The Best Budget Running Shoe Options, Endorsed by a Running Coach

The ASICS Gel-Excite 8 Running Shoe is comfortable and affordable

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Best Budget Running Shoes

Verywell / Chloe Jeong

It can be tough to find well-made, high-quality running shoes that are also reasonably priced. Most runners know that they’ll pay a price—either in discomfort or injuries—if they run in cheaply made running shoes. “If you’re on a budget, sticking to one of the big players, such as Saucony, Brooks, or Asics, can be beneficial because they’ll offer a multitude of models to fit your foot at various price points,” says Dana Anello White, a certified running coach and founder of Jersey Women Strong.

Reviewed & Approved

The ASICS Women's Gel-Excite 8 running shoe is a best overall pick for its superior cushioning, light weight, and affordability. The Saucony Men's Cohesion 14 is a good pick for its durability and traction.

The best budget running shoes offer optimal cushioning, responsiveness, upper comfort, fit, lateral stability and support, and blister protection. Shoes should also have a roomy toebox and snug heel for a comfortable fit. We researched, reviewed, and tested affordable running shoes and selected our list based on affordability, cushioning, fit, and durability.

Here are the best budget running shoes on the market, according to a certified running coach.

Best Women's Overall: ASICS Women's Gel-Excite 8 Running Shoe

4.7
ASICS Women's Gel-Excite 8

Amazon

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    5/5
  • Responsiveness
    5/5
  • Fit
    4/5
  • Stability
    4/5
  • Upper Comfort
    5/5
Pros
  • Excellent cushioning

  • Breathable

  • Comfortable and lightweight

Cons
  • Laces are short

  • Run narrow

Asics’ GEL-Excite 8 is our best overall pick and an ideal option for female runners looking for a comfortable, lightweight, and affordable running shoe. Despite its budget-friendly price, it offers many of Asics’ popular features and technology that runners appreciate for both short workouts and distance runs. Our tester found the shoe to be plush and soft, thanks to the GEL technology and Amplifoam midsole cushioning. Yet the GEL-Excite still provided a springy feel and strong rebound with each stride.

Even during long, hot runs, its fully engineered mesh upper delivered excellent airflow to help feet stay cool and dry. Plus, the injection rubber outsole is sturdy and durable, while the strategically placed flex grooves allow for good flexibility. Available in women’s sizes 5 to 12, multiple widths, and a range of neutral or fun colors, they’re stylish and also work well as casual, all-day wear shoes for leisure activities.

Weight: 8 ounces | Materials: Mesh upper; rubber outsole | Cushioning: GEL technology; AmpliFoam | Closure: Lace-up

What Our Testers Say

"They felt comfortable right out of the box, with absolutely no break-in period needed. The shoe has a breathable mesh upper, and the airflow helped to keep my feet from getting too hot, even during a long run." —Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best Men's Overall : Saucony Men's Cohesion 14

4.6
Saucony Men's Cohesion 14

Zappos

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    5/5
  • Blister Protection
    4/5
  • Responsiveness
    4/5
Pros
  • Good cushioning

  • Lightweight and breathable

  • Comfortable and supportive

Cons
  • No narrow sizes

  • Limited colors

A trusted and popular brand among runners, Saucony offers an affordable running shoe that rivals its more expensive options. The Cohesion is a great option for casual runners, marathoners, and anyone who needs a dependable, comfortable shoe when spending lots of time on their feet.

With a durable, grippy rubber outsole, this shoe can handle running on asphalt for many miles and promises not to weigh you down. The roomy toebox offers plenty of room for a wide toe splay, which will boost your stability and power transfer. Meanwhile, the light, breathable upper mesh keeps your feet dry and comfortable.

Even towards the end of a long run, its heel PowerGrid system provides a cushioned, stable ride. It's available in men’s sizes 7 to 15 in medium or wide widths.

Weight: 9 ounces | Materials: Synthetic and mesh upper; rubber outsole | Cushioning: VERSARUN | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Short Distance Running: New Balance FuelCell Propel v3 Running Shoes

New Balance FuelCell Propel v3 Running Shoes

Zappos

Pros
  • Good energy return

  • Durable

  • Versatile

Cons
  • Run small

  • Tongue may feel stiff at first

The Propel running shoe boasts the same springy FuelCell foam found in other models from New Balance, but without the higher price tag. Despite the ample cushioning, it has a lightweight feel, making it a good option for speedwork or shorter, fast runs.

