The Best Affordable Running Shoes Reviewed

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Looking for the best cheap running shoes? We have tested the top 10 shoes priced under $100 in 2017. Pick the best rated choices right here!

Being an athlete or just running once in a while isn’t cheap. Athletic clothing is increasingly high-tech and with that comes a fatter price tag. Plenty of times, a nice workout outfit turns out being just as expensive as a fancy outfit for a nice dinner. With running shoes, though, you don’t always have to splurge for the best quality shoes. As it turns out, some of the most affordable running shoes are also some of the highest quality running shoes.

Sure, you’ve got to consider support, cushion, and flexibility when you’re buying running shoes. You’ve got to like how they look and feel. But one of the top things we look for in running shoes is affordability. You want a shoe that’s going to last a long time, have the highest quality features, and look really good – all for as cheap as possible. Thankfully, there are plenty of well-known and trustworthy brands that also make the most affordable running shoes.

We have good news: expensive shoes are not necessarily better shoes. It turns out that plenty of highly affordable shoes are also remarkably high quality as well. If you want the best running shoes you can get but you’ve only got so much cash to spend, check out the most cost effective options below.

Our Top Picks Under $100
New Balance 630
  • New Balance 630
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • XLT footbed
  • Price: See Here
Saucony Cohesion
  • Saucony Cohesion
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Heel Grid system
  • Price: See Here
Reebok Zpump Fusion
  • Reebok Zpump Fusion
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Famous "pump" in the heel
  • Price: See Here

 

10 Best Cheap Running Shoes

 

10. Nike Lunaracer

The Lunaracers are ultra-lightweight and flexible. They’re exceptionally well-made and versatile. Lunaracers make great daily trainers and racing shoes alike. They’re some of the most high-quality running shoes available from Nike, and they’ve got the style to match.
Pros
  • Carbon rubber outsoles for great traction
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Flexible
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Lunarlon midsole for responsive ride
Cons
  • The fit seems a bit tight at first

9. Merrell All Out Peak

With multicolored soles, uppers, and zigzag patterns on the sides, these are some fashion-forward trail running shoes. The All Out Peaks are made for tough, long runs on the trails. Because of this, they’re strong on stability and support. Their comfort is unparalleled, and they’re light enough to work as daily trainers and moderate running shoes as well. These are some of the most high-quality running shoes out there, especially where comfort is concerned.
Pros
  • Breathable upper
  • Great comfort and support
  • Hyperwrap 360 Degree Fit System for stability and snug fit
  • TrailProtect tech protects the sole from rough terrain
Cons
  • They do seem to run a bit narrow

8. Brooks Adrenaline ASR

The Adrenaline ASRs are comfortable and stable but retain flexibility as well. They’re durable and long-lasting shoes that take over the trails and roads alike. When it comes to top-notch tech, the Adrenaline ASRs easily make the most high-quality running shoes list. Fancy technology allows the shoes to fit specific to your foot shape, to absorb shock and provide strong take-offs, and to last longer than the typical running shoe.
Pros
  • BioMoGo DNA midsole adapts to foot shape for fantastic cushion and support
  • Flexible
  • Full-length segmented crash pad for smooth transitions
  • GORE-TEX waterproof membrane keeps upper protected
  • Outsole has great traction
Cons
  • Some found the fit a bit loose, but each foot is different

7. Saucony Excursion TR

So you’re a maximalist. And you’re looking for a shoe to match your personality. Well, look no further than the Saucony Excursion TR. Although they weigh in on the heavy side, the Excursions are long hike and adventure-ready. Trail runners applaud the durability and comfort of these shoes. If runners crave a little extra support, these make for high-quality trainers as well.
Pros
  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Heel grid tech protects heel from heavy impact
  • Molded IMEVA midsole cushion for support and shock absorption
  • Soft and padded lining for snug, comfortable fit
  • XT-600 rubber outsole with lug pattern for traction and protection on various terrains
Cons
  • They are a bit stiff

