Best Budget Running Shoes

Do you want high quality running shoes but don’t want to spend a ton of money? The good news is there are budget running shoes out there that work just as well as expensive running shoes, you just need to know where to look. Not all shoes are created the same, which is why you need to find the shoes that are right for your feet. Some expensive shoes might not work well for your feet where budget running shoes will work better, and vice versa. 

Are Expensive Running Shoes Better?

There has been lots of research on the various types of running shoes when it comes to how much the shoes cost versus how well they perform. The conclusion from these studies generally says just because a shoe is more expensive does not mean it is better. For example, in a study done by RunRepeat, they found that on average the 10 cheapest running shoes had better reviews than the 10 most expensive running shoes.


 The #1 Best Insoles for Foot Pain

If you have plantar fasciitis, high arches, flat feet, or other foot support issues, but would rather not purchase a new pair of shoes – add the Tread Labs Stride Insole to your existing shoes. The Stride Insole is biomechanically designed to support your arch and cure/prevent plantar fasciitis. Simply remove the factory insole from your favorite shoes and replace it with the Stride. The Stride comes in four different arch heights for each foot size, offers a lifetime guaranteed arch support and has a removable top cover. Take the Tread Labs Fit Quiz now and get THE BEST possible support for your feet.

#1 Best Support - Tread Labs Stride Insole

  • THE BEST support to prevent/cure Plantar Fasciitis.
  • Lifetime Guaranteed Arch Support.
  • Replaceable Top-Cover
  • Free shipping both ways.

Read Why Stride Insoles are the Best


What to Look for in a Running Shoe

The first thing to take into consideration is whether you underpronate, overpronate, or are a neutral runner. This is important because shoes designed for overpronation will have more stability in them, where shoes designed for underpronation will have more cushioning. If you are a neutral runner, you can choose from a wide variety of running shoes as long as they are comfortable on your feet.

Next, it is important to think about arch support. If you have low arches, you will notice your feet are flatter than normal. Most of the time those with flat feet will overpronate, so that is something to keep in mind. If you have high arches you are more likely to underpronate, so you will need more flexibility in your shoes.

Do you have wide or narrow feet? If you have wide feet look for shoes that come in wide or extra wide sizes. If the shoes fit too narrow on your feet, you are more likely to get blisters and sores when you run. One way to tell if the shoe fits well if the toe box allows your toes to naturally splay when you move. If they are too cramped, try a wider shoe or move a half a size up. Another way to tell if the shoe fits correctly is if your heel stays in place when you move. The heel should not slide up or down as this can cause issues in your feet, ankles, and legs.

The last thing to think about is to ensure the running shoes are designed for what you plan on doing. If you are looking to run competitively, you will need a competition running shoe. These are specifically designed to be lighter weight than traditional running shoes. If you plan on running marathons, look for shoes that can handle long distances and will not wear down during long mileage runs.

The Best Budget Running Shoes

Now that you have an idea of what to look for in a running shoe, go through the guide to find the right shoes for you. There are all types of shoes on this list and they come at an affordable price. Make a list of what is important to you in a shoe, such as stability, flexibility, or cushioning, and compare shoes until you find the right ones for your feet.

Merrell All Out Peak

For Men

Merrell Men's All Out Peak Trail Running Shoe, Spicy Orange/Astral Aura, 11 M US

Men’s Merrell All Out Peak

For Women

Merrell Women's All Out Peak Trail Running Shoe,Black/Algiers Blue,6 M US


 Women’s Merrell All Out Peak

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The Merrell All Out Peak are a neutral trail running shoe. They have a 6mm heel to toe drop and come in normal widths. The shoes are reflective so they provide high visibility in the early morning and at dusk. The breathable upper is nice when you run during the warm weather as your feet will stay cool and dry.  

Features

The outsole of the shoe features the Vibram Megagrip to give you traction on all types of terrain. The outsole works well on both dry and wet surfaces so you have no restrictions when you can run. The outsole is durable and has TrailProtect pads that protect the bottom of your feet as you run over harsh terrain.

The midsole of the Merrell All Out Peak is made with a Uni-Fly midsole. The midsole can handle long distance runs without breaking down while still providing excellent cushioning. The heel has extra cushioning that is lightweight for more protection, which is important when you are running on rugged terrain. The midsole also has a nylon arch shank to keep your feet stable.

