7 Best Cheap Workout Shoes in 2023

Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo on
7 Best Cheap Workout Shoes in 2023
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Whether you enjoy lifting weights, doing aerobic exercises, or clocking up miles on the treadmill, having the right pair of shoes is key to keeping your feet comfortable. And if you’re on a budget, no worries, you’ll find below our top picks of cheap workout shoes priced at £70 and below.

These affordable workout kicks may not be loaded up with the latest technologies. But one thing you can be sure of, you’re getting a quality product from trusted brands such as Nike, Reebok, and Adidas. They’re stylish and offer cushioning to keep you comfortable in the gym.

To get you started, we’ve tested cheap workout shoes available on the market. We revealed all the pros and cons of each shoe by carrying out a strict process of investigation in and out of the lab. We’ve also identified the top performers in different categories for faster reference.

Best cheap workout shoes overall

What makes it the best?

When it comes to cheap workout shoes, the Nike Air Max Alpha 5 is our top overall pick. After thoroughly testing it both in the lab and the gym, it showed it provides rock-solid stability for recreational lifting, superb cushioning, and terrific step-in comfort. And it is priced at just £100, which is significantly lower than the £110 average price of training shoes. 

Considering its low price point, the Air Max Alpha 5 is made for more casual lifting with light to moderate weights, and it performs that task very well. It has a wide platform which gives us a good amount of stability for lifting. We measured its midfoot width at the forefoot and heel to be 0.3 mm and 1.5 mm wider than average, respectively.

Meanwhile, its magnificent cushioning kept our feet fresh and well-protected while walking on the treadmill, as well as high-impact exercises like jumps. We measured the shoe’s stack height to be 5.6 mm taller in the forefoot and a whopping 11.1 mm taller in the heel than the average training shoe.

The shoe’s overall price-to-comfort ratio is also off-the-charts great. The midsole foam is 8.1% softer than average, while the Max Air unit delivers a delightfully squishy sensation underfoot. And the upper is well-padded in the heel collar and the tongue while causing no rubbing or pinching.

However, the Air Max Alpha Trainer 5 is a significantly heavy shoe at 13.83 oz (392g), which is 2.3 oz (66g) heavier than the average training shoe.


  • Excellent value for money
  • Stable for easy weightlifting
  • Smooth heel-to-toes
  • True to size
  • Comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Durable outsole
  • Very good looks


  • Not breathable
  • Toebox lacks durability
  • Not for advanced workouts
Full review of Nike Air Max Alpha Trainer 5

Best cheap workout shoes for beginners

What makes it the best?

After working out in it for several hours, we declare the Nike Legend Essential 3 as the best cheap workout shoe for beginners because of three reasons. First, it was superbly lightweight. Not once did we feel weighed down, even after hours of intense workout. Second, it had a really stable platform. Finally, it had a really nice grip on the gym floors. It’s also worth noting that at £70 a pair, this trainer is indeed one of the cheapest picks out there; the average price is £100.

We knew in our test workouts that this shoe was pretty lightweight, but we were still surprised to learn that it’s actually 21% lighter than average. Our weighing scale in the lab measured its weight to be 8.8 oz or 250g, which is significantly lower than the 11.2 oz or 317g average.

The platform provided ample space for splays and lateral displacements during motion. Our caliper revealed that the platform is 112.2 mm wide at the forefoot and 90.7 mm wide at the heel. The average widths at the same points are 109.6 mm and 87.0 mm.

The outsole of the Legend Essential 3 also did so well in terms of providing traction. Every time we did lateral movements, we surely could really rely on it to provide much needed grip to stabilize our feet. Our HC durometer showed that the outsole is slightly softer (80.5) than average (84.4). We learned that this additional softness helped the rubber to stick more securely.

No matter how good the Nike Legend Essential 3 is, we still cannot recommend this shoe to those who want to lift heavy. The shoe’s midsole might be too soft for such an exercise. It only registered a 26.3 (the average is 27.0) on our HA durometer.


