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The best cheap running shoes

Amanda Loudin   

The best cheap running shoes
LifeInternational3 min read
  • You don't need to break the bank to find a reliable pair of running shoes - so long as you know what to shop for.
  • Some of the best athletic brands like New Balance, Hoka One One, and Brooks offer dependable runners in the range of $100 to $130.
  • Whether you prefer ample cushioning, a shoe capable of logging heavy miles, or just want a wallet-friendly pair for quick weekend runs, there's an affordable running shoe fit for your lifestyle.

I've been running for more than 20 years and in that time, I've tried just about every type of shoe on the market: stability, neutral, minimalist, cushioned, and everything in between. I've run marathons, navigated trails on the weekend, and crested the hilliest of country roads.

So has Brian Metzler, author of Kicksology, a comprehensive look at the history and science behind running shoes. Likewise, Mike Fronsoe, owner of the Fleet Feet specialty running store in Monroe, LA, has decades of running in his legs. Combined, we've put in thousands of miles in running shoes and know what works for us and others.

While the shoes have evolved and changed over time, the one thing that remains constant is the uptick in cost. Today, there are shoes upwards of $250 that promise - and deliver - faster running. For the average runner, however, that's more shoe than you'd ever want or need. Thankfully, the market offers its fair share of affordable options, too.

"There are plenty of good, mid-range shoes in the $110 and under market," Metzler told Business Insider. "The challenge is there's a lot of marketing that goes into selling shoes and that jacks the prices up."

Try before you buy

Before you dive in on price alone, you'd be wise to visit a specialty running shoe store to try before you buy.

"I get a lot of customers who buy a shoe online, find it doesn't work for them, and then come in to get fitted," Fronsoe said. "Much comes down to how a shoe feels on your foot."

Use your time in a shoe store to try a variety of shoes and figure out what works for you in the price range you're after. Once you know, you can then make it more affordable in a variety of ways. Some stores, like Fronsoe's Fleet Feet location, have frequent buyer programs offering credit after a certain value of purchases. You can also look for sale tables that feature last year's versions of shoes - most brands update shoe models about every nine months, which means a past version then moves to a discounted price.

"If it was a great shoe last year, it's still a great shoe this year," Metzler added.

Finally, you can find decent mid-range models online and at big-box stores like Dick's Sporting Goods. According to Metzler, these stores don't carry the marquee models but they do have pairs that are functional, and that you can put some miles in.

To help narrow down the growing selection of cheap running shoes, we picked a few of our favorites. From brands like Hoka One One and Skechers to Brooks and New Balance, these shoes keep you running comfortably while also staying kind to your wallet.

Here are our picks for the best cheap running shoes:

Updated 4/3/2020 by Rick Stella: Added more information in the introduction on what to look for when shopping for cheap running shoes and how beneficial trying them on at a specialty store can be, checked the availability of each selected shoe, and updated the prices, formatting, and links.

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