Pro-Form Crosswalk 397 Treadmill Review

Kevin Tracy on the Pro-Form Crosswalk 397
The Pro-Form Crosswalk 397 is obviously small for a 6′-6″ giant like the great and powerful Kevin Tracy. (Photo by: Krista)

Krista (my fiancee and wife as of June 22, 2013) and I recently purchased a Pro-Form Crosswalk 397 from Sears.  We picked it up on sale for $360, but the retail price is supposedly $599.

ASSEMBLY

There was a bit more assembly required than I thought necessary.  It wasn’t bad though. An unnecessary hassle in my opinion was the need to route a control cable from the Pro-Form Crosswalk 397 motor, through the base, through the right leg, through the handle, and to the control console (that thing that lets you set the speed and incline).  The long, narrow spaces were very difficult to pull the cable through, even with the help of the twist ties and pulling string.  This could have easily been solved by having cables and connectors dedicated to each piece of the Pro-Form Crosswalk 397.  Further, it seems like it would have made more sense to pre-assemble the handles and legs and simply rotate them 180 degrees in the packaging; which would have made assembly a that much easier.

Another problem we had was with holes being drilled incorrectly in the handles.  As a result, I managed to strip one screw using a the provided allen wrench when it was just 1/4th of the way in.  The other I got half way in before stripping it.  This tells me two things.  First, they should fire the Chinese worker they hired to drill these holes or cast the molds.  Second, they used cheaper Chinese metal to make the screws (and probably everything else) for the Pro-Form Crosswalk 397.  I thought this would be okay until we tried installing the control console to the top and the console wouldn’t fit because one of those screws was in the way.  We eventually worked everything out by finding a comparable screw at the Ace Hardware in Chesterton, Indiana.

Seriously, if you ever need something specific like that, Ace Hardware is ridiculously helpful in getting you in and out the door without any hassle.

DESIGN

I actually preferred the look of the console on the Pro-Form Crosswalk 395 than the Crosswalk 397. However, these were exactly the same machines and had the same retail prices, but sale price of the Crosswalk 397 was $30 cheaper, so we got the Crosswalk 397.

The Pro-Form Crosswalk 397 suffers from a few functional design problems; which I’ll detail here. The first being running deck; which is a total of 50″ long.  5′ 6″ Krista doesn’t have much of a problem running on this thing, but as a 6′ 6″ ogre, the deck is a bit short.  One long step and one cell phone video later, my legacy would change from “a brilliant conservative philosopher at the turn of the century” to “that fat guy who face planted on his treadmill and then went viral on YouTube.”

The second problem with the treadmill that was apparent pretty early was the narrow foot rests on either side of the running surface. I am an ogre, but I have relatively small feet (Men’s, Size 12).  The areas were barely half the width of my foot, making it much more suitable for women with smaller feet. Krista feet (Women’s, 9-1/2) still don’t have a lot of room, but she was obviously better off than me.

This treadmill also advertises that it is compatible with your Apple iPod.  I think that statement is intentionally misleading.  The Pro-Form Crosswalk 397 does have speakers (which are pretty nice for being in exercise equipment) and it does have an auxiliary audio port.  That’s it though.  The Pro-Form Crosswalk 397 will NOT charge your iPod.  There is no iPod or iPhone dock.  You can buy the necessary cable to hook your iPod or iPhone to this treadmill’s speakers (or your car’s speakers) on Amazon at a very reasonable price.

Finally, there’s no cup or bottle holder. WTF, I mean seriously!

Even my lawn mower has that.

Okay, but complaining aside, the Pro-Form Crosswalk 397 Treadmill does come with some neat features, including the crosswalk bars. Having long legs, I often find myself holding on to the bars of the treadmill for fear of that viral face plant. Unfortunately, that means that my arms and upper body aren’t getting the workout that normal walking or running would provide. The crosswalk bars give you something to hold on to, but still let you move your arms freely. Unfortunately, the bars are positioned a way too low for me, so I’m still grabbing onto that solid bar in front of me.

Watching Krista, I notice that she does make more of an effort to use the bars, but even she says that they are too short for her. These bars might have been a great asset to the Pro-Form Crosswalk 397 if they were adjustable. Krista is thrilled that Pro-Form Crosswalk 397’s console has an accessory platform (which she’s using to keep her water bottle). She also likes that there’s a ledge for her to put a book so she can read while walking.  I was personally impressed with how soft the running surface was. I don’t know how long that surface is supposed to hold up for, but if it lasts all three years of our warranty, I’ll be thrilled. It’s like running on turf instead of pavement without the resistance that turf can sometimes provide.

