Are you tired of sacrificing comfort and durability for affordable running shoes? Well, look no further! In this article, we have rounded up the best cheap running shoes on the market that are not only budget-friendly but also guarantee top-notch performance. From the ultra-light Adidas Adizero SL to the cushioned Nike Winflo 9, we've got you covered in your quest for the perfect running shoes. So, lace up your sneakers and get ready to hit the pavement without breaking the bank!
Adidas Adizero SL ($120)
Adidas has taken a portion of their Lightstrike Pro foam, a highly responsive TPU compound found in the $250 Adizero Pro 3 supershoes, and incorporated it into the forefoot of the more affordable Adizero SL. The rest of the midsole is made of Lightstrike EVA, creating a lively trainer that testers have described as "fun" and "energizing." With a wide forefoot base, narrow heel, and comfortable engineered mesh upper with a padded tongue, this shoe offers a premium feel for runners of all speeds and distances.
Upgrade: For comparison, consider the Adidas Adizero Boston 11 ($160). It also features Lightstrike EVA and Lightstrike Pro foam, but it has Energy Rods, a carbon-plate-like technology that the Adizero SL lacks, resulting in a snappier toe-off. While the Adizero Boston 11 is designed and excels in mid- to long-distance training, the lighter Adizero SL is arguably more versatile, suitable for any distance, pace, or running style.
Weight: 8.6 ounces (men’s), 7.4 ounces (women’s)Stack height: 35mm (heel), 26.5mm (forefoot); 8.5mm drop
(Photo: Courtesy New Balance)
Adidas Ultraboost 22
(Image credit: Adidas)The Adidas Ultraboost 22 is a versatile choice for both experienced runners and beginners. Since the release of the first Ultraboost in 2015, runners have been captivated by the bouncy 'Boost' foam, which provides an exciting sensation underfoot. The Boost foam remains just as impressive seven years later, offering responsiveness and speed when needed, while still maintaining a plush feel on longer, slower runs.
The Ultraboost 22 was designed by an all-female team specifically for female runners. Adidas used scans from 1.2 million female feet to redesign the Ultraboost 21, resulting in a narrower heel, lower instep, and an S-curve heel that allows for freer movement of the Achilles tendon.
One drawback is the weight of the shoe, but unless you're aiming for a personal record, it shouldn't pose a problem. It's a great all-around shoe for anything from a 5K to a fast half marathon.
Read our full Adidas Ultraboost 22 review.
Today's best Adidas Ultraboost 22 (women) deals
Asics Gel Nimbus 24
(Image credit: Asics)The Asics Gel Nimbus 24 is now on sale following the release of the Asics Gel Nimbus 25, but that shouldn't discourage you. The Nimbus 24 remains a fantastic running shoe, offering exceptional comfort and cushioning for easy runs. It is a neutral running shoe with Asics' FF Blast Plus cushioning, providing a softer landing and a responsive toe-off. Durable and reliable, the Gel Nimbus 24 is perfect for your first marathon and beyond.
Although it may not be the trendiest shoe, it offers plenty of comfort. The knitted upper securely wraps around the foot without feeling restrictive. The real magic lies in the midsole, where the ample cushioning provides a soft and comfortable ride, even on fatigued legs. While the Gel Nimbus 25 is an upgrade, the Gel Nimbus 24 is a solid choice for those seeking a more budget-friendly option.
#9. ASICS Gel Excite 8
– Best running shoes under $100 – Our Top Pick
This model checks all the boxes when it comes to the best affordable running shoes.
It excels in shock absorption with its comfortably cushioned heel and midsole.
Yet it also offers a springy feel, making it perfect for faster-paced runs.
We were particularly impressed by its stability. The molded heel section keeps your foot centered, and the brand's GUIDANCE LINE technology promotes a natural stride.
The breathable upper keeps your feet cool even on longer runs, and the flexible yet durable injection rubber outsole provides excellent traction.
#8. WHITIN Minimalist Trail Runner
– Best affordable barefoot trail running shoe
The Whitin Minimalist Trail Runner features the typical foot-shaped design that is characteristic of barefoot shoes, allowing you to truly connect with the ground and experience a natural running motion.
The zero heel-to-toe drop encourages a forefoot strike, and the sole offers enough thickness to protect your feet while still allowing you to feel the terrain beneath you.
