Tech Specs


Build Quality


Treadmill Review

Updated: March 7, 2024

Maybe it is, or maybe it is not your need for speed that has driven you toward manual treadmills. Outside of an unlimited speed range, plenty of reasons create the appeal for manual treadmills, specifically the TrueForm Runner. This treadmill is made for sprinters, extreme runners, and any athlete who wants to take their running up a notch.

If you want to sprint, burn more calories while you run, or set your own pace, this treadmill might be for you. This TrueForm Runner Manual Treadmill review recounts my experience on this treadmill, so you can decide if it is right for you.

TrueForm Runner Manual Treadmill Review 2024
The TrueForm Runner has a subtle curve for encouraging a natural running stride.

Who The TrueForm Runner Manual Treadmill Is Best For:

  • Sprinters: Most motorized treadmills cap out at 12 mph, which translates to a 5-minute mile. That’s fast, but the 2023 Boston Marathon winner ran faster than that for 26.2 miles. If you are running all-out short intervals, there’s a good chance you are running faster than 12 mph, so choose a treadmill that lets you set the maximum speed.
  • Crossfit Athletes: What’s the WOD? If running is included, what better way to get it done than with the TrueForm Runner? The Runner is a staple in Crossfit gyms.
  • Runners Transitioning to Midfoot/Forefoot Running: Heel striking isn’t working for you. The curved shape of the TrueForm Runner promotes a midfoot/forefoot strike and penalizes you with a harder run if you land on your heel. It’s a continual cue to land on the front half of your foot.
  • Freeform Runners: You like sprinting and fartleks, pyramid workouts and strides. It’s all a part of the training plan, and you can’t be bothered with pressing buttons every 30 seconds. The TrueForm Runner speeds up as you do.
  • The Runner with the Plan: You have a training plan, and it’s all based on intensity, heart rate, or how you are feeling at any given second. Toss the paces out the window, and train by effort on the Runner.

Pros And Cons Of The TrueForm Runner Manual Treadmill


  • The TrueForm Runner has a shallow curve. Other manual treadmills feel like you are running uphill, but the TrueForm Runner has the most natural feel.
  • Unlimited speed! The TrueForm Runner adapts quickly to your pace.
  • TrueForm offers training-specific surfaces, including track, turf, and innovative NABOSO material.
  • The maximum user weight capacity is 450 lbs at full speed and a fantastic 700 lbs while walking.
  • The sturdy construction is commercial grade, meaning gyms are buying the same quality as you.
  • No motor means this treadmill is pretty quiet. The smooth movement of the slats keeps the rumbling noise to a minimum.


  • It is harder to run. If the difficulty of running is a deterrent for you, this treadmill might be too discouraging for beginners.
  • There is no storage on the console.

Treadmill Review Of The TrueForm Runner Manual Treadmill

Build Quality

TrueForm Runner  profile
Run as hard as you want–the Trueform Runner’s frame is incredibly sturdy and strong.


The frame of the TrueForm Runner Treadmill stands out from its sister treadmill, the TrueForm Trainer, because it uses all formed and welded steel. Even the covers to either side of the deck are steel. It’s durable and sturdy. The heavy-duty construction of the TrueForm Runner makes it a better commercial use choice than the TrueForm Trainer. This mostly steel build makes the TrueForm Runner suitable for daily use by multiple users.

The handrails are formed steel tubing and feel supportive when getting on and off the treadmill. The handrails are textured, so you can get a good grip even with sweaty hands. The foot rails feel a little lacking. The foot rails of manual treadmills need to be grippy and supportive in case you need to get off the belt quickly. The metal of these foot rails makes them a little slicker than I like. I wish they had more texture or rubber to improve grip.


There’s no motor, as this is a motorized treadmill. No electricity is required to power this treadmill.

Running Surface

The belt of the Runner is heavier than the TrueForm Trainer’s belt, making it harder to bring up to speed. The added weight is partly due to the steel radial component of the belt. The surface is well-cushioned with its Bonded Kraiburg Thermolast Overmold Elastomer, a TPE blend. The belt rolls smoothly over 106 sealed steel ball bearings.

The belt is 17” x 54”, so be mindful of your steps. This treadmill might not be the right fit if you have a very long stride or a wide step width. However, non-motorized treadmills tend to have small belts without causing the same issues seen in smaller motorized treadmill belts. This is because there is no motor hood to bump into, and you are encouraged by the shape of the treadmill to take smaller, more efficient steps. A narrower step width is also a good marker of a healthy running gait.

TrueForm Runner running close
The slats are quite cushioned, easing every stride and allowing you to run barefoot if you wish.

My favorite feature of the Runner is the ability to order it with one of the alternative tread surfaces. These surfaces are mostly sport-specific and include track or turf. The TrueForm Runner Track is the only treadmill you can safely wear spikes on! You can also wear cleats on the turf treadmill for more sport-specific training. In addition to these two alternatives, TrueForm offers the NABOSO tread. Dr. Emily Splichal invented this innovative material. It is intended to deliver a unique sensory experience for the bottoms of your feet (when running or walking barefoot). Textured surfaces can improve posture and balance when placed underfoot. The NABOSO surface is a great addition to the TrueForm Runner, as both work cohesively to improve your body awareness and gait.


The TrueForm Runner does not fold. It will require a dedicated space within your gym or household. It can be moved on its two rubber wheels by tilting it back toward the console. At 350 lbs, I would not recommend moving it often. Some users may find it doable for a large garage gym setting on hard flooring, but in most home settings, it will most likely require a permanent location.

