In the world of shoes, we have seen a ton of major upgrades take place over the last few decades. All kinds of new inventions have been brought to the market in order boost shoes, and that has certainly been the case for running shoes as well. In older times, it was tough to find a great, sometimes even a good, pair of running shoes without breaking the bank. But luckily the updates to them have happened at such a high rate that we are now blessed with a myriad of good, low priced options on the market. While there are certainly trade-offs to be had by going with a ‘budget’ choice, you can still get many of the same qualities you’d see in the more expensive lines out there. Today, we are going to break down the ins and outs of shoes while helping you stay in budget, and then we will be reviewing the top ten most popular pairs of budget running shoes in the world. So, let’s get up and running then!
Top Budget Running Shoes Comparison Chart
|Product||Material||Price||Where to Buy?|
|1. Asics Men’s Gel Venture 6 Running Shoes||Synthetic||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|2. Nike Men’s Revolution 4 Running Shoes||Synthetic||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|3. TSLA Men’s Lightweight Running Shoes||PU Upper/Vamp||$||Check Price On Amazon|
|4. Whitin Men’s Minimalist Trail Running Shoes||Rubber sole||$||Check Price On Amazon|
|5. Saucony Women’s Cohesion 10 Running Shoes||Mesh Upper||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|6. Nike Women’s Downshifter 8 Running Shoes||Leather & Synthetic||$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|7. Kundork Men’s Air Cushion Running Shoes||Fabric||$||Check Price On Amazon|
|8. New Balance Men’s 480v6 Running Shoes||Textile & Synthetic||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|9. Under Armour Boys Pre School Pursuit Sneakers||Textile||$$||Check Price On Amazon|
|10. Nike Women’s Flex RN 2018 Running Shoes||Fabric||$$$$||Check Price On Amazon|
Budget Running Shoes Buying Guide
Everyone Loves a Deal
Let’s just go ahead and face the music. Everyone loves a good deal. It doesn’t matter if you are the poorest of the poor or the richest of the rich, you are not going to pay more than you have to. That’s what budget items are all about. They find you maximum value by giving you a decent amount of quality and providing it for less. Think about Little Caesar’s pizza, for example. While some might back their quality, they don’t exactly look to be the very best at that. Rather, they give extreme value to their customer base by giving them a product that is cheap and easy. It’s sometimes not even quick. Like that, buying budget shoes isn’t always a quick endeavor, either. You have to take your time and zero in on what it is YOU need. Some shoes are going to be great for you, while others will be a minor disaster. We’re going to help you break down what it is you need based on your very specific purposes.
Running Shoes Aren’t For Everything
Before we go too far into detail about running shoes for, you know, running, we should talk about how they aren’t intended to be used for every single activity in the world. Yes, there are running shoes that are very versatile and can be worn to a lot of different things. That is true. But it’s not true that they always do well, and it’s certainly not true that they are the BEST choice for some things. For example, standing on your feet or walking around all day isn’t necessarily the best use for running shoes. Exercise where you are going from side to side or back and forth also isn’t that good with running shoes, since they are made for running. This means they get you going in one direction: forward. There’s a lack of lateral support to them, and that doesn’t equate to you feeling very good after wearing them for a very long time. The reason this needs to be said is because the shoes we are going to be looking at are at budget prices. There will be some things left off of them that are present in other shoes made for running, that’s just how it is. It’s very unlikely that they will be able to support, especially seeing as how many of the ‘premium’ or higher priced options are not going to be able to do that, either. So, just keep this in mind and know that this list is mainly going to be for those that are going to be actually running with their running shoes.
Everyone has a budget, big or small, and we all have to stay within that. Well, we definitely should, or we will end up finding ourselves in a world of trouble before too long. Today, our task is to help find you the best possible pair of shoes for the best price out there. This means we need to go ahead and define what exactly a budget price is. As stated above, some people are going to consider a ‘budget’ price to be one thing, while others will define it another way. We can have disagreements, but for the purposes of this guide today, we are going to set the price at around $60. This may seem high to you, but this will give us some wiggle room to provide you with pairs that have additional features to them. There will still be some on here that come in at significantly lower than that as well, so don’t be discouraged by this. With the price of virtually everything gradually increasing, that dollar amount isn’t even as high as it seems anymore, either. So, that’s what we are going to go with in order to try and keep you happy as you can be!
