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Best Cheap Running Shoes Reviewed & Rated for Quality

last updated Feb 28, 2019

With changes in society, many individuals are now aware of health trends and the best way to stay healthy and in shape. For many of us, this includes a healthy diet and a consistent workout pattern.  Many of these activities include gear that we need to purchase to engage in those activities. If we like to participate in yoga, we will most likely need to get our own yoga mat. If we are involved in running or sports, we need to buy a good pair of running shoes. Luckily for you, there are buying guides such as this to help you navigate the playing field.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 4 hrs of research

icon
 Saucony Cohesion
92.4/100 our score
Comfort
98
Overall Fit
94
Style
89
Value
91
Materials
90
Saucony Cohesion
Why is it better?

The upper is made from mesh for breathability.

This is a durable option.

The sole offers cushioning and support.

These are available in multiple color choices.

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
 Saucony Cohesion
Test Winner: Saucony Cohesion
Last Updated:
By Katie Baxter:

This buying guide has been reviewed and revised to ensure the reader is obtaining the current information available regarding affordable running shoes. Inforamtion has been added, and external sources have been added throughout the article to assist readers in finding other information that may be useful to them.

Sorting Options
Comfort Overall Fit Style Value Materials By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
Comfort
98%
Overall Fit
94%
Style
89%
Value
91%
Materials
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
$49.95
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Comfort
98%
Overall Fit
94%
Style
92%
Value
91%
Materials
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
$59.95
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
Comfort
91%
Overall Fit
98%
Style
94%
Value
96%
Materials
91%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
$59.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.4
Comfort
91%
Overall Fit
94%
Style
89%
Value
87%
Materials
81%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
$54.49
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.6
Comfort
91%
Overall Fit
89%
Style
90%
Value
88%
Materials
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
$100.00
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.6
Comfort
91%
Overall Fit
89%
Style
79%
Value
88%
Materials
91%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
$180.00
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.6
Comfort
89%
Overall Fit
91%
Style
90%
Value
84%
Materials
79%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
$66.24
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
Comfort
89%
Overall Fit
91%
Style
94%
Value
81%
Materials
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
$54.98
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
Comfort
84%
Overall Fit
90%
Style
90%
Value
91%
Materials
88%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
$65.46
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
Comfort
94%
Overall Fit
91%
Style
79%
Value
81%
Materials
90%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.03.19)
$47.99
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Saucony Cohesion
  • Skechers Skech Air
  • Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17
  • Puma Tazon
  • Asics GT-1005
  • Nike Free 5.0
  • Adidas Freak X
  • Salomon Wings Flyte 2
  • Reebok Hexaffect 5.0
  • New Balance
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Cheap Running Shoes

1. Saucony Cohesion

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
 Saucony Cohesion
Comfort
98
Overall Fit
94
Style
89
Value
91
Materials
90
best offer for today
$49.95
Pros:

The upper is made from mesh for breathability.

This is a durable option.

The sole offers cushioning and support.

These are available in multiple color choices.

Cons:

Some have stated that there could be a little more arch support.

There are reports that the sizing for these is inconsistent.

First up is a selection of footwear that is known for its stability and comfort. You can rest assured that your feet will be more than happy in a pair of these.

Read more

The Grid System
This brand has a system all its own for adding comfort and stability to the midsole of the shoe. They essentially inject the midsole with foam in a grid-like pattern. This is where their cushioning and support come into play.

Breathable Uppers
The top portion, otherwise known as the upper, is made from a mesh-like material. The mesh style allows the upper to provide a good level of breathability. Which in turn, will help reduce the amount of sweating that your feet will do.

Cost and Value
Footwear such as this is definitely built with the runner in mind. The upper provides breathability, allowing your feet some air to reduce sweating. While the bottom provides you the comfort you need to pound out the miles.

2. Skechers Skech Air

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
 Skechers Skech Air
Comfort
98
Overall Fit
94
Style
92
Value
91
Materials
90
best offer for today
$59.95
Pros:

These have a cooling memory foam on the inside.

