Did you know that even some professional runners don’t necessarily pay much for their running shoes, opting for more affordable yet still effective models?
According to a study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2007, “low- and medium-cost running shoes in each of the three brands tested provided the same (if not better) cushioning of plantar pressure as high-cost running shoes”.
Moreover, the research done by our team revealed that many budget-friendly running sneakers today use technologies found in more expensive models too.
So, evidently, good running shoes are not always the ones harming your credit score.
Well, what has our team done this time?
The challenge was to find the 11 best cheap running shoes (sub-$100), which meet the athletes’ requirements in terms of comfort, security, and cushioning.
The list is hand-picked and you can already feast your eyes (and bank account!) on the following collection of the best budget running shoes.
- 16 Best Budget Running Shoes Review:
- 6 Best Cheap Running Shoes for Men:
- 1. Nike Flex 2017 RN
- 2. Nike Flex 2017 RN
- 3. Asics Gel-Venture 6
- 4. Nike Free RN 2018
- 5. ASICS GT 1000 6
- 6. Adidas Duramo 8
- 10 Best Affordable Running Shoes for Women:
- 1. Adidas Energy Cloud V
- 2. Nike Revolution 3
- 3. Saucony Cohesion 11
- 4. Brooks Ravenna 8
- 5. Under Armour Charged Bandit 3
- 6. BROOKS LAUNCH 8
- 7. Saucony Men’s Kinvara 11 Running Shoe
- 8. NEW BALANCE FUEL CELL ECHO
- 9. MIZUNO WAVE SHADOW 3
- 10. BROOKS RAVENNA 11
- How to Choose the Best Cheap Running Shoes?
- Frequently Asked Questions:
16 Best Budget Running Shoes Review:
6 Best Cheap Running Shoes for Men:
The Nike Flex 2017 RN Men’s Running Shoe is an awesome heir of the Nike Flex 2016 RN. Designed to be lightweight and adjust to the natural foot movement.
It’s a great option for neutral pronators and underpronators.
This affordable running sneaker from Nike is also rather versatile and able to cope with roads and asphalt.
Upper is made of breathable engineered mesh (looks like a woven cloth), which is flexible enough to let your feet move naturally without any discomfort.
Thin overlays help to keep the foot stable in place, and the Dynamic Fit technology utilizes Flywire technology to promote an adaptive and supportive fit.
Nike Flywire technology consists of strategically placed “cables”, usually used for minimalist models.
Inside the Shoe:
On the inside, you’ll find a breathable fabric lining that improves the moisture management abilities of the shoes.
Lightly padded tongue and collar prevent any rubbing or irritation, and a minimal molded textile footbed adds some extra comfy cushioning from the inside.
Dual-density Phylon foam midsole features two planes of cushioning to promote a smooth ride and to keep the experience maximally comfortable.
This foam accommodates the entire length of the shoe, so the cushioning is equally spread from heel to toes. Another great feature of Phylon technology is its lightweight nature.
The outsole of the Nike Flex 2017 RN has a tri-star design, which enhances the flexibility of the runner.
For the sake of durability, the sneaker has rubber segments, strategically placed in the forefoot and heel areas to make the shoe more durable.
- Cool external design.
- No-sew construction.
- Sock-like fit.
- Flywire lace-up closure.
- Versatility: good for running, gym workouts, and casual walks.
- Lightweight nature.
- Natural feet movement thanks to flexible upper and midsole.
- Breathable upper.
- Rounded heel promotes a natural range of motion.
- Rounded heel for a natural heel strike.
- The natural curve of the foot is mimicked by the shoe’s semi-curved shape
- Durability issues with the upper unit and the outsole.
- The shoe runs a bit narrow.
Wanna a pair of affordable no-frills neutral running shoes? Asics Gel-Contend 4 is exactly what you’re looking for.
Meant for short distances and gym cardio training, these low mileage trainers will be your best deal.
This running shoe is one of the most reliable and sturdy options in the budget sports footwear category.
The upper of the Asics Contend 4 gets an upgrade compared with its previous version – now it’s much softer and conforms better to the foot, and the bulky plastic overlays are now removed for a more sophisticated appeal.
Also, the 4th edition features substantial overlays in the heel and the midfoot areas, which do an excellent job as stabilizers.
