Getting to the gym consistently can be tough, and that’s why we work around the clock to hook you up with the best deals in the industry on quality fitness equipment for your home gym. I’ve had the chance over the past several weeks to try out a premium treadmill by a leader in the industry in terms of build quality. Sole’s F80 model is a best-rated treadmill in its class with a build quality solid enough to back with an impressive Lifetime Warranty.
For under $2,000, you can score top-notch quality complete with above-average weight capacity and a spacious belt that makes it a good fit for taller and/or more aggressive runners. How is Sole able to offer superior quality at a low price? They skip the fancy tech. If a sturdy build takes precedence over a large touchscreen, you get more bang for your buck with products like the F80. Let’s take a deep dive to see if it makes the grade for your fitness needs.
I recommend the Sole F80 treadmill if:
- You’re a tall and/or heavy.
- You need a foldable machine.
- You enjoy using built-in programs
- You use heart rate training as part of your regimen.
- You value build quality over fancy tech.
- You use the Studio app for variety.
|Speed||0.5 - 12 mph|
|Deck||22" x 60"|
|Belt||Cushion Flex Whisper Deck|
|Max. Weight||375 lbs|
|Heart Rate||Contact Grips and BT 4.0 ready|
|Dimensions||86" x 38" x 64"|
Parts: 5 Year
Labor: 2 Year
Sole F80 Pros & Cons
Above-average quality for price range- At just $1,699.99, the build quality of the Sole F80 is above average.
0%-15% incline- Get more than just cardio training packed into your workout. The Sole F80 features an incline up to 15% to more aggressively recruit the glutes and hamstrings. When paired with a diverse speed range, you can keep your workouts varied.
0-12 mph speed- While a top speed of 12 mph is pretty standard in this price range, Sole F80 stands apart in its incredible stability even when maxing the speed at the steepest incline setting. The range of 0-12 mph is adequate for walking, steady-state workouts, HIIT training, and much more.
Spacious belt- At 60”L x 22”W, there’s plenty of space for a long stride. This is especially helpful for tall and/or fast runners.
Foldable- Many treadmills with high-quality construction comparable to the F80 aren’t able to fold, but this product features EasyAssist folding to make more room in your workout area by utilizing vertical space.
Wheels make it easy to move- When folded, the treadmill can easily be moved..
Six programmed workouts- Keep your workouts interesting and home in on specific goals with six programmed workouts including Manual, Hill, Fat Burn, Cardio, Strength, and HIIT.
Studio app integration for workout guidance- Although the Sole F80 lacks a fancy touchscreen, its integration with the Studio app provides a treasure trove of instructor-led features you can take advantage of with technology you most likely already have access to.
Excellent warranty- Sole offers the best warranty you can get. Customers are protected with a Lifetime Warranty, a feature that truly reinforces the quality build of Sole products.
375 lb. weight capacity- Although the treadmill itself weighs in at 278 pounds, it can handle up to 375 pounds of user weight. This is indicative of high-quality capable of meeting the needs of a wide range of users.
Solid steel frame- The steel side beams, cross beams, and support rails work together to reinforce a sturdy combined unit. Even when running at 12 mph, this treadmill is noticeably solid. I appreciate that, where many handrails are plastic, the F80 features epoxy-covered steel.
Chest strap- Through Bluetooth integration, the included chest strap provides a real-time heart rate readout on the LCD monitor. This makes heart rate training simple. If you’re not a fan of Bluetooth, you can also use the EKG sensors on the handrails.
Simple LCD monitor- Featuring four display options, the 9” LCD monitor is simple to use. The readout is large and easy to see, and you can assess metrics like Time, Incline, Distance, Speed, Calories, Pace, and Heart Rate while you workout.
Tablet holder- You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with a fancy touchscreen. Use your current device like an iPad or tablet using the convenient tablet holder.
Buttons get dirty easily- While I appreciate how easy it is to press the raised buttons, they’re more prone to getting dirty, especially since they’re often pressed with sweaty fingers. I also had a slight issue with them sticking, something you don’t encounter on touchscreens.
Simple console- Yes, this was mentioned as a positive feature above. However, if you prefer highly-technical workout equipment, the 9” LCD monitor probably won’t provide what you’re looking for.
Cushion Flex Whisper Deck reduces less impact- When stacked against comparable products I’ve tried, the cushioning on the Sole F80 is a little harder on the joints at high speeds.
Handrail speed/incline controls easy to bump- I occasionally accidentally bump the speed/incline controls located on the handrails, which can be disruptive during high intensity training.
No decline- While you can simulate running uphill, the lack of decline prevents downhill training.
