Best Budget Running Shoes Reviewed for Performance

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. Even veterans runners don’t necessarily like shelling out all of that money for shoes when they have to pay for the little luxuries in life such as food or rent. Fortunately, there are shoes that won’t hurt your wallet or your feet.

Last Updated: December 29, 2017
By Sarah Campbell:

Links to relevant content added, top ten list and introduction and conclusion added.

Featured Recommendation

Asics GT 1000 4
  • Asics GT 1000 4
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • SpEVA Foam
  • DuoMax Support
  • Price: See Here
Asics Gel-Venture 5
  • Asics Gel-Venture 5
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Trail-Specific Outsole
  • AHAR Rubber Sole
  • Price: See Here
UA Micro G Assert 6
  • UA Micro G Assert 6
  • 4.4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • EVA Sockliner
  • Micro G Foam
  • Price: See Here

We have searched far and wide for the best shoes for the runner on a budget. They may not be the fanciest or the prettiest shoes on the market, but they will get the job done. Many of these shoes boast the same qualities as the more expensive brands, but are more than half the price. 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. All the shoes on this list are one hundred dollars or less.

 

10 Best Budget Running Shoes

 

1. Adidas Neo Lite Racer

This lightweight running shoe was designed with a focus on comfort. From the EVA midsole to the FitFoam insole to the light breathable mesh upper. This shoe will support and cushion your feet in all the right places while you run. The lightweight mesh upper of the shoe will keep your feet cool and dry all year long while the heel overlay will provide extra support and stability.
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Unique Outsole
The tough rubber outsole has a hexagonal tread pattern that was designed to ensure extra grip on concrete. Run surefooted with no fear of your feet slipping out from under you.

Heel Overlay
The lightweight mesh body of the shoe is reinforced in key structural positions for added strength without compromising the lightweight breath-ability of the design. In particular, the heel was reinforced for extra stability while you run.

Cost and Value
Perfect shoes for a runner looking for a lightweight shoe to begin training with, these shoes are inexpensive even compared with other shoes on this list.
Pros
  • Mesh Body
  • Reinforced Heel
  • Unique Outsole
  • EVA Midsole
  • FitFoam Insole
Cons
  • Run Small

2. Nike Revolution 3

A minimalist design with a light-weight mesh no-sew overlay, these shoes are an excellent addition to your repertoire of running shoes. The breathable phylon foam mesh upper body regulates your foot temperature, while the soft foam midsole offers extra cushioning and responsive shock absorption without weighing these shoes down. The rubber outsole will provide great traction. Your feet will be comfortable through your entire run in these shoes.
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Mesh Upper
Made from a proprietary superheated process, EVA foam has been transformed into the tough and lightweight Phylon mesh. These shoes are as durable as they are lightweight and breathable.

Foam Midsole
Get the support and comfort your feet need throughout your entire training session. The lightweight foam acts as a super-responsive shock absorber as well as a lightweight cushion.

Cost and Value
While these shoes can push the upper limits of what we can consider to be a budget shoe, the price can be downright reasonable depending on the size and color combination you're looking for.
Pros
  • Phylon Mesh Upper
  • Lightweight Foam Midsole
  • Tough rubber Outsole
  • No-Sew Overlay
Cons
  • Run Narrow

3. Under Armor Micro G Assert 6

The soft supportive Micro-G foam midsole will put a spring in your step as well as cushion your footfalls. With a full length EVA sock-liner, these shoes are exceptionally comfortable and offer a unique fit. The mesh upper body is supplemented by lightweight foam for extra protection against the elements. The higher wear areas of the sole have been supplemented by an extra-tough rubber to make sure these shoes last for as long as you do.
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EVA Sockliner
The inside of these shoes is a thin protective layer of EVA foam to act as an extra layer of cushioning. It will form to your feet, giving these shoes a unique fit.

Micro G
Foam This specially designed foam has been designed to provide extra cushioning and lift in your steps. It's called Micro-G because it's meant to emulate the feeling that your feet would have under lower gravity conditions.

