that help to propel the belt-drive at whatever speed is requested by the user (typically up to 15 or so mph.) The traditional treadmill is also often flat with yet another motor that helps it to be propped up to an incline.
With the wide adoption of traditional treadmills, why would someone want a non-motorized treadmill? Well, to be honest, they're just better.
You see, with a traditional treadmill, the belt drive is doing most of the work. You're merely trying to keep pace with the speed of the motor and not be flipped off. With non-motorized treadmills, you are the motor, and your legs are what propel the belt.
Non-motorized treadmills, as their name implies, have no motor and many don't really even have electronics. If you're used to a motorized treadmill powering you through your run, then getting on one in which you power it is actually a much more natural transition than one would expect.
There are quite a few benefits to non-motorized treadmills, but one of the biggest is the lack of maintenance. If you've ever owned a motorized treadmill, then you know the nightmare they are with replacing belts, fixing motors, and replacing electronics. Treadmills are notorious for being money pits and having to get a technician out to your house is something no one wants. Non- motorized treadmills require hardly any maintenance and will last far longer than any motorized treadmill.
The TrueForm Treadmill showed up on an extra large pallet. The UPS driver was trying to come up with all different ideas for what he thought it was, but we agreed to disagree when I said it was a stretching machine for my Wife.
As you can see, the TrueForm makes sure everything is padded, protected, and secure. With more pool noodles than I've ever seen accompanied by many, and I mean many zip ties, this bad boy wasn't going anywhere.
The only part of the treadmill that ended up getting scratched was the logo on the back right side. Other than that, it arrived completely unscathed.
They even used a box from one of my other favorite pieces of conditioning equipment, the Schwinn Ad Pro, which I was happy to see.
After going to town on unwrapping the treadmill, it was ready for some mileage.
TrueForm Runner review
There are an incredible amount of different treadmills currently on the market. Seriously, if you're ever bored, do a Google search for ‘treadmills,' and you'll be inundated by products from companies you've never heard of. Unfortunately, although treadmills can be an effective piece of equipment, they often end up as clothes hangers.
As many new treadmills that are sold each year, I would assume that just as many if not more are sold at garage sales. They're a piece of equipment that sounds like a great idea to most people, and then, due to various factors (mostly dependent upon discipline), they end up never being used.
The TrueForm Runner, however, is unlike any other treadmill.
There are many treadmills currently available on the market, both motorized and non-motorized. The unique feature of the TrueForm Treadmill that separates it from every other treadmill has nothing to do with its quality, price, metrics, or any other thing that you will initially think of.
Although the TrueForm Runner is incredibly well built (more on that in a moment) and utilizes unique technology, the true difference-maker is in its design to force proper running form.
There's no question in my mind, or in the way that TrueForm markets the runner that their separator from other treadmills is in its difficulty. Many complain that the TrueForm Runner is more difficult than other treadmills, and TrueForm is unapologetic in telling people that it's that way by design. Personally, I love the way TrueForm has stuck to their convictions and belief that harder is often better.
When you think about anything training related or life in general, when something is hard, that typically means it produces a greater result than if it were easy. When I'm training, I'm not just trying to get stronger or more fit, I want to do it efficiently and effectively. I have little interest in being able to squat 500 lbs if it means that due to my lack of good form, I'll only be able to do so for a short period of time due to injury.
The TrueForm Runner is designed to help those with inefficient running form, improve that form.
Now certainly, the TrueForm Runner isn't for everyone. There are many, even top-level athletes that have said they prefer other treadmills over the TrueForm due to the TrueForm Runner being “too hard.” But, that's exactly why I, personally, like the TrueForm Runner. I want to get better in every area of training, not just posting better split times using a motorized treadmill that does the work for me or a non-motorized treadmill that fudges the numbers to make me feel better.
The unique curve of the TrueForm Runner is designed to both propel the treads, and force the user into the proper gait and body position. The TrueForm Runner is absolutely brutal if you attempt to run with improper form.
Seriously, I have friends over who will attempt to heel strike with bad body position, and they are exhausted after jogging less than a couple of miles. Rather than buying a machine that fits your bad form, the TrueForm maintains the idea that you should buy a machine that forces your lousy form to become better.
In order to run effectively on the TrueForm Runner, you must focus on your hips, head, arms, glutes, rotation, foot position, and rhythm. Basically, you need to be conscious of every action as you attempt to reshape your bad habits into good ones. If you don't pull with your glutes and hamstrings, you're not going to go anywhere, if you keep your head looking down, you're going to fall forward, if you overstride, you're going to fall backward.
Although the way the TrueForm Runner improves running performance is a big reason for purchasing the TrueForm Runner over other options like the Assault Air Runner and Woodway Treadmill, it also is one of the best-built pieces of cardio equipment I've seen.
In the land of cardio machines, in my opinion, and that of many others, Concept 2 reigns supreme. They make equipment that works well and lasts a long time. The TrueForm Runner is basically what I feel like Concept 2 would release if they came out with a treadmill. It's a treadmill for runners. It's not designed for CrossFit, HIIT Training, Bootcamps, or anything else. It's designed for running in the same way the Concept 2 Rower is designed for rowing, SkiErg is designed for Nordic Skiing, and BikeErg is designed for cycling.
BUT, in the same way Concept 2 products are designed for their specific sports, but perform equally well for other sports like CrossFit; the TrueForm Runner follows suit. If you're simply looking to supplement your training with walking, running, or sprinting, the TrueForm Runner does an amazing job when used in conjunction with other training implements.
