PHOTO: Treadly
(CNN) —  

Just when you thought you couldn’t spend another minute inside your own home, meet a new home fitness product that actually makes you want to: Treadly.

For background: I’m a walker. I’ve been walking for exercise since I was a teen. I have been known to walk, walk, walk up to 10 miles a day during the pandemic, finding solace and comfort in city blocks and green spaces. I don’t love treadmills — I would much rather be walking outside. But when schedule/weather/something else prohibits that, the so-called “world’s thinnest treadmill,” which is also super smart (aka offering a live social component), makes a more than fine stand-in. And for those who actually love treadmill exercise, there’s a lot to love with Treadly 2, the second-generation home treadmill from this company.

PHOTO: Treadly
  • Treadly 2 (starting at $749, originally $849; treadly.co)

For starters, Treadly 2 is an admirably compact size. Treadly, while perhaps not designed specifically for a city apartment, works brilliantly in one. It is extra slim, and smaller and lighter than a standard-issue treadmill. It stands 3.7 feet tall and weighs 77 pounds, and when folded up it can fit underneath a bed or couch, or rest against a wall.

Our Treadly 2 Pro at home
PHOTO: Elizabeth Wallace
Our Treadly 2 Pro at home

Treadly is surprisingly easy to assemble. You can take it right out of the box, plug it in and boom, you’re walking or running in minutes. Given that ease, though, it isn’t at all flimsy; in fact, be careful if you’re unboxing and assembling this alone. Nearly 80 pounds of weight requires some muscle and care to pull out of its box and move to another room or up or down a flight of stairs — you don’t want this equipment dropped or falling onto someone or something. It feels lightweight enough to be movable from one room to another (there are wheels on one end) if needed but heavy enough that I was happy to find a place for it and let it live there.

The design is sleek and sophisticated. The base is lightweight, with markings indicating the walker’s placement for the automatic pace function. The handrail is also lightweight and can be stored in the compact folded-down position when the machine is not in use. When you lift the handrail to 45 degrees and let go, it slowly rises to a 90-degree position automatically, avoiding any accidental or potentially dangerous popping up of the handrail during use — just one of a few thoughtful, innovative design elements.

On the Treadly 2 Pro, which is what we tested, the handrail has been updated from a previous model (known as the Treadly 2 Basic that instead comes with a remote control and less smart connectivity for $100 cheaper) with on, off, pause and speed control buttons, a big red emergency stop button and a switch from manual to automatic pacing. The treadmill can also be turned on and off and adjusted through the app, but more on that in a minute.

Treadly
PHOTO: Treadly
Treadly's base, which shows time, distance, steps and more

Treadly
PHOTO: Treadly
Treadly's handrail, which allows you to control speed and has an automatic shutoff button

Back to the walking: With the automatic setting, Treadly gauges your speed and either increases or decreases its pace, based on where you’re standing on the running pad (if you’re in the front third, it ups the speed; in the back third, it slows it down automatically). And you can lock the handrail in place if you need support during running (speed goes up to 5 miles per hour) or lay it flat for leisurely walking. There’s a master on/off switch at the base of the Treadly, but when the machine is on and the treadmill has either been stopped on the handrail control or idling for more than a few minutes, it goes into sleep mode. It can be turned on again with two specific foot taps to the running belt — another thoughtful design detail that keeps Treadly from accidentally starting up again with unintentional contact by, say, a child or a pet.

PHOTO: Treadly

Treadly also comes equipped with a Bluetooth speaker so you can play audio from a phone, tablet or laptop, and the company is updating the product design with a handrail-attachable holder for a phone or tablet.

The walking and running experiences feel absorbent on your feet (though not as much as a full-size treadmill you’d find at a gym) and effective as a cardio exercise. The machine is certainly easy and convenient (I set mine up in front of the TV), but it’s not silent. When a user is walking or running, the belt makes a whirring sound that is definitely audible, though not offensively loud or terribly distracting. And, in our home at least, footsteps walking or running on the belt also reverberated as noisy footsteps — you might not want someone walking on this in the same room as someone else doing a Zoom call, for example, or trying to watch a show with quiet dialogue. In my city home, I set up the Treadly on an old hardwood floor that may not have the same insulation as other homes, so sound issues may vary by user.

Finally, a Treadly 2 Pro benefit that positions it as a contender to other home stationary bikes with live and virtual classes and a social community: the app. The Treadly app, which is being refreshed and is expected to be rereleased soon, not only tracks all of your steps through the machine (as well as any other data you add) and syncs it with your smartwatch, but it also invites you to become part of a Treadly community, something the brand is building.

The Treadly app
PHOTO: Treadly
The Treadly app

You’ll get access to live workout and walking groups that you can join by video, and the option to create your own. The app will suggest groups you might want to join based on common interests — vegan walkers, those with 15K-steps-a-day goals and busy parents in your geographic proximity, for example — or allow you to create your own that others can join. You’ll be able to chat with other Treadly users, work out with a live instructor, take and share workout selfies with other users and find walking or running inspiration without ever leaving the house (aka the New Normal).

Now starting at just under $750, Treadly certainly isn’t cheap, but it feels durable and long-lasting, and I could see this replacing a gym membership altogether. And for runners out there, it is certainly more affordable than, say, Peloton Tread (starting at $2,495) or Echelon Stride (starting at $1,338.98). For those who are ready to get back into workout classes and the social life that comes with it, or just really love the routine of treadmill walking, there’s an awful lot to embrace here.

  • Treadly 2 (starting at $749, originally $849; treadly.co)