How to find cheap running shoes
If you’re shopping for running shoes on a budget, there are plenty of affordable pairs on the market if you know how to search for them.
While affordable running shoes might not have all the bells and whistles of more expensive styles, many pairs are well-made and include a couple top-shelf attributes. Choosing the best pair of cheap running shoes boils down to determining which things you need most.
Read this buying guide to help you determine which cheap running shoes are right for your next run.
What you need to know before buying cheap running shoes
What’s the difference between high-end and cheap running shoes?
Premium running shoes are designed for performance or competitive runners. They're equipped with a wealth of top-tier features, including the shoemaker's latest and greatest technologies. They're also considered more durable than cheap running shoes.
Cheap running shoes may have one or two higher-end features, and that’s it. Quality is hit or miss with cheap running shoes. Some are well-designed and durable, whereas others are worn out after a couple dozen runs.
Types of running shoes
Running shoes are loosely grouped into three categories: cross-training, trail-running and road-running shoes. To determine which running shoes will suit you best, search for a pair specifically designed for the ground you run on most often.
How much do cheap running shoes cost?
Cheap running shoes cost $75 and below, whereas other types of running shoes can cost as much as $350.
Features to compare in cheap running shoes
Parts of the shoe
Upper: Upper refers to the materials and textiles used to construct the outermost part of a shoe. In running shoes, this typically includes synthetic materials such as mesh, polyester or faux leather.
Upper quality in cheap running shoes varies considerably. Better-made styles are structured and reinforced with stitches. Lower-quality pairs feel flimsy and have glued panels.
Lining: Quality running shoes are lined, which contributes to their overall durability. It's harder to find cheap running shoes that are fully lined, but it's not impossible. Lined styles tend to be at the higher end of the price range.
Insole: An insole is the piece of material inside a shoe that provides additional support or comfort. In some cheap running shoes, the insoles have pronounced arch or heel support. Some insoles are removable, which is important to runners who prefer using sport insoles or orthotics.
Sole: The sole of a shoe is made up of two parts: the outsole and midsole. The outsole is the outermost layer that touches the ground, and the midsole sits between the upper and outsole.
Outsoles are typically made with rubber or foam. They may have traction details to provide better grip to the ground. Some consumers feel this is where cheap running shoes fall short of expectations — their outsoles aren’t very durable and shred easily.
Midsoles are also made with rubber or foam, as well as EVA. It’s responsible for providing rebound, cushioning and some shock absorption. Better-quality running shoes, including cheap pairs, may have thicker midsoles.
Reflective detail: If you run in low-light conditions, reflective detail is likely important to you. However, cheap running shoes may have fewer reflective details, sometimes limited to the logo or heel counter.
Support: Support is considered a high priority for running shoes. This includes any cushioning or contouring that helps the foot stay in an appropriate anatomical position. To some extent, it may impact your stride.
Best cheap running shoes
Best cheap running shoes for men
FILA Windshift 15 Running Shoes: available at Kohl's Even with their rugged construction, these running shoes keep feet cool with a breathable upper. They have a responsive EVA midsole and a padded footbed.
Puma Super Levitate Running Sneakers: available at Macy's These comfortable running shoes are sleek and versatile. Wearers appreciate the shock-absorbing heel cushion.
Saucony Versafoam Excursion Tr13 Road Running Shoes: available at Amazon These trail running shoes have a triangle lugged outsole to help wearers grip terrain, including wet or uneven ground. They're ideal for near-daily trail running.
Best cheap running shoes for women
Adidas Puremotion Adapt Running Shoes: available at Dick's Sporting Goods Look no further for a low-maintenance running shoe. This Adidas style foregoes laces and embraces a wide elastic strap for quicker footwear changes.
Best cheap running shoes for kids
Adidas Kids' Grade School Forta Run Running Shoes: available at Dick's Sporting Goods These running shoes have an EVA midsole that cushions and supports feet during active periods. The style also has a protective toe cap.
Reebok Rush Runner 3.0 Kids' Sneakers: available at Kohl's This laid-back style is a perennial favorite for its stay-put design. It has elastic laces and a hook-and-loop closure.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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