Sole F80 Treadmill Detailed Review – Pros & Cons (2020)

Last Updated: January 10, 2020

Sole F80 is one of our 2020 Best Treadmills. Sole builds strong machines that offer a higher than average weight capacity and extended warranty. The F80 features a good sized 60” by 22” belt with plenty of track space — but still folds up for convenience. Sole is also the only company to offer a Lifetime Warranty on the frame, motor and deck, which means they stand behind their machines.

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Best Treadmill for Running 2020

The Sole F80 has a 375lb weight capacity, which is 75lbs heavier than others in this price range. It is built on a steel frame with a solid reinforced running deck. The 60” by 22” running belt provides plenty of front to back as well as lateral space for tall and large runners. Sole builds sturdy, durable machines that hold up well. This is why we have awarded the Sole F80 our Best Treadmill for Heavy Runners.


Who It’s For: Runners who want a sturdy, folding treadmill with simple features and tech

The SoleF80 is for users looking for:

    • Quality construction who don’t need the extra tech and online subscription options
  • Incline range of 0% to +15%
  • Max speed of 12mph
  • Folding treadmill that is easy to move with more wheels than on comparable models (4 rather than the standard 2)
  • A clean, 9” LCD backlit screen with 10 workout options
Pros
  • Extensive Warranty
  • 375lb Weight Capacity
  • Steel Frame but still lighter than other treadmills
  • Good Speed Options with 12mph max
  • Nice Incline Range 0% to +15%
  • EasyAssist Folding with four wheels for easy movement
  • Chest Strap Included
  • Clean, Simple LCD Screen
  • Tablet Holder at top of console
Cons
  • Raised buttons more likely to get dirty or sticky
  • Hood is large and sits high at the front of the deck
  • Cushioning isn’t as soft as comparable machines
  • Console is simple; but preset buttons skip two-by-two

FeaturesSpecifications
  • Sturdy Build
    • The Sole F80 is built to last with steel side beams and steel cross beams under the deck. Even the support rails are all steel. The sturdy running platform sits snugly on the floor so when running at full speed on an incline, there is very little movement. You can tell that significant engineering went into the construction of this treadmill. Even the handrails on the F80 are epoxy-covered steel, which is unusual — most treadmills have plastic molded handrails.
  • High Weight Capacity
    • While the Sole F80 only weighs 278 pounds, it can support 375 pounds. This makes it ideal for large runners looking for stability and quality. The impressive frame-to-user weight ratio makes it durable but still easy to move. Two wheels situated under the side legs and two under the deck roll easily, so you can slide this along carpet or in and out of the closet.
  • Extensive Warranty
    • Sole stands behind their products with impressive lifetime warranty coverage for frame, deck and motor. Many companies used to offer a lifetime warranty — but few still do. Other companies spend extensive R&D upgrading their treadmills’ tech features, which have become an industry focal point. Sole has kept their focus grounded on a simple, quality built machine.
  • Speed Options
    • The 12mph max speed is an industry standard at this price point, but the Sole F80 is impressively stable even at high speeds. A wide speed range also allows for more training variables including Tabata intervals, fartlek sets, and sprint drills. Slower speeds feel steady and smooth for light walkers or power walkers.
  • Incline Range
    • A +15% incline is a steep grade which will engage your glutes and hamstrings during training. With a solid, 3.5 motor, speed adjustments are even and the Sole F80 has no problem maintaining and holding the deck steady at a steep incline. The combination of multiple speed options and a respectable incline range provides valuable variability in any training regimen. I am impressed with the stability of Sole’s F80 — due to the sturdy construction, there is never any rocking or lateral movement on the deck.
  • 60” Long by 22” Wide Belt
    • The running surface on the F80 is sleek and provides plenty of lateral width and overall length to support most runners. The belt feels snug as it glides along the top of the deck. I did find the hood to be slightly high as it sits at the top of the track, and it extends forward under the console 13” in the middle and 16” along the sides. This doesn’t impact overall belt length; you still have plenty of room to move around on the deck.
  • EasyAssist Folding
    • Despite its steel frame, the F80 folds up easily. Hold the steel grab bar at the base of the deck to lift and the frame will lock into place in a vertical position. From here, you can pivot the treadmill gently towards yourself to move. The four wheels underneath the Sole F80 make it so if you are on a smooth surface, you can roll it without even needing to pivot it. I found the Sole F80 to be the easiest treadmill to move of all those I’ve tested.
  • Chest Strap Included
    • The included Sole chest strap will sync via Bluetooth with the LCD display so you have a heart rate readout right on the screen. Chest straps are not included on other machines in this price range. The SmartPro 2000 and NordicTrack 1750 do not include one. This is a nice feature as chest strap heart rates are the most accurate. However, heart rate EKG sensors are built into the handrails for convenience as well.
  • Clean, Simple LCD Screen
    • The 9” LCD screen is white, back-lit and easy to see. Large numbers list Workout Time, Incline, Distance, Speed, and Calories burned. Readouts for: Pace, Pulse, and Heart Rate appear at the bottom of the screen. There are four screen options to display laps, vertical, segment time, or data scan. While the display is not a touchscreen, the large numbers are clear, simple, and visible.

