Best Budget Running Shoes Reviewed & Rated
For runners, shoes are the single most necessary piece of equipment they have. They are often the most expensive as well. Some running shoes can range in price anywhere from one hundred to four hundred dollars. Someone who is just starting out will probably find dropping over one hundred dollars on a pair of shoes to be an intimidating prospect. Fortunately, there are shoes that won’t hurt your wallet or your feet.
We have searched far and wide for the best shoes for the runner on a budget. Whether you’re a beginner runner who is just starting out or if you’re a veteran who is training for their next marathon, you won’t want to pass up these bargains.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 104 hrs of research
True to Size
All Day Wear
Walking and Running
Top 10 Budget Running Shoes
1. Nike Revolution 4
True to Size
All Day Wear
Walking and Running
Creates Squeaky Noise
Lighter in weight compared to previous versions, the Revolution 4 makes your run revolutionized. There is plushy foam throughout the midsole and the outsole has molded pods for better energy return. The rubber construction of the sole gives you grip and durability and the upper is a supportive structure for stability with mesh for breathability. Your ride will be comfy and cushy for miles upon miles.
The midsole is constructed with a soft foam. This provides you with cushioning that is responsive and lightweight. It’ll help absorb any impact and shock while giving you support in return. The outsole is constructed with rubber. Having a rubber sole gives you greater bounce, shock absorption, and flexibility. It is also durable so it will last a long time mile after mile and provide traction to reduce any slippage or skidding.
Mid-price range and a great priced shoe. Comes with what you need for your daily run and the focus on durability will make your running shoe last as long as your run. That means less money spent on replacements.
2. Asics GEL-Venture 6
Trail Specific Outsole
Unsuitable for Road
Newly updated but still delivers the same great original quality. Great for trail running, there is a new design in the upper and midsole for you to have better comfort and durability. The mesh upper is tightly woven to protect your feet from a variety of conditions and the outsole is trail-specific with reversed lugs for better traction. Like other models of the same brand, a GEL cushioning system is in the rearfoot for shock impact reduction. There is a toe bumper that is stitched down for better toe protection.
Different kinds of running calls for different kinds of soles. The outsole is constructed for trails and there are reversed lugs included. Having the lugs reversed gives you traction for both uphill and downhill. Also, you’ll grip better on uneven terrain.
There is no worse feeling than stubbing or mashing your toes. The toe bumper gives extra protection and reduces toe injury. The stitched-down construction means the bumper will stay attached to the shoe for a long time. This pair of shoes go great with Asics Cool shorts.
Mid price range and greatly affordable compared to other trail runners. The Venture 6 has really great traction and traction can either make your run enjoyable or miserable. If a trail focused shoe is important to you, this one is the best choice.
3. Asics GT 1000 6
The latest model in the GT-1000 serious is your new choice in running. The 6 has a mesh upper that is specially engineered for airflow, comfort, and fit. If you have overpronation from mild to moderate, there is a dual-density midsole for stabilization. There are overlays for extra structure and support and GEL technology for shock and transition.
The midsole is constructed with DuoMax Support System. It’s a system that uses special materials to increase support. If you are an individual that suffers from overpronation, this very same system will help to stabilize your feet into a neutral position to help prevent pronation related injuries.
In the rearfoot, there is a technology called GEL. It’s a cushioning that helps to absorb any shock from impact. It also helps to evenly spread out the shock impact so every part of the foot can have relief and great energy return. On the higher end but worth it when you consider the special features of this shoe and there are a lot of specialized features. Your run will be greatly enhanced with a variety of support, stabilization, comfort, and fit technologies in the 6. This is truly advanced but affordable.
4. Under Armor Micro G Assert 7
Soft EVA Sockliner
Durability and Stability
High Impact Coverage
Lightweight and Breathable
You are going to feel and look great in the Assert 7. They are constructed to provide a great fit without adding extra weight that’ll hold your run back. The upper is mesh and the outsole is rubber. Plus, there is an EVA sockliner, the midsole is Micro G foam and a midfoot locked-in fit. You’ll have awesome comfort and support in every step.