Why To Go With Budget Running Shoes
Some folks are going to wonder, and rightly so, why they would want to go with affordable running shoes rather than something that is more expensive and ‘premium.’ First and foremost, the reason is going to be that you just don’t have the money for a pair that costs a lot. That’s a very easy and understandable reason for you to go with them. Another reason that you would go with a budget pair is if you are in a pinch. Maybe you left your shoes somewhere and you just have to have something to train or race in. You don’t want to blow every cent you have, so you go with a more cost-effective pair. A third reason, and perhaps the best one, is because you want to have a pair of shoes that will last you a moderate amount of time without breaking the bank. This is smart for runners that aren’t exactly avid. If you are running every day, selections from this category aren’t going to last you as long as more premium options will. They just aren’t made quite as well. But if you are someone that runs just a little bit or not very much at all, then you can expect them to last either a long time or a very long time. They also, since so many look so nice these days, can double as casual shoes to go on walks or out to town in. A final reason to mention here, though it’s not the last one, is that you want different options in your wardrobe. Whether it be for style reasons, in order to match the rest of your ensemble, or you don’t want to put too many miles on any of your shoes, it’s a valid option. Avid runners are going to need to be careful to not rack up too many miles on their shoes, lest their end up not being as supportive as they once were, and a good option is to have a backup pair or two to go with. These are just a few reasons to decide to purchase an inexpensive pair of shoes!
How NOT To Find a ‘Budget’ Deal
One way in which you might feel you can find a budget deal is for you to sacrifice something important. You are almost always going to have to give up something in order to get a good price, unless of course you happen upon a premium pair that has never been worn that just never got sold. The thing that you should never, ever give up is a good fit. This is a dangerous proposition to say the least and must be avoided at all costs. Many parents of younger kids will do this in order to allow them to ‘grow into’ shoes. This is acceptable in a few areas, but not always the case. You may also get the inclination to go with a pair of shoes that are too small, ever so slightly so. This doesn’t seem like a very big deal to you, but they can have serious ramifications on both your comfort and your overall health.
Buying used shoes- or ‘preowned’- ones is another idea that you might just happen to think up, but this might just be the worst idea of them all. This assumes that shoes have been taken care of, which you can never guarantee. Who knows if they have any of the support that they originally had or not, or even who owned them. If you do know someone personally and are sure they have barely worn them, for whatever reason, this is a passable idea. But it’s not a good idea to randomly go to a store and buy a super cheap pair of shoes off the shelves that you have no idea about in order to just save money. That’s a good way to end up getting injured for sure.
Another idea that a lot of people have is to wear shoes that are made for the other gender. There is a lot of debate online about this issue, and you have smart people on both sides of the fence. Men’s and women’s shoes are very similar, there is no doubt about that, but you have to think that shoe manufacturers know what they are doing and almost always place shoes into one of the two gender categories. This is not done simply because of the looks and styles of the shoes, rather it’s done because of anatomical differences. By and large, the lady’s foot is smaller and thinner than a male’s is. That is just good old science. I’ve known people, and I’m sure that you have, too, that have ignored this and gotten away with it. But typically those are shoes for more casual circumstances. This is one that is a toss up and has to be decided by you. Personally, I think it should be avoided, but the choice is ultimately up to you. Just don’t squeeze those fit in, please!
When it comes to durability, honesty is the best policy. Shoes that come at a cheaper price are not going to hold up quite as well as those that cost more money. This is a general rule of thumb, no doubt, but it does stand true. You get what you pay for, and this is one of those times where you can almost give that a rubber stamp for sure. There are going to be exceptions to the rule, there always are, but you have to accept that the beating these shoes take will not be equal to what is dished out by more expensive shoes. A lot of times you won’t see a ton of difference, but the bigger difference is going to be inside of the ‘budget’ range. The upper end, and even medium point, of the budget range is going to be much more durable than the lower end. A lot of that also has to do with reputation, which will cover in a little bit as well, but the quality is not going to be up to the standard you are hoping for most of the time when you pay a lower price in the so-called budget range. The other part to durability is going to be how well, or how poorly, you use the product. If you are wearing them to events and doing things to them that treat them harshly, they will not hold up nearly as well as someone who wears theirs with kid gloves. It’s unreasonable to expect them to never get dirty or to always look like they just came out of the box, but wearing them at the appropriate time will make them last longer. Like it or not, wearing them out on walks is also going to take miles out of them. They may not look much different, but you will start to notice over time that they have taken a toll on you.
