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Sole F80 Review

The Sole F80 is an easy-to-use, commercial-quality treadmill that impressed us with its exercise quality and interface whether using an app guided workout or not
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Sole F80 Review (We burn a lot of calories trying to find you the best fitness experience.)
We burn a lot of calories trying to find you the best fitness experience.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens
Price:  $1,900 List
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Manufacturer:   Sole Fitness
By Joshua Hutchens ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 23, 2023
71
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 12
  • Exercise Quality - 35% 7.0
  • User Interface/Ease of Use - 25% 8.0
  • Features - 15% 8.0
  • Ease of Assembly - 10% 6.0
  • Storability - 10% 6.0
  • Noise Level - 5% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Sole F80 is undoubtedly on anyone's short list of best treadmills. It is a high-end commercial-quality treadmill suitable for most fitness levels or training programs. With a 60" x 22" tread surface, 12 mph top speed, and up to 12% incline, it can provide everything from casual walks to intense endurance workouts. It features a 350-pound weight limit, a comfortable Cushion Flex Whisper Deck, and a convenient folding tread surface. The console consists of a 10.1" Android display, easy-to-use rocker controls, two spots for water bottles, and a wireless charging pad for a smartphone. The 3.5 HP motor provides consistent resistance on the belt, but incline adjustments feel underpowered. Overall, the Sole was well-built and user-friendly but lacked some of its competitors' power and immersive tech. To see how this treadmill compares to other popular models, check out our comprehensive best treadmill review.
REASONS TO BUY
Large running surface
350 lb weight limit
No membership fees
Updated console
REASONS TO AVOID
Large footprint
Tall folded height
Not ideal for shorter runners
No Bluetooth FTMS

Compare to Similar Products

 
sole f80
This Product
Sole F80
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $1,900 List
$1,900 at Amazon
$1,699 List$400 List
$349.99 at Amazon
$500 List
$349.00 at Amazon
$299 List
$179.97 at Amazon
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Bottom Line An engaging treadmill experience without being tied to a specific app, the F80 can integrate with an app or not and provides a solid workout experienceIf space is a premium and you don't want to sacrifice much exercise quality, this is about as good as it getsThis 2 in 1 model easily fits below your desk and works for a quick run when unfoldedBasic but affordable, this model gets the job done for much less than the competitionA useful walking treadmill that can be used under a desk to help you get the steps in at a value price with no apps required, its weak motor should relegate it to light-duty use
Rating Categories Sole F80 Echelon Stride 6 UREVO 2 in 1 Foldin... Sunny Health and Fi... Sperax Walking Pad...
Exercise Quality (35%)
7.0
8.0
6.0
5.0
3.0
User Interface/Ease of Use (25%)
8.0
8.0
5.0
5.0
5.0
Features (15%)
8.0
8.0
5.0
6.0
4.0
Ease of Assembly (10%)
6.0
10.0
10.0
8.0
10.0
Storability (10%)
6.0
9.0
10.0
8.0
10.0
Noise Level (5%)
5.0
10.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
Specs Sole F80 Echelon Stride 6 UREVO 2 in 1 Foldin... Sunny Health and Fi... Sperax Walking Pad...
Belt Dimensions (LxW) 60 in. x 22 in. 60.5 in. x 20.5 in. 42.5 in. x 16.75 in. 49 in. x 15.5 in. 38.25 in. x 15.25 in.
Top Speed 12 mph 12.4 mph 7.6 mph 9 mph 3.8 mph
Motor 3.5 HP 2.5 CHP 2.5 HP 2.2 HP .75 HP
Measured Minimum Incline 1 % 1 % 0 % 0.2 % 0 %
Measured Maximum Incline 12 % 10.5 % 0.0 % 4.37 % 0.0 %
Measured Noise 65 db 60 db 61 db 62.2 db 62 db
Weight Limit 350 lbs 300 lbs 265 lbs 220 lbs 320 lbs
Open Dimensions 82.5" L x 37" W x 66" H 64.75" L x 31.5" W x 58" H 52.6" L x 26.4" W x 39.7" H 62" L x 26.5" W x 50" H 45" L x 19.5" W x 4.5" H
Folded Dimensions 45" L x 37" W x 70.25" H 64.75" L x 31.5" W x 12" H 54.5" L x 26" W x 4.9"H 36" L x 25.5" W x 58" H 45" L x 19.5" W x 4.5" H
Incline Adjustment Electric Electric Electric Manual Electric
Display 10.1" Android diplay small LED display small LED display 7" backlit LCD small LED display
Workout Programs Manual, Hill, Fat Burn, Cardio, Strength, HIIT, 5K, 10K, Custom, HRC, and Fitness Test None None 9 programs None
Heart Rate Sensors Integrated handlebar sensors Integrated handlebar sensors No Integrated handlebar sensors No
Connectivity Bluetooth Bluetooth No No No
Additional Features Easy fold system, built-in fan, Cushion Flex Whisper deck, speed and incline adjustment buttons, streaming entertainment, bottle holders, wireless device charging, Bluetooth, transport wheels Folding design, 4 transport wheels, 2 bottle holders, integrated device holder, safety stop lanyard, handrail controls, USB charging, waterfall design Compact folding design, transport wheels, phone holder, remote control Folding, soft-drop, transport wheels, bottle holders, shock absorption, quick speed buttons, manual incline adjust, device shelf, safety shutoff lanyard Compact,, transport wheels, RF remote
Warranty Frame, Motor: Lifetime - Parts: 3 years - Labor: 1 Year Frame: 10 years, Motor: 2 years, Machine: 1 year 12-month limited parts and labor Frame: 3 years, Parts: 180 days 30- days

