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The Best Affordable Running Shoes Reviewed

last updated Dec 15, 2018
While some runners don’t mind investing a pretty penny in their running shoes, not everyone has the luxury to do so or is even willing to if they do have the means to buy the most expensive running shoes out there. Nowadays there are tons of low-quality options that you can purchase anywhere, but they lead to more problems down the road as well as requiring frequent replacements. You're in luck because we found you plenty of options that won't fall apart instantly or cause you additional problems because of a lack of good design and quality materials.
Researched Sources
7
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1400
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
12
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
By EJ Callanan:

We have added the Asics Gel Contend 4 to our list this time around as well as ranked the additional shoes in their proper order. This list moves the ASICS Gel Venture 5 to the #1 spot on our list based on the most up to date reviews and ratings. We regularly update our buying guides to ensure our readers our receiving the most up to date and current information when it comes to the best products available. Make sure to take a look at the rest of our page to learn more about our research process.

Sorting Options
Features Style Durability Weight Comfort By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
Features
97%
Style
93%
Durability
92%
Weight
94%
Comfort
96%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$65.00
$69.95
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$69.99
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2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.2
Features
92%
Style
91%
Durability
97%
Weight
86%
Comfort
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$74.96
See Deal
$83.83
See Deal
$119.95
See Deal
$141.94
3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.4
Features
88%
Style
90%
Durability
85%
Weight
94%
Comfort
95%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$64.63
$69.95
See Deal
$69.99
See Deal
4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Features
90%
Style
85%
Durability
90%
Weight
86%
Comfort
93%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$45.79
$69.95
See Deal
5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
Features
80%
Style
95%
Durability
65%
Weight
98%
Comfort
94%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$69.96
See Deal
$99.95
See Deal
$115.00
6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.2
Features
81%
Style
85%
Durability
75%
Weight
90%
Comfort
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$62.99
7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.8
Features
80%
Style
86%
Durability
70%
Weight
88%
Comfort
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$52.18
8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.2
Features
82%
Style
65%
Durability
81%
Weight
83%
Comfort
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$39.95
$59.95
See Deal
$59.99
See Deal
9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.2
Features
73%
Style
83%
Durability
68%
Weight
82%
Comfort
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$59.88
10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
76.8
Features
73%
Style
80%
Durability
61%
Weight
84%
Comfort
86%
Price Comparison Last Updated (16.12.18)
$59.99
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Asics Gel Venture 5
  • Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17
  • Under Armour Assert
  • Asics Gel Contend 4
  • Nike Free Run
  • Adidas Cloudfoam
  • Nike Down Shifter 7
  • Saucony Cohesion 11
  • New Balance Fresh Foam Veniz
  • Reebok One Guide 3.0
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Affordable Running Shoes

1. Asics Gel Venture 5

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.4
Asics Gel Venture 5
Features
97
Style
93
Durability
92
Weight
94
Comfort
96
best offer for today
more shops
$65.00
$69.95
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$69.99
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Pros:

Great grip for various terrains

More affordable than most shoes on this list

Barefoot 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

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, as well as short and long workouts alike.

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Features and Style

The Ventures are some of the most high-quality running shoes out there thanks to high-tech features, unparalleled comfort, and reliable support.

Durability and Quality

Great durability, but certainly not the best, although overall ASICS is known for making good-quality shoes and these still fit that description.

2. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.2
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17
Features
92
Style
91
Durability
97
Weight
86
Comfort
95
best offer for today
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$141.94
$74.96
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$83.83
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$119.95
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Pros:

softer underfoot

Reduces stress on your joints

Lightweight

Durable

Flextra and HPR

Extremely comfortable

Cons:

Sizing runs a bit small

Stiff at first

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!

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Features /Style

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.

Durability/Quality

Really durable and made of high-quality materials that make them built to last.

3. Under Armour Assert

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.4
Under Armour Assert
Features
88
Style
90
Durability
85
Weight
94
Comfort
95
best offer for today
more shops
$64.63
$69.95
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$69.99
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Pros:

Sleek design

Comfortable

Lightweight

Secure fit

EVA midsole and sockliner

Cons:

Not as durable as some other options

These Under Armour shoes are an excellent option for almost all runners. They have a sleek design and are both comfortable and lightweight.

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Features and Style

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

Durability and Quality

These are durable if used where intended, on the road or on the treadmill, but may start to wear quickly if you often use them trail running.