PERFORMANCE

The Pro-Form Crosswalk 397 does what it’s supposed to do. It provides an excellent workout. With 15 pre-programmed work outs and the flexibility to set up your own work out by adjusting speed (up to 10mph) and incline (0% to 10%), no experiences have to be the same unless you want them to be.

One thing to keep in mind if you decide to get this treadmill is that the warm up and cool down periods for the two pre-programmed exercises we chose were very short. You do have the ability to warm up and cool down yourself by setting the treadmill manually, but most of the equipment I’ve used in the past with pre-programmed workouts do provide a longer and more beneficial warm up and cool down. As frustrating as these can be when you’re gung-ho and ready to run, it’s still important.

The single most impressive thing about this treadmill is how quiet it is. The 2hp motor is completely silent and most of the noise you hear from the Pro-Form Crosswalk 397 coming is from the belt going across running deck (which is just white noise after a bit). When someone is running on the Crosswalk 397, anyone else in the same room will realize that the softer surface of that pad is not only for comfort, but it also kills some of the sound made with each stomp of the foot.

LONGEVITY

I didn’t purchase this treadmill expecting it to last long. It’s smaller and looks a lot less sturdy than the comparable NordicTrack units at Sears. It was also a few hundred dollars cheaper. For that reason, we purchased the 3-year warranty from Sears with this product. I RARELY purchase an extended warranty because they are designed to end months before the equipment is scheduled to fail based on the quality of the working parts. However, I don’t think there’s any way this will withstand 3 years of use from us, so I’m calling Sears out on their warranty bluff.

I suspect that they can offer this warranty on the Pro-Form Crosswalk 397 because most customers aren’t going to use it regularly. Sure, if you use it only a few times a year, it will last a long time. With all of that said, I can’t write about how well the Pro-Form Crosswalk 397 holds up to the test of time until I have it for a little while. So, in one year, I will update this post and finish it with how well the Pro-Form Crosswalk 397 is holding up.

VALUE

The most important question is whether or not the Pro-Form Crosswalk 397 is worth the price.  It’s as simple as this.  At $360, the Crosswalk 397 is worth the price tag based on my first impressions.  It may even be a good value.  However, we would never have purchased this at $599.

Do you have any questions about the Pro-Form Crosswalk 397 before you buy it?  Leave a comment.

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Pro-Form Crosswalk 397 Treadmill Review, 4.4 out of 5 based on 8 ratings
Kevin Tracy is an Air Force veteran, terrorism/counterterrorism expert, and jack of all trades. KTracy's day job is designing electrical systems for new fossil power plants and environmental solutions. On the side, he keeps a blog, fundraises for political candidates and the St. Baldrick's Foundation, writes and illustrates comic books, and studies foreign affairs in depth.

27 thoughts on “Pro-Form Crosswalk 397 Treadmill Review”

    1. Here’s what I thought of this treadmill (it’s the silver-toned one, but same exact otherwise)
      A Pro-Form Crosswalk 395 Treadmill was delivered to my home today. I usually do not review a product after just one use, but this treadmill requires a review (WARNING) immediately. DO NOT BUY IT. If you’re given one as a gift, refuse delivery!

      Why I chose this one: I had been walking on a Pro-Form treadmill for the last eight years and a really inexpensive Weslo for 8 years prior to that. My Pro-Form XP 800 gave pretty good service, but was under a service agreement and a foot rail was broken; there was not a replacement part. Was told it was a liability issue, and therefore I should go get a new treadmill. I saw others that I liked better, but the placement in my home for a treadmill demands a small profile and everything else at Sears was larger than this model. And since I usually only walk, a large, heavy model is not required.