Our Analysis and Test Results

Sole Fitness and its associated brands (Spirit and XTerra) build some of the best treadmills on the market. Based out of Salt Lake City, Sole offers a full array of fitness machines for the professional and home exercise market. Sole says that the inspiration for the F80 was for hotel use, which feels apparent in many aspects of its design. It's easier than most to move around but far from portable. The machine feels commercial quality, operates without a subscription, and feels user-friendly. A 3.5 HP motor works well to power the 60" x 22" 2-ply silicone belt, while the incline motor struggles to make adjustments. Boasting a 350-pound weight limit, the steel-framed machine feels sturdy, yet the Cushion Flex Whisper deck provides comfortable dampening whether you run or walk. Sole's website claims, “The F80 treadmill offers an industry-leading aluminum frame,” but we verified the frame of this model is actually made of steel. The kick plates on the sides of the running surface are made of aluminum.

The F80 lacks the immersive tech of some of the fancier models we've tested, but it can be used without a subscription or Wi-Fi. The relatively large hood is fairly simple, with easy-to-use shortcuts, buttons, and programs, while the 10.1" display keeps track of your workout. The Android-powered display allows you to save multiple user profiles, track your progress, and store your user settings. The console has built-in speakers that are Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled, allowing you to stream music. The F80 will also allow you to mirror a phone or tablet to its screen, letting you enjoy your own media through its display. Built-in fans don't move much air, but the tablet holder is perfectly positioned. For users wishing to eschew the subscription model classes or want to bring their own classes to a quality machine, the F80 could be a great choice.

Performance Comparison


Our search for the best treadmill has filled our testing lab at times. The Sole F80 commercial-sized machine sometimes feels too large, and reaching the screen can be difficult for smaller users.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Exercise Quality


With its robust steel frame and large belt, it was easy to dig in and forget that you were running in place on a machine. The quality of our stride benefitted from the wide track width and cushioned deck, while the updated hood felt neat and free of distractions. A tablet holder rests above the console in an easy-to-view spot for users who benefit from a distraction. Sole's redesigned hood puts the tablet and peripheral buttons in a good viewing area. However, the buttons are so far forward that interacting with them while running can be difficult, especially for users with shorter reach. Compared to the best treadmills we've tested, the exercise quality is solid but doesn't stand out.


At 60 inches long and 22 inches wide, the F80 has a very large running surface. The two-ply silicone belt and Cushion Flex Whisper Deck felt slightly bouncy initially, but we quickly adapted to its feel and found it comfortable throughout the miles. We loved the wide surface and long deck for running at any pace without worrying about kicking the side rails or stepping off. This treadmill is great for taller users with long strides and long reach. Conversely, the treadmill isn't a great fit for shorter runners. With a speed range of .5 to 12 mph, we found it suitable for everything from walking and jogging to high-intensity sprint workouts. At full sprint, we found the deck cushioning to feel unnatural, but that could be alleviated by setting an incline.

Here are some of the many steps we take to create the best treadmill reviews possible. You can see the flex in the deck of the Sole F80 and see why we consider it comfortable.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

In our speed-accuracy test using a rolling measuring, we measured the deck for exactly 60 seconds with the speed set at 6 mph. The test was performed four times, and the average length was tabulated. In that test, the F80 clocked exactly 529 feet, which is incredibly accurate, the most accurate of all the treadmills we've tested. A perfect score would have been 528 feet, leaving the F80 within tenths of a percent. The general range of incline adjustment on this treadmill is normal, but it makes incline adjustments very slowly. Moving from the lowest to the highest incline takes 39 seconds on this machine, leaving it less effective in HIIT or Hill workouts.