Slick side rails- Depending on your shoes, the slick side rails can cause falls.
Workout Programs and Control Panel
Although simplistic, the Sole F80 console features all of the basics needed to track critical metrics and keep workout programming interesting. The tablet holder allows you to bring your own technology to the table complete with Bluetooth compatibility and a USB charger allowing integration of technology including music through Bluetooth audio speakers. Heart rate monitoring is fully covered with both a chest strap and pulse grips, and the two cooling fans located just above the monitor are an appreciated relief for more intense activity.
The 9” LCD back-lit display is easy to read with large numbers and letters, and it’s very bright. It definitely lacks all the bells and whistles, but this keeps costs low. Considering most of us already possess the technology needed to incorporate more sophisticated workout programming made possible through popular fitness apps out there, many find it worth the compromise.
Despite having a simple monitor, Sole F80 offers six workout programs, two user profiles, and two heart rate profiles. Programmed workouts automatically adjust speed/incline at purposeful intervals to target specific fitness goals. These include:
- Fat burn
Although these programs aren’t accompanied by music as you’ll often experience with fitness apps, you can use the Bluetooth speakers or input jack on the console to stream your own music and enhance the quality of your workout.
Compatibility with Fitness Apps
Sole’s Partnership with Studio Fitness App
On October 19, 2021, Sole partnered with Studio. A leader in fitness technology and content, a Studio subscription goes a long way in making up for the lack of a fancy touchscreen. Users get to try it out on a 30-day free trial. After that, monthly subscriptions cost $19.99 per month or $199.99 per year, just a fraction of the cost of instructor-led classes at most gyms.
Just some of the exciting features this opens up include:
- Access to thousands of cardio workouts through your smart device
- Real-time metrics through Bluetooth integration
- Leaderboard that allows competition with others
- On-demand classes led by the world’s best instructors
- Timed workout ranging from 10-60 minutes
- Motivating workout playlists
- Classes for all skill levels
- Heart rate training
- Off-treadmill workouts including strength, boxing, and more
- Ability to earn prizes and rewards through FITCOIN
I’m a big fan of the Studio app and have been using it for about a year now. For more information, check out my full Studio app review.
Sole Fitness App and Other Tracking Opportunities
Sole offers its own fitness app if you’re not interested in paying for a subscription. Keep in mind, you get what you pay for, and the options are far limited when compared with a Studio subscription. The Sole app is compatible with most Android and iOS devices and primarily useful in tracking stats like calorie burn, heart rate, and workout duration. If you do download, you’ll likely notice it has a very low rating, and this is because it really doesn’t offer many features aside from general recordkeeping, but this can be useful if you’re trying to lose weight.
Using the Bluetooth capabilities, workout data can also be transferred to your favorite smart devices for free. Users of fitness apps like Fitbit, Record, MapMyRun, and Apple Health can easily integrate with their F80 to make sure all efforts are accounted for.
Speed and Incline
The Sole F80 treadmills are comparable to other products in this price range when it comes to speed and incline options ranging 0.5-12 mph and 0%-15% respectively. While you can increase/decrease speed and incline more precisely using the Speed and Incline buttons, there are also buttons you can press to quickly advance in the following increments:
Speed- 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, and 12
Incline- 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, and 15
You can also use the speed and incline controls located on the handrails. This is a great tool to use in HIIT training when you need the quickest transitions. However, I occasionally hit them by accident during training. There is no decline option, so the simulation of downhill training isn’t an option. However, with the expansive incline capabilities, you can perform strength-focused workouts that target the glutes and hamstrings effectively.
Sole F80 Motor
Sole’s F80 model is powered by a 3.5 hp motor capable of supporting the needs of most exercisers. Most expensive products top out at 4.0 hp. During use, my F80 was noticeably smooth and quiet even when speed and incline were maxed out, and all transitions across the spectrum of speed and incline options were very smooth.
Sole uses industrial-quality motors featuring all-steel, zinc-coated, balanced flywheels. This reduces vibrations during use and keeps the motor running cooler. Not only does this reduce electrical usage, but it helps the motor stand the test of time.
If you’ll be using your treadmill primarily for walking, you don’t necessarily need a motor this powerful. I’d recommend checking out some of our top recommendations for treadmills for walking.
Sole F80 Deck and Belt
There are a few specs we can examine to get a feel for the quality of your running surface. Starting with the belt that lies on top of the deck, Sole’s F80 belt is 2-ply, and this tells us it’s a higher-quality product than 1-ply with an underside that reinforces the surface typically made of cotton, polyester, urethane, or mono-filament. Two-ply belts are like baby bear’s porridge, serving as a sweet spot between 1, 3, and 4-ply alternatives in that they are quiet, durable, and less prone to heat buildup, reducing the need to lubricate frequently. If you have joint issues, you may want to seek out a treadmill with a 3 or 4-ply belt, but 2-ply is a great option for the average shopper.
