VR Treadmill: Gym Equipment With A Twist?

VR Treadmill: Gym Equipment With A Twist?

The world of virtual reality is one that seems to be expanding before our very eyes, with so many products now available to enjoy in this virtual existence. The VR treadmill is one of the more recent devices that aims to bring a whole new experience to the player, but the concept behind them isn’t quite what it seems.

Some might hear the term ‘VR treadmill’ and think of a workout device that lets you run on a virtual marathon or down the streets of your favorite city without ever leaving your lounge room. The reality is that VR treadmills are more aimed at the gaming crowd, but it hopefully won’t have that restriction for very long.

Man on a VR treadmill.

The average VR treadmill looks nothing like a treadmill you’d see at the gym, which is where the key difference is. These are more like platforms that allow you to stand inside and put on your VR gear, so that you can immerse your entire body into the simulation like never before.

Although their main purpose is for gaming, there are some developers who are aiming to turn these into fitness devices, however the technology may still be a little while away.

What Are The Best VR Treadmills On The Market?

When looking at any product in the virtual reality world, there seems to be a few key players that are doing things better than the rest. The same can be said for VR treadmills, with a few of the recent designs being considered some of the best on the market.

  • Virtuix Omni - Although a little bulkier than others, the Omni VR treadmills are quite impressive in terms of step response and sell for around $699. 
  • Cyberith Virtualizer - An extremely lightweight option for a VR treadmill and one that can be moved around quite freely, the Cyberith is quite hard to come by on the market.
  • KatWalk - Somewhat similar to the Virtuix Omni, the main difference of the KatWalk is the absence of a band which ties around the user’s waist, giving you much more freedom in movement.

How Do VR Treadmills Work?

Whenever you think about current VR applications, one thing that seems to be stopping users from enjoying the full experience is not being able to walk through worlds and universes like you can in everyday life.

The VR treadmill was designed as an answer to this issue and one that could be potentially used beyond gaming and entertainment, and one day for exercise too.

For the most part, VR treadmills all work in the same way, but with some slight differences depending on the machine. Generally, the user stands on the small platform and straps themselves in around the waist. 

The game begins and the platform moves as you need it to, just like you’d find on a standard treadmill.

An omnidirectional VR treadmill is considered to be the best choice, giving the user the ability to move in all directions just as they would in real life. When compared to an exercise treadmill, for example, that only allows you to walk one way, this could signal huge things for the exercise market in years to come.

Woman on a VR treadmill.

There are different designs emerging all the time, with innovations and updates making them more realistic to use and cheaper for the everyday user to enjoy.

However, as it currently stands these are quite expensive forms of VR gear and for those who prefer to walk around the room as they play, you won’t appreciate the confinement that standing on a platform offers.

Would A VR Treadmill Work For You?

Although the main purpose of these treadmills is for gaming, there is an increasing number of people and manufacturers using them for exercise.

Some of the bigger brands have been experimenting with using these platforms to enable people to work out in any location they wish, or to put themselves in virtual situations where they need to run, such as a zombie apocalypse or a safari chase in Africa.

As futuristic as it might sound, devices like this are signaling huge shifts in how we workout at home and the type of gym gear we use. One major thing holding us back is the price of a standard machine and the availability for the everyday user, so it will likely be some time before we see any VR treadmill on the market that’s aimed at the fitness demographic.

Even in the world of gaming it appears that VR treadmills still have quite a lot of fine tuning to go through before they become a novelty item.

If you’re thinking of investing in one to make your workouts more enjoyable, it might be best to wait a little while before taking the leap and give the developers a chance to perfect the technology more and bring the VR treadmill price down somewhat.

The Best Workout Equipment For Today’s User

It seems that the VR treadmill is still some time away from being a viable piece of workout gear, so for the time being the standard equipment will have to do.

However, there are still many great ways you can modernize your workouts and add some digital depth to your cardio machines including a TV installation, surround sound system, or holder for your tablet or smartphone.

Working out should always be a fun challenge, and thanks to the wonders of technology we’re now seeing a lot more entertainment when it comes to workout gear.

Man on a VR treadmill.

Although these futuristic treadmills are still yet to be enjoyed by the average fitness fanatic, there’s nothing stopping you from having an enjoyable and challenging workout when you choose the right piece of equipment to suit your needs.


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