Having overlays constructed with leather helps you in multiple ways. It helps to lock in your midfoot which increases stability. The material increases durability and decreases wear and tear. Lastly, leather gives a much more stylish and high-quality appeal.
Running generates a lot of heat in the body and your feet are no different, especially when wearing closed-in athletic shoes. Having a mesh upper gives you breathability by helping heat to be released and allow for better airflow. Also, it provides a much lighter weight in the shoes. Higher priced but still below $100. These running shoes provide stabilization and true fit and that will provide a run that is balanced and focus. You’ll have a run that is less painful and better defended against injuries.
5. Adidas Duramo 9
Double Mesh Upper
Haptic Printed Overlays
Abrasion Resistant Adiwear Outsole
Runs Slightly Large
The Duramo 9 Adidas running shoes make for an excellent choice for all those who want streamlined, lightweight sneakers that works just as well for long walks and gym workouts as it does for runs on road surfaces. It’s the brand’s most popular model when it comes to budget running options, and considering the durability and comfort it provides, this comes as no surprise. It comes in several simple color options, making it really easy to wear it as an everyday model.
The upper consists of durable double mesh that’s breathable and offers a seamless fit on the inside (so you can even wear these barefoot), while printed overlays ensure stability, keeping the weight of the shoe to a minimum. The lacing system is customizable, allowing users to get the best possible fit, while an external heel cage prevents movement inside the shoe.
The midsole of the Duramo 9 is made with Cloudfoam, a cushioning system that’s highly comfortable right out of the box, and that’s lightweight enough for longer runs. The Adiwear outsole is durable and non-marking, and most importantly, abrasion-resistant. Flexibility is maximized through the use of Flex-Grooves which allow the user’s foot to move naturally, without constraint. As for the price range, this model ranks average, but certain colors can even be purchases for cheaper, making it one of the most affordable models on this list.
6. Saucony Cohesion 11
True to Size
Deep Heel Cup
Roomy Toe Box
Padded Ankle Area
High Tech Cushioning
This is the best choice for affordable training. A system called GRID is placed in the heel area to provide stability and soft cushioning and the midsole is constructed with EVA that gives even more cushioning. The mesh upper is engineered to stretch so you can have a fit that is dynamic and moves with you while being lightweight. Also, the outsole traction has flex grooves to give you a motion range that is natural like.
There is no rigidness or firmness in the 11. The midsole and heel area is optimized for the best cushioning comfort without being bulky or thick. In addition, the tongue and collar are padded with plush to provide you with extra comfort and stability to help reduce any rubbing or minimize a loose fit.
Traction comes in a variety of designs for various gripping purposes. On the outsole, there is an unique traction called flex grooves. The grooves are in the forefoot of the sole to help increase forefoot flexibility and that will help to decrease any unnecessary rigidness
Mid-range priced and best for runners who need a great practice shoe. You’ll have lightweight support but optimum comfort during your training and prepping without any extra technologies or features that could get in the way.
7. New Balance 510v4
Leather and Mesh Upper
Bulky and Heavy
A trail runner by New Balance, the fourth version of the 510 ensures the best possible combination of protection, ruggedness and breathability through an updated upper. It’s a pair of footwear made for neutral pronators, and what makes it one of the best budget options currently available is the fact that it will do great both on trail as well as asphalt. In true New Balance fashion, this model can be bought both in medium and wide widths, and the color options are simple enough for everyday wear.
The upper of the 510v4 is made with mesh that’s highly breathable and provides a moisture management system for difficult runs. Leather overlays ensure durability and support, while the tongue and collar are generously padded. A Toe Protect section in the front prevents injury to the front of the foot, while the insole allows you to remove it and replace with a custom orthotic.
As for the midsole, it’s made with ACTIVA foam which covers the entire length of the foot, while ABZORB technology in the heel ensures an even higher level of shock absorption, maximizing rebound. The outsole uses an AT tread that transitions from trail to road easily, without losing functionality or wearing down too quickly. In terms of price, this model ranks only slightly above average, so if you’re more into nature adventures than urban runs, it’s definitely a good investment.