Brand names are important, it’s a truth that we have to know and accept. If you have two items that are virtually identical that are sitting in front of you and you are asked to pick one of them out, which one are you most likely to go with if all the variables are the same? Assuming the price is the same and the quality is purported to be, you are going to go with the name that you know over the one you do not know. That is a scenario that isn’t quite what happens in the real world, but it’s one that you are faced with as you look for the best budget running shoes. Instead of being like for like, what you usually end up getting is a sort of thing where you have a brand you know selling their goods for more than one you don’t. They still fall within the same lower price range, but you have to weigh which to go with. Do you give the upstart a chance or do you to turn to the name you know, and quite possibly, trust? That’s ultimately up to you, and it’s something you have to juggle and choose. Sometimes you can happen upon really great, no name brand shoes that are cheap. They could be from the very same places that your name brand shoes are found at. Or they could be attempts to look like or feel like the brand name. Judging which one you have in front of you can be tough, and for that reason, so many people are going to just go with reputation to make sure they at least know who and what they are dealing with.
This guide and list would be totally remiss if it didn’t mention style. Though there is so, so much more to shoes, especially those made for running, than just style and their overall looks, you have to talk about. Unlike what you might fear, running shoes at the budget level are not going to look wholly different or worse than their more expensive counterparts do. This is a great thing for you, and it’s going to aid you tremendously. In fact, a lot of times you will see that styles are shared by the budget items, at least when its a known named brand. This means that you will see an expensive item and a more inexpensive one look virtually the same in terms of style. Part of this is because companies don’t want you to be able to see if something is ‘inferior,’ while another part of it is that they want you to buy them since they do look so similar. There’s also, of course, going to be that inclination for them to go with styles that can be used across a wide swath of shoes, since it just makes their lives and the lives of designers so much easier. Style is important to us, like it or not. We all have a look we like. Some will prefer something that’s more subdued, some will love flashy designs and vibrant colors. Luckily for you, you can get them at just about any old price point in today’s market.
Any shoe guide would also be incomplete without talking about materials. The materials used to make shoes are of vital importance to not only how good they feel on you but also how supportive they are and how long they last. Shoes made from cheaper materials are going to wear out faster than ones that are made from more expensive designs. One thing that you can be glad about is the emergence of synthetic leather. This form of leather, which replaces the traditional material, is made to mimic it closely and is much less expensive. In the beginning of its use, it was used for budget items, but it’s in fact become a popular choice for a lot of the more expensive shoes on the market today. Synthetics are great because they are awesome in a number of varying conditions. Normal leather feels great and is going to be ideal a lot of times, but it doesn’t do so well in adverse weather. Rain, mud, and puddles will not go too well with leather, but synthetics do a great job at helping you get through that. On top of that, they are easy to clean and are much more breathable than they once were. They used to also be super tight and wouldn’t bend much, but their flexibility has been worked on a lot over the years. Knitting and mesh is another form of material that you might see, with both of them proving to be choices that represent the chance to help you breathe better. Mesh is the one that is preferred by a lot of manufacturers. They create tiny holes in the upper part of the shoes so that you can let off the sweat that accumulates inside. They do tend to wear out quicker, since they are more flimsy, but they do also have the ability to be much more lightweight as a result, which can help you get through those runs a little bit easier.
The Trend of the Lightweight Shoe
One of the things that the running shoe industry has seen over the last few years has been a move to more lightweight items. No one has ever set out to construct a heavy running shoe, to be fair, but they have gotten to be extremely light over the last couple of years, and this trend has been led in large part by Nike. Nike leads in this endeavor by giving you shoes that are super light in weight. This helps you a lot in one regard, since you don’t have as much energy sapped out of you, but it does penalize you in terms of support. Shorter distance runners will probably favor this more than those that run longer distances, since you need all of the support you get from them. Another thing that the lightweight shoes do is that they also tend to wear out a little quicker. This is just a choice that you have to make. While we have mentioned Nike here as leading the charge, the rest are closely following behind, so there is really not a ton of difference to be had anymore. Everyone has lightweight shoes, it’s just the way it is going in. The trend might reverse in time, but it looks like it probably won’t as shoe makers continue to find innovative new ways to give you support, cushioning, and comfort all with less weight.