The upper of the shoe is made with air mesh and synthetic leather. Besides being breathable, the upper is durable because of the leather. The HyperWrap 360 Degree Fit technology gives you extra stability while still allowing some flexibility. The footbed of this shoe is anti-microbial so you will not have to worry about odor or bacteria accumulating. 

What Make Them Worth It

The Merrell All Out Peaks are worth it because they offer great stability and flexibility as you run over various types of terrain. The TrailProtect is a nice feature as well because of the protection it provides you. Overall, these are a solid pair of shoes if you are on a budget and need a good pair of trail running shoes. 

What People Have to Say

We researched what people have to say about these shoes and found that they love the traction they offer and how much protection they provided. Besides running, people also used these for daily hikes and walking without any problems. Some did note the shoes were not as durable as they would have liked, saying they fell apart within the first three months. In general, people were happy with their purchase and used them for running on trails and rugged races. 

Pros:  Good traction, protection, stability 

Cons:  Durability issues

Nike Free RN Flyknit

For Men

Nike Men's Free Rn Flyknit Black/White Running Shoe 10.5 Men US

Men’s Nike Free RN Flyknit

For Women

Nike Women's Free Running Motion Flyknit Shoes, Black/White-Volt-Blue Lagoon - 8 B(M) US


 Women’s Nike Free RN Flyknit

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Nike Free RN Flyknit are a neutral shoe that can be used for competition. The heel to toe drop is 8mm and comes in normal widths. The shoes are breathable and come with a good amount of cushioning. They are also very flexible and help you move through your gait naturally. 

Features

The outsole of the Free RN Flyknit features Auxetic Tri-Star geometry that give the shoe its flexibility. Furthermore, the outsole has durable rubber to keep your feet securely on the road.

The midsole of the shoe has the IU002 technology that gives the shoe its responsiveness and cushioning. The midsole makes the shoe comfortable to wear no matter how long or short your runs are.

The upper of the shoe is designed with Nike’s Flyknit so the shoe fits like a sock. It is breathable so your feet will stay cool. The Flyknit also provides support so your feet will not over or underpronate when you run. 

ALSO READ:  Saucony Kinvara 8 Review

What Makes Them Worth It

The updates to the Nike Free RN Flyknit make the shoe more flexible while providing enhanced cushioning. This ensures your feet will stay comfortable from the beginning to the end of your run. The outsole of the shoe will give you excellent traction as you compete in the big race. Overall, these are a good pair of budget competition running shoes. 

What People Have to Say

Research into what people are saying about these shoes found that people say they are comfortable and lightweight. People used them for low mileage and distance runs with both favorable results. Some did note the end of the shoes tended to curl up, which was inconvenient. In general, people were happy with their purchase as long as they ordered a half size up to stop the shoes from curling. 

Pros:  Flexible, comfortable, lightweight 

Cons:  Ends curl up

Asics Gel Contend 4

For Men

ASICS Men's Gel-Contend 4 Running Shoe, Black/Silver/Carbon, 10.5 4E US

Men’s Asics Gel Contend 4

For Women

ASICS Women's Gel-Contend 4 Running Shoe, Silver/Campanula/Carbon, 9.5 M US


 Women’s Asics Gel Contend 4

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The Asics Gel Contend 4 are a neutral running shoe that should be used on the road. The heel to toe drop is 10mm and come in normal, wide, and extra wide sizes. These shoes are comfortable, affordable, and come in many different colors. The insole is removable, which is nice if you want to use your custom orthotics. 

Features

The outsole of the shoe has blown rubber in the forefoot and AHAR rubber on the other areas. The Guidance Line runs from the heel to the forefoot so you have a smooth transition as you move through your step. Flex grooves are located in the forefoot to give you extra flexibility.

The midsole of the Gel Contend 4 features EVA cushioning that Asics is known for. To complement the cushioning, the midsole has a Rearfoot Gel Cushioning System. This is located in the heel to give you extra protection.

The upper of the shoe is designed with overlays that create a cage over the midfoot. Breathable mesh covers the rest of the upper to keep you comfortable. The shoe has an Ortholite sock liner that has anti-odor and anti-microbial properties to keep your shoes fresh. Another nice feature of the upper is the padded tongue and ankle collar. 

