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Best Affordable Running Shoes Reviewed

last updated: Sep 17, 2020
While some runners don’t mind dropping some big money for a pair of great 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, which doesn't really save money at all in the long run.

But, if you're willing to do a little shopping around, and some research, there are plenty of affordable running shoes that will perform just as well , in many cases, as the more expensive ones.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 12 hrs of research

icon
ASICS Gel-Venture 7
95.6/100 our score
Features
95
Style
96
Durability
95
Weight
97
Comfort
95
ASICS Gel-Venture 7
Why is it better?

Great traction

Ortholite X-40 Sockliner

Lightweight

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
ASICS Gel-Venture 7
Test Winner: ASICS Gel-Venture 7
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
7
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1400
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
12
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
10
Products Evaluated
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.
95.6
Features
95 %
Style
96 %
Durability
95 %
Weight
97 %
Comfort
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (30.09.20)
Amazon Link
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.6
Features
94 %
Style
96 %
Durability
95 %
Weight
94 %
Comfort
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (30.09.20)
Amazon Link
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.6
Features
92 %
Style
93 %
Durability
94 %
Weight
92 %
Comfort
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (30.09.20)
Amazon Link
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Features
91 %
Style
90 %
Durability
92 %
Weight
91 %
Comfort
91 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (30.09.20)
Amazon Link
#5
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 (30.09.20)
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Features
89 %
Style
90 %
Durability
87 %
Weight
89 %
Comfort
89 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (30.09.20)
Amazon Link
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Features
88 %
Style
87 %
Durability
87 %
Weight
87 %
Comfort
86 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (30.09.20)
Amazon Link
#8
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 (30.09.20)
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Features
85 %
Style
84 %
Durability
85 %
Weight
86 %
Comfort
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (30.09.20)
Amazon Link
#10
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 (30.09.20)
Amazon Link
#11
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 (30.09.20)
#12
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 (30.09.20)
Amazon Link
#13
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 (30.09.20)
Amazon Link

13 Best Cheap Running Shoes

1. ASICS Gel-Venture 7

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.6
ASICS Men's Gel-Venture 7
ASICS Men's Gel-Venture 7 2
ASICS Men's Gel-Venture 7 sole
Amazon Link
Features
95
Style
96
Durability
95
Weight
97
Comfort
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Great traction

Ortholite X-40 Sockliner

Lightweight

Cons:

Limited color options

Runs small

Want to take your training off the beaten path? What we love most about Gel-Venture 7 is that it promotes the ultimate stability and comfort. Previous versions of the Gel-Venture had a frame that was boxy, and the latest addition moved away from that boxy frame. Users love this design because it is sleek and lightweight, but still perfect for bumpy roads.

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The biggest change made in this option lies in the upper. It is composed of a lightweight mesh upper that won’t weigh you down. Users find that it is incredibly breathable and easy, and won’t rub blisters into your feet. Plus, minimal seam lines reduce instances for hot spots.

The rubber outsole is what makes this ideal for taking out on the trails. Deep treads really grip the ground under your feet and reduce the risk of stumbling over rocks and raised tree roots. The great thing about the treads on this option is that they aren’t so deep that you also can’t take them on a ride on the treadmill at the gym!

If you are in the market for something that is super comfortable and versatile, this design from Asics is a great choice. While it doesn’t come in a wide variety of color options and styles, it really shines in terms of performance.

2. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94.6
Brooks Women's Adrenaline GTS 20
Brooks Women's Adrenaline GTS 20 laces
Brooks Women's Adrenaline GTS 20 sole
Amazon Link
Features
94
Style
96
Durability
95
Weight
94
Comfort
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

DNA LOFT Crash Pad

Breathable mesh upper

Limited seam lines

Cons:

Wide fit

There are some big changes in the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 20! While previous iterations had a stiff upper, the GTS 20 ditched the stiff and unforgiving materials for a breathable and lightweight upper. This design is perfect for those that want a stability shoe without being weighed down by heavy materials.

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The very first thing that we noticed about this design is that the upper is lightweight and easy. It boasts limited seam lines that won’t dig into your foot or cause hot spots. Plus, it is incredibly flexible and promotes a full range of motion while the midsole provides support.