Watch your step on the side rail. They’re smooth and slick, so, depending on your shoes, it’s possible to slip when you get on and off the treadmill. Otherwise, running space is adequate at 60”L x 22”W. The 2-ply belt cushioning compromise is aided with Cushion Flex Whisper Deck that’s designed to reduce impact by 40% compared with running outdoors.
Storage, Folding, and Transport
Especially with a low-tech machine, it’s important there is ample space to bring your own gadgets to the table. The F80 features plenty. Each side of the console has a large storage area for items like a water bottle, and a large storage tray is also located beneath the console. This is all in addition to the tablet holder located above the console.
A treadmill takes up a lot of space. Especially if you don’t have a dedicated workout room in your home, this can be a huge inconvenience. When not in use, the Sole F80 easily folds up by grabbing the steel bar and lifting up the deck. You’ll hear a click when the Safety Lock system is securely latched. In the folded position, it’s simple to move the F80 using the wheels located at the front of the machine. Simply tip it forward, and it rolls with ease.
When you’re ready to use it again, just pull on the yellow release lever, and the deck will gently unfold using hydraulics. If you’ve owned an older Sole model and were put off by the rather rough release, you can rest assured this has been corrected with the F80’s rack and pinion Easy Assist Folding design.
You don’t want to disturb your family and neighbors with your workouts, so it’s worth noting the Sole F80 operates quietly. This is largely due to the quality motor and premium engineering. To put things into perspective, I measured the decibels using a noise meter on my iPhone at different speeds.
3 mph- 35 dB- Similar to typical speech
6 mph- 46 dB- Similar to the noise in an office setting
9 mph- 57 dB- Similar to the sound of a passenger car
12 mph- 61 dB- Similar to the sound of a loud washing machine
Comparing these results to what I experienced with the Horizon 7.8 AT, the Sole F80 is slightly quieter.
Warranty and Durability
Considering the significance of the investment you’re preparing to make, it’s important to look at durability indicators. Subjectively, I can report the running surface is incredibly smooth, the motor quiet, and transitions between speed and incline settings are seamless. With that being said, let’s take a look at some more objective information to give you a better understanding of quality.
The warranty gives us an idea of a company’s willingness to stand behind the build quality of their products. For treadmills, anything less than 10 years on the motor/frame is either a red flag or reflective of a low sale price. Five years for electronics, 2-3 years on parts, and one year for labor are all reflective of a quality product. In the case of Sole F80, each warranty category meets or exceeds quality standards:
- Frame: Lifetime
- Motor: Lifetime
- Deck : Lifetime
- Electronics: 5 Years
- Parts: 5 Years
- Labor: 2 Years
The dollars spent in the Sole F80 go toward quality materials rather than fancy tech, and this is good news in terms of durability. The side beams, cross beams, side rails, and handlebars are all steel. The handrails, also made of steel, include an epoxy powder coating to make your workouts as comfortable as possible. To top it off, the all-steel construction is welded instead of bolted to help the treadmill stand up to its Lifetime Warranty.
In the $1,699 price range, a typical weight capacity is 325-350 lbs. The Sole F80 features an impressive weight limit of 375 lbs. This further goes to show the product is built to last, especially considering the 12 mph speed limit and 15% incline adds to the strain placed on the machine at higher weights.
Sole went the extra mile when they considered the rollers used for the F80. Rollers are the long, tube-shaped parts the belt wraps around, and they are the most commonly damaged part of a treadmill. The F80 uses large rollers with a sealed bearing design. Copper ground wires keep static minimal for smooth, quiet operation.
In terms of roller size, larger is better. Units with 1.6” rollers run the risk of running hot, and this leads to awkward hesitations and damage. We like to see 2.5” rollers, and that’s exactly what’s used in the F80.
Note on Foldability and Durability
Generally speaking, a foldable treadmill won’t last as long as one that doesn’t fold. With that being said, home treadmill consumers often value efficient storage, in which case Sole F80 is an excellent choice. Considering the above-average status in material makeup, warranty, weight capacity, and roller size, the Sole F80 should stand the test of time when properly maintained.
Care and Maintenance
To get the most out of an already high-quality treadmill, there are some things you can do to keep the Sole F80 in tip-top shape for many years. Following the user’s manual will extend its lifespan, and, in doing so, you could expect ten years or more of regular use.