  • Very affordable
  • Super lightweight
  • Breathable upper
  • Enough cushioning for jumps
  • Wide platform
  • Flexible
  • Good grip


  • Lacks durability
  • Not for heavy lifting
Full review of Nike Legend Essential 3

Best cheap minimalist workout shoes

What makes it the best?

At only £70 per pair (the average is £110), it’s quite hard to find another trainer that can topple the Nike Flex Control 4 price-wise. Another benefit that cannot be overlooked straight out of the box is this shoe’s amazing lightness. We were also stunned by this trainer’s low-to-the-ground profile, which made us quicker and more in control. Add its amazing flexibility to the mix and we got for ourselves the best minimalist and cost-effective workout shoe.

In the lab, we confirmed the lightness that we felt while working out. The scales reported the Flex Control 4 to weigh only 9.8 oz or 277g. This is way lighter than the 11.2 oz or 317g average. No wonder accelerating and jumping higher were never difficult for us!

Our caliper showed that the heel and forefoot are only 19.0 mm and 15.6 mm thick, respectively. These figures make the Flex Control 4’s cushion 5.6 mm and 2.7 mm thinner than average. And we loved how this shoe brought our feet closer to the surface.

It’s also quite amusing that this shoe lives up to the ‘Flex’ in its name. Flexing the foot at even the most unusual angles was never a problem because the shoe just moved with the foot quite naturally. In the lab, we learned through our manual twists and squeezes that the shoe’s base and heel counter do not put up much resistance. Both features got scores of 2 out of 5 for rigidity.

However, we think that gym rats who love to lift their heaviest most of the time should steer clear from this shoe. In the gym, we noticed that this shoe forced our feet forward as we lifted heavier. This motion not only affected our stability but also made our toes feel a bit uncomfortable.


  • Comfortable in-shoe feel
  • Lighter than average
  • Very flexible
  • Foot feels planted
  • Budget-friendly
  • Good grip
  • Simple aesthetics
  • True to size


  • Durability issues
  • Not for serious workouts
Full review of Nike Flex Control 4

Cheap workout shoes with the best stability

What makes it the best?

With a £90 price tag, it’s below the £110 average trainer price but remains versatile with high-end features. It offers the best stability among cheap workout shoes we’ve tried with its wide outsole, firm foothold, and balanced cushion. It seamlessly blends rigid elements with flexibility and comfort to ensure we can perform almost any type of workout efficiently.

Renew Fusion shows exceptional stability and support from our lateral movements to multi-directional workouts. With a stiff rubber cage that wraps around the midfoot area, our side-to-side motions remain contained and controlled. Our feet are firmly locked down, keeping us planted to the ground even during our fast-paced HIIT intervals.

Underfoot, the outsole boasts grippy traction and a size that’s wider and longer than the upper. This enhances stability and surefootedness as the robust outsole improves our balance. Meanwhile, the forefoot feels flexible enough for lunges, improving maneuverability.

The Renew cushioning feels firm but also very springy. It strikes the equilibrium between support and energy return for various workouts — from standing squats to dynamic jumps.

While Renew Fusion is a reliable performer overall, its excessive heel drop feels unstable for heavy squats and lifts. We recommend weightlifting shoes with a leveled platform and more ground feel for better support.


  • Exceptionally stable and supportive
  • Secure foothold
  • Fits true to size
  • Excellent cushioning
  • Solid grip
  • Adequate outsole flexibility
  • No break-in period
  • Durable
  • Very breathable
  • Contemporary style
  • Value price


  • Excessive heel-to-toe drop
  • Narrow fit
  • Prominent arch support may not work for everyone
Full review of Nike Renew Fusion

Cheap workout shoes with the best speed

Reebok Speed TR

What makes it the best?

Honoring its moniker, Speed TR proves it’s the best speed trainer among the cheap workout shoes we tried. With an insanely light and flexible build, it boosts our agility and responds well to all our exercises. It’s not only light on our feet but also in the pocket with its £100 price tag.

Underfoot, the low stack gives us a high sensation of the ground. This enhances our control, allowing us to adapt quickly to the surface. The shoe gives a good amount of flex, especially in the forefoot, and a good amount of energy return for runs, jump ropes, and other dynamic workouts.