6. Nike Flex Run

These are some hot running shoes! The Nike Flex Runs are some of the most high-quality running shoes and they’re also some of the most attractive. The classic swoosh is big on display, and the shoe is available in a handful of bright to neutral colors. These running shoes are highly lightweight and flexible. For runners craving a more natural and minimalistic running experience, these are a great pick.
Pros
  • Attractive and available in many colors
  • Breathable and lightweight upper
  • Breathe Tech mesh and foam for all around breathability
  • Flex grooves for natural foot movement
  • Phylon midsole unit for responsive take-offs
Cons
  • The fit is a bit narrow

5. Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 Ultra

There is something about the S-Lab Senses that just looks strong. Maybe it’s the tough, highly durable heel. Maybe it’s the smooth construction. Maybe it’s the clean design. Maybe it’s the entire package. These trail running shoes provide great support and cushioning from the trails to the streets. They’re jam-packed with the latest in running shoe technology from EndoFitTM to Profeel Film. What’s that? Read on.
Pros
  • Anti-debris mesh keeps the outside out
  • EndoFitTM wraps foot for snug, secure fit
  • Lug design for great grip on all surfaces
  • Profeel Film tech for balance and protection
  • Quick-dry air mesh wicks sweat
  • Quick-lace system for snug fit
  • Stable, well-cushioned midsole
Cons
  • The upper isn't as breathable as many would like

4. Nike Free Run

It’s shocking how many colors the Free Runs come in and how exciting and fun they are. For those looking for a lightweight and flexible running shoe, these are some of the most high-quality running shoes out there. They’re low on support which attracts minimalists looking for a natural running experience. Because these shoes are so light, they really keep you going whether you’re sprinting, training, running long distances, or practicing other athletic activities.
Pros
  • Breathable mesh upper
  • Diagonal cuts through arch for natural motion
  • Great cushioning
  • Smooth, responsive ride
  • Super flexible
  • Textured mesh inner sleeve for sock-like fit
Cons
  • Not ideal for those who need more arch support


3. Nike Free Flyknit

You can’t go wrong with Flyknits. You just can’t. They’re frequently at the top of the most high-quality running shoes lists, and for so many reasons. The Flyknits are highly colorful, playful, and fashionable in design. There’s a great big handful of colors and styles to choose from. Just buying these shoes makes you feel cool, not to mention trying them out. They’re highly lightweight and comfortable for runners who want that free, minimalistic feel.
Pros
  • Available in plenty of colors and designs
  • Flywire sides for snug fit
  • Knit-in ventilation holes for breathability
  • Stretchy polyester yarn upper for breathability and flexibility
  • Very lightweight
Cons
  • Full flexibility takes a little breaking in


2. Salomon Speedcross CS

Looking for a shoe that can take you down any trail and all day long? The Speedcrosses have arrived. The Speedcrosses are absolutely serious running shoes and some of the most high-quality running shoes the market has to offer. Just a look at them, and you’re sold on the bright to neutral color options, strong tread, and no-nonsense quick-lacing system. Speedcrosses are great for short to moderate runs and daily training. In particular, Speedcrosses were made to handle all terrains and weather conditions. These babies are strong.
Pros
  • Anti-debris mesh upper
  • Comfortable Ortholite insole
  • Dual-density EVA midsole for comfort and support
  • Mudguard tech at shoe base
  • Protective rubber toe cap
  • Quick-lacing system for easy on, easy off
  • Semi-waterproof upper
Cons
  • Runs small and narrow


1. Asics Gel Venture

If you’re looking for a shoe that can take you on any adventure, go for the GEL Venture. ASICS strikes gold again with the Venture, a shoe that’s versatile enough for daily training, trail running, and short and long workouts alike. The Ventures are some of the most high-quality running shoes thanks to high-tech features, unparalleled comfort, and reliable support.
Pros
  • Great grip for various terrains
  • More affordable than most shoes on this list
  • Rarefoot Gel Cushioning for shock absorption and smooth transitions
  • Roomy enough for wider feet
  • Supportive for runners with extra needs like flat feet and plantar fasciitis
Cons
  • Some sizing issues

 

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The Criteria Used When Choosing The Best Affordable Running Shoes:

 

Price Vs. Rating

Our research shows that contrary to popular belief, an expensive running shoe does not necessarily mean a high performing, top rated running shoe. In fact, we found that a majority of the most expensive running shoes that you can find on the market are actually not rated high at all. They fall within mediocre rankings time and time again. We compared inexpensive running shoes with the ratings and experience that were associated with them to bring our readers a comprehensive list of the best options.