Want to do an EMOM with sprints and pull-ups? The TrueForm Runner can do that.
Want to run long distance? The TrueForm Runner can do that.
Want to do overhead carries? Yep, the TrueForm Runner can do that.
Don't get me wrong, although the TrueForm Runner is well built and effective, it's also a bit pricey. But, just as with most things, you get what you pay for.
The TrueForm Runner is the best-built treadmill I've personally used. I'd love to say that the TrueForm Runner is definitively the best-built treadmill in the world, but due to the number of treadmills currently being manufactured and marketed, that statement would be completely disingenuous for anyone to say.
The TrueForm Runner is proudly made in the USA with an all-metal construction both externally and internally. No doubt about it, the TrueForm Runner is built to last.
One close look at the TrueForm Runner and you can tell there's been a lot of thought and sweat-equity put into its construction. The build feature that most stands out to me is the weld bead that runs around the outside of the bottom platform. Not only is it thick, but it's also completely uniform and obviously done by human hands. This treadmill is built in the USA by humans to take anything other humans can throw at it.
On both the front and back of the Runner are handles that allow the user to lift the Runner up. On the front and rear of the treadmill are two inline wheels that make moving it pretty easy. Now, the TrueForm is certainly not the lightest piece of equipment in the gym, weighing in at over 300 lbs, but for its heft, the wheels and handles make moving it pretty seamless.
The extra weight of the TrueForm allows it to be solid and four adjustable platforms at each corner of the unit allow it to be flat and stable while on uneven surfaces.
The shell of the TrueForm Runner is as I've said welded steel. The steel is then painted using a granite textured paint that looks great and is quite durable.
Another unique feature of the TrueForm Runner is all of the customization options that are available. Thanks to the TrueForm Runner being painted, they come up with all sorts of designs for gyms and training facilities that go along with their brand or image. Although the unit I'm reviewing is their standard color options, I'm sure the others are quite cool in person.
Another customization option that is available is the tread belt. The standard belt that's used and the one I received for review is a black rubber tread that provides minimal cushion, but enough to be more comfortable than pavement. It's grippy and works equally well while running with shoes on or without (I prefer running barefoot.)
If you'd like other tread options, there are turf and running track treads available that can be used with cleats on. I believe in the not too distant future, we'll see TrueForm Runners on NFL sidelines for players to warm-up with instead of quad dominant bikes. Why not allow players to warm-up using equipment that mimics the motion they'll be using on the field instead of cycling? And there's no need to remove cleats; sounds like a good idea to me.
The belt tread runs on a series of precise bearings that keep the belt spinning, but not overly so. There are a few non-motorized treadmills utilize bearings to spin the belt, but most due to the angle of the slant or speed of the bearing will over spin. This causes an unrealistic speed and is the reason you see viral videos of people hitting 25+ mph speeds on treadmills.
Due to the speed of the TrueForm Runner's belt, you can go from sprinting to walking at a normal pace and not have the fear of being flung off the back of the treadmill (something that often happens with other non-motorized treadmills.)
I have had the TrueForm Runner for right around 60 days now, have put many miles as well as had people of various sizes over to test it out, and have to see any issues. If any problems do arise, we will be sure to update the review.
The TrueForm Runner comes with handles that attach to the base of the Runner. These are designed to provide a feeling of security when running and I typically only find myself using them when getting started on the treadmill.
At the top of the handles is an optional monitor that can be purchased. It's a simple design that uses LED lights and can either be plugged into the wall or a battery that sits inside the frame of the treadmill. The monitor can track pace, speed, distance, and time. I'll go more into the monitor in the suggest improvements section, but this is one area of the TrueForm Runner that I think is lacking.
All in all, the TrueForm Runner is an incredible treadmill that lived up to its hype.
When you compare it to other options available, which we plan to do in more detail in the not too distant future, the TrueForm Runner uses superior materials and more of a focus on the mechanics involved in running than other non-motorized treadmills.
The Woodway Curve is a popular option that features a greater incline that has been said to cause unrealistic speeds and therefore a less direct correlation to realistic running. Woodways also use a flywheel that keeps the belt moving, another reason for the unrealistic speeds.
The Assault AirRunner is made using many different plastic parts and although I prefer it's monitor, does not feature the unique form correcting attributes that make the TrueForm Runner so special.
The TrueForm Runner is the best non-motorized treadmill, and we recommend it to anyone looking to have a treadmill that not only lasts, but will also make you a better runner.
Although we've given the TrueForm Runner high praise, there are a couple things that we'd like to see improved.
The most significant improvement we'd like to see is for the monitor to be updated. The current monitor does a good job of tracking basic metrics, but what I'd like to see is a monitor similar to the Performance Monitors like the PM5 that's used on the Concept 2 machines. The ability to track calories, heart rate, and other details would be awesome. Not only that, but also to have a leaderboard similar to Concept 2's that allows you to compare your times and speeds to people around the world would be awesome and something that the TrueForm Runner is sorely in need of.
The other improvement we'd like to see is for TrueForm to create a fold-away model. This may sound out of the ordinary, but imagine having a treadmill that you could fold down from the wall with the use of hydraulics. I believe this could be very popular among home gym owners and others with limited space and would make the TrueForm Runner even more set apart from their competition.