Treadmills are an awesome way to get in shape at home.
They allow you to run, or walk, rain or shine, any time of day or night, for as short or as long as you want.
All from the comfort of your own home.
Hard to beat that!
But taller people sometimes have issues with treadmills, namely that the belt length (running surface) is too short.
The average treadmill belt length is about 55", perfect for most runners but just too short for many people over 6 feet tall.
So below are my favorite picks for the best treadmills for tall runners (all with belt lengths of at least 60 inches).
Best Budget Treadmill for Tall Runners: Nordictrack C990
Overview: The Nordictrack C990 is one of the best reviewed consumer treadmills around, point blank. It's not only a great treadmill in its own right, it's one of the best treadmills for low ceiling rooms, and it just so happens to be one of the few affordable treadmills that's great for taller runners. Its 60 inch belt should be a perfect fit for pretty much any runner (if you're over 6' 5", it could be a little bit of a squeeze). This piece of equipment comes highly recommend by pretty much everyone who gets their hands on it, has rave reviews on Amazon, and can be delivered to your home with expert assembly included straight from Amazon.
Belt Length: 60"
Max Speed: 12mph
Max Incline: 12%
Why We Like It: Nordictrack is one of the top names in home fitness, and for good reason. Their treadmills and ellipticals are top of the line, but almost all are priced for regular consumers (though, consumers who want to invest in a durable and well-made product). Reviewers rave about the C990. You'll be able to sprint at speeds up to 12mph along with a 12% incline, which is definitely respectable compared to the competition. The state of the art, touchscreen console is also loaded with a ton of preset workouts (32 of them, to be precise), which should keep you busy for a long time.
Assembly can take some time (around 4 hours) but should be relatively easy if you're handy, and once it's put together it'll last basically forever.
Potential Drawbacks: Some functions of the onboard computer are hidden behind a paywall (you'll have to join Nordictrack's iFit service.) While priced extremely competitively, treadmills long enough to be suitable for tall runners are a little on the expensive side (the options below are even more costly). The 20" belt width on this treadmill might be a little bit narrow for bigger folks.
Best Mid-Range Treadmill for Tall Runners: LifeSpan TR4000i Folding Treadmill
Overview: LifeSpan's signature treadmill series (the TR models) are awesome machines, and along with the C990 listed above, some of the only consumer level products that have that coveted 60+ inch belt length. While slightly more expensive than the Nordictrack option, the LifeSpan TR4000i has a few notable advantages, mostly more incline settings and a folding, spacesaver design. This is another great pick for runners over 5' 10" or so.
Belt Length: 60"
Max Speed: 12mph
Max Incline: 15%
Why We Like It: This model from LifeSpan doesn't come cheap, but it's backed by amazing construction (all-steel frame) and lots of brilliant design decisions. 8 compression shocks beneath the running surface give you a super-smooth running experience that significantly lessens the impact on your joints and knees.
The onboard computer on this treadmill comes loaded with 21 ready to use exercise programs to keep you challenged and in amazing shape the entire time you have the treadmill! Which, by the way, should be quite a while. There's also a fan built in to keep you cool, built-in step tracking (Intelli-Step), and some really nifty safety features on board as well.
The best thing about the LifeSpan TR4000i has to be its folding ability, with the treadmill able to easily be folded down and stowed away, taking up significantly less space in your home, basement, or garage.
The other obvious reason for its inclusion on the list is a nice, long 60" running surface! Perfect for runners with long legs.
Potential Drawbacks: Overall, the console on the LifeSpan model is a little simplistic and doesn't quite hold up to competition, some reviewers note, despite the TR4000i's host of cool features. Other reviewers complained with some issues with the drive mechanism / motor after a few months of use, though, for the most part LifeSpan customer service seems to be quick to jump on the case.
Best High-End Treadmill for Tall Runners: Assault Fitness AirRunner
Overview: Interested in something a little different? The AirRunner definitely fits the bill. What is an AirRunner, you might be asking... well, it's not too dissimilar from a rowing machine, where instead of preset speed and resistance settings, your own work and effort set the pace. An AirRunner is powered by your feet, where you're free to run as fast or slow as you'd like as long as you're powering the belt forward. It mimics a more natural stride, helps with real-world running form, and burns more calories than a traditional treadmill. It also comes with a 62" long running surface. Hooray!
Belt Length: 62"
Max Speed: N/A (no maximum speed)
Max Incline: N/A
Why We Like It: This is a crazy cool piece of equipment. A self-powered treadmill that runs on your own effort and energy? In some ways it mimics a hamster wheel, and is designed to better simulate real-world running and keep you from forming an artificial stride. The contour and movement pattern are also significantly more challenging than a normal belt drive treadmill, and Assault claims you'll burn 30% more calories this way.
A simple on board computer tracks your distance and calories, but other than that this is free-running at its finest, perfect for HIIT, marathon training, and more.
It's also rated to last for 150,000 running miles. So this thing should keep you busy for a while!
As for the running surface itself, it's a whopping 62" long, making this an awesome fit for bigger athletes
Potential Drawbacks: This may not be the best fit for everyone, as it's super pricey and designed mostly for high-intensity training, so you can mimic what it's like to run on real ground in the comfort and convenience of your home. If you're looking for a more traditional treadmill experience, or just a cheaper option, the AirRunner is probably not for you.
What to look for when buying a long belt treadmill
There are a couple of important things you should consider before you put down a big investment in a treadmill for home.
The biggest thing, of course, is the length of the treadmill and/or the length of the actual belt or running surface.
On average, treadmills have a belt length of about 55", or 4' 7". If you're taller than around 5' 10" or so and like to run fast (longer strides), you'll want a treadmill that's at least 60" long.
Here are a few things to consider:
- Cost: Unfortunately, getting a longer belt just seems to correlate with higher cost. In general, the better constructed and more durable treadmill brands are expensive, but that seems to apply extra to treadmills for taller runners. Expect to pay at least $1000 for a good quality treadmill that will fit your stride length.
- Stride Length: 60+ inches is a pretty good starting point for belt length, but to be sure of exactly what you need, you might want to measure you stride while running. An easy, though inexact, way to do it is to run a set distance (say, 50 feet), and count how many steps you take. Then, divide the total distance by your number of strides to get distance per stride. Ideally, the belt length of your treadmill would be greater than your stride length by a few inches just to be sure.
- Weight Limit: If you're over 6' tall, you may just want to double check the weight limit on your treadmill before you buy. Most are rated to hold 300lbs, at least, of capacity, and many can handle up to 350lbs or more. But if you're a big dude, just keep an eye on that number and be sure you buy a treadmill that will comfortably support you during runs.
It's not often the case, but sometimes the cheapest option is actually best. And I think that definitely applies to the long-belt treadmill market.
The affordable Nordictrack C990 is just an awesome all-around machine and should be long enough to comfortably accommodate most runners. Its combination of belt length, reputable brand, onboard features, and solid construction are really hard to beat, along with the fact that it's the cheapest option on my list.
If you're not thrilled with the options above, and want to check out some other models (or if you're extremely tall, like over 6' 5") you might try the, quite expensive, Landice L8 Cardio (63" belt length and 22" width).
But I think for most people, the Nordictrack is going to be the way to go and keep things in-budget.
Get the full specs and read customer reviews of my favorite inversion table, the Nordictrack C990 on Amazon.