The outsole offers good traction and durability.

The upper is made from mesh material for breathability.

Available in a wide variety of color selections.

Cons:

There are statements that some customers find these to be too narrow.

Customers have had issues with these not being supportive enough for longer running times.

Here is a choice that is made for those seeking a lightweight footwear option. This pair has what you need from the top to the bottom. Your feet will never even know these are on.

Read more

Memory Foam
With these, you get the soft cushioning effect that the foam provides but with a twist. To stir things up a bit, the foam has a cooling effect to it. This means your feet won't overheat, reducing the amount of sweating that can happen.

The Outsole
With that comfort comes some durability as well. The outsole of these is made to handle the stress of your run or hefty workout. The traction these provide will surpass some of the others on the market by far.

Cost and Value
When times are tight you need an option that you can afford. With a pair of these, you can trust that you will get what you paid for. The durability of the sole paired with the long-lasting comfort will give you plenty of miles under your belt.

3. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
94
 Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17
Comfort
91
Overall Fit
98
Style
94
Value
96
Materials
91
best offer for today
$59.99
Pros:

The midsole is adjustable for a customized fit.

Made from mesh the uppers are breathable.

The tongue and collar areas are plush for comfort.

The custom fit reduces the chances for blistering.

Cons:

There are customers that have questioned the durability of this product.

Here is a highly functional footwear selection. Offering your feet the comfort and style they deserve. The way these fit you can be sure that your feet will be safe and secured.

Read more

The Fit
Added to the midsole is a saddle design great for ensuring you are provided with the proper fit. This fit will lessen the chance that blisters or chaffing can occur while wearing these.

Tongue and Collar
Part of how your footwear feels will involve the tongue and collar area. As these areas cover a more sensitive area of the foot. In this case, both of these sections feature a plush fit to reduce the amount of irritation that can happen.

Cost and Value
These can be your next most valuable asset to your running gear. The way in which they allow you to customize your fit will have you reaching for them everytime you head out.

4. Puma Tazon

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.4
 Puma Tazon
Comfort
91
Overall Fit
94
Style
89
Value
87
Materials
81
best offer for today
$54.49
Pros:

These have added support for the heel.

The upper is made from synthetic leather.

Has a rubber outsole for durability and traction.

These have a sleek looking design.

Cons:

Some customers have expressed that these are narrow.

People with high arches may not find these comfortable.

Next is a great example of what comfort can feel like while you run. Added support to the heel will reduce the impact felt during the run. When it comes to a durable option this one offers plenty.

Read more

Durability
Made from synthetic leather the upper section will last the test of time. Making the money spent worth every penny. The sole is made from rubber to add to the durability of the footwear.

Added Support
As we all know the heel of our foot often takes the most abuse while out for a run. With this selection, the manufacturer has chosen to add additional support for you. Making this a much better fit while protecting those sensitive areas.

Cost and Value
Knowing that your ability to use these for time and time again will make them valuable. The materials used give these a large amount of durability and comfort to your feet.

5. Asics GT-1005

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89.6
 Asics GT-1005
Comfort
91
Overall Fit
89
Style
90
Value
88
Materials
90
best offer for today
$100.00
Pros:

Uses technology to enhance the natural movement of your feet.

A gel is injected into the midsole for added cushioning.

The outsole is rubber great for durability.

With the added materials these are still lightweight.

Cons:

Some users have stated that this version is more narrow than the previous ones.

For those looking for a more natural fit and feel this selection has just the thing for you. With some specific design enhancers, this option supports your foot's natural movements during your run.

Read more

Midsole Material
The foam used in the midsole has a little something up its sleeve so to speak. Injected into the foam is a gel that provides an added level of both comfort and support.

The Technology
This manufacturer has developed a technology they use to improve the support in their footwear. This support is then used to enhance the natural movements of your foot. Therefore this selection moves with you and not against you.

