There’s a perception that all good running shoes come with a hefty price tag.
But whilst you should expect to pay a premium for specialist features like superior cushioning, motion control, and night-time reflectivity, it’s still possible to find durable, supportive, and comfortable shoes at a price that won’t break the bank.
In this guide, we’ve listed the best running shoes under $100 available right now.
These are made up of a mixture of budget brands and older models from top names. And all have some great features that would give pricier shoes a run for their money (pun intended!).
Before we get to those, let’s just run through the basics of what to look for in budget-friendly running shoes.
Features to Look For in The Best Affordable Running Shoes
Saving money on your footwear shouldn’t mean compromising on the basic features that ensure your comfort and safety.
The best affordable running shoes should:
Fit you well
There should be enough room in the forefoot to wiggle your toes comfortably, and the shoes should fit snugly around the midfoot and heel.
There should be around half to one thumb’s width of space between your longest toe and the end of the shoe and the same amount of space beside the ball of your foot.
Be fit for purpose
Think about the type of running you like to do (road, trail, track, etc).
Check the specs carefully to ensure that the shoes you choose will meet those specific needs – will they be grippy enough for trail running, for example, breathable enough for running in hot weather, or cushioned enough for hard surfaces?
Have a suitable heel-to-toe drop
This represents the difference in height between the heel and the toe.
The heel-to-toe drop can vary quite a bit and affects the amount of stress put on certain parts of the body when you run.
In general, a high heel-toe drop (7 mm+) is best for heel strikers and anyone who has issues with their Achilles tendon.
A low heel-to-toe drop is best for anyone who lands on the front or middle of the foot.
The 9 Best Affordable Running Shoes
#1. Adidas Duramo 10
– 50% recycled upper, supportive no-sew overlays, and Lightmotion cushioning
– Best affordable running shoes for versatility
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly shoe that you can wear for your workouts as well as your runs, look no further than the popular Duramo from Adidas.
The balanced Lightmotion cushioning feels comfortable and does a good job of protecting you from impact forces when landing, whilst the breathable upper keeps you cool even on warmer days.
The Duramo has a nicely padded tongue and heel, plus a full rubber outsole for stability and durability.
#2. Saucony Guide 14
– Durable PWRRUN cushioning, 8mm heel-to-toe drop, and a tonal medial TPU guidance frame for stability
– Best choice for overpronators
Saucony’s ‘Guide’ shoes are one of the most popular lines around for stability, so it’s great to be able to bag a pair for under $100!
Launched in 2021, the Guide 14 provides just the right amount of support you need to prevent your foot from rolling inwards.
But it doesn’t feel obvious, making this a comfortable shoe over longer distances.
Relatively lightweight for a stability shoe, it has a spacious toe box, a gusseted tongue for excellent lockdown, and a pretty decent grip, even in wetter conditions.
#3. ASICS Gel Venture 8
– Durable, grippy outsole, removable sock liner, and superior shock absorption
– Best affordable trail running shoes
Offering excellent bang for your buck, the rugged Venture 8 performs just as well as many far pricier trail running shoes.
Its deep lugs make it more than a match for the muddiest trails and the full-length layer of midsole cushioning provides both targeted support and great energy return.
This is a shoe more suited to cooler days than summer runs and you might need to size up if you have a wider forefoot.
But it’s comfortable in every respect and ideal for a range of off-road surfaces.
#4. Nike Downshifter 11
– Breathable mesh upper, flexible sole, and great midfoot support
– Best affordable running shoes for daily training
When you slip on a pair of these lightweight and comfortable shoes, you’ll soon see why they’ve gained a reputation as one of the best picks for budget-conscious runners!
Versatile enough for use in your cross-training workouts, they feel stable, responsive, and offer great shock absorption to protect your joints.
The rubber sole is durable and grips well, plus it has grooves that provide plenty of flexibility and help with proprioception.
#5. New Balance 520 V7
– Supportive molded heel, durable rubber outsole, and a lace closure for a secure fit
– An affordable entry-level running shoe
With a comfortable fit and a durable upper, this budget-friendly shoe from New Balance features a soft midsole that protects you from impact forces when running on hard ground.
The sole grips well on a variety of surfaces and you’re guaranteed a stable ride, thanks to the support in the heel and a secure lockdown.
The only caveat – be prepared to buy new laces, as the ones provided are VERY short!
#6. Reebok Floatride Energy 3.0
– Heel tab, 7mm heel-to-toe drop, and a full rubber outsole for durability
– A good choice for faster runs
This is a great, lightweight trainer for daily runs. The toe box is just the right width for stability and the shoe locks down securely over the midfoot.
There’s a fully gusseted tongue that feels soft against your foot and the upper is reasonably breathable, although it might be a bit warm on summer days.
The midsole is both supportive and responsive, providing both shock absorption and the energy return you need for speedy runs.
#7. Nike Revolution 5
– Sleek design, stable cushioning, and a flexible upper
– Best running shoes under $100 for all-day wear
To look at it, you’d never guess this is a budget running shoe.
Yet for way under $100 you get a stylish and versatile shoe suitable for daily training, workouts in the gym, and walks around town.
It fits really nicely at the heel, with overlays providing both support and durability. Meanwhile, the soft but responsive cushioning allows you to run in comfort.
The rubber outsole is flexible and grippy and we found the toe box spacious enough to accommodate a wider foot.
#8. WHITIN Minimalist Trail Runner
– Zero heel-to-toe drop, flexible sole, and vegan-friendly
– Best affordable barefoot trail running shoe
With the typical foot-shaped design you expect from barefoot shoes, this model from Whitin lets you feel the ground under your feet and promotes natural movement.
The zero drop encourages a forefoot strike and whilst the sole is thick enough to protect you from the ground, it still allows you to sense the terrain underfoot.
There’s a removable insole if you want to feel even more connected to the ground, and an adjustable hook-and-loop closure at the instep.
This guarantees a secure and comfortable fit.
#9. ASICS Gel Excite 8
– Soft jacquard mesh upper, AMPLIFOAM cushioning, and GEL technology in the rearfoot
– Best running shoes under $100 – Our Top Pick
This model ticks all the boxes when it comes to the best affordable running shoes.
It is second to none when it comes to shock absorption, with a comfortably cushioned heel and midsole.
Yet it feels springy too – just what you need for faster-paced runs.
We were especially impressed by how stable these feel. The molded heel section keeps your foot centered and the brand’s GUIDANCE LINE technology facilitates a consistently natural stride.
The upper is highly breathable – even for distance runs on warmer days – and the injection rubber outsole is both flexible and durable.
The Best Affordable Running Shoes: Key Takeaways
Whether you’re looking for a road running shoe for your daily training or a trail shoe to tackle challenging terrain, we hope you’ve found something suitable here in this guide.
Affordable does not mean ‘cheaply made’ and all of the budget-friendly footwear in this guide offers an unbeatable combination of quality, value, and great performance.
When it Comes to Running Shoes, Comfort is Key
The right footwear doesn’t just make you feel better – comfortable shoes actually improve your running efficiency, too!
If you’re noticing discomfort on your runs or feeling that you could use a little more cushioning underfoot, then check out our guide to the Most Comfortable Running Shoes in 2023.