4. Asics Gel Contend 4

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Asics Gel Contend 4
Features
90
Style
85
Durability
90
Weight
86
Comfort
93
best offer for today
more shops
$45.79
$69.95
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Pros:

Comfortable

Affordable

Wide widths available

Breathable

Removable insole

Cons:

Loose fitting

Less supportive than the previous version

Asics is a well-known brand in the running community, so it comes as no surprise that they have several pairs of shoes on this list. The Gel Contend 4 running shoes offer excellent shock absorption, comfort, and support.

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Features and Style

These shoes have an EVA foam midsole for additional cushioning and shock absorption. They also have the Ortho Lite sock liner for increased comfort along with RearFoot Gel Cushioning. They are highly breathable and, even though they are on the heavy side, they offer excellent flexibility (thanks to their flex grooves).

Durability and Quality

These shoes utilize an AHAR rubber outsole for excellent durability and protection against the elements, and reviewers found to have good-quality construction and materials.

5. Nike Free Run

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.4
Nike Free Run
Features
80
Style
95
Durability
65
Weight
98
Comfort
94
best offer for today
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$115.00
$69.96
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$99.95
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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 lots of arch support

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.

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Features and Style

These are 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.

Durability and Quality

These are not as durable as other options on our list but will still last you a bit, and still have that famous Nike quality.

6. Adidas Cloudfoam

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
84.2
Adidas Cloudfoam
Features
81
Style
85
Durability
75
Weight
90
Comfort
90
best offer for today
$62.99
Pros:

Good traction and breathability

Very stylish look

Excellent cushioning

Cons:

Proper sizing can be tricky

The Cloud 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 use and for a workout.

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Features and Style

Adidas provides a 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, but that's a problem we love to have.

Durability and Quality

They have a classic design that is in demand by many runners. These shoes have a lot of cushioning and they’re also very flexible with a supple upper that isn’t stiff. The sneaker also has a great snug fit. Even if you use it a lot for your training, runners say that the shoe will last for a long time so it's been proven to be durable as well.

7. Nike Down Shifter 7

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.8
Nike Down Shifter 7
Features
80
Style
86
Durability
70
Weight
88
Comfort
90
best offer for today
$52.18
Pros:

Lightweight

Breathable

Flexible

Comfortable

Great for minimalist runners

Lots of color options

Cons:

Not as cushioned and supportive as other options

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.

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Features /Style

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.

Durability/Quality

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.

8. Saucony Cohesion 11

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
80.2
Saucony Cohesion 11
Features
82
Style
65
Durability
81
Weight
83
Comfort
90
best offer for today
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$39.95
$59.95
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$59.99
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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

If you are looking for a low-cost but high-quality shoe then look no further than the Saucony Cohesion 11. Saucony is a quality brand that provides a quality running shoe, and the Cohesion 11 is no exception, despite its affordable price.

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Features and Style

The Cohesion 11 is comfortable and only needs a very short break in time to get there. They are also quite lightweight and use Saucony's GRID system to provide the most support possible at such a low weight.

Durability and Quality

These are definitely one of the most durable pairs of running shoes on our list, and Saucony has proven itself over the years to offer durable shoes at value-minded prices for consumers.

9. New Balance Fresh Foam Veniz

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
78.2
New Balance Fresh Foam Veniz
Features
73
Style
83
Durability
68
Weight
82
Comfort
85
best offer for today
$59.88
Pros:

Lightweight

Stylish

Flexible

Comfortable

Cons:

Not as durable as some other options

These running shoes are similar to the New Balance Zante shoes, but at a much more affordable price while still offering many of the same features and benefits.

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Features and Style

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.

Durability and Quality

Not as durable as other options on our list, which is usually the trade-off you have to make to have something this lightweight. Despite the lack of long-term durability, they are still well-made and of high-quality materials.

10. Reebok One Guide 3.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
76.8
Reebok One Guide 3.0
Features
73
Style
80
Durability
61
Weight
84
Comfort
86
best offer for today
$59.99
Pros:

Well ventilated

Snug fit

Very comfortable

Made from flexible material

Strong heel drop

Cons:

More likely to see wear and tear over a shorter period

The Reebok One Guide is a well-crafted shoe for the active runner. Reebok may strive for comfort in the design of the Guide One, but they are optimized for performance as well.

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Features and Style

These are made to be flexible right out of the box for ease of wear as well as full of range of motion. The shoes are also well ventilated to provide a cool and dry run for your feet which is not only for comfort, but helps prevent irritation.