Cost and Value
The technology put into these paired with the lower cost will make these seem like the bargain of the century. Your feet will thank you for choosing a pait=r of these.

6. Nike Free 5.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.6
 Nike Free 5.0
Comfort
91
Overall Fit
89
Style
79
Value
88
Materials
91
best offer for today
$180.00
Pros:

The grooves placed in the midsole give you a barefoot feeling.

The materials make this a lightweight option.

The lacing system offers more comfort.

These are offered in a large array of colors.

Cons:

Some users have questioned the durability of the product.

Customers have stated that they are not satisfied with the overall fit.

Here is a product that might make you feel as though you are wearing nothing at all. Made to feel more natural while still maintaining the use of lightweight materials. You will feel like you are running in your bare feet.

Read more

Flex Grooves
Specialized flex grooves have been placed into the midsoles. These grooves provide a more natural movement for your foot. This is what will give that barefoot feeling.

Lightweight
The best of intentions are in place to make this one of the lightest selections offered for running. The patented midsole also serves as the outsole doing this reduces the weight of the product. The upper section is made from materials that keep it in line with the rest as a lightweight option.

Cost and Value
These are one of the more expensive selections on the list thus far. The potential they hold will make them a valuable investment to your running gear.

7. Adidas Freak X

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.6
 Adidas Freak X
Comfort
89
Overall Fit
91
Style
90
Value
84
Materials
79
best offer for today
$66.24
Pros:

The upper portion allows for breathability.

The sole is created to provide a high amount of traction.

These can be used over several different terrains.

There is a large selection of sizes available.

Cons:

These are known for running smaller in size.

When laced tightly some users have experienced discomfort.

Another great option for those who seek breathability with their speed. The bottom provides the right amount of traction to use these over several types of terrain.

Read more

The Sole
Made from a good quality rubber the sole provides a high level of traction. This traction can be used to pound the pavement or for running through the grass. You can enjoy the scenery with this selection.

Breathable
The ability to have your feet breathe while in your footwear is one that is sought after by many. For many, the harder they run the more their feet will sweat. With these, you can be sure that the upper portion will allow the air to flow through. This air will prevent the amount of sweating your feet can do.

Cost and Value
Coming from a bigger named manufacturer, one might expect a higher price. With these, there isn't that issue, even though these carry a big name they still come at a lower cost. Giving you the satisfaction of quality at an affordable price.

8. Salomon Wings Flyte 2

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
89
 Salomon Wings Flyte 2
Comfort
89
Overall Fit
91
Style
94
Value
81
Materials
90
best offer for today
$54.98
Pros:

The lug pattern offers better grip for trails.

The lacing system allows for fast adjusting.

These are easy to put on and take off.

Made to be a wider selection.

Cons:

These tend to run a tad on the large side.

Some have expressed that these could be roomier in the toe box.

This is the first set that we have come to that is geared toward those who prefer trail running. The outsole holds amazing potential for keeping you upright during your travels.

Read more

The Outsole
The lugs for traction are placed in different directions. This allows for better grip when going uphill or down. Reducing the chances that you will tumble while keeping up with your pace.

Lacing
These are equipped with a lacing system built for speed. Allowing you to make quick adjustments while on the fly. With a system like this, these are easy on and off for your convenience.

Cost and Value
With these, you receive all the great features that the more expensive trail running choices have. These come at a fraction of the cost making them valuable to your feet and wallet.

9. Reebok Hexaffect 5.0

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.6
 Reebok Hexaffect 5.0
Comfort
84
Overall Fit
90
Style
90
Value
91
Materials
88
best offer for today
$65.46
Pros:

Has added support in the hell to reduce shock.

The upper has added cushioning.

These are a low profile option.

Made from mesh material to make them a breathable option.

Cons:

Some have stated that these could use more room in the area of the toe.

The tongue tends to move from side to side even when tied tight.