Additionally, the shoe has a removable insole for an even closer connection to the ground, and the adjustable hook-and-loop closure ensures a secure and comfortable fit.
Overall, this shoe provides a grounded and flexible running experience.
Asics GT-1000 11 Nagino, $100
The Nagino is an excellent choice for runners with narrow feet who desire some pronation control. While the shoe is suitable for neutral runners as well, it incorporates firmer-density midsole foam on the medial side (under the arch) to prevent excessive inward rolling of the feet. The external heel cup further aids in keeping the feet properly aligned. With its plush feel, stretchy jacquard mesh upper, and well-padded tongue and heel cup, the Nagino delivers exceptional midsole cushioning that effectively absorbs impact and provides comfort during runs and cross-training workouts. It strikes a perfect balance, offering stability without sacrificing agility when performing exercises like air squats and lunges.
Upgrade: Compare this to the GT-2000 11 Nagino ($145), the GT-1000 Nagino's sibling. The main difference lies in the GT-2000's softer, lighter, and more responsive midsole foam called DNA Amp 2. The GT-2000 also features a unique woven patterning on the upper, while the GT-1000 has a more traditional mesh appearance. Both models incorporate rear-foot gel technology for shock absorption and aim to provide pronation control.
Weight: 9.4 ounces (men), 8.3 ounces (women)Stack Height: 32.5mm (heel), 24.5mm (forefoot) men’s, 31.5mm–23.5mm (women’s); 8mm offset
(Photo: Courtesy Topo Athletic)
Brooks Revel 6 ($100)
We highly recommend the Brooks Revel 6 for short runs, cross-training, and casual wear. Its knit upper not only looks and feels great but also provides excellent foot security atop the midsole. Speaking of the midsole, it features Brooks DNA, an EVA-based blend that adapts to the needs of each individual runner, taking into account factors such as weight and gait pattern. The shoe strikes the right balance, offering a capable yet not overly cushy experience, making it a versatile trainer suitable for various distances and activities.
Upgrade: Consider upgrading to the Levitate 6 ($150), which features the DNA Amp 2 midsole foam, a TPU-based foam that is lighter and provides more spring and responsiveness than the DNA in the Revel. Both the Levitate and Revel have an arrow-point outsole pattern for road surface traction and efficient toe-offs.
Weight: 6.1 ounces (men’s), 8.1 ounces (women’s)Stack Height: 25mm (heel), 15mm (forefoot); 10mm offset
(Photo: Courtesy Reebok)
Brooks Trace 2
- Provides all-around comfort and a smooth ride
- Steep drop may not be suitable for some runners
|Weight||8.6 oz (M), 7.6 oz (W)|
The Brooks Trace 2 is specifically designed for new runners, providing a smooth and cushioned ride that will get you hooked on running. Building upon the success of the original Trace, the Trace 2 offers flexibility, durability, and exceptional comfort. Its BioMoGo DNA foam provides adequate cushioning, while the updated mesh upper offers excellent breathability. The shoe's segmented crash pad construction allows it to flex with your foot, enhancing the overall running experience.
Brooks Launch 9
- Lightweight and responsive
- Great for daily training
- BioMoGo foam is somewhat firm
|Weight||8.2 oz (M), 7.1 oz (W)|
The Launch 9 is a lightweight shoe that offers both speed and durability for day-to-day training. The latest design features increased cushioning and a higher stack height. The BioMoGo midsole strikes a perfect balance between softness and energy return, providing cushioning without sacrificing responsiveness. The nearly full-coverage rubber outsole enhances both durability and traction, while the lightweight mesh upper ensures excellent breathability.
Need more support? The Launch 9 GTS version includes GuideRails, which are firm foam areas on either side of the heel that correct overpronation in your stride.
Nike Winflo 9
(Image credit: Nike)Nike is renowned for producing some of the most expensive running shoes on the market, but they also offer more affordable options. The Nike Winflo 9 is one such shoe, featuring Nike's Cushlon foam and a full-length Nike Dot Weld Air unit for a comfortable and responsive feel underfoot. It is a durable running shoe designed for easy miles. The Winflo 9 delivers a soft and bouncy sensation while being available in a variety of colors and sizes to suit individual preferences. The Flywire cables work with the laces to provide a secure and supportive fit, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced runners.