The breathable upper hugs the foot for a snug, comfy fit, and the no-sew overlay enhances the support without any added bulk. Plus, the Propel is extremely durable and can handle rough surfaces, thanks to the NDurance rubber outsole. With a sleek style, the shoe is versatile and, like most New Balance footwear, comfortable for all-day wear. They’re available in women’s sizes 6 to 12.

Weight: 8 ounces | Materials: Mesh upper; rubber outsole | Cushioning: FuelCell foam | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Distance Running: Brooks Launch 8 Running Shoes

4.2
Brooks Launch 8 Running Shoes

Zappos

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    3.5/5
  • Responsiveness
    4/5
  • Fit
    5/5
  • Stability
    3.5/5
  • Upper Comfort
    5/5
Pros
  • Lightweight cushioning

  • Durable

  • Comfortable

Cons
  • Not a lot of arch support

  • Too narrow for some

If you’re a neutral runner looking for a shoe that hits the sweet spot between a racing flat and an everyday trainer, the Brooks Launch 8 is a great pick. It’s supportive and durable enough for long workouts but streamlined and speedy for race day. The lightweight BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning keeps you fast on your feet without any extra weight. The Midfoot Transition Zone is shaped to go from heel to toe quickly, allowing for quick transitions.

With a breathable, comfortable upper, the Launch can help keep your feet from overheating during long runs. Available in women’s sizes 5 to 12 and lots of fun colors and patterns, it also works well as a casual, all-day wear shoe.

Weight: 7.9 ounces | Materials: Synthetic upper; rubber outsole | Cushioning: BioMoGo DNA | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Trail Running: Asics GEL-Venture 8 Running Shoes

4.5
Asics Women's Gel-Venture 8 Running Shoes

Dick's Sporting Goods

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    4.5/5
  • Responsiveness
    4/5
  • Fit
    4/5
  • Stability
    4/5
  • Upper Comfort
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Good traction

  • Excellent cushioning and shock absorption

  • Durable

Cons
  • Not warm enough for very cold weather

  • Not waterproof

A budget-friendly running shoe that works well for road and trail running? That’s what you get with the Asics GEL-Venture 8, a durable and versatile choice for those who love to mix up their running surfaces.

Asics’ popular GEL cushioning helps absorb shock from impact and provides overall comfort, no matter your mileage or surface. We like that they’re rugged and cushioned enough to not feel the terrain or asphalt through the shoe.

The reverse-traction lugs on the outsole give the shoe some additional cushion as well as great traction when running or walking on trails, even in wet weather. Our tester took the Gel-Venture on a running trail after some rain and felt steady and confident, despite the wet surface. Although they’re not fully waterproof, they did seem to repel some moisture and dried quickly when they did get wet.

The pair comes with a supportive sockliner, which can be removed if you want to wear orthotics, making it ideal for those with a history of foot pain. Additionally, the outsoles are reinforced in high-wear areas, which adds to their durability. Whether or not you need more space in the toebox, you're sure to find the right fit among the medium or wide-width options and multiple statement color combos.

Weight: 8.9 ounces | Materials: Synthetic upper; rubber outsole | Cushioning: GEL | Closure: Lace-up

What Our Testers Say

"When putting on these shoes, I could tell right away that the traction looked suitable for both trail and road running. I often run on local roads to get to a nearby trail, and this shoe is perfect for alternating between the different surfaces. The cushioning was comfortable and responsive, regardless of what surface I was running on." —Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best for Neutral Runners: Brooks Anthem 4 Running Shoes

4.6
Brooks Anthem 4 Running Shoes

Zappos

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    5/5
  • Responsiveness
    5/5
  • Fit
    4/5
  • Stability
    3/5
  • Upper Comfort
    5/5
Pros
  • Lightweight cushioning

  • Breathable

  • Durable

Cons
  • Run small

  • Not supportive enough for some

A high-quality, versatile shoe, the Brooks Anthem 4 has many of the same features as pricier choices from this popular brand. The BioMoGo DNA midsole provides a soft, plush landing while still allowing for natural forefoot movement. The blown rubber in the Anthem’s forefoot allows for an extra-springy toe-off, while the abrasion-resistant rubber throughout the outsole adds to the shoe’s durability.