Shoe Terms to Know
Before we get to the top ten in a little bit, we should talk about some shoe terms that you should know. Even if you are going with a budget choice, you still are going to want to pick something that is going to be comfortable and keep you safe, on top of looking good, too! There’s little use at all for a pair of shoes if they are not going to allow you to come back and run the next day, after all, so here’s some a few things to keep your eyes and mind on.
We have touched on support, but this is a term that can trip you up. Not all shoes are supportive. They may claim to be, but they just aren’t always. And not all of them are going to sit well with you, even if they are. Running shoes, as discussed above, are made with one purpose in mind: going forward. That means they are not made to go from side to side, making it easy to not only roll over your ankles but also to just have sore feet after using them. However, they do have support in the arches, or at least should. Some shoes are made for those of us that have flat feet, some will do better for people with high arches, and then most are going to be made for neutral feet. We will make sure to include any words on them in our reviews.
Cushion can certainly help aid in support, but it is not a like for like term that can be used interchangeably. Cushion refers to a way that the shoe is able to assist you while running. Cushioning is provided in a number of areas. It can be in the rear, the bottom, in the middle, or on the sides of the shoes. Like support, cushioning is almost always going to be invisible. You can’t see it, but you certainly can feel it. There is one instance, though, where you might be able to see it. On some shoes, if you look on the outsoles, you might see a thick, wide design cut out of them. This is not for looks, this is made for cushioning and support. This cushion places more of the load on the shoes, since it is wider, alleviating some of the pressure off of those feet.
Padding and Comfort
Padding is what you probably though we meant when we talked about cushioning. This is anything that makes you feel plush and comfortable. It can be a padded tongue area, or perhaps a nice, thick area for your feet to sit on top of (insoles). This, however, is not an automatic guarantee of you getting comfort. Comfort comes when you take all of these ingredients and then add it together with the proper fit. You mix that up in a bowl and then if everything passes the test, you will have comfort. Oftentimes, if one of these things is wrong, it throws the entire mix off and you are level uncomfortable and ready to ditch your shoes in an instant. Mixing and matching these terms doesn’t seem to be a big deal, but it can get confusing and lead to you not getting what you want. There are way to many cases, particularly in the last decade or so, where you found people buying shoes based on the moment they put them on and how good they felt. That’s great and you should want to feel good in them, sure, but you also need to make sure that they support you and have a cushioning system. Else, they are going to be used in order to give the local garbage man a paycheck.
Male and Female Versions
A quick aside before we get to our list below. In our list, there will be offerings that are listed as male or female. A lot of times, however, the company will offer a version of the shoe for both genders. They are nearly identical, only you won’t have to squeeze your feet in or try and size down. We have done it this way to keep the list shorter and stop redundancy. If you want a pair, then you can just search for the male, or female, version so that you can reap the same benefits with the absolute best possible fit. So, let’s get to it!
The Top Ten Budget Running Shoes of 2019 Reviews
Asics Men’s Gel Venture 6 Running Shoes
Topping our list is Asics, which should be little to no surprise at all given their reputation in the running world. These shoes are made with their patented Gel technology, making them responsive, comfortable, and supportive all at the very same time. With mesh being used with synthetic materials, they are both breathable and durable, allowing you to have something that will hold up on the warmest and most difficult days. Their outsole has been laced with high abrasion rubber, making them last longer than many in this price range and giving you support as well. These shoes are also versatile, allowing you to run on both the road and on trails by using reversed lugs to help you going uphill and downhill. The sockliner is even removable, meaning you can add your own insert or just leave it as is! There are many colors to pick from, but one knock is that some just don’t like the subdued style of them.
