Sole F85 Treadmill Review – 2021

Kristen NelsonKristen Nelson

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Last Updated: November 24, 2021

The Sole F85 treadmill is one of Sole’s top-selling treadmills and we were excited to share the updated 2021 review. The new model has the same solid deck and motor, but the console now includes a 10” color touchscreen that will support up to seven external apps! These include Netflix, YouTube, ESPN, CBSNews, NBC News, ABC News and CNN. This means you can run, walk, jog or do your preferred workout on this durable treadmill while enjoying Netflix or your favorite news channel. One of the first questions we get about treadmills with a touchscreen is if users can browse the web or access other apps – usually the answer is no. But on the F85 you now have that option! The apps are preloaded and limited to the seven selected, but at least it gets you a variety of content you can enjoy during your workout.

Sole F85 Treadmill Review 2021

In addition, the F85 still has a sturdy, reinforced frame and a 60” long by 22” wide running belt. The Sole F85 is very quiet and has a powerful 4.0 HP motor that is good for extended running and high-intensity training. This hearty treadmill will support up to 400lbs, which is 100lbs more than comparable treadmills, which makes it a great option for larger users.

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Treadmill Awards: Best Treadmill For Heavy Runners 2021

In 2021 the Sole F85 has been awarded the best treadmill for heavy runners because of its large motor, built-in programs, entertainment options, and solid build. Sole treadmills are known for durability and high build quality, this treadmill is great for anyone that just wants to get on and put their miles in. If you’re training for a half or full marathon and need a reliable treadmill to put miles on, this is the treadmill for you.

Who It’s For: Runners who want a quiet, well-powered folding treadmill with simple features and tech

The SoleF85 is for users looking for:

  • Quality construction who don’t want to pay for an 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 new 10” Touchscreen with seven preloaded apps
  • New Wifi phone and tablet mirroring capability
  • 7 fitness tests and 12 custom workouts

Our Video Review


Pros
  • 400lb Weight Capacity makes it ideal for larger runners
  • Steel Frame is sturdy but still folds up when you are finished
  • Incline Range 0% to +15% gives you lots of training options
  • Four wheels under the frame make it surprisingly easy to move
  • Chest Strap Included for heart rate training programs on the console
  • Simple LCD Screen does not require a subscription to run the onboard programs
  • Tablet Holder at top of console for your personal device
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

Best Treadmill For Heavy Runners 2021 - Sole F85


FeaturesSpecs
  • Steel Frame
    • The Sole F85 has a fully reinforced frame with steel side beams and cross beams under the deck. Even the support rails are all steel. The sturdy running platform has a low 8” step up height and minimal vibration, so when running at full speed on an incline, there is very little movement. The handrails on the F85 are epoxy-covered steel, which is unusual — most treadmills have plastic molded handrails.
  • 400lb Weight Capacity
    • The Sole F85 only weighs 308 pounds, but it can support 400 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 a closet.
  • Incline Range
    • A +15% incline is a steep grade which will engage your glutes and hamstrings during training. The Sole F85 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.
  • 60” Long by 22” Wide Running Surface
    • The F85 is a folding treadmill, but it still has a full sized 60” long by 22” wide running surface. This gives you plenty of lateral width and fore/aft space for a long stride.
  • EasyAssist Folding
    • The F85 folds up easily; simply 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 using the four wheels under the frame.
  • Updated 10” Android screen
    • The new 10” Android screen makes it easy to see the workout information and graphics. You can access the seven preloaded apps if desired. You’ll have to have your own subscription to any service (YouTube, Netflix, etc.) but it is nice to have this option.

Construction:

  • Footprint: 66” H x 82” L x 37” W
  • Item Weight: 308 pounds
  • 22” x 60” Running Surface
  • 2.75” Rollers
  • Step Up Height: 8″
  • 4.0 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
  • 10” Android screen

Functionality:

  • Speed : .5 – 12 mph
  • Incline: 0 – 15 Levels
  • 6 Standard Programs
  • 12 Custom Programs
  • 7 Fitness Tests
  • 5KHZ Telemetric HR Receiver
  • Requires WiFi and Internet connection
  • Easy Assist Folding

Warranty:

  • Frame: 10 Years
  • Electronics: 5 Years
  • Parts: 5 Years
  • Labor: 2 Years

In-depth Review of Sole F85 Treadmill


Construction

Frame

Sole F85 Treadmill deck incline

The Sole F85 frame is solid and well-built. Sole consistently builds some of the most durable fitness equipment and the F85 treadmill leads the pack with steel support beams, cross rails, uprights and handrails. The F85 treadmill makes very little noise when in use or when inclining due to its hearty construction. The running platform folds up and locks in place when you are finished and the four wheels slide easily along the floor when you need to move it.

Treadmill Deck

  • Cushioning/Feel
    • The Sole F85 has a Cushion Flex Whisper Deck that is designed to reduce impact by 40%. While certainly an improvement over outdoor surfaces, the cushion in the Sole F85 is not as soft as comparable treadmills like the NordicTrack 1750. When compared with running outside, I feel the F85 provides a tremendous improvement over the shock impact of asphalt or concrete, but it isn’t as cushioned as other treadmills in the same price range.
  • Length/Width
    • Running Belt 60” long by 22” wide provides plenty of running space. However, one consistent complaint we have with the Sole machines is the larger motor hood at the front end of the deck. This sits high up off the belt and if you run too close to the console it frequently gets in your way. The motor hood houses the motor which is stored on the front end of the deck, but a slightly lower profile cover would help reduce foot impact while running.
  • Belt
    • The 2-ply belt has a gently textured surface and feels supportive underfoot. There is no slapping sound underfoot and the belt nestles against the side rails as it moves along. One concern is the side rails are a slick plastic that could become an issue if you drip sweat when running. This could make the side rails slick when you step onto them. Make sure to hold the handrails and find a good foot position when stepping aside onto the side rails.

