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

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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: January 2023

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



The Nike Pegasus is an absolute classic. While the last two versions have been polarizing, the Pegasus 39 is a bit of return to form. The shoe delivers a good balance of daily training with some workout capacity. The React foam is proven and the durable outsole grips everything in the universe well, including some light trails. This is a great do-it-all neutral trainer to start your collection with.



The Adidas SL20.3 is a lightweight daily trainer with a decent amount of versatility for everyday runs. It features a slightly firmer, but protective ride and durable outsole. The upper is the only change this year, now made with over 50% recycled materials as part of their program to end plastic waste. While priced at $110 US, it remains a shoe that goes on sale regularly, providing a super affordable option for runners of every level looking for a basic trainer that can handle a multitude of tasks quietly.


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.


Saucony Axon 2 | Review

The Saucony Axon delivered a unique set of features that is unattainable at the same price point for a new shoe. The Axon 2 provides runners with a $100 option for a highly cushioned, highly stable, highly rockered shoe that can be added to a large variety of rotations. This is notably, however, not a shoe for runners who have midfoot sensitivities to things like the pieces embedded into the Axon's outsole.


Saucony Ride 14 | Review
Deal: $59.88 at Running Warehouse

The Saucony Ride 14 is a continuation of their very successful neutral training shoe lineage. The shoe features a newly updated upper that helps with better lockdown and the heel bevel feels smoothed out. The shoe has a flexible forefoot and a protective ride. The shoe is a very smooth riding neutral trainer that will work for a lot of people.  



Puma Electrify Nitro 2
| Review
Deal: $100 at Puma
: Shop Here

The Puma Electrify Nitro 2 is a base model from Puma that blends a traditional EVA midsole with some of their new Nitrogen-infused foam in the heel for a super soft landing. The shoe has a bit of a snug fit that will be good for those with narrow feet. It's a sleek shoe that is great for new runners looking to log their first miles in a nicer running package without breaking the bank. The PumaGrip outsole is also super sticky and a good option for a lot of terrain, even some light dirt trail.


Saucony Endorphin Shift 2 | Review
Deal: $69.88 at Running Warehouse

The Saucony Endorphin Shift 2 returns as the well rockered, stable maximal uptempo trainer of the Endorphin series. Featuring primarily upper updates, a refined external heel counter and reinforcements in the upper make for a more secure and better fit. The sole, while supposed to be the same, ends up just a hair softer than the previous version. This makes for a smoother transition and a faster break-in. The same incredible durability persists making this a major deal at $140. Best for long miles and uptempo runs for those wanting a great fitting, stable and rockered shoe.


Asics Novablast 2 | Review
Deal: $79.88 at Running Warehouse
Shop Here

The ASICS Novablast 2 is a very neutral daily training shoe that runs very plush and bouncy. The shoe utilizes FlyteFoam Blast throughout the entire length of the shoe creating a very soft and bouncy ride. While Version 3 is much more stable, those with solid, neutral mechanics looking for an exciting daily trainer at a great price should look no further.


Atreyu | Review
Shop Here

Atreyu is a unique company based out of Austin, Texas. With a superb price point, they provide a solid, traditional daily trainer that doesn't break the bank. Also, this shoe is light.


Adidas Adizero Adios 7 | Review
Deal: $69.88 at Running Warehouse

The Adidas Adizero Adios 7 is a performance trainer that has a relatively firmer and flatter profile built for speed work. The shoe has good traction underfoot and uses the traditional torsion system familiar to the series. The shoe uses a firmer Lightstrike midsole full length with nice amount of the bouncy Lightstrike Pro in the midfoot and forefoot. The Adios is a versatile performance trainer that can tackle fast paces and keep miles off of your special day shoes.


Brooks Ghost 14 | Review
Deal: $99.95 at Running Warehouse

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.


Adidas Boston 11 | Review
Deal: $89.88 at Running Warehouse
Shop Here

The Adidas Adizero Boston 11 is a high stack, firm riding, tempo trainer best suited for faster effort days. It is a unique shoe that requires a break in a period of around 60 miles before truly feeling good. This is mainly due to the firm longitudinal bending stiffness of the shoe which requires a large amount of extra strength to push through as I will discuss later. I currently have around 130 miles on my pair and can still feel the ride improving. Knowing this, one must be committed to the shoe and log the “break in” miles before being able to truly appreciate the ride.



The ASICS Nimbus Lite 3 is a continued progression of a line of shoes that ASICS gets to experiment around with a bit due to the newer nature of the shoe and a smaller faithful following. The transition from 2 to 3 is relatively subtle as it is primarily an upper update and small changes to the foam. However, the upper is remarkably improved for security and the underground feel gets a bit softer, particularly in the rearfoot. This is ultimately a cushioned daily trainer with a unique geometry that makes it one of the more stable neutral shoes on the market.


New Balance Tempo v2 | Review
Deal: $79.88 at Running Warehouse

Shop Men | Shop Women

The New Balance Tempo v2 brings a total redesign to the original, providing a low stack, flexible daily trainer. Kinvara fans will find a lot of similarities here with a stripped back, Hypoknit upper that secures the foot well and a cushioned midsole that still has plenty of ground contact feel underneath that provides a great amount of versatility on the run. For folks who particularly enjoyed the Beacon that this somewhat replaces, the Tempo v2 is a do-it-all, lightweight neutral trainer for everyday miles and workouts.


