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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: September 2023

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




Mizuno Wave Rider 26 | Review

The Mizuno Wave Rider is a neutral daily training shoe that provides a very "traditional" ride. The shoe does maintain a high drop from heel to toe like many older training shoes. With that said the transition is still well maintained when loaded and the decrease in flex grooves actually feels like it smoothens the forefoot out and makes it a little more poppy up front as well.


Skechers MaxRoad 5 | Review

The Skechers GOrun Maxroad 5 returns with a new carbon infused H-plate and a completely redone upper. Featuring a far more stable and snappy ride compared to previous, this Maxroad 5 should be accessible for a larger group of people. The maximal HYPERBURST stack height combined with the new plate provide a solid level of responsiveness that works for daily training and long workouts. The upper fits more typical to a Skechers shoe with a wider forefoot, more volume and a stretchy but secure mono mesh. The Maxroad 5 evolves into combination lightweight / performance trainer that can now handle daily training, workouts and will excel at long races including the marathon and beyond on the road.


Saucony Kinvara 13 | Review

The Saucony Kinvara 13 returns with a large weight drop and refined upper, making it an even lighter and better-fitting performance trainer. A breathable but secure upper provides a solid lock down while being far lighter than the previous. The sole continues to sit nicely between firm and soft. Featuring a highly flexible forefoot and a lower drop, the Kinvara 13 excels as a workout shoe and performance trainer for those who want a simple but fast shoe.


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.


Brooks Hyperion Tempo | Review

The Brooks Hyperion Tempo is a neutral, lower stack performance trainer that feels like a slightly more cushioned racing flat. With mild rocker geometry and and flexible sole, the Hyperion Tempo has a natural ride that is markedly different from the proliferation of higher stack, heavily-rockered performance trainers of late. I enjoy training in a variety of shoes and was interested to see if the Hyperion Tempo would be a nice non-plated addition to my shoe rotation. The fit is classic Brooks, which means that I went with men's sizing to get enough width in the toe box, but otherwise found a secure, comfortable fit for tempo runs and shorter, faster paced intervals. Runners looking for a shoe with more classic geometry and ride will want to check out the Hyperion Tempo.


The Brooks Ghost 14 is a moderately firm yet cushioned trainer that is overall simplistic in its design. The overall construction and running experience is traditional and unremarkable in terms of midsole rebound feel or propulsion due to a flatter geometry. This lends the Ghost 14 to be an option as a traditional daily trainer (solid option for a new runner), a walking shoe, a shoe that you will use for a job that you're on your feet for a long time and want lasting comfort.



The Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 3 is a great easy day shoe once it breaks in. I have never had a running shoe break in as much as this shoe - the arch and heel clip were so intrusive during my first run that I wasn't sure I was going to be able to continue testing the shoe. I am glad that I gave the shoe another chance, because it got better with every subsequent run. The arch and heel clip felt like they molded to my foot with each additional run and the result is a shoe that fits like a glove. I really enjoyed the combination of the React foam and the rockered sole, which give the shoe a pleasant and protective ride.



The New Balance 880v12 fits within the New Balance shoe lineup as a neutral (more traditional) workhouse daily trainer and a cousin to the more “premium” New Balance 1080. The Fresh Foam X helps create a soft landing yet remains responsive when picking up the pace. Runners that require a small amount of stability will appreciate the wider forefoot and moderately stiff heel counter helping guide the foot forward.


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






The ASICS Gel-Kayano 29 is a premium moderate to high stability daily training shoe for those who want a traditional medial post and a slightly snug upper. A new Flytefoam Blast+ midsole makes for a bouncier ride, while a lighter weight maxes for smoother transitions. A new engineered mesh upper creates a sock-like, snug, and secure fit throughout. A well-integrated medial post and extended medial external heel counter provide a higher level of medial guidance/stability for those that want it. Those looking for a traditional stability shoe with new age, premium features and none of the prior clunkiness should check out the ASICS Gel-Kayano 29.



Saucony Guide 15 | Review

The Saucony Guide 15 returns as a completely redone and new age stability shoe. A new HOLLOW-TECH system, heel and forefoot sidewalls, and a deep guideline provide unrestricted guidance throughout the length of the shoe. An improved rockered sole combined with increased stack height provides a smoother and more cushioned ride. A solid weight drop and a slightly snug and secure upper make for a faster feel and the ability to pick up the pace. The Saucony Guide 15 retains its roots as a solid stability shoe but has now evolved into a refined, lighter, and smoother moderate stability daily trainer.


Brooks Launch GTS 10 | Review
Deal: $109.95 at Running Warehouse
Shop Men | Shop Women

In a world where simple lightweight trainers are disappearing in favor of super trainers, the Brooks Launch GTS 10 is a rare mild stability lightweight training shoe. A slightly snug, performance-oriented upper with a mildly tapered forefoot sits up top. The sole is simple DNA cushioning, providing a traditional stack height with a protective but slightly firmer ride. The full rubber outsole provides solid durability and traction, making this a great shoe for mileage and uptempo work. With the disappearance of the DS Trainer and Adidas Tempo, this is now one of the lightest mild stability trainers on the market. Those wanting a simple, mild stability shoe should look no further if the goal is to get back to a simpler time with a little less weight.