TrueForm Runner wheels
The transport wheels are in the front for transportation.


There is no option to incline or decline the TrueForm Runner. The curvature translates to under a 2% average incline from the middle to the top of the deck.

Features & Accessories

The TrueForm Runner has very minimal features. The Trainer is not designed to give you a high-tech, comfy experience. It is a workhorse of a treadmill designed to keep you focused on your run. TrueForm hopes to improve your running gait, and your focus should be there, especially with the slimmer, shorter belt. You don’t have as much space to move around as you would on most motorized treadmills, so each step needs to be precise.

Console Overview

The TrueForm Runner’s console is as simplistic as possible. There are four digital windows for pace, speed, distance, and time. There are two buttons, one on either side of the front of the console. The left powers the display on and off while the right resets the windows. The numbers are very bright, making them easy to see in low lighting.

TrueForm Runner  console
The console does not require electricity. It is easy to see and control.

Other Features

There are no other features on the TrueForm Runner. The only feature I felt was lacking was storage. Having access to water or nutrition while on the Runner would be useful. I suspect that this feature is left off to encourage you to step off the treadmill to hydrate or refuel. Safety is important, so I respect this decision, but I prefer the option to have storage on hand. I hate to leave all my belongings on the floor nearby, even if I need to bring the treadmill to a full stop before refueling.


Unlike other manual treadmills, the TrueForm Runner’s console does not turn on automatically when the belt starts moving. The console can be powered on and off or reset by buttons on its sides. I like this function, because it allows me to warm up without recording my metrics. Sometimes I don’t want to keep track of my warm-up, so rather than resetting the console, I can just wait to power it on. I could also turn the console on once I get up to speed. I can be obsessed over my running mileage. On motorized treadmills, when the acceleration period is counted as a part of my total mileage, I run over my mileage goal to account for the portion I did walking as the treadmill sped up. So if you are a metric fanatic like I am, you might also like this functionality of the console.

As for running on the treadmill, I had difficulty sustaining a steady pace on the Runner. It is much easier to perform interval workouts on the TrueForm Runner, but with a little practice, longer efforts become easier. I much preferred the TrueForm Trainer for sustained efforts for beginner runners, because the belt is much easier to move. The Runner has a much higher resistance to it. I felt myself reaching for the bars or bending forward at the hips to get more leverage to move the belt when I first started out. After my first few sessions on the TrueForm Runner, I felt like I had the hang of it and could use it much like I could any other manual treadmill.

TrueForm Runner running
I find it easier to maintain my pace on the Runner if I run on the curve.

Some of my difficulties will not be experienced by larger users. Weight is a big factor in moving this belt. With a moderate effort, I accelerated the belt to just under 5 mph. With the same effort and a weighted vest on, I could run with the same effort at 6.5 mph. My maximal effort without weight capped out at about 10 mph, but weighted, I could accelerate the belt more reliably to 10 mph and faster. The time it took me to get up to maximum speed was much faster when weighted than without weight.

Of course, for the physics-minded, force equals mass times acceleration (F = ma), so it makes sense that a heavier weight would allow me to generate more force if my acceleration was the same. It matters so much on the TrueForm Runner, because your ability to produce a higher force might change the functionality of this treadmill for you. For me, it works as a great resistance interval running tool, and if I can summon the grit, high-intensity steady-state runs. The TrueForm Trainer provides the maximum resistance I can handle for prolonged efforts. If you are interested in learning more, a study by Edwards et al. in 2017 found that lighter runners had to work at a higher intensity than heavier runners while running on a curved, non-motorized treadmill.

TrueForm Runner running close
Running on a manual treadmill is harder than a motorized treadmill.

The soft cushioning is one of my favorite aspects of the TrueForm Runner. The TPE slat belt is soft enough for running barefoot. I was surprised that I had an easier time running barefoot than with shoes on. I attribute this, in part, to having a better grip on the belt. I tend to increase my stride frequency while running barefoot (common in barefoot running). A higher stride rate works well with the TrueForm Runner.

Training Options

There is no built-in content to the TrueForm Runner. It keeps track of simple metrics. TrueForm does have some online content via its YouTube channel, where you can watch videos about running form or follow coached workout sessions. The TrueForm Plus app allows you to access more of their video content. There are two daily workout programs and three race-specific programs, with new content continuously added.

In college, one of my favorite track workouts was a 30 seconds “on” and 30 seconds “off” interval run. This would work very well on the TrueForm Runner, as the workout becomes harder over time. On your first try, the 30 seconds “on” is done at a very hard run–think, the hardest pace you could run for 5-10 minutes. The “off” 30 seconds are done as slowly as you need them to be. Try to run if you can, but walking is okay if that is where you are at! When you repeat this workout, the goal is not to make the “on” portions harder but the “off” portions. So if you walk the first time during the “off” interval, run very slowly the next time. Each time you do the workout, the “off” 30-second interval gets faster and faster while the “on” 30 seconds remains hard. The total time of the workout should be between 10 to 20 minutes, depending on your current fitness level.

Bottom Line Review: TrueForm Runner Manual Treadmill

Overall, the TrueForm Runner’s performance will depend heavily on your frame, running style, and usage preferences. I recommend this treadmill for team sport athletes, Crossfit athletes, and barefoot runners. Powerlifters and weight lifters looking to add cardio or sprint intervals to their routines would also be a good match for the TrueForm Runner. The TrueForm Runner is a heavy-duty treadmill, perfect for a commercial or high-usage setting. I love the different tread options and recommend choosing one that best meets your training needs. No other treadmill has this option.

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