 

Reviews From Everyday Runners

We listened to what everyday runners from all walks of life had to say about their shoes. Eliminating any potential biases or influences is key when searching for trustworthy feedback that you can count on. When looking for the best options, keep in mind that in today’s competitive market, manufactures are paying for athletic endorsements, product placements in movies, and social media celebrity sponsors. We eliminated all the hype associated with running shoe selection and listened to what real world runners had to say about their footwear.

 

Features And Style

Because a running shoe is inexpensive, it doesn’t mean that it should skimp on features or not have a sense of style. Our buying guide is jam packed with footwear that incorporates the latest in running shoe technology and looks great doing it. We are happy to report that manufactures are very interested in providing consumers with affordable choices that leave nothing to be desired in terms of shoe tech or current style trends. No matter which running shoe you pick, you will have a great combination of form and function for a great price.

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Weight

According to seasoned runners, weight may be a significant factor involved in selecting a more affordable shoe if you are not careful. Using lightweight materials may cost more than heavier counter parts for providing cushioning and padding. We made sure to select options that give you the lightest possible ride thanks to lightweight materials. Certain companies have developed advanced manufacturing techniques to keep their price low while still providing runners with airy and lightweight fabrics and padding.

 

Maximum Durability = Maximum Value

We did not overlook the fact that an affordable running shoe is only as good as it’s durability. If a running shoe falls apart on you after three months of wear, it will actually cost you more money to replace them with a new pair. When determining durability we started by taking a look at the outsole material and how well it holds up to the elements and long term wear. Midsoles need to maintain a solid level of comfort while not giving out as more miles are added. The uppers should be comprised of strongly constructed materials with solid seams. Again, we reached out to trusted feedback partners to learn more about how the shoes on our list stood up to the test of time and consistent running. Since the most durable of running shoes are constructed from the ground up, it’s important to look at all the components of the footwear.

 

 Important Things to Consider When Selecting Your Running Shoes

If you’re a reader that is just getting into running, we wanted to make sure that we provided you with information that you should look for when selecting you next pair of running shoes, and every pair after that, regardless of price.

In order to provide the best selection of affordable running shoes for you to choose from, we took into consideration the following the criteria before researching and compiling our list.   The following are things to consider when shopping for any running shoe, but especially when choosing a shoe from this list.

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What Type Of Terrain Will You Encounter?

It is important to consider the types of surfaces you will be coming across on your run. Runners that start their regimen with a light outdoor run tend to stick to their workouts more than those who just treadmill run. If you are going for outdoor trails, select a more aggressive tread pattern that can help with the occasional puddle and loose dust and sand. Check your choice’s stability information as well if you are planning on mixing gym workouts with outdoor workouts to give you a better well rounded option.

 

Your Selection Should Match Your Foot Type.

A well known runner’s motto is “Know Thy Feet”. This means that if you have high arches, you should make a selection that offers you maximum support. That way when you step, your feet don’t roll inward and you maximize your effort with every step. If you have flatter feet, then you should look for an option with more cushioning to absorb the impact of landing on the outside boarders of your feet. Another trick is to take a look at the bottom of your old shoes and take note of any uneven wear that may be occurring, this can tell you a lot about the way you step.

 

 Don’t Go To Major Department Stores!