Construction:

  • Footprint: 37” Wide x 82” Deep x 57” Tall
  • Item Weight: 278 pounds
  • 22” x 60” Running Surface
  • 2.5” Rollers
  • Step Up Height: 8″
  • 3.5 HP, DC Type Motor
  • 2-Ply Belt

Console:

  • Bluetooth Speaker Compatible
  • Tablet/Phone Holder
  • USB Device Charging
  • Bluetooth Compatible
  • Pulse Grips & Chest Strap Heart Rate Monitoring
  • Chest Strap Included
  • Cooling Fans
  • 9.0″ LCD White, Back-lit Display

Functionality:

  • Speed : .5 – 12 mph
  • Incline: 0 – 15 Levels
  • 6 Standard Programs
  • 2 Custom Programs
  • 2 Heart Programs
  • Easy Assist Folding

Warranty

  • Frame: Lifetime
  • Motor: Lifetime
  • Deck : Lifetime
  • Electronics: 5 Years
  • Parts: 5 Years
  • Labor: 2 Years

In-depth Review of the Sole F80 Treadmill


Construction

Frame

As mentioned, the frame is solid on the Sole F80. No expense is spared making this machine sturdy and well-built. Steel side beams frame the deck and steel cross beams provide added security at the top and midline of the deck. Side rails and handlebars are also steel. Handrails have an epoxy coating for comfort. Extra support under the deck makes it easy to lift and four wheels enable easy positioning.

Deck

  • Cushioning/Feel
    • The deck on the Sole F80 has a Cushion Flex Whisper Deck that is supposed to reduce impact by 40% compared to outdoor surfaces. To be honest, I didn’t feel that much cushion. While certainly an improvement over outdoor surfaces, the cushion in the Sole F80 is not as soft as that on the ProForm 2000 or NordicTrack 1750. Stability is the focus of Sole machines and that plays out in overall construction — but it limits cushioning. I ran simultaneously on the ProForm 2000, Sole F80, and NordicTrack 1750. With each set at a 3% incline and 5mph, I moved from one to the next, bouncing and running heavy to feel how much give was really in each deck. I then did a full workout on each machine. The 1750 outperformed the other two with the Sole F80 providing the least cushion. This is only a comparative sample, however. When compared with running outside, I feel the F80 provides a tremendous improvement over the shock impact of asphalt or concrete.
  • Length/Width
    • Running Belt 60” long by 22” wide, the Sole F80 offers a nice size belt, especially for a folding treadmill. However, the deck on the F80 is longer than usual. The Sole F80, NordicTrack 1750 and SmartPro 2000 all have the same size running belt, but total deck length on the 1750 and 2000 is only 79” compared to 82” on the F80. This could be because of a larger hood or reinforced deck construction, but the extra three inches are noticeable when they sit side by side. You also feel a bit of extra weight when lifting the machine to fold it, but it’s still manageable.
  • Belt
    • The 2-ply belt sits snugly along the top of the deck and provides a soft running surface. Personally, I like the belt on the Sole F80 better than the SmartPro 2000 or NordicTrack 1750. It just feels sleek and comfortable. There is no slapping sound underfoot and the belt nestles against the side rails as it moves along. The only thing I did notice is the side rails are a bit slick. Unlike the black molded plastic on the NT 1750 or SP 2000, the side rails on the Sole F80 are a metallic plastic which is a slightly slicker material. If you are dripping sweat from your workout, watch your step if you step on the side rails — they could possibly get slippery if wet.

Motor

  • A 3.5 horsepower motor should support the needs of most users. Treadmills max out at about a 4.0 horsepower motor, so this is close to the top of possible options. The motor is so quiet in fact that when I set the incline to reach 15% I had to get off the treadmill to see if it was actually moving. Adjustments are impressively smooth and quiet.

Console

Screen

  • Console and screen design are one area where the Sole F80 could improve. The 9” screen is bright and easy to see, but it doesn’t compare with the full color touch screens available on similarly priced machines. If you already have a TV in your workout space or you are a seasoned athlete with an established training plan, the Sole F80 is a good fit. It is simple and designed for those who like to just hop on and go. One reason Sole continues to be able to keep up with more tech-heavy machines is not every user wants all the bells and whistles. Honestly, however, when it comes to an engaging, interactive screen with advanced training options and updated tech, the Sole F80 is a little behind the game.