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



The Nike ZoomX Streakfly is light, fast, and feels like it molds to your foot. Designed for 1 mile to 10k races, the Streakfly runs like a more protective and cushioned racing flat. Runners accustomed to the rockered and trampoline-like feel of super shoes (Vaporfly, Alphafly, Endorphin Pro, etc.) will find the Streakfly to be less protective and more demanding on the ankle and foot. The Streakfly wants to go fast - I tested it for intervals ranging from threshold pace all the way down to hill reps at 800m effort - and found the shoe felt better and better the faster I went. Nike has completed their performance shoe lineup with the Streakfly, which will perform equally well as a shorter race or interval day shoe.


Asics Hyper Speed 2 | Review
Deal: $59.88 at Running Warehouse


 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 Adidas Takumi Sen 9 is a racing flat in the adizero lineup with some versatile appeal. The shoe uses Lightstrike Pro and plastic energy rods to provide a responsive and quick ride. The shoe has good traction underfoot and can also tackle some dirt and grass if needed. The Takumi Sen 9 blends together the new generation super shoes with the racing flats of old. The ride is a tad firmer and snappier (compared to most super shoes) and will appeal to those 5k-10k distances. It may even have some appeal at half marathon and full marathon for the right runner. 



The Topo Specter is a brand new maximalist performance trainer that combines a traditional EVA midsole with a PEBAX insert. The sole features a taller stack height combined with a non-plated but stiffer and highly rockered ride. The upper carries over Topo's traditional normal fit with an anatomic toebox, making for a comfortable fit that lets the toes splay. Best for easy runs, longer efforts, uptempo and tempo runs, the Topo Specter will work as a performance trainer for some and potentially a longer distance racing shoe for those searching for PEBAX without an aggressive plate.




The Adidas Adizero Avanti TYO is for those wanting a track spike with extra protection. Designed with inspiration from Adidas's road racing shoes, the Avanti TYO features a full length Lightstrike Pro midsole and glass fiber rods. A thin but secure upper sits up top, providing a solid fit that drains well enough to handle both dry and wet track events. Best for distance races from 3k-10k, the Avanti TYO is both snappy and protective for a track spike.



New Balance Rebel v3 | Review
The New Balance FuelCell Rebel v3 is a non-plated, flexible performance trainer with a new generation midsole. A snug upper sits on top of a taller but narrower midsole than the previous version. This makes for a nimble shoe that when combined with the snug upper fit feels great for picking up the pace. The increased midsole height and softer FuelCell make for a surprisingly cushioned ride. Overall, the Rebel v3 is a uniquely flexible and snug performance trainer for those than want a neutral shoe for a variety of paces and shorter to moderate mileage.



The ASICS Evoride 3 is a firmer, snappy, performance trainer for those wanting a rockered forefoot for faster running. A more traditional/lower stack combined with a stiffer sole and high toe spring, the Evoride 3 is able to roll along at a variety of uptempo paces. The upper is lightweight and secure, fitting slightly snug for a quicker feel. An excellent workout/racing option for those who do not want a plate but still want a snappy shoe, the Evoride 3 also excels as a daily trainer for those who want a lighter shoe with a significant forefoot rocker.



The ASICS Magic Speed 2 is carbon plated racing shoe for those who want a nimble, slightly snug-fitting, snappy shoe for workouts and faster running. An engineered mesh sits up top, providing a slightly snug but secure fit. A FlyteFoam Blast+ topsole combined with a carbon plate provides a firmer and snappy ride. Best for those who want a stiffer, firmer and nimble shoe for tempo runs, intervals and racing, the ASICS Magic Speed 2 is a unique and more affordable alternative racing shoe.


Trail Shoes
(Shoes for tackling a variety of terrain)




I was really excited to receive the Peregrine 12 for testing. I did a lot of trail running a few years ago as I transitioned from cycling to running, and the Peregrine was my favorite for Connecticut’s technical trails and on snow. My only gripe about older versions of the Peregrine was how stiff the outsole was; if I did any running on pavement, I would get hot spots at my lateral forefoot. The updated 12 is lighter and has a more flexible outsole, which made me very curious to see if its performance on firmer ground had improved while still maintaining its excellent grip.





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.



The ASICS Fuji Lite 3 is a lightweight trail shoe/racer for those wanting a minimal trail shoe with cushioning or a workout/racing shoe for softer surfaces. A snug mesh upper sits up top, providing a secure but comfortable fit for those with normal to narrow feet. A lower stack, flexible but surprisingly cushioned FLYTEFOAM midsole sits underfoot, providing just enough protection without getting in the way. An ASICSGRIP outsole provides durability and traction for mild to moderately technical trails, making the Fuji Lite 3 a great lightweight trainer and racing option for those who want a lower and faster shoe on trails.




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.

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