Running is a very inexpensive way to keep yourself fit. You just tie your running shoe, get outside and start running. This is until you realize that, there is a recurring expense for your running shoe. And oh boy! they are expensive. So, you start searching for affordable running shoes, but somehow end up buying something cheap and a total waste of money. Now the obvious question is…
Are Cheap Running Shoes Good?
Cheap running shoes are good when they belong to a reputed brand, or is an older version of a branded shoe you got on sale. Other than that, most of the time, cheap running shoes are bad. They will get you injured and you will have to spend more money on your recovery. Also, don’t go for running shoes below $40.00. They are usually made from sub-par material and will not last at all.
Why are cheap running shoes good or bad?
I’ll argue that cheap shoes are not bad, provided you know where to look.
When selecting a cheap running shoe, look for these criteria:
- These shoes belong to a reputed brand. This way, you will know the quality of the material will not be sub-par.
- The shoe is highly rated but an older version. For e.g Just recently, ASICS Gel-Venture 7 has been launched. However, the price of it is way more than ASICS Gel-Venture 6. Venture 6 has a good name among the runners and is one of the bestsellers from ASICS and AMAZON. But due to the recent launch, the price of this version of the shoe has been slashed. So, I would select Venture 6 over Venture 7 and will save a lot of money.
- Another good option to select an inexpensive running shoe is to target a big SALE. Many times you will find excellent shoes with a proven track record at a fraction of price.
What should I look for when buying a cheap running shoe?
When looking for a cheap running shoe, the above criteria are crucial.
However, sometimes you will get a lot of hint from the price range of the shoe.
Now, let’s see the various price ranges of the shoes and why they matter.
Just keep in mind, price ranges matter – however, you may also get absolutely worthless running shoes, at a very high price as well.
These are just general guideline, to help you understand, what to expect:
Less than $40:
The worst thing about these running shoes are materials.
They will not have sufficient cushioning or will not be able to provide you with support.
Also, there will be severe issues like packing out or having uneven cushioning after just a run.
If you continue to use them, you may end up having severe knee or hip injury.
Apart from the sole unit, your running shoe should have a durable, breathable upper.
Also, it should hold its structure on or off field.
At this price, providing such kind of material is not possible.
Also, since there may not be much thought and research put behind these shoes, the shoe materials may cause irritation to your skin.
In other words, they can become a health hazard.
In short, if you save on running shoe bill, you may have to bear a bigger doctor’s bill.
$40 to $80:
If you are going after this price range, then stick to reputed brands.
These brands have tremendous reach and can sell their products in 1000s of units.
This way they can keep their cost low. Also, they use a proven shape and technology combo.
They don’t try to reinvent the wheel and use older technology and materials which are already accepted by the runners.
So, brands like Nike, Adidas, New Balance, ASICS have really good cheap running shoes.
In fact, as mentioned earlier, ASICS Gel-Venture 6 is one of the bestsellers in running shoes and fits right into this category.
$80 to $130:
This is where you will get, most of your running shoes and is the focus area of the running brands.
They put a lot of R&D behind these shoes and you will get high quality materials.
Also, in this site, you will also find that, most of the recommended running shoes belong to this range.
Greater than $150:
These are the expensive running shoes.
You will get all the new material and latest technologies in them.
They will be extremely comfortable and you will immediately feel good when you step in to the shoe.
However, they are not necessarily better than the $80-$130 category.
The price shoots up as the brands puts more effort and R&D to come up with newer materials.
How is cheap running shoes different than expensive running shoes?
The main difference between a cheap running shoe and an expensive running shoe is the material that is being used.
Cheap running shoes are cheap for a reason. Their manufacturing cost is less.
Manufacturing cost is less because they don’t spend much on R&D and testing.
This makes them vulnerable to many design flaws and you end up being the person who gets injured.
With expensive running shoes, the quality of the material is never a problem.
Companies spend a fortune in R&D of these materials and you will never have to deal with low quality materials.
Also, your chances of sustaining injury using these shoes are less as these shoes are thoroughly tested.
One more significant difference with these shoes is the customer support that you get.
For an expensive shoe, most of the time you get a free return window for manufacturing defect or if you are not satisfied with the shoe.
However, for cheap running shoes, customer care is non-existent.
They will be around till the time you make the payment.
Once done, they will vanish like camphor in the air, letting you deal with any shoe-related problems on your own.
They also cannot be completely blamed. With such a price point, they simply cannot afford it.
What is a good cheap running shoe?
But if I’ve to choose, then ASICS Gel-Venture 6 will be my choice.
However, it may not fit your purpose.
So here is a list of affordable running shoes that can be used for different reasons:
Is it true that good running shoes are always expensive?
Not at all. If you are going behind the latest model, then obviously it will be expensive.
It is true, irrespective of the product. People eagerly wait for the latest model to come out.
Then they flock to stores and buy them. And as the law of demand and supply goes, since there is such a high demand for the new product, the companies charge a premium on their supply.
But what happens to the older or that out of date product.
Here also, supply and demand play out beautifully. The product is there, but no takers. So, the price automatically drops.
But did the quality of the product go down? Hell, no.
So, you can go and buy a great new shoe at a discounted price.
Awesome, isn’t it.
Can I buy cheap running shoes if I just want to start running?
If you follow the above principles to buy a cheap running shoe, then absolutely ‘Yes’.
Otherwise, absolutely ‘No’.
Not that a cheaply made shoe will serve someone good, but a more advanced runner will have a built-in support system which you still don’t have.
You may have not exercised in years and probably is overweight.
The whole weight of your body is on your knees and feet. If you don’t have something to absorb the running impact, then you will face serious injury.
So, if you have to invest, invest in a good running shoe made for someone with a heavier built.
Not a running watch, not a headphone, or not any other fancy gear, but a good running shoe.
The price of the shoe doesn’t matter. It should not be cheaply made. That’s it.
What is a cheap multipurpose running shoe?
As mentioned above, I won’t be able to recommend one great shoe.
There are so many of them.
Please take a look at this page to find out if any of these affordable running shoes are suitable for you.
Are expensive shoes worth the investment?
Yes and no. Expensive shoes come with very high-quality materials and factors in all the latest technologies.
They will provide you with ultimate comfort and comes with all the ‘bells and whistles’.
And that is all they are, ‘bell and whistles’. If you want to run, these additional features are not needed.
You will do just as fine if you choose any good quality shoe.
So, the word you should focus on is not ‘expensive’ and ‘cheap’. You should focus on the word ‘good quality’.
Sure, money-wise, good quality shoes will not be very cheap. But you will get very good running shoes under $70.
And I surely think this is the investment that you should make. Otherwise, the injuries that you will suffer will be way more than $70.
On top of that, you will have to endure severe pain and discomfort for months to come.
And seriously, that is not worth it…
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