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 whereas budget running shoes will work better, and vice versa.
Are Expensive Running Shoes Better?
There has been a lot 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.
Best Running Shoes for Women
Let’s 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.
1. ASICS Women’s Gel-Venture 7 Running Shoes
2. Adidas Women’s Cloudfoam Pure Running Shoe
3. GANNOU Women’s Air Athletic Running Shoes
Get It: Amazon
4. JointlyCreating Women’s Non-Slip Running Shoes
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5. Brooks Women’s Adrenaline GTS 21
6. New Balance Women’s Fresh Foam Roav V1 Running Shoe
7. Nike Women’s Revolution 5 Wide Running Shoe
Related: injuries associated with running
Running Shoes for Men
8. Under Armour Men’s Charged Assert 8 Running Shoe
9. JSLEAP Mens Running Shoes Walking Non Slip Blade Type Sneakers
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10. New Balance Men’s 481 V3 Trail Running Shoe
11. ASICS Men’s Gel-Venture 7
12. adidas Men’s Ultraboost 21 Running Shoe
13. HOKA ONE ONE Bondi 7 Men’s Shoes
14. PUMA Men’s Axelion Perf Running Shoe
What to Consider When Buying Running Shoes
So how exactly do running shoes work? Well, there are three different parts to these shoes. Arch support, denser material insole under the arch, and sometimes extra cushioning on the outer side of the heel. So what does any of that mean? How does it help? Well, let’s take a look.
1. Consider buying your shoes at a specialty running store. This may be a little more expensive, but you’ll most likely have a trained professional to help with your shoe fit.
2. Take your orthotics. If you wear orthotics or use certain inserts or arch supports in your shoe, make sure you take these with you as they are key to the fit of your shoe. Not all runners need an orthotic, an insert, or arch support. Certain foot conditions, like posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, warrant custom-made orthotics.
Other types of feet with mild to moderate collapse may need prefabricated orthotics or arch supports. Some runners find that any insert in the shoe is just more comfortable. But, these are not necessary for every runner. A well-made, properly fit shoe is actually more important.
3. Have your feet measured with your socks on. Socks can change the size of your feet enough to make a difference in fit. Also, if your feet swell in the afternoon and you typically run in the afternoon, make sure you have your feet measured in the afternoon. The measurement should include the heel to toe measurement, the heel to the ball of the foot measurement, and the width.
4. Make sure the shoe bends at the toes and only at the toes. The shoe should not bend in the middle (stiff shank). You want the running shoes to be supportive (this is the general rule for all shoes). To test this, place the toe of the shoe on the ground vertically, grab the heel and press down. If the shoe collapses on itself, it is too flexible and won’t be supportive.
The shoe should bend only at the toe area, where the foot bends. Look at this example of the running shoes below. You can see how the shoe on the right collapses with pressure, and the shoe on the left only bends at the toes (where the foot bends). If you see a collapse with a new shoe, even to a lesser extent, just put it back on the shelf and keep looking.
5. Check the heel counter. The heel counter is the back of the shoe where your heel sits. You want to make sure the heel counter is not too rigid. When you grab the back of the shoe, at the heel area, it should flex a little but maintain its shape. If there is no flexibility and it is too rigid, this can be uncomfortable and contribute to blister development.
Related: Steel-toe safety shoes
Both too rigid and too flexible heel counters can contribute to blistering. In the picture of this running shoe, you can see how the heel counter completely collapses with pressure. This is considered too flexible, and this heel counter will not support the heel. Too much flexibility can also result in the heel sliding within the shoe.
6. Leave wiggle room for the toes. The general rule is to have a finger’s width between your longest toe and the end of the shoe. Your toes should not be seated up against the end of the shoe. You should be able to move your toes freely within the toe box. A large toe box is essential for those individuals with bunions and wide forefeet.
7. Check for medial to lateral support. Medial means towards the middle of the body. Lateral means towards the outside of the body. To check for medial to lateral support (side to side support at the forefoot), stick your hand in the shoe and extend your hand out to the toe area. Move your hand medial first and then lateral, trying to move the shoe material from side to side over the sole.
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If there is a lot of movement, the shoe is not supportive enough to hold your foot on the shoe’s sole. Without medial to lateral support, you will be more likely to develop blisters on the outside of your feet, more likely to develop tendonitis on the outside of your calf, and more likely to sprain your ankle.
8. Wear the shoes for 10-15 minutes in the store. Keep them on for an hour before going out for a run. If they still feel comfortable, take them home and walk around inside the house with them. It’s a terrible temptation to put on the new running shoes and head out the door as soon as you get home.
Try and resist. After walking around the house in the shoes, people will often find areas of irritation and discomfort. It is much easier to return the shoe before they’ve had outside use.
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 you’re run 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 pairs of shoes until you find the ones that make your feet happy.