In true Brooks fashion, the midsole is packed with features designed to support and cushion each and every step. This design boasts a DNA LOFT Crash Pad for excellent energy feedback. This makes it a perfect pair of trainers for hard and unforgiving surfaces.

This updated design from Brooks is a perfect option for those that want something that lives between a stability trainer and something more lightweight and minimalistic. It rocks all of the higher-end features from the Brooks line without the higher-end price point.

3. Adidas Supernova

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.6
B073M1ZK1S
adidas supernova laces
supernova sole
Amazon Link
Features
92
Style
93
Durability
94
Weight
92
Comfort
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Wide toe box

Lightweight

Many color options

Cons:

Stiff heel

What we liked most about the Supernova from Adidas is that it is perfect for runners that need something that is a little more versatile. It is composed of lightweight and easy materials that are made to last, while still offering excellent support in the heel. Plus, it comes in a wide variety of fun colors and styles that is sure to attract some attention.

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This slick design lives somewhere between a stability shoe and a minimalistic runner. While stability trainers are often big and clunky, the Supernova is sleek and lightweight and is a perfect pair for easy morning training sessions. Users also love that it comes in a wide array of trendy color and design options.

One of the things that users love most about this easy rider is that it sports a lightweight and flexible upper. Limited seam lines reduce the risk of rubbing and creating uncomfortable hot spots. Ample padding in the sides and heel promote stability without weighing you down.

The Supernova is the perfect pair for easy workouts where you need something simple and stable. Users love the comfortable fit knit upper with padding and a wide toe box that makes it ideal for a wide variety of workouts.

4. Nike Downshifter 9

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Nike Men's Downshifter 9 Running Shoe
Nike Men's Downshifter 9 Running Shoe laces
Nike Men's Downshifter 9 Running Shoe sole
Amazon Link
Features
91
Style
90
Durability
92
Weight
91
Comfort
91
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Lightweight

Durable outsole

Great for long distances

Cons:

Narrow toe box

There are some big changes made in the Downshifter 9 when compared to previous iterations in the Downshifter line from Nike. Simple design changes in the frame make it incredibly lightweight and help easily transition from heel to toe with ease. It boasts a sleek design, and it comes in a variety of color options to match your personal style.

Read more

The biggest change made in the Downshifter 9 is in the shape of the mesh upper. It boasts a less boxy frame that really hugs your feet. The limited seam lines won’t rub your feet and reduce the instances of hot spots. If you want something that is made for long distances, this is a great choice.

We also like that the midsole is designed to offer a lot of support without a lot of extra bulk. It has a durable rubber outsole that really grips the pavement. The durability of this design makes it a perfect option for long-distance runners, and it won’t wear out as fast which makes it an excellent value.

If you want to run far and you want to run fast, this is one of the best options for your needs. This design coupled with an affordable price point makes it one of the best values out there on the market. Users love that it has a lightweight and comfortable fit that won’t rub your feet in all the wrong places.

5. 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
Under Armour Assert laces
Under Armour Assert sole
Amazon Link
Features
88
Style
90
Durability
85
Weight
94
Comfort
95
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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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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.

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 for trails.

6. Brooks Revel 3

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Brooks Men's Revel 3
Brooks Men's Revel 3 laces
Brooks Men's Revel 3 sole
Amazon Link
Features
89
Style
90
Durability
87
Weight
89
Comfort
89
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

BioMoGo DNA midsole

Excellent traction

Flat-knit upper

Cons:

High arch

The reason the Brooks Revel 3 tops our list is due to its versatility. It has a lightweight and easy design that won’t weigh you down, but it also boasts a lot of cushioning and padding for extra support. If you need a good stability shoe to support you in all phases of your gait, this is a great choice. Brooks is typically a high-end brand, but this option is a lot more affordable than other options in their line.

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Our favorite feature of the Revel 3 lies in the construction of the midsole. It uses Brooks’ classic BioMoGo DNA cushioning to put a little spring in your step. If you have a heavy gait or you overpronate, this is made to accommodate and adapt to your stride. Users love that it puts an extra spring in their step to put a lot of miles behind them, even on hard concrete.

