7 Best Cheap Running Shoes in 2024

Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic on
7 Best Cheap Running Shoes in 2024
We earn affiliate commissions at no extra cost to you when you buy through us. Why trust us

Running can be cheap. Especially if you’re not chasing records or racing competitively. A cheap pair of running shoes might perfectly accompany you on your occasional runs along with casual walks and running errands.

We define running shoes as cheap if they cost less than £110.

After testing cheap running shoes both on the test runs and in our lab, we came up with the top picks in different categories. Depending on what you find the most important in your running shoes, we have options that highlight style, cushioning, durability, or a little bit of everything.

How we test running shoes

Cheap doesn’t always mean bad.

We, a team of experienced shoe fanatics, have reviewed over 100 cheap running shoes to help you find the best deal. In our independent RunRepeat lab, we scrutinise every new release, seeking out the underdogs among budget-friendly models. Here is our process:

  • We do multiple test runs in each pair, averaging 30-50 miles per shoe.
  • Measure 30+ different parameters in our lab, including flexibility, softness, breathability, etc. We even cut shoes into pieces to evaluate each component.
  • All shoes are purchased with our own funds to avoid bias.

Best cheap running shoes overall

What makes it the best?

Runners on a really tight budget can't do better than the Adidas Duramo 10. With its versatility to do different runs coupled with exceptional comfort, the Duramo 10 is hands down our best cheap overall shoe. 

At £70, the Duramo 10 is right near the bottom end of Adidas' large lineup of running shoes, which has an average price of £150. But despite how cheap it is, we found that the Duramo 10 still delivers shoes double its price can.

We felt that it more than capably handled easy days up to long distances thanks to its Lightmotion midsole. While the 31.6 mm heel stack and 22.9 mm forefoot stack are close to the average for running shoes, the midsole is 11% softer, which provided a comfortably cushioned ride during our runs.

The comfort factor extends to the upper, which, aside from being eco-friendly (it’s made from 50% recycled materials), is quite soft on the skin. We also found it to be plenty breathable and able to keep our feet breezy even in considerable heat. 

However, we don’t recommend the Duramo 10 for cold weather. The shoe increased an incredible 85% in stiffness in our 90-degree bend test after 20 minutes in the freezer. That is far beyond the 46.6% of average running shoes.

Pros

  • Comfy for all-day wear
  • Lightweight for its kind
  • Stable even during sharp turns
  • Breezy on warm days
  • Perfect for beginners
  • Can handle gym training
  • Durable for the price
  • Soft upper
  • Affordable
  • Eco-friendly upper

Cons

  • Break-in period for wide feet
  • Lacks spring for fast runs
Full review of Adidas Duramo 10

Cheap running shoes for all-day wear

What makes it the best?

The Adidas Alphabounce+ is a devilishly comfy (and stylish) sneaker disguised as a running shoe… or is it a running shoe disguised as a sneaker? Either way, this well-padded shoe with not one but two cushy midsole foams is our pick for the best cheap shoe for all-day wear,

It’s not often we come across a budget trainer with a dual-density midsole configuration, but the Alphabounce+ prominently features two of Adidas’ proprietary foams. The bulk of the midsole is made of Cloudfoam, which our durometer measured to be 10% softer than our current lab average at 21.8 HA. This provides a balanced cushioning that feels comfy as soon as we put on the shoe, with no breaking-in needed whatsoever. Combined with the similarly soft yet more responsive Boost foam found at the shoe’s robust heel, the Alphabounce+ is truly a pleasure to move around in all day long. 

Manufacturers often use as little material as possible as a cost-saving measure. This couldn’t be further from the case with the Alphabounce+, which is generously and comfortably padded. From the plush heel collar to the tongue, which we found to be 29.3% thicker than average at 7.5 mm, we enjoyed luxurious levels of comfort from the moment we put the shoes on until we reluctantly took them off later in the day.

Tipping our scale at a substantial 11.99 oz (340g) the Alphabounce+ could certainly use a diet. While being 2.54 oz (72g) heavier than the average shoe isn’t such a big deal when walking at a downtown pace, it certainly feels too prohibitive for anything beyond a slow and easy run. 

Pros

  • Great impact protection
  • Bounce midsole foam at the heel provides a premium feeling ride
  • Good for walking, gym days, as well as easy runs
  • Remarkably stable underfoot
  • Grippy and durable outsole
  • Budget friendly
  • Stylish and sustainable design

Cons

  • Very heavy for a road shoe
  • Breathability could be better
  • Not for long distances or tempo sessions
  • Lacking in upper durability
Full review of Adidas Alphabounce+

Best cheap running shoes for long distance

Saucony Axon 3
86
Great!

What makes it the best?

Runners looking for a budget shoe built for long distances can't go wrong with Saucony Axon 3. It boasts premium cushioning, a light build, and exceptional durability in our lab and run trials, making it an easy pick for our top cheap long-distance shoe.

At just £110, it falls significantly below the £140 average of daily trainers. Despite its low price point, it has much more cushion and less weight than usual. Both features rarely go together, but Axon 3 made it happen. Our scales show it’s only 8.6 oz (244g) vs. the 9.4 oz (266g) average of road-running shoes.