These are made to be comfortable yet functional for all your running needs. The heel has added support for reducing the amount of shock you feel with each step.

Read more

Heel Support
Added to the heel is a specialized design to support the heel whilst you run. This support will add cushion to absorb some pounding while your feet hit the road you are traveling.

Comfort
The potential to remain comfortable while in these is high. The upper is designed to support and cushion your feet while you run. A lower profile will reduce the amount of rubbing and irritation to the ankle. That brings us to the breathing potential, made with a mesh upper these will keep your feet from sweating.

Cost and Value
Coming from a highly regarded name brand, these still come at a great price point. Holding the potential to keep your feet satisfied while you pass by the miles. Preventing soreness with the added cushion and support for the heel.

10. New Balance

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87
 New Balance
Comfort
94
Overall Fit
91
Style
79
Value
81
Materials
90
best offer for today
$47.99
Pros:

These have reinforced toe boxes for added protection.

An insert is added to create more comfort.

The tread pattern offers plenty of traction.

These are offered in a wide variety of colors and sizes.

Cons:

Some have stated that these are cut different than the previous version.

There are statements that the insert doesn't seem to make that much difference.

Last on the list is the second version for those who enjoy their time on the trails. These offer protection to areas that tend to be sensitive for most. Comfort for your feet is offered every step of the way.

Read more

Toe Protection
Trail runners often find themselves dodging downed branches or exposed tree roots. Many of the times they can't get their feet lifted quick enough to avoid snagging the toe of their footwear. With these, you get a reinforced toe box that prevents injury to your toes.

The Insert
This is the first instance we have on the list that offers an insert. This insert is intended to double the amount of comfort felt while trekking through the trails.

Cost and Value
Here is another name brand selection that has a great value as well as price. You receive protection to your toes while you travel those wooded and sometimes obstructed trails. The level of comfort offered by these will allow you to travel further than you have ever before.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Fit

The Scoop on Uppers

There are many material variations for making the upper portion of the shoe. Each material combination will have its own benefits for those who choose them. It is best to choose a material type suited for the type of running you will be doing most often. Synthetic leather offers durability but is still lightweight with the potential to dry quickly. When searching for something with less weight try going with nylon. Nylon is also known for adding a good amount of breathability to your feet as well. You can also find uppers with additives placed to increase both water-resistant and durable. Both of these attributes are great for those trail runners out there.

Midsole

A Little Knowledge About Midsoles

This section is as the name basically states, the middle section of the sole. Here you will find a range of materials used to cushion and support your feet. Some of the materials are used to create a stiffer feeling sole, while others will promote a more specific type of wear pattern. Materials can also be added to create a better-cushioning effect, making for a more comfortable fit. You will want to choose the materials that make up your midsole wisely, as they will affect the level of comfort and performance you can achieve.

Outsole

The Sole

Most of this type of footwear will have a good quality rubber material on the bottom. This rubber is where the grip comes in, often times the types for use on trails will have the better durability to cope with the rough terrain. As for the traditional style, two different types of rubber are used to make the sole. Over the heel, you will find a more rugged version to provide durability. The rest will be a form of rubber that creates a softer feeling for pounding the pavement.

