Physical Therapists Using Clinical Analysis To Discuss The Art And Science Behind Running and The Stuff We Put On Our Feet

Post Page Advertisement [Top]


The Best Affordable Running Shoes Under $100
By Bach Pham, Content Manager

There is an age old saying that the best thing about running is that you just need a pair of shoes. Well, the reality is that running shoes are expensive. That's just a fact no matter where you are.
Especially as you get more and more into mileage, the cost of shoes and rotating shoes is starts adding up fast. There are a lot of ways to help navigate this though, and in this guide we offer a few strategies and get into some of the best finds available now.

 
Tips for Finding the Best Price

In today's market, there are kind of two/three levels of price points for running shoes. Quality running shoes typically start around $110 and quickly skyrocket. There is then a new upper echelon of running shoes that are either highly cushioned and built or built for racing which starts around $160 and goes as high as $275.

There is then a whole layer of new shoes priced $100 and below, which starts getting tricky as the options become harder to parse. For the most part, shoes we review tend to be in the $100+ end as they are more well-built for higher mileage running. Most generic shoes under $100 lack a lot of comfort for racking up miles. While these generic shoes may work for getting started, eventually it is worth exploring a higher quality footwear to help you on your running journey as you go further and further.

There are a few tips we usually provide for finding a quality running shoe at a good price point. The first is to look for last year's models. When a new model releases, typically you can find excellent deals on the previous model. This is a great way to get started compared to buying models that are under $100, but typically lower quality. While in recent years shoes have gotten more and more exciting by the season, last year's models are both proven and plenty of fun for a new runner to get started with.

Doing some research to learn about the various models will also let you go a long way towards looking out for deals. Aim for shoes that are originally between $100-150 initially for deep discounts as well. Daily trainers like the Nike Pegasus, Saucony Ride, and others are often good places to start with and explore as the discounts can run fairly deep.

If you have a good local run store, also get to know them and see if they have annual sales! Stores have to clear inventory annually and when they do it's an amazing way to find deals on shoes you would not be able to get for the price anywhere else.

Finally, be on the lookout during holiday season. It's a great time to find super deals and save up.

Are you a Medical, Military, or First-Responder?
Asics has a 50% off program for those in these fields. It's a massive discount on new shoes that you should learn more about. Find the program here. 

Are you a Sports Medicine Professional?

Brooks has a 40% off program for those in the field. Find the program here. 

Disclaimer
The following recommendations are from a variety of websites. This includes links to our friends at Running Warehouse, which are affiliate links that help support Doctors of Running. The remaining links are non-affiliate links.


Best Budget Running Shoe Picks:
February 2024


Daily Trainers (Neutral)
(Shoes for Everyday Mileage at Easy to Moderate Paces)




Asics Novablast 3
| Review

The ASICS Novablast 3 is a cushioned lightweight trainer than returns lighter, softer, more guided and more cushioned than ever. A new Flytefoam Blast+ midsole provides a high level of cushioning and a soft ride from heel to toe. A newly redesigned upper provides a slightly snug and secure fit. A lower heel drop and new sidewalls provide a little more guidance for this well-cushioned neutral shoe. This makes the ASICS Novablast 3 best for those wanting a softer, lighter daily training shoe for easy and long miles.


Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 | Review
Deal: $79.88 at Running Warehouse
Shop Men | Shop Women

The Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 is a maximal daily performance trainer with a highly rockered geometry, a performance fit, a structured sole design and surprisingly lighter weight. The new upper provides a snug fit with a mesh that hugs the feet well. The sole provides a guided, stable and rolling ride that encourages a forward transition. The Shift 3 is the lightest version yet, providing a snappy yet protective underfoot feel that will easily work for uptempo workouts and longer efforts.


Puma Velocity Nitro 2 | Review
Deal: $83.88 at Running Warehouse
Shop Men | Shop Women


The PUMA Velocity Nitro 2 is a lighter weight daily trainer with a comfortable fit, stable ride for a neutral shoe and plenty of NITRO cushioning for longer mileage. The addition of a gentle heel bevel and toe spring add efficiency to the ride, while the NITRO foam provides pleasant, mildly bouncy cushioning underfoot. A redesigned upper provides structure in the rearfoot and adaptability upfront, allowing it to work for a moderate variety of foot types. The PUMA Velocity Nitro 2 is a solid shoe with enough cushioning for long runs, daily runs and light enough for some uptempo work.


Brooks Revel 6
| Review

The Brooks Revel 6 is a neutral daily trainer that, along with the Launch series, has long been a solid daily training budget option in the Brooks line at the $100 level. Featuring an "energizing," springy midsole, it is a shoe that performs nicely a daily efforts and has a little capacity to pick up the pace as well. Best for newer runners looking for a classic training option with no frills and a well-fitting upper, the Revel 6 remains a popular choice that's both easy on the wallet and easy to find.