Lightweight and breathable, the shoe is ideal for neutral runners looking for a responsive shoe that feels comfortable from start to finish on their runs. Our tester found the flexible mesh upper to provide an exceptional fit and just the right amount of support. Like other Brooks shoes, they come with a removable footbed, making it ideal for those who need more space to accommodate inserts. They’re available in women’s sizes 6 to 12.

Weight: 8 ounces | Materials: Synthetic upper; rubber outsole | Cushioning: BioMoGo DNA | Closure: Lace-up

What Our Testers Say

"This shoe has a lot of the features that Brooks offers in other models, but at a much more budget-friendly price. As a neutral runner, this shoe works very well for me, but a runner who needs some more stability may not like it." —Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best for Flat Feet: Asics GT-1000 10 Running Shoes

Asics GT-1000 10 Running Shoes

Courtesy of Zappos

Pros
  • Good support for overpronators

  • Durable outsole

  • Regular or wide widths

Cons
  • Run small

  • Laces are short

If you have flat feet or you're prone to overpronation when you run, you need a stability shoe like this option from Asics. The GT-1000 10 running shoe gives you support and motion control at a lower price compared to other high-quality shoes. Stability features include firm foam under the arch and a midfoot support truss that guides the foot through the gait cycle.

The shoe also boasts excellent shock absorption and smooth transitions, thanks to the rearfoot GEL cushioning. Whether you wear them for running, walking, or other activities, they’re comfortable and supportive enough to keep you going for hours at a time. No matter the weather or the surface you're tackling, the durable, high-abrasion rubber outsole gives you the right amount of traction.

They come in regular or wide widths, as well as in a variety of color combinations, so you can pick the one that best fits your size and style.

Weight: 8.2 ounces | Materials: Synthetic upper; rubber outsole | Cushioning: FlyteFoam Propel Technology, GEL cushioning | Closure: Lace-up

Best for Road Running: Nike Downshifter 11 Running Shoes

4.6
Nike Downshifter 11 Running Shoes

Nike

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    5/5
  • Responsiveness
    4/5
  • Lateral Stability
    4.5/5
  • Fit
    4/5
  • Value
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Excellent cushioning

  • Lightweight

  • Snug and responsive

Cons
  • Runs narrow

With exceptional design, outstanding performance, and a low price, the Nike Downshifter shoe really stands out as a great pick for road running. It’s lightweight and flexible, but still has plenty of soft cushioning underfoot and in the heel area. The fit is snug and supportive, without feeling too heavy or constricting.

During our testing, it performed well as a daily trainer, for both shorter track work as well as longer runs on the road. Our tester also found the Downshifter to be comfortable and supportive for strength-training workouts as well as for running errands, making it a very versatile choice. The shoe’s durable rubber sole has grooves that create flexibility and reliable traction, which is another reason to take this shoe on the roads.

The only minor annoyance our tester noted about the shoes is that the tongue often had to be adjusted after she put the shoes on. "I sometimes have to adjust the tongue because it folds on itself a bit and feels uncomfortable. Once I flattened it out, it felt fine, but it was annoying to have to make adjustments to it," she said.

Stylish and streamlined, this pair comes in a few neutral colors and women’s sizes 5 to 12.

Weight: Not listed | Materials: Mesh; rubber sole | Cushioning: Foam | Closure: Lace-up

What Our Testers Say

"Nike shoes are always high-quality and durable, so I was surprised to see one of their shoes at such a budget-friendly price. But the Downshifter definitely lives up to the Nike reputation and is definitely a good value. It’s a solid choice for runners looking for a lightweight, cushioned, and supportive shoe." —Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Best for Plantar Fasciitis: Brooks Revel 5 Running Shoes

Brooks Revel 5 Running Shoes

Zappos

Pros
  • Excellent traction

  • Soft forefoot cushioning

  • Comfortable

Cons
  • Fits slightly snug in the toe box

  • Run small

If you have a history of plantar fasciitis, you need a running shoe that’s supportive and well-cushioned, especially in the heel area. The Brooks Revel 5 delivers in both aspects, without the big price tag that often accompanies those types of shoes. The shoe’s balanced, soft BioMoGo DNA foam cushioning adapts to your stride and protects you by deflecting impact. You also get a springy feel and reliable traction from the rubber outsole tread.