Today's best Nike Winflo 9 deals
Nike Pegasus 38
(Image credit: Nike)The Nike Pegasus 38 is an exceptional running shoe suitable for both experienced and beginner runners. Although it's an older model that has been discontinued with the release of the Nike Pegasus 39 last year (and the anticipation of the Nike Pegasus 40 dropping soon), it still stands as an excellent option. The main differentiation between the older and newer models lies in the presence of a second Zoom Air unit in the heel of the Pegasus 39, which enhances its responsiveness. Nevertheless, the Pegasus 38 remains a top-tier running shoe that can handle any distance you throw at it.
Building on the significant updates made to the Pegasus 37, Nike has crafted a highly dependable shoe with the Pegasus 38. It is a reliable and durable option that can accompany you on your first 5K run or your fifth marathon. With a price tag of under $100, this shoe guarantees longevity and performance, providing you with hundreds of miles of comfort.
Today's best Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 deals
New Balance FuelCell Propel v4 ($110)
If you're searching for the sensation of a plated shoe that offers a springy toe-off encouraging forward propulsion, but without the hefty carbon price tag, the FuelCell Propel v4 from New Balance is the answer. This shoe features a slightly flexible TPU plate embedded in its midsole, which is constructed from New Balance's proprietary nitrogen-injected compound renowned for its liveliness. Testers have described the FuelCell Propel v4 as having abundant cushioning without compromising on speed or the ability to roll off your toes easily. It delivers an efficient ride that inspires speed. This daily trainer provides significant value for money.
For a comparison, consider the New Balance FuelCell SuperComp Pacer ($150) as an upgrade. It shares the same FuelCell cushioning surrounding a plate, but the SuperComp Pacer incorporates a stiffer and more responsive carbon fiber plate compared to the TPU plate of the Propel. The SuperComp Pacer and the Propel v4 both utilize hollowed-out segments under the foot to harness the rebound energy of their respective plates. The SuperComp Pacer has a lower stack height and utilizes sleeker, lighter-weight materials, resulting in a more pronounced speedy and race-oriented feel. In contrast, the Propel offers a slightly plusher and cushier experience.
Weight: 10.7 ounces (men's), 8.1 ounces (women's)Stack Height: 31mm (heel), 25mm (forefoot); 6mm offset
(Photo: Courtesy Brooks)
Saucony Ride 15
(Image credit: Future/Tom's Guide)Another trustworthy running shoe, the Saucony Ride 15 offers a similar experience in terms of comfort and price compared to the Brooks Ghost 14. It boasts a substantial layer of Saucony's PWRRUN cushioning, a breathable mesh upper, and an improved fit that ensures a secure fit while running. Whether you prefer a slow jog or a speedy sprint, the Ride 15 provides a comfortable and reliable experience. Compared to previous versions, it features a lighter and more breathable upper, keeping your feet cool and preventing excessive sweat. It is also lighter overall while maintaining its responsiveness, thanks to tweaks in the PWRRUN cushioning.
While it may not be the flashiest-looking shoe, the Ride 15 is an excellent choice if you desire a reliable option that offers comfort during long runs and provides the needed snap for faster sessions.
Today's best Saucony Ride 15 deals
Saucony Guide 15
Best Plush Stability Shoe
Now 49% Off
- Lighter than the previous version
- Supportive and comfortable
- Not ideal for neutral runners
|Weight||9.5 oz (M), 8.2 oz (W)|
The Saucony Guide line has long been a favorite among runners in need of a supportive and comfortable shoe. The 15th iteration introduces a softer Pwrrun midsole foam that offers increased cushioning and reduces weight. As a result, the Guide 15 is approximately an ounce lighter than its predecessor. Featuring a Pwrrun sockliner for added comfort, as well as a guidance frame in the sole that corrects overpronation, this shoe provides excellent stability. Saucony has also revised the sole design to create a more supportive feel by allowing the foot to sit deeper in the footbed.