Another good thing about the upper is that it puts together mesh and synthetic fabrics so that the runner is lightweight and breathable, too.
Inside the Shoe:
Soft breathable lining, properly padded tongue and collar, and a removable footbed make the interior of the shoe.
This sock liner is cushioned enough, however, you can always replace it with your favorite orthotic if you need it.
The midsole is made of famous EVA foam for cushioning and durability.
The ASICS Rearfoot GEL Cushioning System in the heel provides a lower shock when the heel impacts on the ground.
AHAR rubber in the areas that are mostly to suffer from wear and tear and softer blown rubber in the forefoot are a perfect combo.
Moreover, this running shoe has a famous Guidance Line, which makes the ride much smoother.
- True to size.
- Removable cushioned insole.
- Roomy toe box.
- Overlays in the heel and the midfoot for keeping the foot in place.
- Attractive external design with multiple color options.
- Heel-to-toe smooth transition.
- Different widths are available.
- Versatility: good for running as well as for gym workouts.
- GEL rearfoot cushioning.
- Breathability and moisture management.
- Not as supportive as the previous versions of the shoe.
- The shoe may fit a bit loose.
The Asics Gel Venture 6 is a typical representative of the best-value-for-affordable-price type.
They’re exclusively versatile and feature a very high level of support so that even people with various feet issues like plantar fasciitis or flat feet can wear them without any risk of injury.
An awesome mesh upper design is the first thing that attracts lots of runners – it’s streamlined, smooth, and stylish.
It keeps the feet securely locked, allowing it to breathe at the same time. Traditional lace-up closure lets you adjust the runner as you like.
Inside the Shoe:
The Asics Gel-Venture 6 also features a removable insole for more comfortability, a plush tongue, and a soft collar for added comfort.
The breathable fabric lining across the shoe upper provides a healthy odor-free environment inside the shoe.
The traditional Rearfoot Gel cushioning system is used for maximum shock absorption and a smooth heel-to-transition.
During a standard run, the foot encounters vertical impact forces 3 times an athlete’s body weight during the heel strike – this cushioning system in the heel attenuates the shock from this; it stabilizes the foot during the first phase of the Impact Guidance System.
The outsole is made specifically for trail running and has innovative reversed lugs. They improve the performance by means of enhancing the grip on a variety of surfaces.
- The strong build of the shoe is great for trail running.
- True to size.
- Attractive design with bright colorways.
- A Semi-curved shape mimics the natural form of the foot.
- Great shock absorption and smooth transition thanks to Rearfoot Gel Cushioning.
- Serves as a good long-distance running shoe.
- Stabilizing side overlays and the supportive heel collar.
- Supportive even for people with flat feet and plantar fasciitis.
- Good grip on different surfaces.
- Not very lightweight.
- May feel a bit stiff.
Created for short runs and gym workouts, long-distance road running, and interval training, the Nike Free RN 2018 is one of our affordable favorites.
These sneakers will teach you how to fly – to be the first without any discomfort or injuries and enjoy a super comfortable barefoot-like feel.
The seamless circular mesh upper of the Nike Free RN 2018 is more intricate and more tightly knit than in the previous versions. It provides more breathability too.
The construction just wraps the foot like a sock, as the tongue is integrated, and the lacing system involves Flywire cables, which are meant for tightening or loosening the whole upper’s fabrics according to your preference.
Inside the Shoe:
The greatest feature of the Nike Free RN 2018 on the inside is the Ortholite sock liner that mimics the curvature of the foot.
This footbed is very popular in more expensive Nike’s models, so don’t miss the chance to get it so cheap.
The Nike Free RN 2018 has a low-profile cushion, which is very lightweight but doesn’t sacrifice the responsiveness of the shoe.
It mimics the natural foot movement through its innovative pattern – this provides a natural barefoot-like feel.
The auxetic tri-star pattern on the outsole allows it to expand in size as the foot moves, increasing the flexibility of the platform.
AHAR rubber Onlays are strategically placed in the high wear areas – the toe and the heel – for decent traction and steady pace.
- Lightweight construction.
- Available in a great variety of colorways and designs.
- Secure fit without constraining the foot.
- Flywire technology for more support.