New Balance 880v11 | Review
Deal: $89.99 at Joes Outlet

Shop Here

The New Balance 880v11 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. Thanks to the more traditional features offered in the 880 v11, it makes it a great shoe for beginner runners as it offers a smooth and responsive ride without being over the top.



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



One of the last traditionally posted shoes in the market today, the 860 provides medial support in a well-fitting package. The New Balance Fresh Foam 860 v12 is a consistent, solid daily stability trainer. A slightly wider fitting upper provides plenty of room, although as usual for New Balance there is a wide version available.


Asics Kayano 28 | Review
Deal: $79.88 at Running Warehouse


The ASICS Kayano 28 is a fun and bouncy shoe thanks to the FLYTEFOAM BLAST midsole foam, the same foam used in the Novablast. Despite the softer ride, the Kayano 28 continues to offer the guidance needed through ASICS’s trusstic system, full ground contact outsole, and duomax post.  The heel feels very stable while the transition to the forefoot is more soft.  Weighing in at 10.9 oz, it is not a light shoe.  I wore this shoe mainly on my longer recovery runs where I benefited from the guidance without being hindered by the heavier weight.





The ASICS GT-1000 11 is a budget stability shoe with some surprisingly high-level features. A snug upper sits up top that will fit those with more narrow feet while those with normal-width feet may want to size up a half size. An updated sole continues to provide a medial post in the heel and midfoot, but uses a full ground contact sole, sidewalls and other methods consistent with providing mild stability from a variety of measures. The GT-1000 11 continues to drop weight, making it a borderline lightweight stability shoe. A traditional amount of stack height provides a balance ride between soft and firm, making it a great option for those wanting a no-frills and super-affordable (if you look in the right place) lighter mild stability shoe.


ASICS GT-2000 10 | Review
Deal: $79.88 at Running Warehouse
Shop Men | Shop Women


The ASICS GT-2000 10 is a light stability training shoe that provides a relatively firm but protective and consistent ride throughout. The shoe has a very traditional trainer feel to it while having some added stability with the LITE TRUSSIC. The upper is pretty comfortable throughout and this shoe does a pretty good job of providing solid value for the low price point.


Saucony Fastswitch | Review
Shop Men | Shop Women

The Saucony Fastwitch has been a favorite of Matt Klein's for years. The light stability combined with a light ride that started only a few versions ago makes for a fast and versatile shoe. Now in the 9th version, the weight has dropped further but still remains a snappy, supportive and responsive ride that is my personal first choice for speed workouts and shorter races. This one is a rarity in the market today. Catch a pair now before it's gone.



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


Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 | Review
Deal: $80 at Running Warehouse

The Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 is a performance driven shoe for someone that wants plate like responsiveness out of their shoe with a little more flexibility up front. The shoe definitely shines with workouts or race type pacing, but does much better than its predecessor with slower paces as well. A highly versatile shoe that many will be able to find room in the rotation for.


New Balance Rebel v3 | Review
Deal: $84.88 at Running Warehouse
Shop here

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.


New Balance SuperComp Pacer | Review
Deal: $99.95 at Running Warehouse
Shop Men | Shop Women

The New Balance FuelCell SC Pacer has that super shoe bounce to it, although it is definitely firmer than any others in the category. The lower stack height makes it feel more like a racing flat, but the FuelCell foam and the full length carbon plate give it that familiar super shoe feeling. I consistently noticed an increase in pace at a given effort level, even when running easy. The ride of the Pacer is what I originally imagined when I heard that running companies were coming out with 5k/10k super shoes.

The HOKA ONE ONE is a neutral uptempo trainer that provides a refreshing and natural feel to the runner. The shoe is very light on the foot and provides a smooth transition throughout. The ride has a little bit of bounce to it that does good for some uptempo work or on long runs. A lightweight trainer for some and a long distance racer for others wanting a lightweight but cushioned shoe, the Mach 4 checks off a lot of boxes and truly evolves into a great shoe.


The Artist
Deal: $100 at Atreyu
Shop here

Carbon plated racing shoes are all the rage in the running world right now. Most top well over $150 in today's market, often well into $200. The Artist breaks the mold with this $100 offering that provides a lower profile racer, but a fun one that can get you through some very fast 5/10ks for the price.

 
Trail Shoes

(Shoes for tackling a variety of terrain)



Skechers GoRun Razor TRL | Review
Deal: $69.88 at Running Warehouse
Shop Men | Shop Women

The Skechers Razor TRL is a lightweight trail running/race shoe that combines a rugged new outsole and tough upper with the design of the Razor +. The HYPERBURST midsole provides additional softness and responsiveness on both road and trail. The upper is soft yet tough, providing snug yet comfortable security. New flexible lugs provide mild traction on a variety of surfaces. The Skechesrs Razor TRL is a great option as a shorter distance trail racing shoe, a decent road to trail option and will be great for those wanting a little less shoe in a soft package.



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.




Hoka Torrent 2 | Review
Deal: $99.95 at Running Warehouse

The HOKA ONE ONE Torrent 2 is a lightweight and agile trail running shoe that is a little bit of a jack of all trades. The shoe can definitely be raced in as well as trained in. The shoe is lightweight and nimble, but still responsive and a little aggressive when it needs to be. I will go into this more in detail later but that is in large part due to the PROFLY midsole being softer in the heel and midfoot and firmer and snappier in the forefoot accompanied with decently aggressive lugs. The shoe is really balanced and does not feel overdone in any way.




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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