Cost and Value
These shoes are very inexpensive for the quality of shoe that they are. If you need a solid pair of running shoes that won't break the bank, these might be the shoes for you.
Pros
  • EVA Sockliner
  • Micro-G Foam midsole
  • Breathable Mesh and Foam Upper
  • Extra-Durable Rubber Outsole
Cons

Run Small

4. Asics GT 1000 4

4. Asics GT 1000 4
An excellent shoe for people who struggle with overpronation. The DuoMax support and Trusstic systems help guide your feet while the SpEVA foam helps cushion and support your feet. The heel and forefoot have additional cushioning in the form of a GEL injected into the flexible foam midsole. The outsole is specially designed with flexible grooves to help your feet maintain their natural movement while running.
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SpEVA Foam Midsole
A proprietary EVA foam has been specially engineered to increases the elasticity of the foam as well as the durability while reducing the weight of the foam.

DuoMax Support
This special support focused midsole combines the SpEVA foam with GEL technology. Your foot will be supported and cushioned in all of the most important places while you run.

Cost and Value
These shoes are inexpensive for the amount of proprietary technology that went into them. Given the support and cushioning in the midsole alone, the low price is quite a bargain.
Pros
  • Lightweight Mesh Upper Body
  • GEL Cushioning In the Heel and Toe
  • Corrects Overpronation
  • SpEVA Faom Midsole
  • DuoMax Support
Cons
  • Run Large

5. Nike Free 5.0

5. Nike Free 5.0
A stylish asymmetrical shoe for people who are as conscious about being fashionable as they are about being comfortable. The special asymmetrical laces allow for a tighter fit without putting undue pressure on your feet. The textured inner sleeve molds to your feet, giving these shoes a unique fit. The special diagonal design helps strengthen the natural motion of your feet as you run.
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Diagonal Cut Arches
Your feet twist and roll naturally as you run. The outsoles were designed to help supplement and strengthen that natural motion. You'll have a more comfortable and natural stride while wearing these.

Asymmetrical Lacing System
Instead of the typical parallell lacing system that most shoes use, these shoes have a specially designed asymmetrical look. This design helps reduce pressure on the top of your foot while allowing you to get a tighter more secure fit.

Cost and Value
These shoes are on the upper edge of what we can consider to be budget shoes. They are high quality, but the price tag might scare off someone who is looking for a less expensive shoe.
Pros
  • Textured Mesh Inner Sleve
  • Diagonal cut Arches
  • Asymmetrical Lacing System
  • Underfoot Protection
Cons
  • Run Small
  • Expensive

6. Adidas Speed Trainer 2

6. Adidas Speed Trainer 2
A durable and flexible shoe that was designed to support your feet through short sprints. These shoes have traction control outsoles, allowing for a more surefooted stride over multiple surfaces as well as Flex Grooves which allow the shoes to flex with the natural motion of your feet as you run. The EVA midsole gives you a softer, more comfortable ride.
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Traction Control
The special outsole with hexagonal lugs was designed to increase your traction over any surface. From concrete to wet grass, you can be sure your feet won't slide out from under you while you run.

Flex Grooves
The deep grooves embedded into the tread allow the sole of your shoe to flex with your feet. You'll have a more comfortable natural footfall as you run.

Cost and Value
These shoes are one of the less expensive options on this list. This is an excellent option if you're looking for an inexpensive but dependable shoe to start your running career out with.
Pros
  • Lightweight Mesh Upper
  • EVA Midsole
  • Traction Control
  • Flex Grooves
  • Synthetic Overlays for Extra Protection
Cons
  • Run Narrow

7. Nike Flex RN 4

7. Nike Flex RN 4
A light mesh shoe with a molded EVA sockliner that will give your foot a snug sock-like fit inside this shoe. The unique looking outsole act as an extra layer of shock absorption as well as provides tight traction along with extra flexibility thanks to the full length flex grooves along the tread. The Phylon midsole provides extra cushion without adding on any extra weight.
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No-Sew Overlay
This light mesh overlay will support your feet while keeping them cool and dry. The no-sew design means that there will be no seams to rub or irritate your feet.