- Rounded heel for a smoother heel-to-toe transition.
- Knit-in ventilation holes for breathability.
- Textured toe and heel areas of the outsole for traction.
- Highly flexible.
- Not true to size (runs a half size smaller).
- Smooth laces may come undone.
- Lack of room in the toe box.
- The break-in period is required for achieving maximum flexibility.
The Asics GT 1000 6 is a real catch for the athletes who look for the best value at a low price.
It’s incredible how this stability shoe combines comfort, proper energy return, durability, quality old-school technologies, and a bright design.
Comparing with its previous version, the upper’s mesh design is updated to improve breathability and provide a healthier, odor-free interior environment for the runner.
Engineered mesh upper is supported with synthetic overlays. A traditional lace-up closure keeps the foot in place, preventing it from wobbling while inside the shoe.
Inside the Shoe:
The full-length breathable fabric lining creates a great in-shoe feel without rubbing or irritation. And the ComforDry sock liner provides cushioning performance and moisture wicking for a cooler, dryer, healthier environment.
The midsole of the ASICS GT 1000 6 is stuffed with multiple shoe technologies even more than some expensive models.
First of all, it’s SpEVA foam that improves bounce-back characteristics and decreases midsole breakdown.
Also, the sneaker features the Guidance Trusstic System Technology, which integrates with the Guidance Line construction for ideal gait efficiency and midfoot structural integrity.
GEL Cushioning in the rearfoot allows for smooth transitions through the gait cycle.
Strategically placed in the most high-wear areas of the outsole, the AHAR Plus rubber is 50% more durable than the standard ASICS High Abrasion Rubber.
This material is flexible so that the shoe can bend with every foot’s movement.
- Great variety of colorways.
- Lighter than the earlier versions.
- High-quality materials invest in durability.
- Ideal for long-distance running.
- Excellent arch support.
- The right combination of comfortable cushioning and high-energy return.
- Good traction on a variety of surfaces.
- Narrow toe-box.
The Duramo 8 from Adidas is an affordable road running shoe, designed for neutral runners who strive for comfort and performance.
The model has stood the test of time and can be worn as a casual running shoe, cross-training shoe, and an everyday sneaker.
So, what can the Adidas Duramo 8 offer to you except its budget-friendly price?
This typical Adidas upper brings together soft mesh, fused layers, and a plastic TPU caging. It’s really breathable yet supportive and secure.
There’s a textile vamp on the tip of the shoe for giving the runner extra support and shape.
The upper of the Adidas Duramo 8 also has a streamlined seamless construction – a cool idea for an irritation-free barefoot-like running experience.
Inside the Shoe:
The removable Ortholite sockliner’s advanced proprietary polyurethane formula with recycled rubber content delivers a combination of benefits unmatched by any other insole manufacturer.
Firstly, it gives extra long-term cushioning from the inside. Secondly, it is 95% to 100% breathable that allows air to circulate in and around the insole, keeping the foot cooler inside the shoe.
Finally, this insole is very lightweight and machine washable – just throw them in and they’ll come out like new every time while maintaining all of their performance benefits after washing.
Also, there’s a soft textile lining on the inside, which allows for proper air circulation and a great in-shoe feel.
The contemporary look of the Adidas Duramo 8 was achieved thanks to the complete redesigning of the midsole, in comparison with the previous versions.
It’s made of the Cloudfoam material, which is an EVA compound, developed by Adidas for the optimal level of cushioning and responsiveness during the longest races.
The non-marking adiwear rubber outsole is abrasion-resistant, it protects the bottom of the shoe from wear and tear, increasing the durability of the shoe.
- Versatile & fit for different activities and exercises.
- Wide toe box.
- Seamless upper construction.
- Eye-catching design and a good number of colorways to choose from.
- Proper stability and support.
- Sufficient cushioning.
- The removable insole provides additional cushioning and an anti-microbial function.
- Good traction on a variety of surfaces.
- May fit a bit narrow in the midfoot area.
- The break-in period is required.
10 Best Affordable Running Shoes for Women:
Looking for a pair of lightweight shoes that offer incredible performance and have a cool aesthetic for your daily miles? Consider Adidas Energy Cloud V.