You can also find huge value in the Revel 5 for $69.95 at Brooks Running.


New Balance 1080v12 | Review

The 1080v12 is New Balance's premium daily trainer that consists of a soft and plush FRESH FOAM X midsole (EVA) that is shaped with an aggressive toe spring (upward curve of the toe platform) and a significant heel bevel, creating an all-around rockered yet flexible platform. This shoe is created with comfort in mind from top to bottom, and it delivers just that. Given the emphasis on comfort, there is also a higher weight, which positions this shoe to be best used for easy and daily mileage without the desire to pick up the pace. Its geometry sets this premium trainer apart from other premium shoes like the Brooks Glycerin, Mizuno Wave Sky, or Saucony Triumph in terms of who may enjoy this shoe and benefit (or not benefit) most from it.



The HOKA Rincon 3 is a no frills lightweight trainer that is an interesting crossroads of maximalist design while still maintaining some ground feel. The third version brings a more breathable upper, slightly increased rubber outsole coverage, a drop in weight, and some changes in outsole design that has an impact on heel stability and effective heel to toe offset. The Rincon sits on the firmer end of the HOKA line and stays out of the way when different runs and conditions are thrown at it.



Daily Trainers (Stability)
(Shoes with some form of stability. See our Stability Guide to learn more)




Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 | Review
Deal: $97.97 at Running Warehouse
Shop Men | Shop Women

The Mizuno Wave Inspire 19 is a rare high-drop, moderate stability daily trainer. A long-standing classic among stability shoes, the Inspire series had become both more stable and more clunky in its ride over recent years. Version 19 signals a change in the second part of that. While maintaining the stability from the uniquely shaped wave plate, Mizuno has continued to refine Mizuno ENERZY to make for a softer and bouncier ride. Despite a similar weight, version 19 feels far lighter while being highly cushioned. The tradition of high-quality uppers continues, with a slightly wider forefoot and a slightly snug heel. Those needing a high drop, moderate stability daily training shoe with a wider forefoot and an excellent ride should definitely check out the newest version of the Inspire.


Asics GT-2000 11 | Review
Deal: $99.00 at Running Warehouse
Shop Men | Shop Women

The ASICS GT-2000 11 is a moderate stability daily training shoe with a snugger fit for those who want a trainer on the lighter side while still providing plenty of protection. The full ground contact outsole combined with a medial Lite Truss system provides a solid level of medial stability in the heel and midfoot. A cushioned ride that sits between firm and soft provides balance and decent transition. The snug and secure upper returns with a mesh that still accommodates some stretch without sacrificing security. The ASICS GT-2000 is for those who want a moderate stability shoe for daily mileage and longer efforts with moderate heel and midfoot stability that combines some newer concepts with a slightly more traditional ride.


Brooks Adrenaline 22 GTS | Review

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 is a moderate level GuideRail-based stability shoe for those who want a higher drop, moderately cushioned shoe for daily miles and recovery runs. A new full length DNA Loft midsole softens the feel slightly but continues to provide a well cushioned but slightly responsive ride. The new upper is less complicated and lighter, providing a more secure rearfoot hold and a slightly more performance fit. Best for daily miles, long runs and a little uptempo work for those who need a dependable moderate stability trainer, the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 continues as a staple stability shoe with newer methods of stability.


Altra Paradigm 6 | Review

The Altra Paradigm 6 is a maximum cushion trainer that features a zero drop level platform and a wide toe box. The upper is an engineered mesh that locks down pretty well throughout. The midsole provides plenty of protection for longer efforts but does run on the firmer end of foams in the maximum cushion category. The ride is pretty balanced throughout and the shoe has all of the necessary components to be a workhorse trainer for those that like 0mm drop shoes.



 Performance Trainers and Racing Shoes
(Shoes for Uptempo Running, May Be Used for Daily in Some Cases)



New Balance Rebel v3 | Review
Deal: $94.88 at Running Warehouse
Shop Men | Shop Women
The New Balance Rebel v3 is a performance trainer that blends together some new generation midsole technology and the traditional low riding performance trainer feel. The shoe is soft and bouncy but still maintains a solid sensation of being grounded. The shoe can turnover quite quick and can also slow down as well. The Rebel 3 is a highly versatile option on the market.

 The ASICS Hyper Speed 2 is a (rare) traditional racing flat for those who want a light, lower stack height, flexible shoe for faster efforts. The upper is slightly snug and secure but has decent room throughout for this shoe type. The ride underfoot is obviously on the firmer side, but is well cushioned for how low stack this shoe is. The sole is flexible but snappy and light at 6.7 oz (men's size 9). This makes the ASICS Hyper Speed 2 a great option for those who want a non-plated, non-super foam racing shoe for 5k/10k racing and shorter workouts.