Users also love that it boasts a flat-knit upper that is incredibly breathable and feets great against your foot. Limited seamlines and reduced cushioning prohibit the possibility of hot spots on your foot. The design of this upper also helps to reduce rubbing and chafing that can really slow you down.

It’s hard to go wrong with a pair of Brooks trainers. The Revel 3 is ideal for runners on a budget because you benefit from BioMoGo DNA cushioning for excellent stability, as well as the lightweight upper design to keep you quick and light on your feet.

7. New Balance FuelCell Echo

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
New Balance Men's FuelCell Echo V1 Running Shoe
New Balance Men's FuelCell Echo V1 Running Shoe 2
New Balance Men's FuelCell Echo V1 Running Shoe sole
Amazon Link
Features
88
Style
87
Durability
87
Weight
87
Comfort
86
best offer for today
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Pros:

Unique colors

TPU heel support

Sock-like upper

Cons:

Itchy heel cuff

If you love fun colors and impactful designs, the FuelCell Echo is worth checking out. Not only does it come in a ton of bright and unique colors, but it also has a super comfy midsole that puts an extra spring in your step to help protect your knees and joints. This design is perfect for runners that want to put miles behind them without weighing them down.

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The most important feature of this design from New Balance is that it boasts a super cushioned FuelCell midsole foam. Previous users feel that the design of this midsole and toe box actually helps to propel them forward, which is great for high speeds. The TPU outer heel design also helps add more stability and durability as well.

We also love the lightweight and easy upper of this design. It comes in a lot of unique and impactful designs that are sure to get noticed when working out at the gym. It is composed of a breathable material with minimal padding that reduces the chance of rubbing and chafing. The sock-like cuff helps keep the sneaker securely in place for an easy and flexible fit.

If you are on the market for a great stability shoe that boasts a lightweight design that helps to reach high speeds without weighing your down, this is a great option. We love that it really supports your foot and comes in a wide variety of unique colors and designs that are sure to turn heads without draining your bank account!

8. 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
nike free run laces
nike free run sole
Amazon Link
Features
80
Style
95
Durability
65
Weight
98
Comfort
94
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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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These are low on support which attracts minimalists looking for a natural running experience. The shoes are really one of the best inexpensive running shoes because they are so light, they really keep you going whether you’re sprinting, training, running long distances, or practicing other athletic activities.

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.

9. Merrell Mtl Skyfire

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Merrell Mtl Skyfire Sneaker
Merrell Mtl Skyfire Sneaker laces
Merrell Mtl Skyfire Sneaker sole
Amazon Link
Features
85
Style
84
Durability
85
Weight
86
Comfort
85
best offer for today
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Pros:

Lightweight

Breathable upper

Great traction

Cons:

Narrow toe box

This trail runner from Merrell is a great option for those who like to take their training sessions off of the sidewalks and onto the trails. We love that it has an outsole to help you keep your grip on uneven surfaces, and a lightweight and easy upper not found in many trail running options.

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The very first thing we noticed about this design was the treads. It boasts very deep rubber treads that are designed to really grip the ground under your feet. Large rocks and tree roots will feel like smooth concrete with this design. It’s also great for running on slick surfaces so that your workouts don’t need to end just because the weather turned bad.

Another important feature of this design is that the upper is made from a super lightweight mesh that is incredibly breathable and flexible. Mesh panels along the side and on the toe box keep feet nice and cool on long runs. It also boasts extra padding on the heel for a little extra stability.

If you are in the market for something that is great for uneven trails and slick conditions, this is a great option. The treads are placed in such a way to provide traction without unnecessary bulk as you find in hiking boots. For an offroad design, these are surprisingly lightweight and easy.

10. 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
Adidas Cloudfoam laces
Adidas Cloudfoam sole
Amazon Link
Features
81
Style
85
Durability
75
Weight
90
Comfort
90
best offer for today
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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 these best running shoes on a budget. 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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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.

They have a classic design that is in demand by many runners. These inexpensive running 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.