What Makes Them Worth It

The Asics Gel Contend 4 received updates that make it worth taking a looking at. The plastic overlays are replaced with more comfortable overlays that look and feel better. The upper conforms to your feet better and keeps them securely in place. The largest change in this version of the shoe is the height has been lowered. This puts you closer to the ground so you have a more responsive run without compromising on cushioning. Overall, these are a great shoe and can fit into any budget. 

What People Have to Say

We researched what people are saying about these shoes and found that the shoes are comfortable, well-cushioned, and come at a good price. Some did note they fit tighter than the previous version, so that is something to keep in mind. Since these do come in more widths, people had more success finding their right size. In general, people were happy with their purchase and would recommend these to others. 

Pros:  Cushioning, comfort, and breathable 

Cons:  Tight fit

Nike Downshifter 6

For Men

Nike Men's Downshifter 6 Black/White/Dk Magnet Grey Running Shoe 11 Men US

Men’s Nike Downshifter 6

For Women

Nike Women's Downshifter 6 Black/Hyper Punch/Anthracite Running Shoe 8 Women US


 Women’s Nike Downshifter 6

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The Nike Downshifter 6 is a daily running shoe that should be used on the road. It is a neutral shoe that has a heel to toe drop of 12mm and comes in normal, wide, and extra wide sizes. The shoes have a good stretch to them so you will not feel constricted. They have a good amount of cushioning as well as arch support.

Features

The outsole of the Downshifter 6 is made of a durable rubber compound. This protects it against wear and tear so the shoe has extra durability. The flex grooves in the outsole make the shoe more flexible so you have a better heel to toe transition. This makes for a smoother and more comfortable run. Gripping lugs are also present in the outsole to help you maintain traction on the road.

The midsole of the shoe features Phylon cushioning. This is Nike’s design that is durable even during long runs. The cushioning will not break down and keeps its springiness throughout your entire run. There is enough cushioning to keep your feet comfortable without making the shoe too stiff.

The upper of the shoe is made with mesh so air is constantly flowing in and out. This ensures your feet stay cool and dry during your fun. The overlays wrap securely around your feet without causing irritation. You can even wear these shoes without socks because of how comfortable they are. The tongue and collar are padded, soft, and will help keep your feet in place as you run. 

What Make Them Worth It

The Nike Downshifter 6 has received updates that make it worthwhile to look at. The shoe is thinner than the previous version without sacrificing cushioning. The shoe is breathable and flexible so your feet have more freedom. The cushioning in the midsole lasts through running and other types of activities. Overall, this is a solid shoe when you are looking for a running shoe on a budget.

What People Have to Say

People say these shoes are comfortable to wear and help you move smoothly through your gait. Customers also used them for other activities such as biking and said they worked well. Some did note they were not as supportive as they would have liked, saying they did not offer much stability. If you need more stability, this might not be the shoe for you. In general, people were happy with their purchase because of the comfort these shoes offer. 

Pros:  Cushioning, breathable, flexible 

Cons:  Lacks stability

Adidas Duramo 8

For Men

adidas Performance Men's Duramo 8 M Running Shoe, Grey/White/Onix, 13 M US

Men’s Adidas Duramo 8

For Women

adidas Performance Women's Duramo 8 W Running Shoe, Utility Black/Black/Black, 7.5 M US


 Women’s Adidas Duramo 8

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The Adidas Duramo 8 is a neutral competition shoe that is works best when it is used on the pavement. The heel to toe drop is 11mm. The shoe comes in a normal width. The shoes are comfortable for running competitions without you having to pay a steep price. They can handle long miles with ease and are durable so they will last a long time. 

Features

The outsole of the shoe is made with ADIWEAR, which is a rubber material that runs the length of the shoe. This protects your feet from the harsh conditions of the road while providing you with excellent traction. The outsole allows you maximum surface control so you can feel confident during your run.

The midsole of the Duramo 8 features ADIPRENE, which is cushioning foam that absorbs shock as you run. This technology makes your heel to toe transition smooth and doesn’t break down during long miles. The durable midsole keeps its shape no matter how many times you use it.