This affordable shoe is able to give women a super plush ride, support, stability, and breathability for roads and gym running workouts.
The Air Mesh material, used in the upper, brings a breathable running experience, as the countless holes in its layout ensure air circulation around the foot.
The seamless construction keeps the foot comfy without any skin irritation. All this textile structure is reinforced with a synthetic cage in the midfoot and with a molded cup in the heel area for a locked-down feel.
It’s pretty clear from the title of this model that the midsole is made of the Cloudfoam – the material, developed by Adidas on the basis of classic EVA foam.
This is a cloud of energy, a plush cush, always ready to spot you.
This foam compound does its work great so that you can even consider not having a sock liner at all.
The adiWEAR technology in the outsole of the Adidas Energy Cloud V is the key to a combination of traction and flexibility.
It is an extremely durable, non-marking rubber used primarily for high-abrasion areas of the outsole – also gives durability and high resistance to abrasion.
- Good for daily use, long-distance runs, and high-intensity interval training.
- Stylish design with different colorways.
- Soft & flexible upper doesn’t cause rubbing.
- Excellent support for endurance running.
- Cloudfoam cushioning for instep comfort.
- AdiWear Technology for flexibility and traction.
- Fits a little tight in the midfoot area.
Nike Revolution 3 is a minimalist running shoe under $100 with all its benefits: lightweight, breathable, compact yet efficient.
This model is really the best value for money in many respects. Affordable, good for casual running, appropriate for people with wide foot… these sneakers from Nike deserve your attention for sure!
The Nike Revolution 3 features a mixture of a stylish mesh upper with synthetic overlays for breathability and comfort.
Small perforations in the forefoot and bigger ones in the rearfoot allow a good amount of air to enter and keep the user’s foot dry and cool while running.
Standard lace-up closure maintains the snug fit and padded tongue and collars softly keep the runner’s foot in its proper position.
The Soft Foam Midsole guarantees comfortability underfoot, maintaining a plush yet responsive experience.
And the Molded Foam insole provides extra cushioning and comfort to the wearer, thereby enabling safe and springy steps.
Excellent traction, enhanced flexibility, and maximum durability – all this is about the Nike Revolution 3’s outsole.
The rubber material gives good traction on dry and wet surfaces, and the forefoot grooves enhance the shoe’s flexibility and enable the sneaker to adjust the individual foot shape.
- True to size.
- Roomy toe-box – good for runners with wide feet.
- Breathable mesh is upper for moisture management.
- Snug “second-skin” fit.
- Visually appealing minimalistic design.
- Excellent cushioning.
- Lightweight nature.
- Tough rubber outsole.
- Comfortable and flexible.
- Durability issues are possible.
Why Saucony Cohesion 11 is good shoes for female runners? Because they were created to adjust to women’s feet and withstand the most exhausting long-distance races.
This awesome runner covers all the bases: it has a solid and well-fitting upper, a durable outsole, and a cushioned ride.
And such a low price makes the Saucony Cohesion 11 one of the best picks for runners who equally care about their feet and their wallet.
The upper of the shoe is made of a breathable mesh, which guarantees a cool and dry in-shoe experience.
There are several synthetic overlays stitched onto the mesh, they reinforce the silhouette giving a snug and secure fit. A traditional lace-up closure allows for a secure and adjustable fit.
The Saucony Cohesion 11 stands on a sturdy platform, made of full-length foam that provides cushioning to the foot.
A memory foam REACT2U footbed gives contoured support to the arch and the curves of the forefoot. Another cool midsole feature is the Heel Grid System.
This involves a unit that has a crisscross pattern – it steadies the back of the foot and keeps it in place.
The outsole of the Saucony Cohesion 11 is designed to last long: the rubber compound keeps the midsole from wear and tear while also delivering surface traction.
Flex grooves at the same time allow for maximum flexibility of the shoe.
- True to size.
- Available in wide width.
- Suitable for both running and walking.
- Impressive moisture-wicking properties.
- The REACT2U footbed contours the shape of the foot.
- High-quality materials.
- Reliable support system for a smooth transition.
- Adequately responsive in all-terrain Grid Cushioning.
- The rubber outsole provides better contact with a surface while giving flexibility and traction.
- The toe box is a bit tight.