Value

Tips to Consider to Remain Within Your Budget

Just because one option cost more than another does not make it a better performing option. Often times the performance level of the cheaper version is just as good if not better than the expensive selection.
One of the best ways to get a feel for the product you are looking at is to trust some of what others are saying. Opinions made by actual people who run every day is the best source of information. There are plenty of forums on the internet these days that express the opinions that you are seeking.
Try not to fall for all the hype that comes with the bigger brand name apparel. Most of these use celebrities to endorse their products. Let's do the math here, big name brand plus celebrity endorsing will equal higher cost for you.
Knowing when to shop can be key to saving yourself some cash. Most stores will run sales at the beginning of the year as well as halfway through the year. These sales can often equal large savings when you think of the bigger picture.
Department stores and outlet malls should be your target places to shop. Department stores don't want inventory laying around on their shelves. You will notice that they will frequently place items that are often slow sellers on the clearance rack. Outlet malls tend to get a bad rap when it comes to the quality of the items that are sold within the store. In most cases this could not be any further from the truth, in fact typically you will find past versions of products for a fraction of the original cost.
Be sure to sign up for emails and coupons that can offer you discounts. You can shop online if you are familiar with the type of fit you are after. For those just trying this type of footwear for the first time, it is best to shop in a store so that you can try them on.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
Sort criterias acording to:
Experts Opinion Editors Opinion Users Opinion By Default
Click on a to rate the most important criteria:
#1
Comfort
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#2
Overall Fit
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#3
Support
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
#4
Motion Control
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
Comfort, Comfort, Comfort

The coolest looking shoe in the world will sit in your closet if it doesn't fit well. Before you buy a running shoe shop around! Every foot is different, wideness, arch, there's a lot going on with our feet and you need to find a shoe that's going to take care of them when you head out to hit the pavement.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Will a cheaper pair of shoes hold up when you use them a lot?
a:

Yes, the less expensive version of this style footwear has proven itself time and time again when it comes to durability. The higher priced version often spend a ton on advertising to get their brand out there, this leads to higher price points in the store. Higher price does not always mean better materials. You simply need to be informed of the material options set in front of you to make the best choice for footwear.

q: Should I purchase running shoes that I don't really care for when the deal is right?
a:

Although saving a few bucks is a priority for many, it is not recommended to sacrifice your comfort to shave a little off of the cost. I mean think about this choice for a moment. If you were to purchase footwear that doesn't meet your standards for comfort or looks, are you truly likely to wear them? For most this answer will be a no, they will remain in the box taking up space in the closet somewhere. Resulting in a total waste of both time and money.

q: How can I ensure that my running shoes will last over time?
a:

Many will extend the use of there gear by having a second pair that can serve as an alternate option. Trading out the footwear from time to time allows the materials within the footwear some time to recover, so to speak. This also gives the materials adequate time to dry to help reduce odors and faster breakdown times of the materials.

q: How do I know for sure when it is time to replace my running shoes?
a:

The average mileage for running footwear is somewhere between three to five hundred miles. The best way to judge whether your footwear is still dependable is to listen to what your body is telling you. At the end of your run, if your feet and legs seem to be more tired than normal, chances are it is the shoes. It is recommended to allow yourself a week to decide, as often times our bodies just get tired out. In the event that you are a hardcore runner, you may need to switch out the footwear faster than average.

q: Is there a way to check the type of arch that I have?
a:

Yes, there are a couple of things you can do to identify both your arch type and typical wear pattern for your footwear. To test the arch, start by wetting your feet. Then place them on a piece of paper, this will allow you to see the imprint left behind. If you notice that you can see the bottom of your foot entirely you have what is called a flat arch. When the imprint shows a wider portion connecting the top and heel of the foot, this shows that you have a medium arch. Results showing a narrow section connecting the heel and front of the foot reveals a high arch. You can also check the insole of an old pair of shoes to see what your wear pattern is. The areas that have sustained the most wear will reveal the areas of the foot that come in contact with the shoe the most.

q: Can you use walking shoes for running?
a:

The true answer to this will lie on your shoulders, what I can tell you is that it is not recommended. Some footwear is specifically designed for activity levels. Since walking doesn't create as much shock to your feet as running it stands to reason that walking footwear won't have the amount of cushioning needed to buffer the shock.

q: Can I find top name brands at an affordable price?
a:

Yes, often times you can find a top name brand footwear at an affordable price. You can always check the clearance rack at your local department store. Most of the time you will find past versions marked down to make room for the newest models. You can also turn to the outlet malls as well, they will typically carry older versions of the name brands as well. Don't be fooled by their bad rap, outlet malls more often than not carry good quality products. They just don't carry the latest version in order to save you money.

Sources