We have put together an excellent buying guide to provide you with an excellent selection based on performance and reviews, this does not add any cost to the footwear’s price. However you choose to purchase you running shoes, you should avoid major department stores at all costs (pun intended). Research has found that markup on prices is the highest at department stores than it is anywhere else. Additionally, the salesperson is typically not aware of the many factors that should go into selecting the right pair of running shoes.

 

Don’t Buy Into Gimmicks.

Always keep in mind that all those athletes and celebrities are getting paid to endorse their brands. Don’t be fooled or distracted by the “marketing fog” that surrounds every type of purchase decision. Always remember to make selections that offer the amount of cushion, stability, protection, and traction that you need and that is specific to you. The goal is to make a wise investment that will help you on your runs and keep your feet happy.

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FAQ

 

We understand that there may be additional questions when it comes to finding an affordable running shoe that’s perfect for you.  Take a look at the following most frequently asked questions that may help you figure out which affordable running shoe to choose.

Q: I’m planning on doing a lot of running; can I still count on affordable running shoes?

A: Absolutely. All evidence indicates that an inexpensive running shoe is just as good as an inexpensive one, as long as you make an informed and educated choice. All the selections in our buying guide have been put through their paces and have proven themselves. So whether it’s for light training or a full marathon, these shoes pass muster.

 

Q: I’ve found an affordable running shoe that is right for me; what now?

A: If you’ve found a shoe that’s both affordable and works perfects for you, then you may want to consider purchasing an additional pair.   When a new version of a shoe comes out, the old model is usually discounted.  If you wait too long, many retailers may be sold out of your size or color option.  If the price is right, its definitely worth considering picking up that extra pair which may even save you money in the long run.

 

Q: I found an affordable pair of running shoes, but they aren’t my style. Should I get them anyways? It’s a great deal.

A: Not so fast. We don’t ever recommend buying a pair of running shoes if you are not happy with how they look. Yes, we focus on features and important factors like cushioning and stability, but a lot can be said about style. Research shows that when you are happy with the looks of your running shoe, you are more likely to run (both more often and longer). So, first match your individual needs with your running shoe selection, then make sure you are pleased with the aesthetics of the shoe.

 

Q: What can I do to prolong the lifespan of my running shoes?

A:  A great way to prolong the lifespan of your shoes is to rotate your shoes with a second pair, in order to let the cushioning recover and for moisture to dry.  You can also wash your shoes so that it is free from debris.  However, make sure to follow the manufacture’s directions when it comes to cleaning.  Many shoes don’t do well in the washer/dryer, and could wear the shoe down faster.

 

Q: I have flat feet; is my only choice to get those expensive specialized shoes?

A: Nope. Take a look at some of the options on our list. There are running shoes that received excellent marks from users that suffer from Plantar Fasciitis and flat feet. It used to be that only specialized footwear could aid in certain conditions, but luckily those days are long gone as manufactures have taken note and really stepped up their game in order to provide a choice for every need. Additionally, don’t forget about over the counter orthotics that can add an extra layer of cushioning or support, depending on your needs.

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When selecting a shoe, remember to consider the above factors as well as your own personal preferences and needs.  A shoe, regardless of price, is an investment not only on your wallet but on your health as well.  We hope that this guide provided you with useful information that will allow you to choose the shoe that is right for you.  Thanks for reading!


Where we found some of our information

In order to provide you quality information, we used a variety of up-to-date information from a variety of sources. We also use feedback from everyday runners in order to research and compile this list.  We make sure to research all criteria and products in depth in order to provide the best possible information to you. The following are the sources that helped us with this guide:

Sources

  1. Competitor, Running 101: How To Select The Best Pair Of Running Shoes, Running Website,
  2. Runner’s World, How to Buy the Right Running Shoes, Running Website, May 15, 2017
  3. The Washington Post, The Washington Post, News Publication,
  4. Amazon, Amazon, User Reviews,
  5. Runner's Need, How To Choose The Right Shoes For You, Running publication,
  6. The Running Clinic, Selecting Your Own Running Shoe, Running publication,
  7. WebMD, 10 Tips for Choosing Athletic Shoes, Clinical information publication,
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