- The color schemes are not as vibrant as their predecessors.
The Brooks Ravenna 8 keeps carrying the same underfoot comfort and feel from generation to generation.
The 8th edition of the model comes with minimal changes and one of the minor updates can be seen on the upper.
Now it’s made of a new air mesh material with altered overlays for the same amount of breathability and support. The Brooks Ravenna 8 is a reliable road running stability shoe for women with low to medium arches.
A smooth, seamless design is a significant feature of the Brooks Ravenna8 for a comfortable running experience. The upper provides breathable foot coverage for keeping the foot dry and odor-free.
The modified adjustable saddle that pulls from the heel functions as a securing element in the midfoot area.
The Ravenna 8 stands on the BioMoGo DNA midsole, which delivers reliable underfoot protection and responsive cushioning.
Brooks DNA is an innovative and uniquely adaptive cushioning system. By adapting to your specific weight, pace, gait, and running surface, DNA offers customized cushioning and adds a spring to your step.
It works great with the Diagonal Rollbar that aids the foot to move, giving necessary support.
The Progressive Diagonal Rollbar is definitely a value-added feature that benefits overpronators.
If you usually experience discomfort or pain in your inner ankles after a run, think over the Ravenna 8 from Brooks.
The completely redesigned outsole unit now is made of a new rubber configuration that delivers enhanced traction.
The omega flex grooves are also modified for improved flexibility.
- True to size.
- Roomy toe box for natural toe splay.
- Standard & wide widths are available.
- No break-in period.
- Sleek & stylish look.
- A seamless design.
- Improved omega flex grooves.
- New midfoot transition zone.
- Enhanced adjustable saddle.
- New air mesh for breathability.
- Not bulky, but provide support.
- BioMoGo DNA midsole for underfoot protection.
- Soft and reliable cushioning.
- Good grip on most surfaces.
- Ideal for high mileage.
- Higher weight than in the previous version.
- Issues with durability are possible.
Under Armour Charged Bandit 3 is designed for runners who need a balance of flexibility and cushioning. Bright, unique, reliable, and secure – that’s all about these stylish affordable sneakers.
Made from lightweight and breathable materials, the Bandit 3 offers maximum performance no matter the distance.
The seamless upper of the Under Armour Charged Bandit 3 is made of breathable and lightweight circular knit material.
Besides a comfy in-shoe feel, it also gives support that is able to adjust to your foot while running.
The toe box is rather snug but stretchy, it properly secures the toes from injuries.
And the EVA tongue has a unique construction – it’s connected to the upper so that it stays put.
The midsole of the UA Charged Bandit 3 consists of the Charged Cushioning, made from a two-piece compression-molded foam – great cushioning and impact protection for long-distance efforts or up-tempo runs.
The outsole of the UA Charged Bandit 3 provides traction that is suitable for runs on dry concrete and treadmills.
Solid rubber compound covers high impact zones for greater durability.
And the anatomically placed flex grooves offer proper flexibility in key areas.
- True to size.
- Visually appealing colorways.
- Lightweight and extremely breathable upper material.
- Secure fit.
- Great overall foot support.
- Responsive Gel rearfoot and forefoot cushioning.
- Good for overpronators.
- Removable Ortholite sock liner.
- The arch support could be better.
- Not enough traction on wet trails.
- The toe box is not wide enough.
When it comes to looking for the best options at an affordable price tag, this product cannot be overlooked.
As it happens, this happens to be our best pick for the affordable options on the list.
This shoe racks at the price tag of less than $100. When you look for shoes at this price tag, there is not a lot to go on with.
But, this shoe happens to be one of the best as this shoe is extremely lightweight.
Since this shoe is rather lightweight, this shoe happens to be a great choice when it comes to looking for running shoes.
Furthermore, these shoes come with a medium-high foot arch.
The inclusion of this arch makes this shoe one of the most comfortable options on the list.
- One of the lightweight options on the list.
- One of the most stylish options.
- One of the most affordable options.
- Not a good option for people who need additional support while running.
If you are looking for something that is lightweight and that fits right in your foot, then this is the perfect option for you!
These shoes show characteristics that make them a good option for people who like to run.
Considering the materials used in these shoes, the users are able to run more efficiently.