This fuss-free cross-trainer feels like it's barely on our feet. It doesn’t weigh us down at all with its feathery 8.5 oz (241g) vs. the 11.2 oz (317g) average. Topped off with a breathable mesh, we remain fresh and breezy during intense indoor workouts.

While Speed TR performs well in static exercises like squats, we recommend using more supportive shoes for lifting heavier weights.


  • True to size
  • Snug fit
  • Superb comfort
  • Breathable
  • Very lightweight
  • Great ground contact
  • Versatile for various activities
  • Durable


  • Not for wide feet
  • Break-in period
  • Lace bite
Full review of Reebok Speed TR

Cheap workout shoes with the best heel support

Nike Reax 8 TR

What makes it the best?

Among all the cheap workout shoes we’ve tried, we discovered that Reax 8 TR offers the best heel support. For an affordable price of £90, it’s 19% cheaper than the average trainer and offers great versatility for any type of workout. This shoe takes comfort to the next level while ensuring we get all the support and traction we need.

Despite jumping repetitively, our heels and knees don’t feel too bruised thanks to Nike’s Reax cushioning in the heel. This extra support ensures our legs are protected and feels responsive to the touch for more efficient use of our power. It has added flex grooves around the shoe, allowing us to move naturally without much resistance.

Underfoot, the sole has circular rubber pods for maximum traction. Whether we zigzag or move multi-directionally, we feel confident the shoe will keep us steady. 

We can spend hours training in the gym without any worries because the upper provides excellent breathability. It has a thin mesh in the top half to ensure air flows generously.

Because of the shoe’s inclined platform, it’s not the best option for squatting. The slight forward lean puts some pressure on our knees.


  • True to size
  • Great heel support
  • Amazing comfort
  • Lightweight
  • Good breathability
  • Durable
  • Great lockdown
  • Excellent traction
  • Nice ft
  • Great value for money


  • Squeaky
  • Non-flat sole is not great for squatting
Full review of Nike Reax 8 TR

Cheap workout shoes with the best comfort

PUMA Enzo 2

What makes it the best?

We tested cheap workout shoes to find which trainer offers the best comfort at an affordable price — and it’s no other than the PUMA Enzo 2. For only £80, it's a comfortable and solid foundation for lifting and training. This is thanks to its plush cushion, breathable upper, and grippy outsole that ensure our tough sessions in the gym will feel less harsh.

Even during our initial wear, the shoe feels comfortable straight away. There’s little to no break-in period for this cloud-like trainer. With SoftFoam+ inserts, it's a great platform to stand in while lifting heavy weights on our shoulders. Our feet don’t feel too sore after several sets of heavy lifting.

Further adding support to our exercises is the reliable traction Enzo 2 provides. This boosts our confidence to train harder as we feel securely planted on the ground. The outsole even looks fresh after several training sessions, proving it’s durable enough to last long.

We have no issues with hotspots and sweat as the mesh upper is immensely breathable, allowing us to feel the breeze during heated sessions.

We recommend dynamic trainers who jump and sprint to avoid this trainer. With its elastic heel, it doesn’t provide the firm lockdown needed for these types of exercises. 

Full review of PUMA Enzo 2

Comparison of the 7 best cheap workout shoes

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A guide on buying cheap workout shoes

Choosing the right shoe for your foot is about a whole lot more than looking good in your kicks. Getting it right will make your workout more functionally efficient, it’ll improve your comfort in the gym and it will reduce your risk of suffering a nasty ankle injury.


The first step in finding your ideal cheap workout shoe is to answer the following question:

What type of training will you be doing?

Choose workout shoes based on your activity

Is the majority of your gym time going to be spent in the power rack and squat area, the functional training zone, in the machine weight training area, or will you be dipping into each of these areas?

A workout shoe is designed to be used by people doing an all-around gym workout. As a result, it has the challenging task of being all things to everyone. Whereas a weightlifting shoe will go all out to provide stability and lockdown, a workout shoe needs to balance that requirement for heavy lifting with the ability to move laterally, be flexible, and provide an element of cushioning for functional training and plyometric training.