ALSO READ:  Top 10 Best Running Shoes for High Arches

The upper of the shoe is designed with air mesh, so your feet will stay cool and dry. The lightweight upper is flexible so your feet have freedom to move without being constrictive. The lining of the upper makes it easy for your feet to go in and out without any issues. 

What Make Them Worth It

The updates 8th version of the Adidas Duramo features a good amount of cushioning complemented by a sleek design. The overlays have been updated to give your feet more freedom while keeping your feet in place. The outsole has a good amount of traction that has been improved with ADIWEAR. 

What People Have to Say

We have done research into what people are saying about these shoes and found that people say they are comfortable and offer good heel support. Some have noted these shoes cannot handle other activities such as working out as they do not have enough support, so that is something to keep in mind. If you are looking for a comfortable and affordable pair of running shoes, these are a good option. 

Pros:  Cushioning, durable, flexible 

Cons:  Not very supportive

Saucony Cohesion 10

For Men

Saucony Men's Cohesion 10 Running Shoe, Royal/Black, 11.5 M US

Men’s Saucony Cohesion 10

For Women

Saucony Women's Cohesion 10 Running Shoe, Grey/Tea/Ct, 9 M US


 Women’s Saucony Cohesion 10

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The Saucony Cohesion 10 is a neutral running shoe that works best when it is on the road. The heel to toe drop is 12mm and it comes in normal and wide sizes. The shoe is lightweight, comfortable, and comes at an affordable price. In addition, the shoe is durable and can be used for a variety of activities. 

Features

The outsole of the shoe is made with XT-900 carbon rubber, which is Saucony’s design. This rubber runs the area of the shoes that wear down quickly. In the forefoot and midfoot area you will find iBR+, which is a softer rubber that will give you traction. When it comes to flexibility and stability, Saucony uses the Tri-Flex configuration as this gives a good amount of surface contact.

The midsole of the Cohesion 10 features an injected molded EVA midsole. This gives a good amount of shock absorption to protect your feet from the harsh pavement. It also gives you excellent cushioning so you can run longer without your feet tiring. The foam lasts for many miles without breaking down.

The upper of the shoe is designed with supportive overlays. These are lightweight enough that you will hardly notice they are there, yet they will also ensure a secure fit. The tongue is padded for extra comfort and the insole is removable. The latter is nice if you have custom orthotics you would rather use. 

What Make Them Worth It

The Saucony Cohesion 10 has had many changes, the biggest being the Tri-Flex system. This system gives you more flexibility, shock protection, and ensures your feet stay securely on the pavement. Another improvement is in the heel, as it is not as heavy as in the previous versions. Your heel will still stay in place but Saucony got rid of some of the extra overlays. 

What People Have to Say

Our research has shown that people like these shoes for running, walking, and other exercises. People also said how well-cushioned these shoes are there was no break-in period. Those who had wide feet said they had no problem finding the right fit. Some have noted the insoles feel less contoured and it doesn’t cradle their feet as well. This can be remedied by using your own orthotics. In general, people were happy with their purchase. 

Pros:  Cushioning, shock absorption, removable insole 

Cons:  Factory insole not as comfortable

Asics Gel Contend 4

For Men

ASICS Men's Gel-Contend 4 Running Shoe, Black/Silver/Carbon, 10.5 4E US

Men’s Asics Gel Contend 4

For Women

ASICS Women's Gel-Contend 4 Running Shoe, Silver/Campanula/Carbon, 9.5 M US


 Women’s Asics Gel Contend 4

Buy on Amazon

The Asics Gel Contend 4 is a daily running shoe that should be used on the road. It is a neutral shoe that has a heel to toe drop of 10mm and comes in normal, wide, and extra wide sizes for a more customized fit. There are many color options and they also come with removable insoles. 

Features

The outsole of the Contend 4 is made of AHAR rubber.  In the forefoot is blown rubber for extra traction. The Guidance Line runs through the bottom of the outsole to help you through your transitions. Also in the forefoot are flex grooves, which help improve the flexibility of the shoe.

The midsole of the shoe features EVA cushioning that is industrial grade so you know it will last for a long time. Besides durability, the EVA absorbs shock to protect your feet. In the heel is the Rearfoot Gel Cushioning system for extra protection.