This allows you to run for prolonged periods at a higher pace.
What contributes to the mentioned aspects is mainly the PWRRUN midsole introduced by the manufacturer.
This outsole results in the shoes being lightweight and cushioned.
This makes the shoes also comfortable while offering everything mentioned above.
Other than that, these shoes have a 4mm drop. This means that the heel compartment of this shoe is raised 4mm high above the shoe.
Due to this, the shoe becomes flat. Having said that, this shoe becomes a great choice for running in the long run.
Other than that, the outsole of these shoes does a good job when it comes to offering traction with the ground.
- Happens to be one of the best shoes.
- One of the most Responsive shoes present on the list.
- These shoes offer a secure fit for your feet.
- The traction of these shoes is not as good as other options.
When it comes to purchasing a running shoe that offers the perfect balance between responsiveness and cushioning, the search becomes very hard.
To prevent any kind of damage to your feet, it is essential that you don’t get any shoe that makes your feet feel too stiff.
Fortunately, this shoe happens to be the perfect solution to the problems listed above.
Not only this shoe offers the perfect kind of cushioning, but these shoes are also able to offer the perfect kind of breathability to the users.
The midsole of this shoe happens to be one of the best when compared to other options on the market.
The inclusion of this midsole ensures that these shoes appear lightweight and it also is responsible for transferring the heat away from your foot.
The midsole of this shoe is capable of absorbing the shock impacts and returns that same energy.
This allows the users to move forward.
- These shoes happen to be one of the most lightweight options on the list.
- These shoes feature interior cooling materials which allow the users to keep their feet cool.
- These shoes happen to be one of the highly responsive options on the list.
- These shoes offer a rather narrow fit.
When it comes to looking for shoes that come with a rather unique design, these shoes hit the mark!
Due to their rather rare design, these shoes are going to be the perfect option for midfoot strikers!
What makes this shoe a perfect option for midfoot strikers is mainly the fact that this shoe happens to be very fast and comfortable, and that’s not even the best part:
This happens to be one of the most affordable options on the list!
The manufacturer of this product has solemnly shifted its focus towards the breathability that these shoes have to offer.
After all, breathability is one of the most important aspects when it comes to considering the performance of any shoe.
The included mesh upper in these shoes is designed in such a way that they keep the feet of the users cool.
Other than that, when we look at these shoes from the perspective of durability, these shoes feature a carbon rubber outsole.
Due to this, these shoes are able to offer good traction and control.
- One of the most lightweight options.
- These shoes offer additional breathability.
- These shoes come with a durable outsole.
- These shoes have a rather stiff toe.
For the people that are looking for nothing but the best, these Brooks Ravenna 11 shoes are a great choice.
What makes these shoes one of the best is mainly due to the fact that these shoes happen to be very lightweight and work well with people who have relatively flatter feet.
These shoes are considered to be some of the best due to the support that they offer. Since this shoe offers an optimum level of support, this shoe happens to be a great choice for runners who overpronate mildly.
Unlike many other shoes, these shoes come with two separate gel pockets that are integrated within the midsole.
One gel pocket is added on the front side of the foot whereas the other is located for the arch and heel.
The addition of these gel pockets allows the users to have an optimum level of comfort and that too, at a very affordable price tag.
If you want something that can help you run over long distances without feeling any kind of discomfort and you are on a tough budget, then these shoes are going to be the best option for you.
- Comes with dual-cushion pockets.
- One of the most comfortable options on the list.
- Extremely lightweight.
- The mesh part of these shoes is not durable.
How to Choose the Best Cheap Running Shoes?
When buying running shoes, there are some factors that account in making them the best shoes. These are the factors you should consider that will make a running shoe the best.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Summing up, it’s obvious, that it is possible to find budget-friendly and high-quality running shoes not only of unknown brands but also of such sports footwear titans like Nike, Adidas, Asics, Brooks.
Yes, it is a challenge to go under $100 in 2018 but the result definitely worth the effort.
If the price is an issue for you, consider ASICS GT 1000 6, Brooks Ravenna 8, Adidas Energy Cloud V, or any other model from our top-11 list as a great alternative to overpriced running sneakers.
You choose if to overpay for the same amount of support, comfort, and performance or not.