      Cons, not in any particular order:
      1. The console display does not light up. Makes it difficult to read but impossible in low-light if you’re watching TV while walking.
      2. It whines! Really, a very annoying high-pitched whine. But it does drown out the “tick, tick” sound that the tread makes.
      3. I made the mistake of running! Wanted to see how it would feel and sound on a new treadmill. If you don’t heed my advice to stay away from this model, get it only for walking. When I ran it sounded like someone was banging on a wooden door with a baseball bat. It thudded and sort of echoed. I’m not a big girl – 5’3 and average 108 lbs. Suffice to say, the “platform cushion” is non-existent. Any cushioning at all would not allow this banging noise. Nor, would one feel like one was running on concrete.
      4. The basic design is flawed. I usually walk at an incline of 7 and speed of 4 mph. And, being a klutz, I hold on with my right hand and swing my left arm. My hand hit the hand rail so many times, I expect black and blue marks tomorrow! And when I managed to not hit it – I hit that (stupid) upper body crossarm thing! With the design of my previous treadmill I did not have this problem.
      5. So, that right hand of mine that is holding on, suddenly realizes it’s being irritated. At closer inspection, the seamed finish of the metal on the “heart rate monitor” that I’m holding onto, is not smoothly finished. The left side is, the right side could cause injury!
      6. Back to the handrail! Who designed this? I can barely get my hand around this handrail. If I need to catch myself, wish me luck! My original ProForm did not have this issue. I always felt secure, but not on this model.
      7. I don’t really need a cup holder – there isn’t one – but I do like to have a phone and remotes handy. This console doesn’t really have room. There are three indents, all very shallow. Nothing of weight or size is going to stay put.
      8. The foot rail. I think it would accommodate a child’s foot, but not an adult. You cannot stand on the foot rail without standing on the tread as well, it is that narrow. And if you get totally off the tread, your foot is standing on the outer edge of the plastic rail, and it’s not flat. Puts your feet in a rather awkward position.
      9. I usually stretch, standing on the side foot rails and holding onto the handrail. On this treadmill, the entire front moves upwards off the floor when doing this! You get the feeling something is wrong with the entire design.
      Pros:
      None. Sadly. I really enjoyed my old ProForm and wish they had left a decent design alone. This one, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. It’s just bad.

      1. We’ve noticed the same thing with the loud banging noise when you run. Again, that’s why we got the warranty. There’s no way that thing is going to hold up for as long as SEARS says it will.

        Ours does have an illuminated display; which is something I was taking for granted perhaps.

        I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but during dry spells, the right handle bar can give you a pretty good shock. I suspect there’s a fault somewhere in the machine and the handle is (for some unknown reason) the path of least resistance. I think I’ve seen a spark inside a hole on the side a few times. However, I can’t confirm what’s causing it.

        The only reason I haven’t called for a repair is because we’re getting married next week and between the wedding preparations and working overtime, I don’t have time… and Krista is just insanely phone shy.

        1. First off, congrats on your upcoming marriage. We’re married so long – well suffice to say I’m surely married longer than you’ve been alive! You have the illuminated display? I wonder if mine is broken or what? Just got it today and I used language that most definitely conveyed my displeasure! Loud and often! My old ProForm was not expensive either, but it seemed to have a wee bit of quality. This – NOT! I did purchase the Sears extended warranty for 5 years. If this piece of poo makes it 5 weeks I’ll be amazed. So you have an illuminated display…hmmmmmmm.

        2. Question: Would that be a bright blue background with the display being in black? Or a grey ground and the display info in black? My old one appeared to be a bright blue light, easy to read in a dark room. This sucker is just black printed display and the background is grey.

          1. Thank you, and congratulations on staying married longer than your extended Sears warranty. :) That’s all too rare these days.

            I wouldn’t describe it as a “bright” blue background, but it is illuminated with the displays in black. I have found that it doesn’t need to be too bright at night to do the trick.

      2. Thanks for your comment by the way! I love hearing other people’s feedback. This is our first treadmill, so we don’t know what’s normal and what’s lousy.

  1. I have had mine for over a year.I weight 210 or less. I hammer mine some what daily for 2 months now . be fore off and on.not often but sometime even at 8 mile hr.belt needs adjusted once but it’s in great condition. I did put pads under it to lesson the impact to the floor.I’m happy with it.3.5-4.0 is all you need to burn fat anyway.

  2. how do i cahnge the time , i havnt figured out how i can move up too 45mins. if you kno how , can yu please explain tht to me =)

  3. I agree with you about the wiring harness – I actually had to order a new wiring harness after the original one got caught and I ended up stripping the wires before I ever got a chance to use it. Other than that I did not have that much trouble assembling it and so far it seems to be working well.

      1. Fortunately it was covered by the warranty. I bought the treadmill new and it didn’t work so I called the store where I bought it and they sent out a technician who ordered the wiring harness. I ended up putting in on with the help of someone who knew what they were doing.

  4. I bought the 397 and my whole family uses it for walking on incline. works great. i’ve noticed some fat burn, its only been week and half ;)

    i would like you guys’ feed back, if it burns belly fat effectively???

    1. It’s a treadmill. I still believe that you get a better workout walking or running outside because you find extra resistance on the ground and in the air. However, with 6 inches of snow on the ground here, that’s a bit more resistance than we’re looking for.

