5 Best Cheap Nike Running Shoes in 2023

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen on
5 Best Cheap Nike Running Shoes in 2023
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You don’t need to break the bank to add a new pair of Nike running shoes to your rotation. Nike offers economical versions of the premium models without compromising too much on function and cutting-edge technologies. Older top-tier versions are also put on sale when newer ones are released.

If you’re on a tight budget and considering what your choices are out there, we’ve acquired Nike cheap running shoes. We’ve tested each one of them and selected our top picks in different classifications for your easy reference.

From the Nike Free Run series to the Nike Quest and Run Swift models, check out below our fantastic selections of the best wallet-friendly Nike running shoes that we personally tried out for a significant amount of time.

Best Nike cheap running shoes overall

What makes it the best?

The Run Swift 2 is simply the best cheap shoe Nike has to offer. For just $70, the shoe delivers impressive comfort, cushioning, and a durable and grippy outsole, giving it a lot more versatility than the average Nike running shoe, which costs $126.

Upon initially trying the shoe on, it honestly felt like a much higher-end trainer. The ankle collar and tongue are both generously padded, with the tongue 3.2 mm thicker than the average running shoe. That padding hugged our feet nicely without causing any hot spots.

We also felt there was more than enough underfoot protection during our runs. When checking the midsole in the lab, we found the Run Swift 2's 33.7 mm is right at the average for running shoes, but it has 1.9 mm more stack height in the forefoot.

And the outsole is outstanding, both in terms of durability and grip. Not only is the outsole rubber 0.9 mm thicker, but it's also 10.9% harder, so it won't wear out easily. Moreover, it also has 2.2 mm lugs. Those lugs gave the shoe added grip when we took it on mild dirt paths, showing just what a versatile cheap shoe this is.

However, the Run Swift 2 is also far from a flexible shoe, as it took us 29.5% more force to bend it 90 degrees in the lab. So those who want a cheap shoe with more flexibility should look elsewhere.


  • Breathable
  • True to size
  • Wide toe box
  • Cushioned tongue
  • Durable outsole
  • Price
  • Gusseted tongue


  • Stiff ride
  • Narrow midfoot
  • Heavy
Full review of Nike Run Swift 2

Today's best price

Any color
016 black/canyon purple-gold suede (CU3517016)
Black (CU3517002)
Sequoia/Black/White/Pilgrim (CU3517301)
Black (CU3517004)
Midnight Navy White Obsidian (CU3517400)
Black/University Red/White (CU3517003)
Black/Light Photo Blue/Grey Fog (CU3517001)
More colors

Best Nike cushioned cheap running shoes

What makes it the best?

The Winflo 9 is the clear winner for the best cushioned cheap Nike shoe. The shoe’s midsole offers class-leading underfoot cushioning while its upper is very breathable and its outsole has unrivaled durability. That’s all for the price of $100, which is a good $26 below the average Nike running shoe price.

The Winflo 9 delivers way more comfort than its price point might suggest. We felt it had a wonderfully soft ride on our runs. That's because its midsole is 24.9% softer than average. And while the 24.2 mm forefoot stack is right at the running shoe average, its 35 mm heel stack is 1.8 mm more than usual.

The upper was also much better than expected. It had a lot of padding in the tongue and around the heel, which didn’t cause any rubbing or blisters. And even with all that padding, the shoe was still very breathable. We gave it a 4 out of 5 on our breathability test, where 5 is the highest score, as the smoke we pumped into the shoe easily passed through the mesh. 

But perhaps the biggest surprise is the outsole, which got the highest-ever hardness measurement in our lab at 92.8 HC. With that score, we don't expect the durability of this outsole to be an issue at all.

However, that super-hard outsole rubber does compromise its traction, as we were let down by its noticeable lack of grip. So those who value a stronger grip on their shoes should consider other options.


  • Comfortable, soft ride
  • Excellent padding
  • Breathable upper
  • Grippy and durable outsole
  • Secure fit
  • Budget-friendly
  • Doubles as a gym shoe


  • Not very responsive
  • Upper and midsole feel cheap
Full review of Nike Air Winflo 9

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Any color
Black (DD6203001)
Sequoia/Cargo Khaki/Alligator/Glacier Blue (DD6203300)
Black University Red Dk Smoke Grey (DD6203003)
Black Dk Smoke Grey (DD6203002)
Obsidian Dk Marina Blue Black White (DD6203400)
White/Bright Crimson-Racer Blue-Volt-Black (DX3355100)
Black White Old Royal Racer Blue (DD6203004)
Football grey/concord/cinnabar (DD6203006)
More colors

Best breathable Nike cheap running shoes

What makes it the best?