Waffle Outsole
This specially designed tread has deep grooves like a waffle. The tread was designed to add in more shock absorption. It allows for more flexibility and a more responsive footfall without sacrificing comfort.

Cost and Value
Like most of the Nike brand shoes on this list, these are on the upper edge of what can be considered budget shoes. If you're able to drop the few extra dollars on these shoes, these are worth picking up.
Pros
  • Waffle Outsole
  • Full-Length Flex Grooves
  • Phylon Midsole
  • EVA Sockliner
Cons
  • Run Narrow

8. Asics Gel-Contend 3

8. Asics Gel-Contend 3
Multiple layers of mesh are weaved together to form a sturdy yet breathable running shoe. The GEL cushioning is concentrated in the heels, allowing your feet to absorb the shock of your footfalls more comfortably. The removable cushioned sock liner provides extra cushioning, but also allows you the freedom to swap it out for your own inserts should you need it.
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Rearfoot Gel Cushioning
The proprietary GEL insert has been injected into the heel of the midsole. It allows for extra shock absorption while running, letting you run farther and longer without pain.

Mesh Weave Underlays
One layer of breathable mesh is good, but do you know what's better? Several that have all been weaved together to create a strong fabric that still breathes.

Cost and Value
These shoes, depending on the size and color combination you choose, can vary in price. They can be rather inexpensive, or run to the upper limits of what we can call a budget shoe. Look to see if your size works for your budget.
Pros
  • GEL Rearfoot Cushioning
  • Mesh Weave Underlays
  • Removable Sockliner
  • Rubber Outsole
Cons
  • Run Short In the Toebox

9. Saucony Cohesion 9

9. Saucony Cohesion 9
A popular and versatile choice for the runner on a budget, these shoes have a tough heel-grid system embedded into the foam midsole as well as long flex grooves in the tread allowing for a more flexible shoe. The foam midsole provides extra stability and comfort. The upper body is made from a light and breathable mesh, while the collar and tongue have extra padding.
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Heel Grid
A specially designed tread around the heel that has been embedded all the way into the midsole. It provides extra cushioning and traction around the heel, allowing for a softer and more comfortable run.

Flex Grooves
Flexibility is a must when it comes to running shoes. With the deep grooves cut into the tread, these shoes flex with your feet naturally as you run as well as help improve your traction.

Cost and Value
Although some sellers price these far beyond our one hundred dollar limit, you can get them for cheap through different sellers. These shoes are good enough that it is worth shopping around for the best bargain.
Pros
  • Breathable Mesh Body
  • Foam Midsole
  • Heel Grid
  • Flex Grooves
Cons
  • Tight Toebox

10. Asics Gel-Venture 5

10. Asics Gel-Venture 5
The light mesh upper body is soft and breathable while the tread is an aggressive trail specific design. This shoe has a special reversed lug design to increase traction on the trails. The soles are reinforced with AHAR rubber, and the upper body is held together with crisscrossed brush stroke overlays for a sturdier longer lasting shoe. This is an excellent choice for a trail runner.
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Trail Specific Outsole
The rugged reverse lug tread design will keep your feet steady on any trail. From dirt to gravel, these shoes will provide strong and dependable traction.

AHAR Rubber
Pile the miles on this shoe without any fear. This extra-tough extra-durable rubber compound reinforces the high-impact high-wear areas of the outsole. The parts of these shoes that would normally wear first will last much longer.

Cost and Value
These shoes are relatively inexpensive, especially for the quality of the design and materials. If you're looking for a tough trail running shoe, these are definitely worth looking at.
Pros
  • Aggressive Trail Specific Outsole
  • AHAR Rubber
  • Breathable Mesh Upper
  • Rearfoot GEL Cushioning
  • Removable Sockliner
Cons
  • Stiff

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.