Layout

  • Another area of concern is console layout. Console design is a little clunky. There are no separate buttons for each speed or incline option. Preset incline and speed buttons skip randomly. There are buttons for speeds: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, and 12mph. Incline buttons are: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15. Manual speed and incline buttons are situated right under the screen; these allow you to toggle at .10 increments, but it’s not an intuitive setup. Similarly, the F80 buttons are raised, so they might be more likely to attract dust or stick with repeated use. Another unusual feature on the F80 is buttons on the handrails. Right handrail has buttons for speed and left handrail for incline. These are positioned well for quick toggling, but they also get in the way and can be a problem if you accidentally grab the bar and hit a speed button.

Fans/Other Accessories

  • There are two fans just above the screen, but they don’t provide much air flow. I suppose they’re better than nothing, since it’s nice to have the option. But don’t expect much power out of these fans.
  • A tablet holder is included on the F80 just above the console. This is a great addition since the console doesn’t offer WiFi or subscription options. The tablet holder makes it easy to run a cardio program on the treadmill while watching something on your tablet or phone. The adjustable clip should hold most devices securely.

Storage

  • There is good storage on the F80. In addition to two large pockets on either side of the console, an additional storage tray spans the width of the deck under the console. This has another three large pockets for additional storage.

Functionality

Performance

It’s hard to find a more solidly built machine than the Sole F80. While console layout could use some tweaking and the tech lags behind other machines, you can’t overlook the inherently sturdy feel in the F80. It offers a smooth running surface, quiet motor, and impressive incline/decline and speed options for variability.

Incline / Decline range

  • The Sole F80 rivals other machines with a +15% incline max. It doesn’t offer decline options; but that also allows it to sit slightly lower on the floor. At a 0% grade, the F80 has an 8” deck height, which makes it easy to step on and off. Incline training helps strengthen glutes and hamstrings to offset quad dominance and facilitate muscular balance in the lower body. Also, adding incline variability to a training regimen helps prevent overuse injuries and ensure muscular balance. The solid build on the F80, combined with impressive incline and speed range, creates a powerful and well-rounded piece of exercise equipment.

Pre-programmed workouts

  • There are six Preset Workouts on the Sole F80 for: Manual, Hill, Fatburn, Cardio, Strength, and HIIT. Two custom programs and two heart rate training programs are also available with buttons for each just below the screen. Each button loads the same program each time, so you always know what you are getting. No audio accompanies the programs, but you can play your music through the speakers via an input jack in the console.

Subscription Options: Sole app on phone

  • Sole does offer a Sole App that can be downloaded to your phone to keep track of your workout stats, including calorie burn, heart rates and duration. However, there is not an online subscription database of programs you can run via WiFi on the treadmill.

Noise Level

  • One area where the Sole F80 excels is noise control. I found it to be the quietest when compared with the SmartPro 2000 or NordicTrack 1750. With a smooth motor, soft belt, and sleek engineering, the F80 runs like a German automobile. Additionally, the fact that it sits closer to the ground seems to help with noise absorption.

Storage / Folding

The Sole F80 folds up easily. Simply grab the steel bar at the base of the deck and lift. The deck is a little heavy — probably due to the extra length — but I am still able to lift it easily. Once folded, the deck latches securely in place to clear floor space. There are two wheels under the front legs and two more at the base of the deck. When securely locked in a folded position, you can pull the machine towards you and roll it out of the way. To unlatch it, grab the yellow release lever on the right side of the deck. Pull the lever gently, and the hydraulic system will gently release the deck down to the floor. Previous models have landed with a bit of a thud, so I checked for this on the 2020 F80. Our model landed softly with no thud or impact.


Items of Note

Aside from a funky console and minimal tech, the F80 is a solid machine. Know what you are getting with this treadmill — if you love tech and colorful screens, another option may be better. If you are looking for a durable treadmill with sleek design and impressive engineering, the Sole F80 is a fantastic buy.


Bottom Line Review:

Sole F80 is our 2020 Best Buy for Heavy Runners and for good reason. The F80’s full-steel frame supports up to 375 pounds but it still easily folds up. With a nice 60” by 22” belt and a Lifetime Warranty on the frame, motor and deck, the Sole F80 is a solid investment. Although it offers limited tech options, that can be a positive or negative depending on what you are looking for. We highly recommend this quality machine as a best buy for treadmills under $1500.
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Sole F80 Treadmill Review
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