      Is it going to burn fat? More than you’ll burn sitting on your butt. Are thre more effective things you can do? I’m sure… but how doable or affordable are those things?

  5. I’ve had this one for a few months now, and I am happy enough with it. I’m a 206 lb 5’10 woman who just walks in the 3.0 to 4.0 mph range for weight loss. I had an earlier edition of this about 7 years ago, and it seems a bit more flimsy now. For example, the little tab that attach to you with a string, the “key,” is now thinner. I don’t dare open it enough to attach it, I just stick the thing in my pocket. The length of the tread surface is plenty long enough for me. Mine doesn’t have any whining sound. So, I feel that for your average, over-wieght, out of shape middle-aged woman who just needs to walk, or power walk, it is fine. I notice replacement tread and motor are available on Amazon.

    I just want to point one thing out. Of the treadmill models that are available at Sears, this is the shortest one. I measured them all, and this is the only one that was short enough to walk on and have my head not hit the low rafters in my basement. Since these things are such a b**** to assemble, you really don’t want to get on one for the first time and find you can’t use it in your low ceiling area. If anyone else has this potential problem, you should know that raising the incline does not cause your head to raise. Actually, the back end of the tread surface is sinking to make the incline. That’s my experience, anyway.

  6. Hi there. I’m about to buy this treadmill tomorrow! It’s barely been used. Do you still recommend it? I’m short, and most of the issues you mentioned don’t bother me, but I am concerned about longevity. I’m paying $150 for it. Please let me know! Thanks!

    1. For $150 it’s a good bargain. However, I’m not sure this is a good treadmill for running, even for a small person. There’s a lot of plastic and thin metal. Great for walking and power walking, but I’m not convinced it can hold up for long against running.

  7. And the “great and powerful” Kevin Tracy needs to hold onto that thing? Holding on instantly reduces your height by half a head, Lol !

    1. Haha! Yes, he does! All my height is in my legs and my stride is a little too long to use one of these without worrying about the end of the conveyor.

      It works great for my wife, who has virtually no height to speak of. :D

  8. HI,
    Finally found a treadmill on craigslist with the arm handles!! We moved from NY about a year ago and I sold my treadmill :(. I used to use it every day!! Gained 20 pounds since I sold it. I think that I might buy this…it’s so hard to find a treadmill with arm handles. I was looking through the reviews for the 397 and came across this one….hmmmmm….so confused now if I should buy it. The one I had in NY was a proform and was only a couple hundred dollars new and it lasted for 7 years…no issues. When I sold it, it was still in great condition….even after using it almost every day…running and walking. I think I’m going to get it…hmmmm…i think :/

  9. Found one on Craiglist today and they are listing it for $300…claiming rarely used.
    One…do you think they can transport it fully assembled? Wondering about that.
    Two…since it sounds like it’s small, it may fit perfectly in the bedroom which is where I would like it, since single, and live alone. Can I walk without holding the arms and just swing my arms?
    What should I offer this guy? He has had it posted for a month.
    I’m thinking $150 like the gal above.
    But mainly…can it be moved without assembly. That is my biggest concern after reading the issues with flimsy parts.
    I would just be using it for walking since I can’t walk in four feet of snow. Sigh.

    1. Hi Kelley,
      If you have a pickup truck or mini-van, I would imagine it can be moved fully assembled. If you have a smaller SUV, it might be iffy. There’s no way it’s fitting in a sedan unless you have a large opening to your trunk and drive with the door open. While it does feel a bit flimsy, I feel the flimsyness when putting a lot of stress on it and assembling it. Krista and I have clumsily moved this thing twice in our house without any issue. If it can survive being slammed into door frames and dropped on the floor from a foot up, it can survive even the worst Chicago-style potholes in the back of your vehicle.

      Even if it’s rarely used, I think $300 might be a bit much for it. I bought it brand new for $360. I certainly wouldn’t advise paying over $200 for it if it looks like it is in awesome condition and everything appears to be working when you test it out. Make sure to test it out before buying it! This is great for walking, but as I said above, I’m not sure this is a good running treadmill.

      1. I do think $150 is a fair price for a treadmill like this off Craigslist. The seller isn’t using it so it’s just cluttering up his space and it’s used. Just because he says its lightly used and doesn’t show any signs of wear doesn’t mean it wasn’t used. I wouldn’t go above $200, but I don’t know how desperate you are for a treadmill given the quickly changing weather this time of year.

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