The Best Affordable Running Shoes Reviewed

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Inexpensive running shoes are everywhere but not all of them are great options. In fact, many of them are cheap for a reason—many are not durable, effective, and some can even increase your chances of injury as well as diminish your overall performance. However, not everyone can justify making a big investment into an expensive, and a newly released pair of running. Shoes. In fact, I am sure it comes to no surprise that all running gear and accessories are pricey—and when you add up everything you need that number can be startling.

Luckily, there are plenty of excellent affordable alternatives that you can look into—especially if you are aren’t a seasoned runner that absolutely needs the best running shoes out there. The best affordable running shoes provide seasonal and hobby runners with many of the same benefits that more expensive options provide. They also come specifically design for specific types of feet and those with no arches. There are stylish options as well as others with features that will help you increase your speed and performance.

With all of the affordable options available it can be difficult to weed out the duds from the ones worth investing in. This is why we have taken the time to research and review the best affordable running shoes currently available in 2018.

Last Updated: June 17, 2018
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By Giselle Killebrew:

Check out our new additions from Under Armour, Nike, Brooks, and New Balance! All of these are excellent options for all runners and come at a great price!

Our Top Picks Under $100
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17
  • Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Price: See Here
Saucony Cohesion
  • Saucony Cohesion
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Heel Grid system
  • Price: See Here
New Balance Fresh Foam Veniz
  • New Balance Fresh Foam Veniz
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Attractive and Comfortable,
  • Price: See Here

 

10 Best Cheap Running Shoes

1. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17

1. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17
The Brooks Adrenaline models are excellent running shoes that provide great support, stability, and comfort. Often times the best way to save some money is simply by buying a previous model of currently popular and pricey shoes. The GTS 18 models are out, so these are available at a much affordable and budget worthy price!

These shoes feature a midfoot saddle for a secure fit and ample cushioning for maximum support and comfort. This feature also prevents blisters from forming and chafing from occurring.

2. Saucony Cohesion 10

2. Saucony Cohesion 10
If you are looking for a low cost quality shoe then look no further than the Saucony Cohesion 10. Sacucony is a quality brand that provides a quality running shoe, and the Cohesion 10 is no exception. The Cohesion 10 is comfortable and has very little break in time, wearable for running or heavy use right away. The shoes are lightweight, and use Saucony's GRID system to provide the most support possible. The Saucony Cohesion 10 will provide and long outlast other shoes that go for similar prices.
Pros
  • Little to no break in period 
  • Lightweight build
  • GRID cushioning with EVA
  • Lasting durability
Cons
  • Some have had issues with the fit being too narrow

3. New Balance Fresh Foam Veniz

3. New Balance Fresh Foam Veniz
These running shoes are similar to the New Balance Zante shoes--but at a much more affordable price. They are stylish, attractive, and available in lots of color options. They feature a secure fit and a fresh foam midsole for maximum comfort. They are lightweight, breathable, and come with a removable insert for a more custom fit.

4. Nike Free Run

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

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. Reebok One Guide

2. Reebok One Guide
The Reebok One Guide is a well crafted shoe for the active runner. Reebok may strive for wearabiliy in the Guide's design, but they are optimized for performance too. They are made to be flexible right out of the box for ease of wear as well as range of motion. The shoes are well ventilated to provide a cool dry run which is not only for comfort but helps prevent irritation. The One Guide also sports a solid heel drop to provide consistent cushioning. The Reebok One Guide is a reliable running shoe for a more than reasonable price.
Pros
  • Well ventilated 
  • Snug fit
  • Very comfortable 
  • Made from flexible material
  • Strong heel drop
Cons
  • More likely to see wear over a shorter period

7. Adidas Cloudfoam

7. Adidas Cloudfoam
The Neo series from Adidas are very popular and it’s not only because of the fashionable looks of the shoes. As the name implies, you will feel like walking on clouds. The shoes look good for everyday usage and for workout. They have this classic design that is very demanded by many runners. These shoes have a lot of cushioning and they’re also very flexible- the upper isn’t stiff. The sneaker has great snug fit. Even if you use it a lot for your training, runners say that the shoe will last for a long . time. Adidas provides very supportive heel counter made of molded TPU material. Thanks to Cloudfoam technology, you can run many miles in these shoes and your muscles will be less fatigued than in other running shoes. The wide range of colors makes it really hard to choose the best one.
Pros

Good traction and breathability

Very stylish look

Excellent cushioning

Cons

The sizing is tricky


8. Asics Gel Venture

8. 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

9. Nike Downshifter 7

9. Nike Downshifter 7
The Nike Downshifter 7 running shoes come highly recommended and rated. They are one of the best affordable options available and provide many features and benefits that Nike incorporates in many other models. The down shifter has actually been one of the best affordable options for several years now and it has yet to disappoint. They are lightweight and breathable and come in several color options. They are also durable and provide adequate support and traction during all of your runs. They feature a foam midsole for added comfort. This shoes keeps it simple and delivers everything a runner needs.

10. Under Armour Micro G Assert 6

10. Under Armour Micro G Assert 6
These Under Armour shoes are an excellent option for almost all runners. They have a sleek have a sleek design and are both durable and lightweight.

Their mesh material makes them highly durable and their fabric helps keep your sweat at bay. They feature an EVA sockliner that provides a secure fit and midsoles that provide shock absorption.

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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 every day 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, manufacturers 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

Just 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 manufacturers 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 counterparts 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 your 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 outer borders 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 your 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?

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?

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, it’s 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.

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 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 manufacturer’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 manufacturers 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.

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 with 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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