If your workout programme calls for you to do different types of workouts on different days, you should consider buying two pairs of shoes and changing them out between workouts. For example, if you are doing strength training on Monday and Thursday and functional workouts on Tuesday and Friday, buy a pair of weightlifting shoes for your strength workouts and a pair of cross trainers for your functional sessions.

Adidas Powerlift 5 Heel tab

Here’s an overview of the key footwear needs of each type of workout. A general workout shoe will, obviously, have to do its best to satisfy each of these requirements.

The ideal shoe for HIIT workouts will have:
  • strong lateral support to aid with foot stabilisation
  • decent amount of cushioning to absorb shock
  • light weight to increase agility
  • flexible forefoot to allow your feet to naturally flex and your toes to splay out
The ideal shoe for strength training will have:
  • raised, high-density heels that promote deeper squats and an upright posture for maximum power
  • hard, solid soles, which maximise your capacity to exert force into the ground
  • incompressible platform
  • exceptionally supportive uppers
  • wide toe box to allow for toe splaying as you push upward
The ideal shoe for running on a treadmill will have:
  • heel and forefoot cushioning to absorb impact
  • extra support on the inside of the midsole if you are an overpronator

The level of cushioning in a workout shoe is ultimately a matter of personal preference. All workout shoes will try to hit that sweet spot between the minimum cushioning of a weightlifting shoe and the maximum support of a runner, but you’re the one who has to wear it.

Depending on your personal preference, you may want to go for a more minimal trainer or a shoe with extra cushioning and energy return.


Example of a minimal cheap workout shoe


Example of a well-cushioned cheap workout shoe

What’s the trade-off with cheap workout shoes?

If you’re buying a workout shoe that’s half the price of the one your training partner’s wearing, it’s only natural to expect that there’s some kind of quality compromise. And, of course, there is.


In order to put out a workout shoe for less than seventy bucks, a manufacturer will have to use less costly construction materials.


£100 shoe vs. £150 shoe

Whereas top-of-the-line workout shoes generally feature TPU and leather, the budget models are more likely to be made from such less expensive materials as EVA and synthetic leather.

Cheaper workout shoes will generally have less durable stitching and will be put together with cheaper glues.

Be sure to check our in-depth reviews to see how each workout shoe performed in our Dremel tests.


Another compromise in cheap workout shoes is the aesthetics. More expensive shoes will feature cooler colours and incorporate special features to enhance the look of the shoe.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that function should always trump form. In other words, what the shoe does is more important than how it looks. Of course, you don’t want to be hitting the gym in a pair of shoes that are ugly, but, so long as they look decent and are designed to enhance your general-purpose workout, you’ll be good to go. 

Nike Legend Essential 3 Review

How we test training shoes

To select our favourites in the budget-friendly category, we’ve put in the legwork to meticulously test all models on this list. As fitness enthusiasts ourselves, we wear each model during our daily workout routines, highlighting how well the shoes felt during Zumba classes, or across multiple workout regimens.

Here’s exactly how we do it:

  • We buy affordable workout shoes from different brands. We use our own savings for this to maintain our freedom and avoid any brand influence.
  • We use the shoes during our workouts in the gym. We test the shoes in a variety of training exercises and cardio activities. During each session, we write down our impressions of the shoes’ fit, cushioning, arch support, stability, and many more. We make sure that all our reviews are based on our real-life experiences.
  • We tear the shoes apart and we scrutinise all of their components. We perform various tests that tell us about their capability in terms of support, breathability, robustness, and more.
Nicholas Rizzo
Nicholas Rizzo
Nick combines 10+ years of experience in the health and fitness industry and a background in the sciences in his role as the Fitness Research Director. During his competitive powerlifting years his PRs have him sitting in the top 2% of bench presses (395 lbs), top 3% of squats (485 lbs) and top 6% of deadlifts (515 lbs) for his weight and age. His work has been featured on Bodybuilding.com, LiveStrong, Healthline, WebMD, WashingtonPost, and many more. Along the way, collaborating with industry leaders like Michael Yessis, Mark Rippetoe, Carlo Buzzichelli, Dave Tate, Ray Williams, and Joel Seedman.