8. Adidas Galaxy 3
Breathable Mesh Upper
TPU Support Overlays
Suitable for Indoor Use
If you’re after an affordable sneaker that can be worn for running, gym sessions, as well as an everyday model, the Adidas Galaxy is a great choice. A neutral shoe made for road conditions, it’s a sneaker that prioritizes breathability and fit, and although it doesn’t feature all of the brand’s latest tech, it does a great job at supporting your feet in key places, as well as providing the required level of shock absorption, even for daily runs.
The upper is made with lightweight, flexible mesh that will allow air to enter the shoe, which makes this a great summer option. The TPU frame ensures stability in key areas, which means that both your midfoot and heel will be easily and effectively locked in. The tongue and collar are padded for all-day comfort, and the toe area is reinforced with synthetic overlays for maximized durability.
As for its performance in terms of cushioning, this model features a Cloudfoam midsole that’s highly comfortable, and does a good job at protecting muscles and joints for most users. Seeing that it’s a firm compound, it’s a good choice for heavier users. The Adiwear outsole is durable and offers good grip on most surfaces, and it’s non-marking, meaning that you can wear for indoor workouts as well. In terms of price, this model ranks average, giving you great value for money.
9. Skechers GO Run 600 Divert
Knit and Mesh Upper
GOGA Run Insole
No Break In Period
Limited Color Options
You can count on Skechers to make footwear that performs great, but is still affordable for the average user. The brand’s GO Run series was developed to provide excellent cushioning without bulk and weight, and the 600 series appeals mostly to those who are after lightweight models that will easily transition into casual wear as well. Even though the color options are limited, it’s still a great looking pair of footwear.
The upper of the Go Run 600 Divert uses a combination of jersey knit fabric and mesh in the upper for a flexible, lightweight feel that supports the foot through the 3D printed overlays. As for the cushioning system it consists of a 5GEN midsole that is responsive and durable, while a GOGA Run insole provides additional shock absorption.
The shoe is constructed using a parametric construction which encourages a natural gait cycle, ensuring a good amount of support to all neutral pronators. The outsole is made with wavelike grooves that grip road and indoor surfaces well, although its durability is considerably lower than some of the other models listed here. The price of this item is around average, making it a great investment for most casual runners, as well as those looking for great comfort and fit at an affordable price.
10. Puma Carson 2 X Knit
Lacks Arch Support
If you’re a fan of knit options - which are usually more durable and supportive than mesh, but provide the same amount of breathability, the Puma Carson 2 X Knit is a good choice. It comes in several color options, most of which are based on grey, while the slip on construction eliminates bulk. A lacing system is still present, allowing you to customize the fit to your preferences.
The model features synthetic overlays for added midfoot stability, and pull tabs at the tongue and heel ensure easy on and off. As for the tech included in the Carson, this model features a ground-contact EVA midsole that’s become an industry standard in running footwear. It provides protection from shock, and is lightweight enough for most users.
The outsole is made with the same EVA compound that’s found in the midsole, with a circle traction pattern that does a good job on flat surfaces. It is, however, one of the least durable outsoles on this list, and probably won’t do well on abrasive surfaces, or all-day use. Nonetheless, the low price of the Carson 2 X Knit makes this an appealing choice for the average user, or those who are just starting to get into running, and don’t want to spend too much until they figure out what it is that they require.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The material is very important as well when choosing running shoes, you want something that is breathable and allows for proper air flow. Any sort of synthetic material will not be very breathable and will make your feet feel stuffy and sweaty. Although it is a more affordable option, it is a cheap material and you want to avoid that in the upper part of your shoe.
The upper should generally always be made with mesh which is great year round, but especially in the summer when your body and feet are already hot. A mesh upper is flexible and will keep your feet cool and dry all day. Leather is also common in running shoes and although it is very durable and looks sleek, it is simply not as breathable and tends to show wear much quicker. When you run, your foot bends, and this will cause the leather to form creases, whereas mesh does not. Leather will protect against odor, so a mesh leather combo is a perfect choice.
Keep in mind that there are different running shoes for different terrains, and ones made for soft surfaces like trails will wear out much quicker if they are being used on concrete. If you wish to switch up the environment in which you run, you will need different shoes that are specific to that terrain.
