You can run faster on a motorised treadmill but more energy appears to be expended whilst using a curved non-motorised treadmill

In August 2018 researchers from Italy and Norway published the results of their study to assess energy expended plus movement parameters in individuals using a motorised treadmill and a curved non-motorised treadmill. 25 individuals (average age 24 years, average weight 65 kg) walked at their preferred speed and then undertook an incremental running test (up to exhaustion) on both types of treadmill. Results showed that a significantly greater running speed was achieved on a motorised treadmill. However, no differences in heart rate or oxygen uptake were observed. A further analysis revealed that significantly greater energy was expended while either walking or running on a curved non-motorised treadmill when compared with a motorised treadmill (37% and 17%, respectively). The only major differences in movement parameters observed whilst using a curved non-motorised treadmill were probably due to factors such as the belt characteristics (e.g. friction, type of surface and curvature).

Bruseghini P et al. Metabolic and kinematic responses while walking and running on a motorised and a curved non-motorised treadmill. J Sports Sci. 2018 Aug 7:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]

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