Sole TT8 Treadmill Reviewed and Rated
Sole Fitness has been making home gym equipment for over 10 years, with a focus on cardio machines. Their units are a blend of commercial features and durability, with a light enough weight, small enough footprint, and slightly less rated motors to make them suitable for home use. In our experience, Sole Fitness gets high marks for customer service and is open to redesigning their products based on customer feedback and reviews.
The Sole TT8 home treadmill is at the pricey end of the spectrum. It does not claim to be lightweight, portable, or compact. If you have limited space, you will want to look at other options. But if you have the room and know you will use the machine consistently, the TT8 could be a great option for you. Features include a 4 HP motor, providing speeds of up to 12 MPH and ensuring fast, consistent speed and incline transitions even for the most demanding runners. You also get Bluetooth speakers, a USB port, and Sole’s own Whisper Deck running surface which significantly reduces foot impact and joint strain. This is a high-end tool for serious runners, one that could take the place of outdoor training during, especially harsh winters.
Reinforced steel frame, rollers, deck give you a 400-pound user weight capacity
The motor is both quiet and reliable, so you get consistent run motion without disturbing housemates
Almost even with a gym machine, but lacks the heavy-duty rating commercial gyms need
The frame is quite durable, so no shaking or vibrations even when you max out speed or incline
Incline/speed adjust instantly to keep up with your level of exertion
Incline starts at -6% to simulate running downhill-- a good tool for trail runners
The track has 4 surface layers for cushioning as well as oversized rollers, making the motor more efficient
The machine is quite heavy and not designed to be easily transported, with assembly requiring 2 people
One of the priciest home use treadmills we have found
Not everyone will need all the advanced features, so more basic users will want something that costs less
With Sole Fitness, too, you get fast and responsive customer service. The TT8, like Sole's other machines, is backed by a comprehensive warranty. It consists of a lifetime frame and motor warranty, with more limited parts and service coverage. Sole's warranty is one of the best in the industry. It does not cost extra, so it takes the place of extended maintenance plans offered by some cardio makers.
Speaking of maintenance, one thing you will need to do with the TT8 is to lubricate it. There are complete instructions in the user's manual, which Sole makes available and easy to find on its website. You do have to use a certain kind of lube; using something else can damage the treadmill and will void the warranty. The lubing interval is every 180 hours, so it pays to keep track of your workouts. If you were to use the treadmill for an hour a day, every day, you could go about six months without having to apply a new lubricant. So we do not think this is a deal-breaker, or even an inconvenience, just something we want to make sure you know going in. To lubricate the belt and deck, you have to loosen the rollers. Other maintenance tasks include wiping dirt and dust off the belt periodically and wiping down the handles and console after each use. This extends the life of the equipment and also helps discourage bacteria growth from your sweat.
The fully assembled Sole TT8 treadmill weighs 322 pounds. The box this treadmill ships in measures 84 by 36 by 17 inches. It is a 2-person lift and will be a challenge if you are taking it upstairs. You can unbox the unassembled components and take them up one or two at a time if you have a safe spot for the rest of the unit on a ground floor or driveway. The step-up height is 8 inches, standard and accessible for most people. There are side rails, but they only extend a short distance. Incline and speed adjustment switches are in the rails.
The treadmill is Bluetooth compatible, both for the speakers and for syncing data to a mobile app. There are 2 speakers and 2 fans. You get 6 programmed workouts, 2 custom workouts, and 2 heart rate target workouts. The Sole Fitness TT8 is not iFit compatible. The heart rate sensors, located in the side rail grips, use a technology called Salutron. Salutron is an American company that began providing heart rate sensors for fitness equipment in 1999, and for wearables beginning in 2001. The company is a leader in the niche market of fitness heart rate sensors. You can also use a chest strap to get a more accurate heart rate. The strap is not included with the purchase.
The run deck is 2-ply, so it has extra reinforcement to take all your pounding. This also adds to the cushioning and reduces joint pain. The warranty breaks down along commercial and residential lines. If you use the treadmill in your home, warranty lengths will be different from those offered to a light commercial gym owner.
Sole Fitness is never shy about reminding us that the TT8 is for serious outdoor runners. It is not immediately obvious from the product page or most reviews, but the treadmill actually has 2 motors. They are located in different spots, and together they give the outdoor runner quite a bit of freedom in designing his or her own route and level of difficulty. The second motor has a huge impact on the incline and decline settings and transitions, taking some of the load off the motor that drives the rollers and deck. The larger, springier running surface, too, will add to a realistic feel. The frame is reinforced, giving the treadmill its 400-pound capacity while ensuring its durability over the long haul. Outdoor runners can use the TT8 as often as they are able, subjecting it to sprints, intervals, and long-distance runs with confidence in the treadmill's ability to perform.
The double-ply belt is comparable to the cushioning and support of most running shoes. It is like having an injected midsole and padded sole area. The deck is perma waxed, which means a coating of wax helps the inside of the belt moves smoothly over the rollers for the life of the machine. This is different from the silicone lubricant, and the waxing does not need to be repeated after you purchase the treadmill. The flywheel surrounding the motor is 10 pounds and made of heavy-duty components, helping protect the motor from damage and keeping operation consistent.