In every shoe, comfort is paramount. An uncomfortable shoe means an uncomfortable run. Your feet are delicate and fragile and need all the protective comfort they can receive. That protective comfort can come in the way of cushioning.
Cushioning requirements vary from person to person and different parts of the running shoe are cushioned. Your arch will also determine how much cushioning you need. The insole needs to be flexible and soft but stable and supportive and a removable insole is best for people choosing to wear orthotics. The midsole is where the most stability, shock absorption, and cushioning happens so it needs to be well built and durable or your body will feel it. Special touches in cushioning such as the collar or tongue can make a difference as well.
Most running shoes do not require a break-in and should have stretchable materials such as mesh so the shoe will move with your feet. If the shoe feels oddly fitted or uncomfortable when you first wear them, it’s probably the wrong size, construction, or shoe for you.
Running shoes are built to be worn right away so you can receive immediate protection for your run.
The durability you need in a pair of running shoes depends on how you will be wearing them and where. Most shoes should last between 300 and 400 miles, but it is possible for them to wear sooner if you are not wearing them as they are designed for.
The easiest part of a running shoe to notice wear in is the outsole, take a look at the bottom of your shoes and look for cracks, or worn down areas. Although they may still feel okay when you run, do not prolong the life of a pair of running shoes, it will only lead to uncomfortable and possibly painful runs. The midsole which cushions your impact will begin to break down over time and begin to offer you less and less cushioning. Most midsoles are made with EVA foam which is very durable and resilient and may hold up long after your shoes need to be replaced.
If you run more casually, say on the treadmill at the gym, rather than outdoors in different conditions, on different terrains, your shoes will most likely last longer, and in that case, will not show wear in the same way and should be switched out around every 6 months. If you start to notice your feet hurting during a run, or being sore by the time you finish, it is time for a new pair.
Durability is determined by what kind of running and how often. In the wrong type of durability, a lot of running will wear them out quickly.
Do not continue to wear running shoes that already show signs of wear and tear, especially on the outsole. You’ll just have discomfort and pain and possible injuries. Take note of how the midsole is holding up by its cushioning as it will break down over time but EVA midsole can last a very long time.
Casual or low-performance running will result in shoes that last longer but will not show wear and tear as early. You can tell if those need to be replaced by how your feet feel during and after the run.
Since running builds up the heat in the body, your feet will get hot and sweat. It’s important to make sure there is breathability in the shoes regardless of what kind of running you’ll be doing. Synthetic materials are usually not breathable and you do not want it in the upper; mesh is usually the best.
Leather is a popular choice too and while it’s very durable, it’s not as breathable and will show wear quicker due to it be less flexible. However, leather will reduce odor so a leather/mesh combo is a great option if possible.
Running shoes are a very specific type of shoe, and will never be a one size fits all. To just buy the first pair you see especially based on something like looks will leave you uncomfortable, in pain and potentially injured. When looking for a new pair of running shoes aside from all other important factors, fit should be number one.
Fit should be your number one focus when choosing a running shoe. Determine the size and shape of your feet and what kind of running style you might have. Take note of your arch as well because your arch affects your running style.
There is no one size, one design fits all in running shoes. Once you have determined the type of feet and run you have and what support or other features you may need, it can be easy to choose the correct shoe you need.
Higher costs do not mean better shoes nor does it mean you need such shoes. Also, the different technology and specialized features that are included in athletic shoes are not always needed especially if you are a casual or beginning runner.
It’s best to order a size as your feet will swell up but if there is a particular fit that fits you best, stick with that instead. In addition, choose shoes with laces instead of straps as you’ll have greater control in fit and will be provided much better security, support, and stability.
Feet are extremely fragile and although we are on them all day and you’d expect them to be tough, they have many delicate bones that need to be protected, especially during high impact activities like running. Running may seem like a simple, basic activity that you can throw any old pair of shoes on and do, but that is simply not the case and without the proper footwear that will correctly cushion your feet you could wind up with serious issues.
There are many parts of a running shoe that are cushioned, and each of these is very important when it comes to protecting your feet. Everyone’s level of cushioning will vary, and depending on your arch you may need more support than others, but a basic running shoe should be sufficient in properly cushioning your feet.