After Each Use– Wipe down the treadmill with a damp cloth, avoiding the use of heavy chemicals.
Weekly– Vacuum or sweep the area around and beneath the treadmill to prevent debris from causing damage over time.
Biannually– Tighten loose screws.
Every 1,000 Miles– Lubricate the treadmill belt.
If a part breaks, you don’t have to buy a whole new treadmill. Sole has a website where you can buy replacement parts specifically for the F80 model.
When you make a purchase, you’ll have some additional options that can enhance the experience of owning a Sole F80 treadmill:
- Fitness equipment mat to protect your floor- $99.99
- White glove delivery service- $299.99
- Studio membership- $19.99/month or $199.99.year
A Look at the Sole F Series
Sole has made it their mission to deliver products that last, and this was very well demonstrated when we examined durability factors related to the F80 treadmill. They entered the market with a focus on hotel treadmills, and they attribute their evolution to the provision of a wide array of fitness equipment to their sincerely benevolent values. Their hard work has not gone unnoticed as they’ve received numerous awards including best buy, best overall treadmill, and best customer service.
Today, Sole offers two classes of treadmills. The F series is more accommodating for residential use as they all fold. Their commercial series treadmills are non-folding and significantly more expensive. You can read all about Sole’s lineup in our comprehensive Sole treadmill buying guide. For residential shoppers, let’s break down the other options that make up the F series:
The Budget Friendly Option- Sole F63
If you’re on a limited budget, the Sole F63 strips things down to the bare necessities to keep costs low with the same high-quality build.
- 3.0 HP motor
- Six built-in programs
- 325 lb. weight limit
- 6.5” LCD monitor
The Middle Ground- Sole F65
A step above the F63, the Sole F65 features a larger screen and more powerful motor. While it’s slightly smoother, the difference is negligible. This can be a good fit if you need a higher weight limit.
- 3.5 HP motor
- Six built-in programs
- 350 lb. weight limit
- 7.1” LCD
The Premium Option- Sole F85
If you’re prepared to invest in the best residential treadmill Sole has to offer, you’ll want to check out their F85 model. For an extra $300, you’ll unlock even more features that enhance durability and overall user experience.
- 4.0 HP motor
- Six built-in programs
- 400 lb. weight limit
- 10.1” TFT touch panel
If you’re in the market for a treadmill with impressive build quality for under $2,000, Sole’s F80 is a great choice. Sure, there’s no large touchscreen, but you can save a bundle by bringing your own technology to the table. Plus, with Sole’s partnership with Sole, you can open up endless opportunities with a direct integration to make tracking stats and engaging with a motivational community possible. The running deck is spacious at 60”L x 22”W, plenty of room for tall and fast runners alike. All signs point to yes when it comes to superior durability, making the Sole F80 a top pick for a high-grade foldable treadmill.
While simplistic, the F80 isn’t deplete of technological equipment. It’s Bluetooth enabled, allowing you to track your heart rate, track your stats, and rock out to your favorite workout music wirelessly. The 9” LCD monitor is easy to read and provides all the critical data you need to know to be more analytical when it comes to your health and wellness. All the must-haves are there, allowing you to use the tech you probably already have to take advantage of fancy extras.
Even if you don’t choose to subscribe to Studio, the six built-in programs provide a well-rounded regimen that considers both strength and cardio. During my review, I spent some time chatting with customer service with some general questions, and they were very responsive and helpful. I appreciated their attention to detail, something you don’t always experience with larger companies. Most notable, Sole F80 is built to last, and, with a Lifetime Warranty, you really can’t go wrong.
New for 2022
- Sole has partnered with Studio to offer integration with the popular fitness app. This allows Sole users to tap into an archive of thousands of workouts, pro tips, instructor-led sessions, leader boards, and a whole lot more.
New for 2021
- Mobile Data Transfer: The Sole Fitness app allows you to transfer the stats gathered on your equipment to your mobile device. This allows for easy integration with your favorite tracking technology like Fitbit and My Fitness Pal.
- Increased Surface Area: Sole F80 increases running surface to 22″ x 60″.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Sole F80 have wheels?
Yes, when in a folded position, the wheels allow you to move the F80 with ease.
How long does the Sole F80 last?
With a Lifetime Warranty, large rollers, 375 lb. weight capacity, and quality build, the Sole F80 is built to last for years or even decades.
How much does the Sole F80 treadmill weigh?
When was the Sole F80 treadmill released?
Does Sole F80 connect with fitness apps like Fitbit?
Using the free Sole fitness app, you can connect a variety of open source training apps including Fitbit, MapMyFitness, and iHealth.