We measured its forefoot to have 3.2 mm more foam than average, which gives us extra protection on longer runs, especially for forefoot strikers. The cushion feels soft underfoot and our durometer confirms an 18.3 HA measurement, 22.5% below average. 

After repetitive test runs, the outsole displayed reliable grip and barely showed visual signs of wear. Axon 3 proves it can take the beating of several training blocks as it uses rubber that’s 0.7 mm thicker and 3.5% harder than average.

However, we don't recommend the Axon 3 for runners in search of a flexible shoe for that natural feel. This shoe is quite rigid torsionally and longitudinally.

Pros

  • Incredible value at only £110
  • Significant weight reduction from version 2
  • Impressively cushioned with PWRRUN foam
  • Fantastic durability
  • Suitable for quicker paces
  • Excellent as a daily workhorse
  • Lovely upper
  • Works for short and long runs

Cons

  • Probably too stiff for very relaxed runs
  • Slightly narrower forefoot than before
Full review of Saucony Axon 3

Best cheap running shoes for flat feet

What makes it the best?

Within the 100 bucks budget, there’s nothing like the ASICS GT 1000 12. It inspires confidence in our runs through steady arch support most comfortably and naturally. It’s built to last long and is such a steal for the price vs. the £140 average of other stability shoes. Through lab tests and actual runs, we find this performer is the most budget-friendly for flat-footed runners.

The plush Flytefoam screams comfort and our durometer agrees with a measurement that’s 46.9% softer than average. Despite the buttery cushion that catches the arch, we don’t bottom out thanks to the GEL support incorporated into the outer heel. It ensures stable landings without restrictions as we’re able to move freely. Our 90-degree bend test confirms this is one of the most flexible shoes. Unlike its traditional stiff counterparts, it exceeds the average by 60.4%.

Further promoting safety is the grippy outsole that’s softer than average at 74.8 HC. Softer rubber has better traction on the ground. To offset the more vulnerable rubber, ASICS made the outsole 1.5 mm thicker than average to extend the shoe’s life.

This shoe ticks many boxes, yet speed isn’t one of them. More advanced runners may find the midsole’s lack of energy underwhelming.

Pros

  • Incredible value for the price
  • Cushioned and soft midsole
  • Offers great stability
  • GEL technology in the heel
  • Perfectly comfortable for cross-training or walking
  • Built to endure long-distance runs
  • Offers exceptional breathability
  • Durable outsole with a long lifespan

Cons

  • Flytefoam could offer better energy return
  • Upper lacks durability
Full review of ASICS GT 1000 12

Best cheap lightweight running shoes

Brooks Revel 6
82
Good!

What makes it the best?

Low price, low weight and high quality perfectly sum up Revel 6. At £110, it offers the comfort, lively ride and protection we expect from a more premium shoe. It’s light on the feet and in the pocket — making it our top lightweight cheap running shoe.

Its 9.2 oz (261g) build feels easy on the feet as it’s lighter than the 9.5 oz (268g) average of road-running shoes. Its midsole offers little resistance and adapts to our every move. Our flex test validates this as it stands 36.2% more flexible than average. With a rocker structure promoting smooth toe-offs, it gives enough spring to pick up the pace.

Its 20.1 HA cushion feels soft without the sinking feeling. The platform is protective enough even if it’s 16.6% softer than average. The light shoe, flexible midsole and soft cushion combo lead to a comfortable and enjoyable ride.

Revel 6 provides extra support through its torsional rigidity and wide landing platform. It ranks above average in our torsional rigidity test, meaning it’s tougher to twist. Our feet remain well-planted despite lateral movements, which pronators will appreciate for added stability.

We don’t recommend this pair for long-haul efforts. This shoe works best for easy runs and short speed workouts.

Pros

  • Light on the foot
  • Can pick up the pace
  • Provides good stability
  • Flexible and comfortable underfoot
  • Above average breathability
  • Durable outsole
  • Budget friendly
  • Doubles as a comfy walking shoe

Cons

  • Not for long runs
  • Lacks traction on certain surfaces
Full review of Brooks Revel 6

Best Nike cheap running shoes

What makes it the best?

With one of the lowest price points in the running shoe market, the Nike Downshifter 12 gives more than what its price tag entails. As proven both in our lab and our outdoor runs, this shoe is indeed the best Nike cheap running shoe for its premium comfort underfoot coupled with above-average durability.

Priced neatly at 70 USD, the Downshifter 12 is no doubt one of the best options for a cheap running shoe. Considering the average price for a running shoe is 132 USD, we’d say the Downshifter 12 is worth every penny. 

It may come with a cheap price tag—but the Downshifter 12 feels as premium as it gets. It doesn't skimp on comfort, especially in the upper. The heel area and tongue are also generously padded. In fact, the tongue measures 10.1 mm thick, which is way above the average of 5.8 mm.

The outsole of the Downshifter 12 is also durable. The outsole is 3.5 mm thick, which is even a little above the average of 3.4 mm. We’ve gone on so many runs with this shoe and it still gives a decent ride.