11. 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
Saucony Cohesion 11 laces
Amazon Link
Features
82
Style
65
Durability
81
Weight
83
Comfort
90
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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 the cheapest running shoes 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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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.

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.

12. 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
New Balance Fresh Foam Veniz 2
Amazon Link
Features
73
Style
83
Durability
68
Weight
82
Comfort
85
best offer for today
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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.

Read more

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.

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.

13. 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
Reebok One Guide 3.0 laces
Reebok One Guide 3.0 sole
Amazon Link
Features
73
Style
80
Durability
61
Weight
84
Comfort
86
best offer for today
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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.

Read more

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.

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

There are many features that are available to you when looking for running shoes. Just because you are on a budget and don’t have hundreds of dollars to spend on shoes doesn’t mean you can’t find a pair that has what you want and need!

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

Even with affordable shoes you can find some very cool styles. From colorful designs to a variety of fabrics and shoe designs there are many options to choose from so you have nothing to worry about!

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 the 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

Even affordable shoes can be durable and last you a good long time. Affordable does not have to mean cheaply made shoes and we have presented ten shoes that fit into many budgets while still being durable and well made!

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 stitching. 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.

Read also about best under armour running shoe.

Weight

Runners do not want to carry around any more weight than they have to so many running shoes are light weight. The lower priced shoes may be a little heavier than the most expensive shoes but they are still great for active runners!

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

The most important factor to consider when looking for a pair of quality running shoes is their comfort level. We made sure that every shoe we included on our list ranked high among users for comfort and 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 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

Katie Ricklefs
Marathoner

8-time marathoner

Picking out new running shoes is equal parts fun and overwhelming – even for me who’s been running for 15 years. Most important is finding a shoe that fits snug around the ankle, has good arch support, and is wider around the toes to help them spread out during long runs. Having a bunion on my left foot (glamorous right?) makes buying shoes a little more interesting, but the correct fit makes all the difference.

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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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.

Addressing foot issues

If you have pre-existing issues with your feet or you know you are prone to certain problems it is important to get the best quality shoe that you can afford. If you can spend a little more for a better shoe it is always a good idea but you can still get quality shoes for an affordable price. A $75 is always better than a $15 cheaply made pair so invest what you can and get the best shoes that you can afford!

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 budget running shoes.

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 runs, 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.

Shock Absorption

When you are out for a run or wall, every step you take sends shock waves through your feet and up your legs. When you run on pavement or uneven terrain this impact can be even more severe. This is why good quality running shoes are made with built-in sole supports in the heels to reduce this impact and help with shock absorption. This helps reduce the stress on your feet and reduces foot pain and fatigue. Even affordable shoes can be found that have good outsole designs and good shock absorption so be sure to look for that when shopping for your shoes.

Stability

Another factor that needs to be considered when looking for affordable running shoes is how much stability they can provide. When you are running or weakling, especially on uneven terrain, you want to make sure you can maintain your footing and keep your balance. A good pair of shoes that have good stability support built in can really help with this. That is why we considered this feature as we searched for the shoes to include on our list for you here. We checked reviews from other runners and we conducted our own tests to make sure they are stable when used.

Visibility

One thing that runners often do not think about much when choosing their shoes is the visibility factor. Your shoes can help you stay visible in two basic ways. The first is in the colors that they are available in; brighter colors are easier to see and help you stand out to passersby. The second is through reflective additions and features on the shoes that reflect light from car headlights and streetlights to make you stand out in the dark. If you are someone who does a lot of night time running or who enjoys running wooded mountain runs then visibility is a must for sure.

Traction

The final factor we considered in our search for the right running shoes is the level of traction that they provide. The soles of a good pair of running shoes will be designed with good deep tread that helps you get a sure footing with every step you take. If you run on uneven terrain or in slipper conditions you will want good traction to keep you safe and prevent falls or injuries. You don’t have to sacrifice traction and stability in order to get an affordable running shoe- and we have ten shoes here to prove it! Be sure to check them out for yourself!

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 perfectly 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.

q: Do they come in kid's sizes?

a:

We have a list compiled of best running shoes for kids you can read on our site.

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
  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. WebMD, 10 Tips for Choosing Athletic Shoes, Clinical information publication