Slat Belt Treadmill vs Regular Belt – What’s The Difference?

Slat Belt Treadmill vs Regular Belt - What's The Difference
If you are not familiar with treadmills, you may not know the difference between a regular belt and a slat belt. However, there are a few key differences between a regular belt and a slat belt treadmill. Knowing these differences may help you make a more informed decision in making a treadmill purchase, as you may find your running needs are more suited for one or the other.

What Is A Treadmill Slat Belt?

A slat belt treadmill is a treadmill that is made to absorb shock and thus result in less injuries for the user. Those who run regularly, especially on the treadmill, may be prone to a variety of injuries. This can include tendonitis/tendon problems, stress fractures and other bone issues, muscle tears, joint problems, and other bodily injuries caused by the high impact nature of running and the “pounding” nature of the feet hitting the treadmill. A regular treadmill does not absorb shock as well as a slat belt treadmill, meaning the body absorbs the majority of the shock. A slat belt is designed to absorb shock better and is often featured on more modern treadmill brands, such as Peloton or TrueForm.

What Is A Slat Belt Made Of?

A slat belt has less springs under the treadmill belt. The rubber slats also help the user recruit the correct muscles to improve running form, and form a thicker landing area to promote softer landing and less impact on the joints. Certain treadmills, such as NordicTrack treadmills, allow the user to adjust how soft or firm they want the treadmill deck to be.

How Does A Slat Belt Function On A Treadmill?

This is dependent on the brand and style of treadmill, as not all treadmills will function the same way. Some slat belts treadmills, given their relative newness on the exercise equipment scene, may have more luxury features like large screens to stream treadmill classes and interactive technology. Other slat belt treadmills, similar to the Curve Woodway treadmill, may be self-powered.

What Are The Benefits And Drawbacks Of A Slat Belt?

The following is a brief summary of the benefits of a slat belt treadmill:

  • Slat belt treadmills may help reduce injury
  • They are typically featured on newer treadmills, and may be accompanied by more “up and coming” treadmill features
  • Due to the relatively new design of slat belt treadmills, they may be more costly
  • Because there is no deck underneath the belt, slat belt treadmills are typically harder surfaces to run on and don’t have any cushioning. These may be similar to running outside on a track or turf.

What Is A Regular Treadmill Belt?

A regular treadmill belt is what one may think of as a more “traditional” treadmill, and has been around for several years. A regular belt treadmill is supported by a deck, which is a hard surface placed below the treadmill belt. A regular treadmill belt is replaceable, and in fact, most users can purchase a new belt and replace it themselves when necessary.

What Is A Regular Treadmill Belt Made Of?

The treadmill belts have advanced and evolved, similar to how other exercise equipment has been improved over the years. A treadmill belt typically has a top rubber coat and an undercoat that is made of polyester, urethane, cotton, or mono-filament. Treadmill belts can be 1-ply, 2-ply, or even 3 or 4-ply. We typically recommend getting a treadmill that is 2-ply as you will see these in your home use treadmills. Commercial grade treadmills you use at the gym are typically 3 or 4-ply belts. Treadmill belts are also typically textured to lightly grip your shoe while running so no slipping occurs.

What Are The Benefits And Drawbacks Of A Regular Belt?

The following is a brief summary of the benefits of a regular belt treadmill:

  • Regular belt treadmills have been around for longer, so we consider these the tried-and-true treadmills that we know will provide a great workout.
  • Some runners may prefer the “feel” of regular belt treadmills if they do not like the softer deck that slat belt treadmills provide

Overall – Which Is Better?

Like many things in life, varying types of treadmills are no different; whether you use a regular belt treadmill or slat belt treadmill, you are doing your body a favor by moving your body at all. It is important to stay aware of new treadmill technologies and make the most informed choice possible about what equipment to use, especially if you are injury prone.

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