The Downshifter 11 may be dirt cheap, but it does a fantastic job of keeping our feet cool. And with its superb lightness and terrific durability, it is hands down our pick for the best breathable budget Nike shoe.

At just $60, the Downshifter 11 is 2.2 times cheaper than the average Nike shoe, which costs $132. But while many other budget shoes sacrifice breathability, the Downshifter 11's mesh upper breathes very well indeed. We did not experience any heat-related discomfort in the shoe as our feet were kept nice and cool throughout our test runs.

Meanwhile, the Downshifter 11 is a delightfully light shoe that does not weigh us down in the slightest. It comes in at just 8.78 oz (249g), which makes it 1.3 oz (37.8g) lighter than the average daily trainer.

The Downshifter 11's outsole is also as durable as it comes. Our durometer measured it to be 10.9% harder than the average outsole, so we don't expect it to wear out quickly.

However, the Downshifter 11 does have a high heel to toe drop, which some might not prefer. Our caliper measured its drop at 11.6 mm, which is quite steep.


  • Wider fit
  • Lightweight
  • Super durable outsole
  • Breathable
  • True to size
  • Insanely good value
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Great for every day and gym


  • Entry-level feel
  • Firm underfoot
Full review of Nike Downshifter 11

Today's best price

Any color
Black (DD3576002)
Black White Dk Smoke Grey (CW3411006)
Black University Red White Dk Smoke Grey (CW3411005)
Dark Smoke Grey/White/University Red (CW3411004)
Midnight Navy White Dark Obsid (CW3411402)
Black/Metallic Gold/White (CW3411009)

Best sneaker Nike cheap running shoes

Nike Quest 5

What makes it the best?

The Quest 5 is a cheap running shoe that can easily pass for a sweet sneaker thanks to its attractive design. And it's also an awesomely comfortable shoe with ample cushioning, making it our best sneaker among cheap Nike running shoes.

At just $80, the Quest 5 is well below Nike's average running shoe price of $132. But despite being in the budget category, it is quite a good-looking shoe, one that we have no hesitation wearing out to work, school, or any other casual setting. 

We also have no qualms with the shoe's overall comfort, which is outstanding. There is a ton of padding around the heel and the tongue, with the latter measuring 10.2 mm thick. That is 43% thicker than the average road running shoe.

The Quest 5 also needs no break-in time and is plenty flexible right out of the box. It is 39.3% more flexible than average running shoes based on our 90 degree bend test, giving it a nicely natural feel while wearing them casually.

However, wide-footed individuals might need to size up since the Quest 5 runs narrow in the toebox. It has a very aggressive taper that makes its width at the big toe 6.6 mm narrower than average.


  • Versatile for different activities
  • Excellent comfort
  • Responsive ride
  • Strong and snug lockdown
  • Decent airflow
  • Grippy outsole
  • Very competitive price
  • Good-looking shoe
  • Many colorways available


  • A little bit firm underfoot
  • Not for wide feet
Full review of Nike Quest 5

Today's best price

Any color
White (DD0204102)
Black University Red Smoke Grey (DD0204004)
Black Bright Crimson Cobblestone (DD0204005)
White Pure Platinum White (DD0204100)
Brt Crimson Obsidian Lt Orewood Brn White (DD0204600)
Black (DD0204001)
Platinum Tint Lt Crimson White Black (DD0204007)
Black (DD0204008)
More colors

Comparison of the 5 best cheap Nike running shoes

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How we test running shoes

To make the selections, we put each model in the database for a thorough testing process. That means we run on each pair on flat roads, rugged terrains, and muddy trails. We examine all the shoes inside the RunRepeat testing lab. We strictly follow these protocols:

  • We purchase all the affordable running shoes from Nike with our own money. We do this because of our 100% commitment to transparency.
  • We do a series of mechanical tests inside the lab by cutting the shoes open and analyzing over 30 parameters such as the cushioning system, traction, upper breathability, flexibility, durability, and many more.
  • As a team of wear-testers, we clock up at least 30-50 miles of running on the road or trails and report with our own impressions.
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.