Insoles should be soft and flexible yet still offer good support and stability. If you tend to need orthotics, look for running shoes that have a removable insole as these will best accommodate them. The midsole gives the most stability and is where the shock is mostly absorbed so if it is not durable and built with proper materials your feet and the rest of your lower body will feet the brunt of your run. Not everyone needs a thickly cushioned midsole, and some runners actually prefer a barely-there shoe that gives them an almost barefoot-like feel. It is completely up to you what feels right, and optimizes your performance.
Touches like a padded tongue and collar or seamless construction go a long way and can really make a difference in cushioning your feet, especially if your feet get easily irritated. Running shoes do not need to be broken-in if you feel immediate discomfort the size is either wrong or the style of shoe in general. Certain materials like leather or mesh will stretch slightly, but that is more so to just accommodate your feet while your run, and move with them, not actually change the size of your shoe.
Unlike sneakers that often times are stiffer and do need to be broken in, running shoes are built to feel great and be used right away. Because of the stress and impact being put on your lower body during a run if your shoes were not able to immediately accommodate your feet out of the box, injuries could occur.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Just because you're on a budget, doesn't mean you are buying the cheapest possible things to survive!
Whatever your budget, just make sure you save a little for your running hobby. New shoes, shorts, leggins, tops, or jackets could be something you need each year, and it can add up. Try to save up around $300 each year to cover the costs of new running sneakers, and some apparel.
Just like how you care for yourself, caring for your footwear will help make them go the distance.
Be sure to clean your shoes every now and again according to the manufacturer's instructions, or by tossing into the gentle cycle in the washer. Let you shoes air dry before you wear them on another run.
Laces are usually one of the first things that can go on your shoes, so be sure to have a spare pair handy instead of purchasing a new pair of sneakers!
Other Factors to Consider
Despite what some companies might tell you, a quality running shoe doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg. There’s no need for basic equipment like shoes to be an expensive barrier to entry for the beginning runner. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with investing a little extra money in your shoes, not everyone is able to afford to do so. Hundreds of dollars for a pair of shoes is a lot of money to drop on a hobby that a beginner might not even be certain they’ll like.
An inexpensive shoe can be just as cushioned and supportive as their higher-end counterparts. For a runner who is just starting out or a veteran who just needs an inexpensive shoe to wear on the treadmill, there are many options that won’t cost an arm and a leg. It might take a little extra shopping around, but you can find the perfect shoe that will work with your budget if you look.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Is name brand important?
Name brands will affect the price of the shoe, but don’t always mean you are getting a higher quality pair. Rather than looking at what’s trendy, and brands that have cool styles, look at name brands that are known for producing high quality, durable shoes. If you are in need of specific features as well, like removable insoles, some brands will offer that in more styles than others.
q: What material is best?
Most good running shoes have a mesh or knit upper and either is made of leather or are knit. Both are great options and offer you different things. Knit and mesh are much more lightweight and are very breathable which is great in summer months when you want the most airflow as possible. Leather is a more durable fabric, however, it can at times make a shoe look bulky and isn’t as breathable as a fabric.
q: How often should I buy new running shoes?
Depending on the amount of use they get. If you run frequently, and keep track of your miles etc, they should be replaced between 300 – 400 miles. Running shoes that you mostly wear to the gym, or day to day will last longer and the general rule of thumb is to replace them after 6 months. Take into account how the feel and fit after that time though, do not just throw away a good pair of shoes because 6 months is up, check them for wear and tear first.
q: How many pairs should I own at a time?
One pair is sufficient if you are using them on the same terrain every time. If you wish you switch up where you run, for instance, a trail or track one day and concrete the next, you should invest in two pairs of running shoes, one for trails and one for the road. Trail shoes are constructed differently and will wear down much faster being used on the harder ground.
q: Can I wear running shoes for things other than running?
Yes, running shoes are very versatile and brands are constantly putting out more and more stylish designs than many people are wearing as fashion pieces rather than to work out in. Shoes that are not made for running, however, should not be used as such. This can lead to injuries and chronic foot, leg or knee problems.