Durability and Quality

The One Guide also sports a solid heel drop to provide consistent cushioning and is pretty durable. And they're made by Reebok, one of the biggest and most respected sports apparel brands so you know they are a quality product.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Features

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.

Some of the features that these shoes have include high-tech breathable mesh fabrics, reflective design elements for safety, easy to use lacing systems, both zero and full drop design, and much more. We assigned each pair of shoes a score based on how many features it offers the consumer. So if lots of high-tech features are important to you, just check out the features score in each individual product review, and you'll be able to quickly and efficiently find the right pair of affordable, high-quality running shoes that fit your feet, your lifestyle, and your budget.

Style

As mentioned in the features section, just because a pair of shoes is affordable doesn't mean they can't be stylish as well. Regardless of whether you are just getting into running, or if you're a grizzled veteran with countless miles under your feet, we all want to look good, so we made sure to put some stylish options on our list! We also know that not everybody's sense of style is the same and we wanted to include something for everyone, so on our list you'll find shoes featuring modern, bold design with flashy colors and graphic elements, as well as more understated, classic, and even retro designs. We know you can't please everybody, but we're trying! While style might not seem like the most important category, and we certainly don't recommend buying based on style alone, studies have proven that you're more than twice as likely to go for a run if you feel good about how you look while you're out there working on your fitness. So as much as we hate to admit it, when it comes to running shoes style really does count, so we made sure to include it as one of the important factors to look at when shopping for a new pair of affordable running shoes.

Durability

We did not overlook the fact that an affordable running shoe is only as good as its 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, so while we're obviously super concerned with value here, we don't want to be penny smart and dollar stupid. When determining the durability of each product on our list, 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, so we looked hard at that design feature as well. The uppers should be comprised of strongly constructed materials with solid seams that are bound together will high-quality stiching. Finally, 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. Lastly, we scoured over 1400 reviews to see what real world users from all walks of life had to say about how well, or poorly, a pair of affordable running shoes held up. If it didn't make the cut, it didn't make our list, period.

Weight

According to seasoned runners, the weight of a pair of running shoes is a significant factor involved in selecting an affordable shoe. If you are not careful, you could wind up with a pair of shoes that's super heavy and weighs you down significantly with every step you take. Using lightweight materials may cost more than heavier counterparts for providing cushioning and padding, so we made sure that we only included shoes that are made of quality materials. This is one area where you may have to decide what's most important to you and make some tradeoffs. Typically, the heavier a running shoe is, the more durable. And conversely, lighter shoes don't usually hold up well over a long time frame. We don't like it any more than you, but it's the nature of the beast. We made sure to select options that give you the lightest possible ride thanks to lightweight materials while still maintaining a certain level of durability so that you don't have to continually replace them, which would kind of go against the whole affordability thing we're going for with this list. Certain companies have developed advanced manufacturing techniques to keep their prices low while still providing runners with airy and lightweight fabrics and padding, so we focused on those brands for the most part, while also seeking out some shoes from lesser-known companies that also perform well in terms of the weight vs. durability battle.

Comfort

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 in that area. If you pronate, look for shoes that will help you address this issue. 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 to picking out a pair of shoes that will be super comfortable for you 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, and is a sort of running gear pro-tip that we felt compelled to pass along. In addition to the factors mentioned above, comfort also comes from the insole, the materials used (especially in the toe-box and the ankle cuff), and the overall design and quality of construction.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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Comfort
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Weight
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Durability
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Features
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Style
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Get the most for your money

Shopping on a budget doesn't mean settling for a less than optimal fit and function. Last season's shoes are only that, last season's shoes. It doesn't mean they instantly become junk. Shop around and find the price, features, and fit that works best for you.

Beware of return policies on older models

Amazon is pretty good about taking returns, as long as their guidelines are met. But make sure to read the small print on webshops, to make sure those older models or discounted products can be returned within reason.

Buying only one pair?

Perhaps consider buying multiple pairs of a discounted shoe, if you like them and they really work well for you. That way when they eventually wear out, it eliminates the need for more shopping, for a while at least.

Other Factors to Consider

Value

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.

Terrain

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.

Support

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Can inexpensive running shoes still be durable?
a:

Absolutely. All evidence indicates that an inexpensive running shoe is just as good as an expensive 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, all 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 discontinued and the remaining stock put on sale at a discount. If you wait too long, many retailers may be sold out of your size or color option, but if you jump on it when this happens, you can get a really great deal. 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.
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 they are 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 washing them the wrong way could wear the shoe down faster.

q: I have flat feet, is my only choice to get 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.

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,