NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS5i Review (Discontinued)

Editor's Rating: 9 /10
Update: This model has been discontinued. To find a suitable replacement, check out our treadmill finder here.


Ever felt like you were walking on air? Ultra low-impact exercise is promised with the new iFit-enabled NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS5i. This clever fitness machine is compact yet full of possibility to help you get toned while minimizing the risk of injury. It offers a long stride range and serves as three fitness machines: Use the FreeStride Trainer as a low-impact treadmill, elliptical trainer or stairclimber! The maximum stride is 38″ and the grade range is -10% to +10%.

To make fitness easier, the FreeStride Trainer FS5i has dozens of built-in programs and is also designed for use with iFit. Unlimited programming can be accessed with an iFit membership, and programming can stream on the trainee’s own tablet computer. The neatest feature is how the trainer automatically tilts to follow a built-in program or mimic terrain mapped by Google.

Compared with a treadmill, the NordicTrack FS5i demands little space and is especially gentle on joints. But is it the best treadmill alternative for your home gym? The maximum resistance for this trainer makes it best for beginners: There are 22 levels, but the maximum resistance is just 16 pounds. Higher resistance is available on other models in this series. Here are other factors to consider.

What We Like:

The innovative FreeStride lineup has earned lots of fans. Here are specs behind the positive customer reviews.

  • Easy Assembly: Easy assembly is rare in the treadmill industry. With NordicTrack FreeStriders, you can save about an hour or more compared with traditional treadmill setup. Expect to spend about 10 or 20 minutes to set up the FS5i and sync your tablet computer for iFit.
  • Low Impact: The FreeStrider FS5i is a good treadmill alternative for someone who wants a vigorous workout but wants to reduce stress on their knees and ankles.
  • Three in One: The FreeStrider F5Si is part of a unique family. It does the work of three fitness machines — a treadmill, elliptical and stairclimber — but takes up less space and can be folded for storage. Changing your muscle targeting in the course of a single workout is easy; just change your stride. Controls are placed on the handlebars and on the console.
  • Long Stride: Accommodating a maximum 38″ stride, the FreeStrider FS5i accommodates long inseams like a runner’s treadmill would, but without the heavy impact of landing. It nearly doubles the stride of a traditional elliptical trainer too.
  • Incline/Decline: The new FS5i (but not the older version) has both incline and decline for incredible muscle toning and practicing for real-life courses. Working out on an incline can also relieve stress on joints and speed up the metabolism. The incline and decline are automated for quick changes during workouts.
  • Handle-Based Controls: Buttons on the handlebars can adjust speed and incline. You can also adjust these variables on the console.
  • Built-In Programs: Excellent workout variety is provided with 32 preset programs. These draw from 22 resistance levels and a wide incline/decline range.
  • iFit Enabled: iFit takes the NordicTrack FreeStrider FS5i online. Using your own mobile device, you can access hundreds of video workouts and download a new customized workout every day. iFit also lets you virtually glide, stride or climb through any route you set in Google Maps.
  • Water Bottle Holder: Staying hydrated is convenient with an integrated water bottle holder.
  • High Capacity: The FreeStrider can hold up to 350 pounds.
  • Transport Wheels: Pop-out wheels on the NordicTrack FreeStrider make it easy to move the machine.
  • Good Warranty: Owners get a good warranty deal with lifetime coverage on the frame and five years for parts. Labor is free for two years.

NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS5i Treadmill - Key Specs:

Star Rating:4.5-stars
Incline:-10 to 10% Power-Adjustable
Running Area:n/a
Top Speed:n/a
Weight Capacity:350 LBS
Dimensions:68.4" L x 28.5" W x 62" H
Built-In Programs:32 Workout Apps
What We Don’t Like:

  • Resistance: The 16-pound flywheel is best for beginners. People who have more experience working their “elliptical muscles” might outgrow this trainer quickly.
  • Price: Serving as a three-in-one trainer, the FreeStride Trainer costs more than the typical home treadmill.

Our Verdict:

The new NordicTrack FreeStride Trainer FS5i (2016 version) could be worth the investment. The main potential drawback is that the maximum resistance is relatively light; more experienced athletes will want a greater challenge and might expect a smoother ride. For beginners, although it costs more than a traditional treadmill, this multifunctional machine provides a good challenge. It’s unlikely to get old, too, thanks to an iFit-enabled console. Purchased directly from NordicTrack it has all parts under warranty for five years.