People wearing different styles of running shoes.

Choosing the Right Running Shoe for Your Budget

With such a wide variety of running shoe brands and styles available, choosing the right pair can be overwhelming. From casual joggers to competition runners, athletes to mall walkers, these pro shopping tips and guidance will help you understand the different types of running shoes, so you can make an informed decision on footwear that meets your needs as well as your budget. First, let’s establish the primary running shoe categories which will give you an idea of where to begin your shopping journey.

  1. Daily Trainers: This is the most versatile type of running shoe, perfect for walkers, joggers, and competition runners. Built for regular training sessions, they offer a combination of cushioning, support, and durability, making them an ideal choice across the board. Daily trainers are typically the most affordable type of running shoe as well, which makes for a good investment. ASICS, Nike, adidas, PUMA, New Balance, and Saucony are reliable go-to brands for affordable running shoes.
  2. Race Shoes: Ideal for competition runners and those looking to participate in races, Built for speed and comfort, these running shoes are lightweight and designed to maximize every stride. In general, race shoes are a bit pricier, but worth the investment if race participation is a passion of yours. Brooks, Hoka, and ASICS are well known in the running world for creating superior footwear for race day.
  3. Stability Shoes: This specially designed footwear features an additional support system for runners with fallen or high arches. Due to the specialty constructed arch support and cushioning, this type of running shoe is typically more expensive, but worth the investment for those in need of superior support for maximum comfort and injury prevention. Shop New Balance, Brooks, Hoka, Saucony and other specialty brands for maximum stability options.
  4. Trail Shoes: The most durable type of running footwear, trail running shoes are designed for off-road running and trails with rough terrain. This is the perfect choice for hikers and those whose run takes them beyond the pavement, Although the upfront cost may be higher than other athletic footwear, the heavy duty construction and design features of trail running shoes means they’ll last longer, which can save you money over the long run. ASICS, Skechers, Merrell, Territory, and FILA are trusted brands for high quality, affordable trail running shoes.

Now that you have an idea of what type of category best suits your needs, let’s explore the different design features. A good pair of running shoes should be durable and also be comfortable for the duration of any run. They should be lightweight and have a breathable upper as well as sufficient support for stability and stride control. Because running shoes are not one-size-fits-all, your personal running style, foot type, and terrain will help you narrow it down to effectively meet your particular needs while staying within your budget. Here are the key points to consider:

  • Your foot’s arch type plays a key role in selecting the right running shoe. The main arch types are high, normal, and flat. High arches will require extra cushioning, while flat arches require shoes with arch support and motion control features. If you fall somewhere in the middle, running shoes with moderate cushioning and standard arch support will suffice.
  • Pronation refers to the natural inward roll of your foot while running. The common types of pronation are neutral, overpronation (fallen or flat arch), and underpronation (high-arch). By determining your pronation type, you’ll be able to choose the ideal footwear that provides necessary support.
  • Once you have an idea of your pronation type, you’ll want to choose a running shoe that supports your personal gait. For flat-footed overpronators, select shoes with stability features to prevent excessive inward rolling. Conversely, underpronators benefit from shoes with extra padded cushioning to absorb shock and stabilize the foot.

Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck

When shopping for running shoes on a budget, it’s important to select a pair that offers good value for the money you spend. All running shoes provide standard cushioning and support, but whether or not you need to spend a little more for advanced design features is up to your feet, form, and terrain. In general, there are a few critical features on which to focus.

Lightweight fabric and other breathable materials such as mesh can improve comfort as well as performance. Minimizing the overall weight of the running shoe better allows for effortless strides and efficient movement.

Don’t neglect midsole cushioning. As the layer between the outsole and the shoe’s upper, the midsole plays a critical role in providing comfort and support. Running shoes with quality midsole cushioning make for a more enjoyable run in addition to helping you avoid injury.

Durability and longevity are likely the most important factors when shopping on a budget. Well built, durable running shoes are able to withstand miles of wear and tear, which means they last longer and you won’t need to replace them as often.

The heel drop will determine where the foot will meet the ground after each stride. Most running shoes are thicker at the heel than at the toe, which is ideal for a more comfortable heel impact. But there are lower-drop and zero-drop options for runner’s seeking impact closer to mid-foot.