- Gel tech has a bevy of uses
- Reinforced outsole
- For the road and trail
- Might not be flashy enough for some
Nike Men’s Revolution 4 Running Shoes
Get ready because you will see Nike a lot on this list. This is their first offering and is toward the upper end of the price spectrum we set. With a synthetic makeup along with mesh, this shoe is going to be light and also durable and easy to clean. These are very much lightweight, using a minimal sort of approach that looks to be a middle ground between being barefoot and giving you support and protection. Through the use of its soft foam, it’s able to accomplish this, and because of the lightweight nature, it’s going to be very responsive and flexible, helping you get on the move and stay on the move without fatiguing as quickly. There are not a ton of colors to pick from, which is somewhat strange from Nike, so that is a small disappointment that some will not be thrilled about.
- Minimalist look and feel
- Soft foam is responsive and light
- Durable and flexible
- Not too many colors to choose from
TSLA Men’s Lightweight Running Shoes
With the TSLA, we have our first derailment on the list from the normal big players in the shoe game. These shoes are made to very closely look like some of the coolest, newest shoes out there, and they come in a massive array of colors to choose from. That will not let you down one bit, and neither will the price, which is quite a bit under the top end we selected. With a slight upward arc placed at the toe area, these shoes will take some of the pressure off and help you when moving forward. These shoes are also very good at being flexible, using flex grooves, not too dissimilar to what you see from Nike, Adidas, and others out there today. By using knit, they aren’t quite as flimsy as some out there that use solely mesh, but they still are able to let you breathe out. The main worry with these is the lack of a reputation, which might lead you to believe they won’t be as high quality as others that are known.
- Very inexpensive
- Flexible and freeing
- Massive amount of colors
- Not well known
Whitin Men’s Minimalist Trail Running Shoes
Running shoes are getting lighter and lighter, but these take it to a whole new level. These shoes are made for the trail and are made to be as minimal as possible, helping you keep in tune with nature and stay as close to the ground as possible. Coming in a number of colors, these look cool and are like a glove that fits on your feet, allowing you to splay your toes out unlike the vast majority of shoes on the marketplace. Featuring a process that uses no animals, they are also great for the environmentally concerned crowd. The bottoms are still made from rubber, though, and they are super thick and durable so as to make sure you do have protection from those rocks. These are super flat to the ground, so that’s one thing to look out for if you are flat footed. With a removable sockliner, these can be made to feel even more like you don’t even have shoes on than you already do!
- Very wide toe box
- Durable rubber soles
- Feel one with nature on the trail
- Not the best arch support
Saucony Women’s Cohesion 10 Running Shoes
Saucony is a great company for running, and because of that, they get a slight break here since they are a little out of our goal price range. These shoes are in just one color, which is unfortunate, but they have a whole lot more to offer than just appearance. They have soles that are made in the shape of lugs, meaning you can get much better traction on trails and off road runs than with most that are made solely for the pavement. With breathable mesh, you are able to get exceptional ventilation and a lightweight experience. When combined with synthetics, it further reduces the weight and makes sure you don’t end up hunched over feeling like you want to do on the side of the road. The insole, made from foam, can be removed and the midsole is great for shock absorption, making this is a hit for runners looking to save a few dollars.
- Good on trails and roads
- Light and breathable
- Great shock absorption
- More than our goal price
- Just one color
Nike Women’s Downshifter 8 Running Shoes
The Downshifter has been around a very long time, and one of the goals of it has always been to give you a great shoe for a decent price. This means in both style and feel, and it provides that in spades. With a number of colors, from the plain-ish to the superb, these will help you fit in or stand out in any crowd. With lightweight mesh all around them and an outsole that is designed to take pressure off the outer edges of the feet, these are comfy and easy to carry around. The midsole has been upgraded over past models, making sure to give you softness without giving up toughness. The arches can be adjusted, too, via their arch band, meaning you get a more customized fit, which is not something you usually see in this price range at all. That alone is a good reason to go with these!
- Plenty of style choices
- Upgraded midsole
- Adjustability built in
- Can run small and/or narrow for some
Kundork Men’s Air Cushion Running Shoes
Making the list here is another choice from the unknown regions, so to speak. These shoes are, first of all, extremely cool and look a whole lot like Adidas only with an extra stripe to them. That alone is going to sell a lot of shoes for them, especially when you combine that look with the low cost of them. Made with air cushioning, like many of Nikes offerings nowadays, and anti-slip rubber, you are going to get support and comfort all while staying upright on the road. Made from knitted mesh on the upper, they are not only very breathable but also supportive and will ensure you don’t burn up while on the road, something that used to be a thing. The worry with these is always going to be how well they hold up over time, as well as the fact that the air cushioning can go wrong, so be aware of those things.