However, we did not experience much responsiveness with the shoe. Runners looking for snappier shoes may want to look at other options.

Pros

  • Unbeatable price
  • Premium softness underfoot
  • Comfy interior padding
  • Above average durability
  • Versatile sneaker/running shoe
  • Simple, yet pleasant design
  • Plenty of colours available
  • Recycled materials

Cons

  • Not responsive
  • On the heavier side
  • Tapered toebox
  • Lacing is not always secure
Full review of Nike Downshifter 12

Best cheap trail running shoes

What makes it the best?

With its excellent cushioning and impressive breathability, the Asics Gel Venture 9 is a noteworthy beast on the trails. With a surprisingly low price tag, the Asics Gel Venture 9 is the best cheap trail running shoe.

At a jaw-dropping price of 80 USD, it is tough to find a better shoe at the same price point. It provides insane value in having a versatile shoe to handle trail running, hiking, or even road running in a pinch.

We measured the heel stack of the Gel Venture 9 to be at 33.3 mm—more than the 31.7 mm average stack height of trail running shoes. Additionally, when we pressed our durometer against the midsole foam, it found the foam to be 10.87% softer than average—all contributing to comfortable cushioning while tackling the trails.

The Asics Gel Venture 9 has a well-ventilated mesh upper. We tested the shoe’s breathability by pumping smoke inside the shoe. The smoke effortlessly passed through the material, garnering a well-deserved score of 4/5. Trail running even in hot weather is definitely not a problem with these shoes.

While it does provide great value, the upper's durability is a weakness. It scored a poor 1/5 on our Dremel test. Trail runners may want to look at other options for trail running shoes with more durable uppers.

Pros

  • Fantastic value
  • Summer-ready mesh upper
  • Enough stack height
  • Stable ride
  • Good for heel strikers
  • Ready for hiking
  • GEL technology for amazing impact protection

Cons

  • Durability could be better
  • Lacks energy return
  • Heavy
Full review of ASICS Gel Venture 9

Tips for finding shoes at cheap prices

finding-best-cheap-running-shoes.png

Here are some tips to help you find a good deal. 

  1. Browse online stores. Usually, they allow for shoes to be filtered by price or discount. 
  2. Browse online shoe databases. Much more comprehensive than regular online stores. RunRepeat database is updated on a daily basis and offers sorting by discount (from less than 30% to more than 70%) and the cheap filter. 
  3. Pay attention to older models, they tend to be discounted more often than new models. Especially if you’re offline shopping, smaller shops might have those models on sale.
  4. Exercise caution if buying on Black Friday. Turns out trainers are cheaper on 66% of days throughout the year than they are on Black Friday. Worth keeping in mind when buying running shoes too.

Saucony Axon is a £110 version of the premium Endorphin line. It delivers a sense of the more expensive shoes for budget-friendly price.

What’s a good price for a running shoe? 

£120-130 will probably get you the most value for money. The premium price of £160-350 simply isn’t always worth it. When looking for a cheap running shoe, people tend to stay in the £70-80 range. 

Keep in mind that shoe prices are defined by: 

  1. Shoe features - e.g. rock plate, GTX membrane, maximum cushioning, innovative technologies (might work wonders for specific conditions, but also might not be needed for your every day running);
  2. Marketing - the bigger the campaigns - the more expensive shoes get;
  3. Timing - do you want the new shoe as soon as it’s available? Or even pre-order? The more you wait, the greater the chances to find that certain model discounted.

Cheap vs. expensive running shoes 

The line that separates inexpensive from expensive running shoes is the price: £110. It’s nothing official, but a wide-spread notion. 

What might support your decision to buy a cheaper pair of running shoes is our study on shoe prices. According to RunRepeat’s research on expensive and affordable running shoes people are 8% less satisfied with expensive running shoes.

brooks-hyperion-elite-2-heel-design.jpg

Brooks’ elite racer, the Hyperion Elite, was a big letdown for the fans. They booed this £260 pair for being too frail and heavy for its price.

Are expensive shoes better?

They are not. 

According to our study, the trendline on this graph surely backs this up. It shows that expensive running shoes get lower ratings:

price-vs-rating.png

Brands with the biggest % of cheap running shoes

To help your shoe hunt, this is the overview of the top 10 brands with the biggest % of cheap running shoes and their average MSRPs. 

cheap-models-by-brand.png

Here’s how those brands compare to each other when it comes to their average MSRPs.

cheap-shoes-prices-by-brand.png

When you’ve nailed a great deal, make sure you keep in mind these few tips:

TIP #1. Shoes should be comfortable! (try them on before buying).

TIP #2. Shoes should satisfy your intentions (check the performance details or use our guide to buying running shoes).

TIP #3. Shoes should fit. If you’re having doubts about the size you need, use RunRepeat’s ultimate shoe size guide.

Author
Jovana Subic
Jovana Subic
Whether it's a vertical kilometre or an ultra, climbing in the Alps or exploring local mountains, Jovana uses every opportunity to trade walls and concrete for forests and trails. She logs at least 10h/week on trails, with no off-season, and 4x more on research on running and running shoes. With a background in physics and engineering management, she prefers her running spiced with data.