Motor

The hearty 4.0 horsepower motor is among the strongest on the market and will support heavy training, interval work, and intense conditioning. The motor won’t overheat and provides incline/decline and speed adjustments that are smooth and quiet.

At some point when testing the F85, we had to step to the side to see that the deck was actually moving! It is so quiet, you don’t notice or hear motor noise as the deck inclines and declines.

Speed adjustments are similarly even so when adjusting pace you don’t need to hold on or brace yourself as the belt changes speed. The motor provides plenty of power for a quick pace, multiple incline changes and a consistent running speed underfoot.

Sole F85 Treadmill motor hood

My only complaint is the large motor hood at the top of the deck sits quite high and I occasionally hit it with my foot if I stand too close to the console. If you stand a step or two back it’s not a problem. But I’d like to see Sole reduce the profile of the motor hood so it’s a bit lower and doesn’t protrude onto the deck quite as far.

Sole F85 Console

Screen

The updated touchscreen is a valuable addition on the 2021 model. This 10” Android screen isn’t as fancy as on comparable treadmills, but it offers unique features with seven preloaded apps. There are a few bugs that still need to be fixed. The console emits a slight feedback noise whenever it is on – regardless of the volume of your program. If you turn on the fan, or turn up the volume, you can’t hear it. But it’s enough that I found it irritating and had to keep adjusting the volume to compensate. However, in general, this console is a significant upgrade from previous versions and we love the direction Sole is headed.

Sole F85 Android console

Most consumers want to access other content on a treadmill touchscreen. The fact that Sole has made this so simple is a good indication of their response to customer feedback.

Layout

Aside from the enlarged screen, the rest of the console remains similar to the previous model. The screen is well-positioned and easy to see in the center of the console. Beneath that are the incline and speed buttons. Again, these jump somewhat randomly. The buttons for speed are: 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, and 12mph. Incline buttons include: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 12, 15. Another unusual feature on the F85 is buttons on the handrails. There are speed buttons on the right handlebar and incline buttons on the left. 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.

Sole F85 Treadmill console 2021

Fans/Other Accessories

  • A Fan is positioned just above the screen, but honestly, this doesn’t provide a ton of air flow. While it’s nice to at least have some option here, the fan is relatively underpowered and doesn’t provide much of a breeze.
  • A tablet holder is included on the F85 just above the console. 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 F85. 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.

Sole F85 Functionality Review

Performance

The Sole F85 treadmill is powerful and quiet. This is an excellent training tool for those who want something

performed well during our testing period. It supported runners and walkers of various sizes and weight, with no one noticing any lag in motor power or limitations during use. The Sole F85 is very sturdy and you can feel this while running. The deck is not as cushioned as some, but we were still able to use the F85 for intervals, sprints and longer runs without an issue. We’d love to see Sole upgrade the console with a more intuitive interface and layout, but this is a minor issue compared to overall performance.

Incline / Decline range

Sole F85 Treadmill incline

The Sole F85 features a +15% incline max. 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. It doesn’t offer decline options; but that also allows it to sit slightly lower on the floor. At a 0% grade, the F85 has an 8” deck height, which makes it easy to step on and off. The solid build on the F85, combined with impressive incline and speed range, creates a powerful and well-rounded piece of exercise equipment.

Pre-programmed workouts

The Sole F85 has workout programs 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. You can also play your music through the speakers via an input jack in the console.

Noise Level

The Sole F85 excels with noise control. Featuring a smooth motor, soft belt, and sleek engineering, the F85 runs as smooth as any treadmill we’ve used. Additionally, the fact that it sits closer to the ground seems to help with noise absorption.

Storage & Folding

Sole F85 Treadmill folded

The Sole F85 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. The plug is located at the front of the deck so it is out of your way.

Sole F85 Treadmill plug


Best Treadmill For Heavy Runners 2021 - Sole F85

Sole F85 Treadmill Bottom Line Review:

Sole’s F85 treadmill is the premier folding machine in the Sole lineup. It has a powerful 4.0HP motor that is smooth and quiet. This treadmill offers incline options up to 15% grade for uphill training, rolling hills, interval work and balanced conditioning. The 12mph max speed will challenge even the fastest runner and various speed settings provide options for any runner or walker. The preloaded programs are simple and easy to understand, so you know exactly what to expect each time. For some users, only having ten preset programs may be limiting, but for those who value simplicity over high-tech, the F85 is a great option. Raised tactile buttons also help users to know (and feel) when they press a button. The Sole treadmill includes speed and incline buttons on the handrail which is something we haven’t seen on other machines. This makes it easy to adjust your settings without having to raise your hands off the handrails. We love Sole for its quality construction and sturdy design. The F85 has a whopping 400lb weight capacity and is backed by a full lifetime warranty on the frame. If you want durability and quality without all the extra bells and whistles, the Sole F85 is an excellent place to start.

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