- Exceptional price
- Extremely cool looks
- Air cushioning is supportive
- Not a big reputation
- Air cushioning is a slight worry and can go wrong
New Balance Men’s 480v6 Running Shoes
We all know New Balance, and they make the list here with a pair of shoes that will help you accomplish the job at a lower price than you might expect. With a fairly cool design, at least for them compared to the others they have sported over the years, these shoes are made to be very comfortable using their NB cushioning insert. They also have a very durable, thick outsole to help cushion the blows of consistent running, and they even have a 10 MM drop, further diminishing the wear and tear placed upon the joints and the feet. With synthetics and mesh used, though it’s hard to tell the latter is present, you are able to get a breathable yet lightweight feel to your day out in the sun. These are great for those with wide feet, too, which is great against Nike and the more narrow companies.
- Awesome for wide feet
- Great cushioning
- Durable outsoles
- Not the most snazzy designs
Under Armour Boys Pre School Pursuit Sneakers
It would be unfair to go totally without an offering for the kiddos, so here is their moment to shine. These shoes, of course, are going to look great and stand out, just as UA tends to do. With a ton of mesh used, on both the sides and on the upper, you can count on your young boy to never get too hot, no matter the activity he’s doing. With foam padding on the ankle and tongue, it’s a plush feel, all while have an EVA-laced sockliner that is both responsive and supportive for the arches. The toe is even splayed upward, taking pressure off of them, and the tread of the outsole and soles is made to be like that of a tire, ensuring good traction and flexibility. The main concern with these is that they can get pretty expensive, relative to the size of the shoe you are buying.
- Won’t ever get hot
- Excellent tread and flexibility
- Plush feel
- Expensive for some people’s taste
Nike Women’s Flex RN 2018 Running Shoes
Rounding out our list is another Nike offering, this time the Flex RN, which is a little bit of a step up in quality. Though that is the case, it is more expensive, thus dropping it down the list a bit. This is the case because they have been out a while, hence the deal you get. With a number of bold, colorful colors, as well as a sleek, skinny design, these are made to stand out and make sure you don’t feel binded in to your shoes like so many do and used to do. With a lot of mesh, placed all over, you will almost never get too warm, even on the hottest days. The biggest thing you’ll notice with these is that they are made to be super flexible through the use of that mesh and the lightweight nature of them, meaning you are getting about as close as you can to barefoot with them on. This is not represented in a lot of the others we have seen, with this level of support, so it’s worthy of making the list based on that.
- Exquisite, beautiful colors
- Tons of mesh contributes to flexibility
- Extremely light
- Slightly more expensive than the budget we set
Conclusion And Final Budget Running Shoes Recommendations
It can be a difficult path to walk (run) down when you are looking for a good pair of running shoes on a budget. There are just so, so many offerings out there and so much information, too, that it can be overwhelming, to say the least. You get it in your mind that it’s too much and you end up settling for something that’s less than what you are looking for. Or worse yet, you end up spending money that you don’t really have. After our buying guide and top ten list today, however, you won’t have to go through the pain of that situation. Instead, you can have all of the information at your fingertips and will be much better placed to be a good, knowledgeable decision about which pair is best for you.
FAQ’s About Budget Running Shoes
When Should I Buy New Running Shoes?
There are a few indicators that you should be looking to purchase new running shoes. The easiest one to identify is the visual. If the shoes have holes in them, then you need to get something else. You also can spot strain on the outsole (the part to the outside of the shoes) by seeing if there is a line there. If there is an indention present, then you know they have been stressed out, basically, and that they no longer offer the same cushioning and support they once did. Fit is another reason to change. If your feet have grown, you’ve got to make a change. Lastly, you need to buy new shoes if they begin to make you feel sore when you have never been before. If you don’t run often, this isn’t a good indicator, but if you do all the time and they start to hurt you a lot more than usual, then you need to change. The support has been ran out of them and you need to get something to help get you through those tough sessions.