We found the incline adjustments on the Sole F80 to be too slow for HIIT workouts or fast hill training.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

This treadmill has enough built-in functionality to work perfectly as a standalone unit without needing apps or subscriptions. Several pre-programmed workouts like Hill, Fat Burn, Cardio, Strength, HIIT, 5K, 10K, Custom, HRC, and Fitness Test can be accessed and customized on the fly. Starting manual workouts isn't as quick and easy as it was on the previous model, but the extra steps don't take too long.

sole f80 - the distance from runner to screen is quite far, especially for...
The distance from runner to screen is quite far, especially for petite athletes.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Companion App/Connectivity


The F80 uses Bluetooth to connect to your device or heart rate chest strap. The machine can be paired with the free SOLE app, which doesn't enhance its usability but records your workouts on a tablet or phone. It can also be paired with the SOLE+ app (also free), which has a slightly cleaner user interface but only barely enhances its usability. Sole also offers a STUDIO app for a monthly fee of $39 that includes over 3000 prerecorded classes with instructors, music, and the ability to earn Fitcoin, a Sole virtual currency that gives you ranking on a virtual leaderboard. Your STUDIO membership can be used on all Sole fitness equipment and allows you to track your workouts and progress. Notably, the apps preinstalled on the tablet favor entertainment over fitness, but the machine can be used with any fitness app. Some of the models we've tested recently utilize Bluetooth FTMS which allows for enabled apps to control and adjust the treadmill for you, simulating a natural experience. This model uses Bluetooth but does not feature Bluetooth FTMS.

sole f80 - while the basic layout is functional and easy to use, the 10.1"...
While the basic layout is functional and easy to use, the 10.1" screen looks small in this large console. Having an engaging digital experience is an attribute of the best treadmills we've tested.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

User Interface/Ease of Use


We didn't find the F80 to have the most user-friendly interface, but you quickly get used to the software. Compared to some higher-end models, this console feels really basic, but it's not limiting. Many of the top treadmills on the market today require you only to use their app when exercising; Sole leaves it up to you. If you're using STUDIO or another fitness app, you'll have a couple of extra steps when starting your workout, but you can do that while the belt is already turning.


The hood of the F80 is populated by large, easy-to-read buttons that quickly orient the user. After a few workouts on this machine, the buttons start to feel too populous and redundant. On the cross bar there are rocker switches that control speed and incline, speed can be adjusted by the tenth of a mph. There are also contact heart rate sensors, but using them while running is awkward as the bar sits low, and getting your palms on them is challenging. The middle of the console houses a wireless phone charger, it charges in landscape mode and is not large enough for a tablet but worked with all of the latest phones we tried. There are quick speed adjust buttons at seemingly random intervals of 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, and 12, while incline presets have been set to 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, and 15. Pressing the 7 on the right side will take you to 7 mph; pressing the 7 on the left will take you to the 7th incline position. While the F80 is light on immersive technology, that may be one of its best attributes: no subscriptions, no monthly fee, just a solid piece of equipment that doesn't trap you into its app or its fees.

Reaching the quick keys or tablet can be challenging for smaller...
Reaching the quick keys or tablet can be challenging for smaller users.
Rocker switches make small adjustments of speed and incline...
Rocker switches make small adjustments of speed and incline possible. The best treadmills have intuitive controls that are easy to reach and adjust.
There are multiple ways to adjust the speed and incline of this machine.

Features


The F80 isn't the most feature-packed treadmill we've reviewed, but the features it does have are useful. We have basic console features like water bottle holders, built-in fans, and wireless charging. A tablet holder sits above the console, where it's easily viewed with a soft gaze. The treadmill uses Wifi and Bluetooth to connect to apps, classes, and accessories. You can mirror a device to the tablet, giving you full control of your desired media. There are two speakers built into the console that provide adequate sound quality. The 10.1" Android screen is bright with high resolution and excellent touch sensitivity. Two fans oriented below the speakers move air, but just barely; we found it difficult to direct the airflow toward the runner. A tethered cord attaches to the user and acts as an emergency stop should they fall off the treadmill; pulling the cord stops the treadmill much faster than hitting the stop button.


Sole and many other manufacturers advertise their treadmills as having incline adjustment between 0 and 15 levels. While this is true, incline is commonly misunderstood; the 15 levels or positions are not to be mistaken for the grade or percent incline. The degree of incline measured (0.55 to 6.80) translates to a measured grade of .96% to 11.92% at its height. These measurements are taken with the deck unloaded as the weight of a runner's step pushes the deck downward, approaching level. The deck of this machine is supported by six elastomers that isolate it from the frame to provide what Sole calls the Cushion Flex Whisper Deck, which softens our impacts from each footfall.