An all-around performer, the Revel is versatile enough to wear for short intervals to distance runs. The Fit Knit upper provides a comfortable and secure fit, with a sleek style that also works for casual wear. They’re available in a variety of cool colors and women’s sizes 5 to 12.

Weight: 8 ounces | Materials: Engineered mesh; rubber | Cushioning: BioMoGo DNA foam | Closure: Lace-up

Best Cushioned: New Balance Fresh Foam Arishi v3 Shoe

4.7
New Balance Fresh Foam Arishi v3 Shoe

Courtesy of Zappos

Our Ratings
  • Cushioning
    4/5
  • Responsiveness
    4/5
  • Fit
    4.5/5
  • Stability
    4/5
  • Upper Comfort
    4.5/5
Pros
  • Lightweight and responsive

  • Breathable

  • Stylish

Cons
  • Not warm enough for very cold weather

  • Run small

If you’re looking for an affordable and well-cushioned pick for running, New Balance's Fresh Foam Arishi v3 running shoe is a solid choice. The shoes feature New Balance’s cutting-edge Fresh Foam cushioning for the ultimate comfort. Despite the ample cushioning, the shoes won’t weigh you down. Our tester wore them for multiple long runs and was impressed with the lightweight and responsive feel.

The Arishi is also very well-ventilated and breathable, but we did find them to be too thin to wear in very cold weather. They come in many cool color combinations and are stylish enough to be worn even when you’re not working out.

Available in multiple shades and medium or wide widths, they do run a bit small, so go up half a size for the best fit.

Weight: 7.2 ounces | Materials: Engineered mesh; rubber | Cushioning: Fresh foam | Closure: Lace-up

What Our Testers Say

"As soon as I put on these shoes, I could feel the cloud-like comfort. The cushioning feels plush and comfy, but the shoes aren’t at all heavy or bulky. As a neutral runner, I felt very comfortable running both short and long distances in them, but those looking for a more stable shoe should seek another option." —Christine Luff, ACE-CPT, certified running coach, certified personal trainer, and Verywell Fit product tester

Final Verdict

With the features and performance of a higher-priced running shoe, Saucony's Cohesion 14 men's running shoes (view at Amazon) are perfect for runners who want an affordable, versatile, and lightweight shoe. Another great overall choice is the women's Asics GEL-Excite 8 running shoes (view at Amazon); it's a well-designed option that provides extreme comfort for both exercise and casual wear.

How We Rated Budget Running Shoes

4.8 to 5 stars: These are the best budget running shoes we tested. We recommend them without reservation.

4.5 to 4.7 stars: These budget running shoes are excellent—they might have minor flaws, but we still recommend them.

4.0 to 4.5 stars: We think these are great budget running shoes, but others are better.

3.5 to 3.9 stars: These budget running shoes are just average.

3.4 and below: We don't recommend budget running shoes with this rating; you won't find any on our list.

How We Selected and Tested the Best Budget Running Shoes

We chose the best budget running shoes by researching reviews and details about more than 50 running shoes from 11 trusted shoe manufacturers. We considered price, performance, comfort, design, technology, durability, and also read dozens of articles on the latest models of running shoes. We also consulted runners and coaches for running shoe recommendations and reviewed the American Podiatric Medical Association's list of shoes that have received their Seal of Acceptance.

Once we narrowed down our options, we put five running shoes through our testing regimen. Each pair was worn for at least three outdoor runs, including a short, easy-paced run, a tempo run, and a distance run. We spent a total of 18 hours wearing the shoes and running in all types of weather conditions, including cold and rain. Each product was scored on a scale of one to five in the categories of cushioning, responsiveness, upper comfort, fit, lateral stability and support, blister protection, and overall value.

What to Look for in Budget Running Shoes

Running Style

Determining your foot type and running style is key to making sure you get the right running shoes. Most running shoe brands offer specific shoes for overpronating, supinating, and neutral runners. You can do your own basic gait foot analysis by looking at shoe wear patterns or visiting a specialty running store for a running form evaluation.