Skechers GOrun Pure 3
- Cushioning is soft and bouncy, without feeling mushy
- Excellent traction from Goodyear outsole rubber
- Slightly narrow toe box
|Weight||8.3 oz (M), 7.1 oz (W)|
The original GOrun Pure impressed us with its lightweight design, well-cushioned midsole, and breathable upper—all at an affordable price of . With the GOrun Pure 3, Skechers returns to the shoe's initial formula by reintroducing the responsive Ultra Flight foam, made from TPU, and retaining the same price point. The Goodyear rubber outsole delivers reliable grip and durability, while the engineered mesh upper ensures a secure and comfortable fit. The addition of removable insoles enhances overall comfort and shock absorption.
Reebok Floatride Energy 5 ($110)
This lightweight trainer features an X-shaped plate made out of TPU that's embedded within the midfoot cushioning to provide torsional control, preventing excessive pronation. Testers have described the Floatride Energy 5 as light and responsive with a subtle structure. The new cushioning, based on TPE, offers a smooth and bouncy ride reminiscent of Adidas' Boost foam. While it may not deliver the same level of springiness as nitrogen-infused or Pebax-based foams, the Floatride Energy 5's minimalist and responsive feel is highly appreciated.
For those familiar with the previous iteration, the Floatride Energy 4, the Floatride Energy 5 has undergone a complete revamp, featuring updates to the upper (enhancing foothold), midsole, outsole, and fit (wider). Recycled materials in the upper make it lighter, as does the new midsole compound. Additional changes include a slight increase in heel height and forefoot bounce, resulting in a lower drop and greater toe responsiveness.
Upgrade: Consider the Reebok Floatride Energy X ($170) for comparison. It incorporates a partial carbon plate in the forefoot, Reebok's more responsive TPU-based midsole foam, and a woven textile upper. Aimed at marathon training and racing, the Energy X can handle high mileage with maximum effort. It offers a snappier ride compared to the Energy 5, tailored to optimize forward-balanced, powerful, up-tempo strides.
Weight: 9.4 ounces (men's), 7.7 ounces (women's)Stack Height: 27mm (heel), 19mm (forefoot); 8mm offset
(Photo: Courtesy Nike)
Topo Athletic Fli-Lyte 4, $120
The Fli-Lyte 4 is an excellent choice for runners seeking a low-drop (three-millimeter) shoe with a spacious toe box and a connected ground feel. Its TPU/EVA blend cushioning absorbs impact while maintaining a firm, stable ride that some runners prefer. This shoe excels in providing a solid toe-off platform. A wide and low-stack shoe like the Fli-Lyte 4 is also well-suited for gym workouts and weightlifting, offering a more stable platform compared to heavily cushioned high-stack shoes. The engineered mesh upper with zero overlays ensures breathability and lightweight properties. Additionally, its versatile design allows for casual wear beyond running or workouts.
Upgrade: Consider the Topo Athletic Magnifly ($130) for comparison. It is a neutral, foot-shaped shoe with a zero-drop and slightly thicker (25-millimeter) dual-density midsole that offers softer cushioning near the foot and a firmer feel close to the ground. It incorporates enhanced overlays to secure the foot.
Weight: 8.3 ounces (men's), 6.3 ounces (women's)Stack Height: 23 mm (heel), 20 mm (forefoot); 3mm offset
Adidas Supernova 2
- Designed for comfort
- Lighter than previous version
- Not ideal for speedwork
|Weight||9.7 oz (M), 8.6 oz (W)|
When you go for a recovery run, you need a shoe that offers both comfort and protection for your feet and legs. The Adidas Supernova 2 is a great choice for such situations. In its 2.0 model, Adidas has reduced the weight and improved comfort with a newly padded tongue and heel construction. The midsole combines Boost and Bounce foams to provide a perfect balance of energy return and cushioning. The Supernova 2 also serves as an excellent daily trainer.
Comfort and Durability
Regardless of the price, running shoes should always offer a comfortable fit, breathable uppers, and supportive cushioning that absorbs impact. I specifically looked for shoes with long-lasting outsoles that enhance durability and reduce the overall cost per mile.
In conclusion, when it comes to finding the best cheap running shoes that offer both comfort and durability, there are plenty of options to choose from. Whether you prefer the sleek design of the Adidas Adizero SL or the cushioned support of the Asics Gel Nimbus 24, there is a shoe out there that will suit your needs without breaking the bank. So lace up those sneakers and hit the pavement with confidence, knowing that you don't have to sacrifice quality for affordability. Happy running!