The upper of the shoe is designed with overlays that create a secure midfoot cage. The upper is also made with a breathable mesh to keep your feet dry and cool no matter what type of weather you run in. An Ortholite sockliner is located in the interior and is removable so you can use your own inserts. The sockliner keeps odor and is also anti-microbial.  

What Makes Them Worth It

The Asics Gel Contend 4 are worth a look because of the numerous upgrades they have received. This version of the shoe has more refined overlays for a more comfortable fit and feel. The overlays conform to the top of your feet for a secure fit. Another upgrade is the stack height has been lowered, which gives you better feedback. Overall, this is a comfortable and flexible shoe that comes at a budget price. 

What People Have to Say

We researched what people have to say about the Asics Gel Contend 4 and found that the shoes are comfortable, have good grip, and are a well-rounded shoe. Some have noted the shoe runs a little small so it is important to measure your feet before purchasing them. In general, people were extremely happy with their comfort of the shoes and how they feel on their feet. 

Pros:  Shock absorption, comfortable, flexible 

Cons:  Sizing issues

Under Armour Micro G Assert 6

For Men

Under Armour Men's Micro G Assert 6 Running Shoes, Steel/White V1, 10.5

Men’s Under Armour Micro G Assert 6

For Women

Under Armour Women's Micro G Assert 6 Running Shoes, Black/Harmony Red, 8.5


 Women’s Under Armour Micro G Assert 6

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The Under Armour Micro G Assert 6 is a neutral running shoe that can be used every day on the road. The heel to toe drop is 10mm and comes in a normal width. The shoe is lightweight and supportive. The sockliner cushions the bottom of your feet while the leather overlays wrap securely around the top. These are a good option if you are looking for a budget shoe that works for running and other activities. 

Features

The outsole of the shoe is made with a lightweight rubber material. This will protect your feet from the harsh pavement and help keep the outsole intact. The rubber also gives you good traction as you run over the road. Flex grooves are located on the outsole to increase the flexibility of the shoe.

ALSO READ:  Best Running Shoes for Wide Feet

The midsole of the Micro G Assert 6 features full-length foam called Micro G. The foam provides ample amount of cushioning that does not break down during your run. In addition, it promotes a natural stride for a better toe off.

The upper is made with a mesh material to keep your feet cool and dry. The inner liner adds extra cushion and stability to the shoe. The overlays are made of leather and keep your feet securely in place. They connect to the lacing system, which is nice for a customized fit. 

What Makes Them Worth It

The Under Armour Micro G Assert 6 has had many updates that make it a high quality shoe that come at a good price. The upper is more lightweight than before and conforms to your feet. The full-length cushioning system is responsive to help your toe off and enhance your run. Overall, these shoes are perfect for those with medium width feet and on a budget. 

What People Have to Say

We completed research into what people have to say about these shoes and found these shoes are comfortable and feel good. People really liked how lightweight these shoes are and how their feet felt after a long run. Some did note there is sizing issues with these shoes and you need to order a size up, so that is something to keep in mind. In general, people were happy with their purchase and would recommend these shoes.

Pros:  Lightweight, flexible, cushioned 

Cons:  Sizing issues

Nike Free RN Distance 2

For Men

Nike Mens Free Rn Distance 2 Black/White Cool Grey Running Shoe Size 10

Men’s Nike Free RN Distance 2

For Women

Nike Women's Free Rn Distance 2 Black/White Cool Grey Running Shoe Size 8.5


 Women’s Nike Free RN Distance 2

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The Nike Free RN Distance 2 is a neutral shoe that can be used for competition. The heel to toe drop is 4mm and comes in normal widths. The shoe is so soft you will hardly feel the pavement underneath your feet, which is perfect for those who have joint and/or muscle pain. The cloth-like upper wraps comfortably around your feet and adds flexibility to the shoe. 

Features

The outsole of the shoe features BRS 1000 carbon rubber for excellent traction. Also on the outsole are flex grooves to enhance flexibility and give you a smooth transition. The waffle pattern adds traction as well as cushioning.

The midsole of the Free RN Distance 2 gives you a responsive feel and a good amount of cushioning. The lunar core in the midsole is fused to keep the shoe lightweight while providing more cushioning. The midsole also gives you flexibility to enhance your run.

