In Bustle’s Trial Run, an editor shares her unfiltered opinion as she sweats through the buzziest workouts, visits must-know fitness studios, and puts the latest exercise tools to the test. Here, an inside look at the fancy new Peloton Tread.
I’m a treadmill connoisseur. Though my running friends don’t understand my preference for getting my miles in on a tread versus outdoors — where you can experience sunshine and nature and scenic views rather than the 2D rendering of a Grand Canyon trail or non-functioning TV channels you get on a machine’s dashboard — I stand by the unique perks you get from the staple piece of fitness equipment. It’s easier on your joints, for one, but the real advantage of treadmill running is that you get total control over your speed and incline.
Because running has been my favorite way to sweat since I was in middle school, I’ve been on a lot of different treadmills. They’ve run the gamut from Woodway’s Slat Belt to variations of the no-frills variety you find in most gyms, curved treads, and dingy treadmills that are two workouts away from breaking down. None have necessarily ever blown me away. But then I tested the Peloton Tread, which opened my eyes to how souped-up treadmills could (and should) be.
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Whether you’re a member of its over 6.2 million subscriber community, are a workout devotee, or — semi-spoiler alert — saw what happened to Mr. Big in the first episode of And Just Like That, you’ve heard of Peloton. The massive fitness platform is one of the most recognizable brands in the industry, and it’s for good reason: Its app membership offers at-home workouts of practically every fitness modality out there, and the Peloton Bike is a cult-favorite among cycling enthusiasts. So when the brand first introduced the Peloton Tread in 2018, it was a big deal.
The Tread has some pretty bougie features. First, there’s a 23.8” HD touchscreen in front, complete with front-facing speakers for streaming your workouts. The belt itself is spacious and bouncy for smooth strides. And — my favorite part — it has knobs on each side, one for speed and the other for incline, so you can, for instance, easily transition between sprints and recovery walks.
If you buy the basic Tread package for $2,495, you get the machine itself. Or you could go with Peloton’s other bundle options that include fitness accessories (think resistance bands, weights, and yoga blocks) for a full-on home gym setup. Pricing for these ranges from $2,765 to $2,945. One thing to note, however, is that getting the Tread (or the Bike) doesn’t automatically grant you access to the app. Membership is separate and will run you $39 per month.
Using The Tread
When I first saw the Tread IRL, it looked way sleeker and less bulky than other treadmills. But the machine’s screen is its true crème de la crème factor: It’s large enough that you really feel immersed in the workout with the instructor. Plus, the fact that it’s touchscreen makes navigating the platform super easy. I stepped onto the belt, logged into my Peloton account, and used my finger to swipe through the workout categories to find a run to take.
I landed on a 30-minute interval-based running class with instructor Rebecca Kennedy. After hitting “Start,” Kennedy began guiding me (and the hundreds of other Peloton users who took the class at the same time) through a walking-based warmup that transitioned into a jog after a few drills like skips and hamstring kicks. Five minutes later and I was fully sweating through an incline run.
My preferred running workouts are interval based or HIIT-style, so I often jump off the moving belt and onto the edges of other treadmills so I can push the speed button back down to a recovery walk — a move fitness instructors strongly advise not doing (since it’s straight-up not safe). The incline and speed knobs on the Peloton Tread, however, allow me to simply spin the speed or incline way down (or way up) so I don’t have to risk falling onto my face. I have no idea why all treadmills aren’t designed this way.
It’s the Aston Martin of treadmills.
The next day, I decided to take a Tread Bootcamp for a spin — workouts that intersperse running sections with strength intervals on the floor. After 10 minutes of jogging and running, instructor Jess Sims took the workout to the mat, where I was to use medium weights (for me, the 10-pound dumbbells that were one of three sets that came with the Tread) as I squatted and lunged. FWIW, I’ve used a lot of dumbbells in my day, and the Peloton ones are particularly nice on the hands. They’re ergonomically designed and covered in a non-slip grip that (I’d imagine) doesn’t leave your palms riddled with calluses after regular use.
When I stream Peloton Tread Bootcamps on my phone (using other treadmills), I just take my phone with me as I switch between the machine and a mat. But, with the Tread itself, the massive and super-high definition screen makes it easy to still follow along with the instructor as you work through the strength moves. Peloton also makes it safe to hop on and off: It has both a Tread Lock feature, where you have to put in a four-digit passcode, along with a safety key that needs to be clipped on in order for it to start moving.
I continued using the Tread for over a month, and I’ve got to say... it’s the Aston Martin of treadmills. Running on it feels smooth — I feel like a gazelle leaping across the Serengeti plains, rather than a donkey clomping on a worn-out belt. I’m in love.
If you’re on the market for a treadmill, I highly recommend this one. But it’s a great buy for reasons beyond its brilliant design: With the machine (and a Peloton membership), you get access to guided running workouts and Peloton’s stretching classes, yoga sessions, strength training, barre, meditation... you get the gist. The Peloton Tread’s screen — along with the piece of fitness equipment and any accessories you get along with it — basically functions as an all-in-one system for your at-home workouts.
If your biggest problem with treadmills is that they’re boring, the Peloton Tread takes care of that. The classes are super engaging and make your solo exercise session feel like it’s happening inside of a boutique fitness studio (even if your Tread is set up in your basement next to janky laundry machines). Seriously: If any of my outdoor running enthusiasts were to test this baby out, they might finally understand why I stand behind the allure of treadmills.