“It’s critical to know your true size, wear pattern, and gait type, all of which a running specialty store can help you figure out,” says running coach Dana Anello White. “Guessing what might be best or going strictly on looks will end up costing you a fortune in the long run.” 

Fit

Ideally, the shoe should fit comfortably right out of the box and not require a break-in period. You should have enough room in the toebox to wiggle your toes, and your heel should feel secure.

“Runners should find the best fit that provides the best support for the terrain you run on,” says Randy Accetta, certified running coach and director of coaching education for Road Runners Club of America. “Look for shoes that are comfortable, with enough room in the toe area to account for some swelling during a long run but not so roomy that you get blisters.”

If you have narrow or wide feet, look for brands like New Balance, Asics, and Brooks, which offer a diverse range of widths.

Price

In addition to looking for bargains, such as those included in this list, there are other ways to save on high-quality running shoes. Older models of running shoes often have many of the same features as newer ones, with a lower price tag. If a new model of your favorite running shoe comes out, stock up on the older, discounted model.

Some colors and patterns may also be less expensive than others, so it’s worth price-checking the different options if you’re not particular about the shoe’s appearance. Another tip for women with small feet is to browse the boys' version of their favorite running shoe, which may be very similar but less expensive.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How often should you replace running shoes?

    Generally, running shoes last about 300 to 500 miles before the cushioning and support are worn out, leaving you more at risk of injury. Shoe life depends on your running style, body weight, and the surface on which you run. Lighter runners can get new shoes at the upper end of the recommendation, while heavier runners should consider replacement shoes closer to 300 miles. You may also need new shoes more often if you log a lot of miles outside or on rugged terrain.

    Your mileage might also vary depending on the type of running shoe. Lightweight racing shoes, for example, will wear out faster than heavier, sturdier trainers. Pay attention to how your shoes feel and look for signs of wear. “One way to test is to fold the shoe lengthwise at the toe box,” says running coach Randy Accetta. “If it folds easily, it may be worn out.”

  • How do you clean running shoes?

    For best results and to increase the longevity of your running shoes, you should wash them by hand. First, wipe off any dirt or debris with a dry scrub brush or towel. Remove the insoles since you’ll wash them separately. Next, fill a bowl with warm water and a tablespoon or so of detergent. Dip a toothbrush or soft scrub brush into the soapy water and clean the shoes using round strokes. Wipe them down with a wet towel or sponge.

    Clean the surface of the insoles with a scrub brush and then wipe them off with a sponge. Once you’re done, let the shoes and insoles air dry. Don’t put them in the dryer or place them in front of a heater, as high heat can damage and weaken the shoes.

  • How do you break in running shoes?

    "Many people assume that all shoes require a break-in period, but the right pair of running shoes for you should feel great from the first time you put them on," says Rob Conenello, DPM, FACFAS, FAAPSM, a New York-based sports podiatrist. However, some runners might still want to wear shoes for a couple of short runs before wearing them for a long run (and you should never wear brand-new shoes for a race).

  • Can running shoes be used for walking?

    Yes, some running shoes can be used for walking, but there are some important differences between running and walking shoes. Running shoes are usually light and breathable, while walking shoes are typically heavier for better support and stability.

    Walking shoes are generally more flexible at the forefoot, allowing walkers to maintain a natural stride and push off with their toes. However, running shoes offer more cushioning and shock absorption in the heel and forefoot.

    Walking shoes may be a better choice for those who need some extra support and stability due to current or previous foot issues. If you enjoy both running and fitness walking or you frequently walk in warm weather, opt for a pair of running shoes.

  • Should running shoes be a size bigger?

    In general, runners should size up a half to full size in their running shoes. “This helps to accommodate for the expansion of your foot when it hits the ground with impact, as well as any normal swelling that may occur with activity,” says running coach Dana Anello White. “Different brands may run long or short, wide or narrow, so be sure to try on a variety of shoes to find what works for you.”

Why Trust Verywell Fit

As a running coach, personal trainer, and avid runner, Christine Luff has researched and tested countless running shoes. While it’s fun to look for deals on running shoes, she recommends researching the right shoes before just heading for the clearance rack at your favorite store.