The Altra Vanish Tempo is a zero-drop performance trainer for those wanting a softer and lighter ride with a snug but anatomic. A light, low-volume upper sits up top, providing a slightly slimmer fit compared to other Altra shoes. A soft, taller midsole of Ego Pro sits underfoot, providing a protective and moderately responsive feel. A rockered ride offsets some of the low drop feel but will be best for those wanting zero drop. The Vanish Tempo is an uptempo training and potentially longer race day option for those wanting some speed with a more anatomic design. It fills the unique void of a zero drop, non-plated option for race day.


Trail Shoes
(Shoes for tackling a variety of terrain)





The Salomon Sense Ride 5 is a versatile trail running shoe that you can take on nearly any excursion. The ride is very balanced and does not feel overly rockered or aggressive. The underfoot cushioning is certainly on the firmer end but does just fine on the trails. The lugs are shallow and don't get anything caught in them, though still deep enough to grip pretty well. The Sense Ride 5 is a solid training trail shoe for knocking down miles.


Brooks Cascadia 16 | Review
Deal: $99.88 at Running Warehouse
Shop Men
| Shop Women


The Brooks Cascadia 16 is a trail running shoe that will work at a large variety of distances and terrains. The shoe does utilize a rock plate and can traverse technical terrain without issue as well as light fire road without feeling overly firm or rigid. The shoe has plenty of protection to handle long hours on feet and the weight is still within a reasonable (though on the heavier end) range for trail runs under 25k as well. The upper is also reinforced throughout and locks the foot decently well to handle the necessary components of steep inclines/declines, turns, and torsional forces. This is one of your "do it all" trail running shoes but may lean more as a training shoe for those that race shorter distances. 



The Brooks Divide 4 is an update to this entry-level, moderate to lower stack height road/trail hybrid shoe. Continuing to run a little lower to the ground, the ride softens just slightly from the previous version but continues to be snappy when you want it to be. The fit is normal and secure, snugging up slightly from the prior version but still providing a little room for foot swelling. A slight, unnoticeable gain in weight has transpired, but that does nothing to stop the Divide 4 from still being a high performer for the new runner or those who want a simple, relatively light trail shoe for a variety of surfaces.



The Topo Athletic MTN Racer 2 is a mild stability trail performance/racing shoe for those who want a performance fit and an anatomical toe box. A protective but smooth and snappy ride sits below, with a subtle medial post that guides those who need a little extra stability in the rearfoot. The upper is tough and secure but provides an anatomical performance fit for those who want more room for their toes. Those looking for a nimble, mild stability, performance/racing trail shoe should check out the Topo Athletic MTN Racer 2.


Saucony Blaze TR | Review
Deal: $100 at Saucony
Shop Men
| Shop Women


The Saucony Blaze TR is a budget-performance trail shoe for those who want a lighter, high-stack option at a great price ($100). The durable upper mesh provides a slightly snug fit that locks down well for those needing to feel secure over a variety of terrain. The midsole is full-length PWRRUN, providing a firmer but grounded ride despite the higher stack height. The Blaze TR is a great option for those who want a budget option to try trail running or others who want a second uptempo option for softer surfaces.



Have questions? Send us an email at doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

Thanks for reading!



More Guides from Doctors of Running
Beginner's Guide to Running Shoes: Are you a brand new runner and unsure where to start? Visit this guide first to get started.
Stability Shoe Resource Page:
Our comprehensive guide to stability shoes and alternatives for neutral runners as well
Carbon Fiber Plated Shoes Resource Page:
Want to go as fast as possible for race day? Visit this page for all of our super shoe reviews
Guide to Walking Shoes:
Featuring some science behind walking and the best running shoes for walking based on our everyday testing and clinical experience working with patients.
Getting the Right Fit:
Unsure if your shoe fits? Visit this page to help you determine how to find the right shoe for your feet. Comfort is one of the most important things we emphasize at Doctors of Running before you get out the door and on the road. Sometimes the right shoe for you is not what works for many others. That is why it is important to try different shoes when you can to get a better understanding of works best for your needs.
Beginner's Guide to Nutrition/Hydration:
Guest writer Jennifer Giles (Registered Dietitan/Nutritionist) helps bring a new guide for fueling to Doctors of Running as part of our summer hydration series.

Follow Doctors of Running on Social Media

Facebook: Doctors of Running 
Youtube Channel: Doctors of Running 
Instagram: @doctorsofrunning 
LinkedIn: Doctors of Running
Strava: Doctors of Running
Podcast: Virtual Roundtable
Pinterest: Doctors of Running


Bottom Ad [Post Page]