9 Best Cheap Running Shoes – 2021 Buying Guide
When selecting a budget-friendly design, the biggest concern you should have is the overall durability of the shoe. You're not likely to get the same lasting comfort you will if you went with a top-of-the-line running shoe.
However, for casual runners, or for those that need something a little more versatile, you can get a pair of cheap trainers that will check all the boxes you're looking for in a running shoe.
In this guide, you'll find our favorite inexpensive running shoes to keep your feet protected and your wallet full. No really, all are under $100.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Affordable does not have to mean cheaply made shoes and we have presented 9 options 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.
Runners do not want to carry around any more weight than they have to so many running shoes are lightweight. 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, 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.
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.
9 Best Cheap Running Shoes
1. ASICS Gel-Venture 8
The most comfortable option
What we love about Gel-Venture 8 is that it promotes stability and comfort, all for under $80.Read more
Previous versions of the Gel-Venture had boxy frames but the latest version moved away from that structure altogether. This model gives runners a sleek and lightweight design but still perfect for bumpy roads.
The biggest change made in this option lies in the upper. It is composed of a lightweight mesh that won’t weigh you down. We found it incredibly breathable and the minimal seam lines reduce instances for hot spots.
The rubber outsole is what makes this ideal for taking out on the trails. Deep treads grip the ground and reduce the risk of stumbling over rocks and raised tree roots. The great thing about the tread is that they aren’t so deep that you can't use them on the road, track or treadmill.
If you are in the market for something that is 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.
The ASICS Gel-Venture 8 is our top pick amongst this list because most retailers, including Amazon and Zappos, price them under $60.
Fantastic bang for your buck here!
2. Brooks Revel 4
The best for cushioning
The reason the Brooks Revel 4 tops our list is due to its versatility. It hits all the high notes and is consistently priced below $80.Read more
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.
Our favorite feature of the Revel 4 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 feels 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.
3. ASICS Gel Pulse 12
The best stability option
Good stability trainers often clock in at a steep price point, but that’s not the case with the Gel Pulse 12. Retail price varies between $60 and $120.Read more
What runners love most about this stability trainer (other than the super affordable price point) is that it is packed with supportive materials from the tips of your toes to your ankles for a soft, squishy, and comfortable ride.
The upper of this design is made from a blend of mesh materials to keep your foot cool as well as synthetic overlays in key areas to help lock your feet in place. Runners also love that this design boasts a padded collar and tongue to comfort your feet as well as cut down on blisters as you train.
The midsole is composed of a thick layer of ASICS proprietary AmpliFoam materials that work to absorb impact when running on hard surfaces. For overpronators, it also boasts Guidance Line Midsole Technology that helps to guide your foot to an even gait without the use of heavy and bulky materials.
For those in the market for a great stability trainer that clocks in at a super reasonable price point, this design from ASICS is worth checking out.
While it may not have the same durability as higher-end stability trainers, the supportive features make it a great option for casual runners.
4. Reebok Forever Floatride Energy 3
The lightest option
This lightweight and breezy design from Reebok is designed for speed. It boasts a breathable upper that cuts down on hot spots on your feet and is composed of stretchy materials that lock them in place.Read more
It also has a lightweight yet supportive midsole to add a little spring to your step without weighing you down.
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is that it boasts a lightweight and breathable mesh upper. This design is made completely of mesh materials without synthetic overlays that allow your feet to really move.
The style of this upper locks your foot in place for excellent stability and helps you turn on a dime when needed. Whether you are training for speed or engaging in CrossFit, this is a great choice.
We also love that the midsole is composed of Reebok’s soft foam EVA midsole that provides a little extra stability and shock absorption from your toes to your heels. It also utilizes a carbon rubber outsole that has a grippy finish to keep you stable yet light on your feet.
If you need something that is made to move but still boasts supportive features to keep your foot cushioned and protected, this style from Reebok is a great choice.
Runners love that it boasts a lightweight frame that contours to the shape of their foot, while the grippy outsole boosts connection with the ground and offers a bit of shock absorption as well.
5. Nike Downshifter 10
There are some big changes made in the Downshifter 10 when compared to previous iterations in the Downshifter line from Nike.Read more
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.
The biggest change made in the Downshifter 10 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.
6. New Balance FuelCell Echo
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.Read more
This design is perfect for runners that want to put miles behind them without weighing them down. 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!
7. Merrell Mtl Skyfire
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.Read more
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.
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.
8. Adidas Cloudfoam
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.Read more
As the name implies, you will feel like walking on clouds. The shoes look good for everyday use and for a workout. 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.
9. New Balance Fresh Foam Tempo V1
If you are really working on a tight budget, you can’t go wrong with any design from New Balance. The reason that we selected the Fresh Foam Tempo V1 is that it clocks in well below 100 bucks.Read more
It also offers more supportive stability features than some of the other minimalistic designs that we have seen on our list.
The most notable feature of this design lies in the midsole. It offers runners a thick layer of New Balance’s Fresh Foam materials that helps to cut down on shock absorption and contours to the shape of your foot to protect it when running on hard and unforgiving surfaces.
The upper of this design is composed of 50 percent breathable mesh materials and 50 percent synthetic overlays. The mesh materials work to lift hot air up and away from your foot, while the overlays help to lock your foot in place when picking up speed.
This design weighs in at just shy of 10 ounces, which makes it the perfect hybrid between a minimalist trainer and a stability trainer.
If you are in the market for something that lends a little bit more support and stability without weighing you down with heavy and bulky materials, this design from New Balance is a great choice. What makes the Fresh Foam Temp V1 special is that it’s incredibly versatile and great for distance as well as speed.