Sole F80
Sole F80
The running deck is supported by 6 elastomers that distribute impact.
The running deck is supported by 6 elastomers that distribute impact.
The maximum incline on the F80 is 6.80 degrees which translates to...
The maximum incline on the F80 is 6.80 degrees which translates to an approximately 12 percent grade.
The minimal incline appears to be .55 degrees, which is just less...
The minimal incline appears to be .55 degrees, which is just less than 1 percent grade, accounting for deck flex, the actual grade is very close to zero.
Gathering data for comparative analysis

Ease of Assembly


This metric assesses the difficulty of setting these machines up ourselves, and this treadmill was relatively difficult to assemble. The F80 requires some assembly and a bit of heavy lifting. The massive 285-pound box arrives by freight, and unless you've opted for the $199 room-of-choice delivery or $350 delivery and setup, you'll want to call a friend or two. The toughest part of the setup process was moving the box to where we wanted it set up. Having a utility knife and diagonal cutters are very helpful.


Once removed from the box, you'll need to remove the substantial packaging. The treadmill deck is assembled and locked together with a pin that prevents it from rising during shipping. Wires need to be routed through the vertical risers to plug into the console, which isn't hard but does create several potential pinch points. After finalizing assembly, plugging the machine in, and powering it up, it asks you to lube the belt before use. Lubricating the belt with the included silicone lube isn't complicated, but it does take a few minutes, and it's important to get the belt perfectly aligned afterward. Assembly was difficult enough that the delivery and setup options looked really attractive.

Analyzing the flex in Sole's Cushion Flex Whisper Deck, it's easy to see that its incline never quite gets to zero degrees.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Storability


This metric looks at how the treadmill can be stored when not in use and how convenient it is to own. The F80 scores okay in this metric thanks to its folding design. While it is still fairly wide and quite tall, it's significantly shorter with the deck folded up, and unlike many other treadmills, the Sole can be rolled easily on hard, level floors. This is a full-sized treadmill; it's unlikely to be hidden anywhere, but reducing its footprint can make room for other activities. If you don't have a dedicated long-term place for a treadmill, this is not the machine for you.


To fold the unit up, you simply lift the rear of the deck into a locked position. To unfold, simply depress the lever and the hydraulic damper gently lowers the running surface. When folded, the machine is still 70-inches high and 37-inches wide so it's important to note that you won't be hiding this thing in the corner of a room.

Folding up the Sole F80 is simple but you don't gain much real estate.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Noise Level


As part of our metrics, we have tested the noise levels produced by different treadmills. To measure the decibel output of each treadmill, we used a professional sound level meter from a fixed distance at various speeds. We perform these tests multiple times with and without a user on the belt.


The F80 produces 50 dB without a user on its track and 54.1 dB with a walker at a speed of 1 mph. At 4 mph, the treadmill generates 58 and 64 dB with a jogger on the belt. When the speed increases to 7.5 mph, the machine makes 64.1 dB, and with a runner on the belt, it registers 69 dB. These values are louder than many other machines we've tested, leading to a lower score.

sole f80 - sound testing is conducted with and without a runner on deck at...
Sound testing is conducted with and without a runner on deck at several different speeds.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Should You Buy the Sole F80?


The F80 is a solid-feeling machine with some nice features, but it doesn't wow us. The F80 shines for those who don't want to be tied to an app, it's not the only treadmill that can be used app free, but fitness machines without attached monthly fees are becoming harder to find. We appreciate the flexibility of not being tethered to an app, and the entertainment apps provide some relief from the monotony of fitness classes. The machine's motor and incline adjuster both felt underpowered; getting up to speed and especially making incline adjustments took much longer than expected; as such, we wouldn't recommend this for HIIT or Hill workouts. The newly updated console is easy to clean and nice looking but sits so far forward that our smaller testers had difficulty interacting with the tablet and quick keys while running. This machine is better suited for taller users and those with long reach.

What Other Treadmills Should You Consider?


If you appreciate the full-sized tread surface and ability to use the app of your choice, check out the Horizon 7.4 AT. With an almost identical deck size and greater incline range of .7 to +14.7, the Horizon impressed us with its comfort and interface. This model's speed and incline adjuster wheels are perfectly positioned and easy to use. If you'd like a model that is easy to store, consider a folding model like the Echelon Stride. Its running surface is quite large; it has a 12 mph top speed and can raise to a 10% incline.

sole f80 - the sole f80 is a commercial sized machine with a host of useful...
The Sole F80 is a commercial sized machine with a host of useful features but it doesn't win any awards.
Credit: Joshua Hutchens

Joshua Hutchens
 

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