The upper of the shoe is designed with a one layer knitted cloth. This will give you a snug fit while allowing air to flow through. The upper also consists of Flywire cables to adapt to your feet while adding support. 

What Make Them Worth It

The updates to the Nike Free RN Distance 2 give it a more natural feel and improve its flexibility. Your feet will move like they are meant to while receiving the proper amount of cushioning. These are a perfect option for those needed budget running shoes for high mileage runs. 

What People Have to Say

We researched what people have to say about these shoes and found that people say they are comfortable and fit like a glove. Furthermore, people really like how lightweight the shoes are. Some did note the shoes make a cupping/squeaky sound when they walk on hard floors, so they are not a good options for those working in a hospital or similar environment. In general, people were happy with their purchase and used them for walking or running. 

Pros:  Flexibility, lightweight, soft 

Cons:  Noisy when walking

Brooks Ghost 10

For Men

Brooks Men's Ghost 10 Primer Grey/Metallic Charcoal/Ebony Athletic Shoe

Men’s Brooks Ghost 10

For Women

Brooks Women's Ghost 10 Primer Grey/Teal Victory/Silver Athletic Shoe


 Women’s Brooks Ghost 10

Buy on Amazon

The Brooks Ghost 10 is a daily running shoe to be used on the road. It is a neutral shoe that has a heel to toe drop of 12mm and comes in narrow, normal, and wide sizes so you can find a more personalized fit. These shoes are the 10th version in what is a long line of dependable, affordable running shoes. The shoe is lightweight and excellent traction as you run in all types of weather. 

Features

The outsole of the shoe has rectangular and square pods to provide traction and flexibility. Also on the outsole are the Omega Flex Grooves, which work together with the pods to give you a smooth transition. The cut out from the midfoot to the heel gives you cushioning as your feet hit the ground. The outsole is made of a combination of carbon rubber and blown rubber for extra durability.

The midsole of the Ghost 10 features Brooks’ BioMoGo DNA. This technology is responsive, durable, and gives you consistent cushioning through your run. Since the cushioning runs the entire length of the midsole, you will notice a smooth transition through your step. Furthermore, the shock absorption will keep you running further and keep you more comfortable.

The upper of the shoe consists of a seamless upper and open mesh. This combination gives you support and flexibility. The collar and tongue are padded as well to give you extra comfort. 

What Make Them Worth It

The updates to the Brooks Ghost 10 make this a runner for one of the best budget running shoe. This version of the shoe has a lower heel height so you can better feel the ground without sacrificing cushioning. Another nice update is the crash pad that runs the length of the shoe. This provides extra shock absorption and helps to improve your foot strike. The upper has a reduced amount of overlays so you will find it wraps more securely around your feet without causing irritation.


 The #1 Best Insoles for Foot Pain

If you have plantar fasciitis, high arches, flat feet, or other foot support issues, but would rather not purchase a new pair of shoes – add the Tread Labs Stride Insole to your existing shoes. The Stride Insole is biomechanically designed to support your arch and cure/prevent plantar fasciitis. Simply remove the factory insole from your favorite shoes and replace it with the Stride. The Stride comes in four different arch heights for each foot size, offers a lifetime guaranteed arch support and has a removable top cover. Take the Tread Labs Fit Quiz now and get THE BEST possible support for your feet.

#1 Best Support - Tread Labs Stride Insole

  • THE BEST support to prevent/cure Plantar Fasciitis.
  • Lifetime Guaranteed Arch Support.
  • Replaceable Top-Cover
  • Free shipping both ways.

Read Why Stride Insoles are the Best


What People Have to Say

From our research, we have found that people say these shoes are perfect for running or walking. They say the shoes are comfortable and have enough for a natural toe splay. Some did say these shoes did not offer enough support for their needs, so that is something to keep in mind. Overall, people were happy with their purchase and the cushioning these shoes offer.

Pros:  Cushioning, flexible, lightweight

Cons:  Not very supportive

Conclusion

Budget running shoes come in a variety of styles and types so you can find something for your needs. Whether you run on the trails or the road, this guide has the type of shoe to protect your feet and make your run more comfortable. Make a list of what you need in a shoe, such as cushioning or flexibility, and find the right shoe in our guide above. Try on a few pair of shoes until you find the ones that make your feet happy.

2017-11-27T04:04:18+00:00

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