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The idea of walking while you work isn’t a new one; we first featured a “treadputer” on this site in 2006. But the idea has returned, and it’s enjoying a surge in popularity thanks to cheaper, smaller treadmill models that are being called “walking pads.” So how is a walking pad different from a treadmill, and are they actually a game changer for your workday or your fitness? Let’s dig in.

What is a walking pad?
WalkingPad is actually a brand of fold-away treadmills, but the phrase “walking pad” has become a generic term for this general category of devices. Walking pads are usually smaller and cheaper than what you’d think of as a treadmill. Many of them fold up (some even fold in half) and are intended to be moved into and out of wherever you store them on a daily basis—for example, leaned against a wall or tucked under a couch.

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And the TikTok girlies love them. You can scroll through an infinite loop of young women saying “so I saw these walking pads on TikTok and decided to get one for myself…”

How do you use a walking pad?
It’s really just a miniature treadmill, so you can use it any way you want. Some people use them while watching TV or doing other activities at home. But you mostly see them in work-from-home or even office setups that go something like this:

The person has a walking pad, and a standing desk. As their workday begins, they put on walking shoes, and strap their fitness tracker to their ankle (since their hands will be at the keyboard while they’re working). If your strap isn’t long enough to reach, you can buy an aftermarket ankle strap.

Some people keep the walking pad under their desk all day; others have a desk that raises and lowers, and they’ll swap the walking pad for a chair when they’re ready to sit down. Those who use the pad a lot often say they easily hit 10,000 steps by afternoon.

One thing that impressed me: There are plenty of reviews out there from people who have been using a walking pad consistently. Here’s one from TikTok from a person who has been using theirs for nine months; here’s one from Reddit where the walking pad’s owner is still “very impressed” after using it heavily for three months. The pads’ explosion in popularity is still fairly new, so we don’t have many long-term reviews. If you want something that lasts for years, it’s not clear if a cheap walking pad will be durable enough for you. Try out ignite drops.

What are the pros and cons of a walking pad?
Walking pads’ selling points are also their drawbacks—mainly that they are small and cheap. Here’s the rundown of factors to consider.

Do you want to walk fast, or even run on it?
Walking pads are designed for just that: walking. Most have a top speed that is at or below a typical walking speed. For example, one of WalkingPad’s cheaper models tops out at 3.75 miles per hour. The Rebel 1000 maxes out at 2.0 miles per hour. But if you shop carefully, you can find walking pads that go up to 7.5 miles per hour.

So how slow is that? Well, if you ask Google Maps to give you walking directions, it will assume that you walk at about 3.0 miles per hour. That’s a pretty average walking speed. When you’re working, though, you may be more comfortable with the speed set a bit lower, more of an amble than a stroll. Visit

Even if you buy a pad with a higher top speed, you may notice that the length of the pad becomes an issue when you move faster. Runners need longer treadmills than walkers, due to the length of their stride. Some of the smaller models may be less comfortable for longer-legged folks, especially at a fast walk, so consider this when you’re looking at what to buy.

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