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Best cheap running shoes 2023: Save money with the best budget running shoes from £20

Grab a bargain with this guide to finding the best cheap running shoes available

One of the best things about running is that it’s relatively inexpensive. A pair of running shoes and some sporty clothes is all you need to start pounding the pavement in earnest. Even if you pay to enter the odd event and join a club, it’s still much cheaper than most other sports.

However, when the moment comes to buy a pair of running shoes, it doesn’t feel like a particularly cheap sport because high-end models often cost north of £150.

You don’t have to spend that kind of money, of course, but if you are looking to pick up some cheap running shoes, you need to be careful to ensure you are getting a quality pair that fulfil all your running requirements and don’t fall apart after 50 miles. On this page, you’ll find all the info you need to ensure you don’t come a cropper when hunting down a deal.

Best cheap running shoes: At a glance

  • Best cheap running shoes for beginners: Nike Revolution 6 Next Nature | Men’s | Women’s 
  • Best cheap running shoes under £25: Kalenji Run Cushion| Men’s | Women’s
  • Best cheap running shoes under £100: Puma Liberate Nitro | Men’s | Women’s

How to choose the best cheap running shoes for you

Should I buy cheap running shoes or just look for a good deal?

As most brands update their popular models every year, you can usually find deals on past editions of those shoes and often the differences are purely cosmetic. Similarly, if you shop during sale periods such as Black Friday, you can almost certainly find big savings on top-end shoes you like, and it’s always wise to stock up on a few pairs when possible. These are best options if you want top-quality running shoes without having to pay through the nose.

However, even with hefty reductions on flagship shoes, it’s still usually cheaper to opt for a budget running shoe. The problem with this approach is that quality is a lot more variable when buying cheap shoes, and you could end up out of pocket if they last half as long as a pricier pair.

How much should I spend?

If you wait for a deal on shoes that normally cost £120 to £150, you’ll usually be able to get them for £60 to £80 and sometimes you’ll find a truly excellent deal that sees a flagship shoe reduced to £50 or less. On the other hand, when it comes to budget shoes, you’ll always have several solid options for well below £50, with some costing as little as £20.

Do I need stability or neutral shoes?

Pop into any specialist running shop and you’ll likely be able to get gait analysis, where an expert observes your running form for free. Primarily, the specialist will look at how much your foot rolls inward when it hits the ground. “Overpronation”, where the foot rolls excessively inwards, can increase your risk of injury, so runners that overpronate are generally advised to buy stability shoes that gently guide your foot into a neutral position when they land. If your foot already lands in a neutral position when running, you should generally go for a neutral shoe, although heavy runners might welcome the extra support of a stability shoe.

All of the above is worth bearing in mind when picking shoes, but it’s also important to listen to your body and consider how the shoes feel. A good rule of thumb is that, if you like running in a shoe and find it comfortable, it’s not worth changing without good reason such as a recurring injury.

How long do running shoes last?

You can expect most running shoes to last you around 500 miles – unless you’re taking on especially rough terrain constantly. Some racing shoes will last a lot less, as will many budget options, and that’s why it can be smarter in the long term to find a deal on a premium shoe over saving the money in the short-term with a budget shoe.

You can judge whether a shoe is past its best by checking the sole and seeing if the grip has been substantially eroded, as well as looking out for the cushioning losing its bounce and starting to feel squishy than responsive while running. At this stage, you can still carry on running in it, of course, and many people eke nearer 800 miles out of a pair, but it’s not at its best in terms of performance.

One final note on durability is that it’s important to get the right size if you want a shoe to last. Using shoes that are slightly too small, in particular, can lead to the upper falling apart more quickly. Running shoes generally fit smaller than smart shoes and you want a good amount of room in the toe box for maximum comfort while running, so size up and read reviews to find out about the fit of a particular shoe because this can vary significantly, even within the same brand.

READ NEXT: Run further and faster with the best running shoes

The best cheap running shoes to buy

1. Reebok Floatride Energy 4: Best cheap all-rounder running shoes

Price: £75 | Buy men’s | women’s from Reebok

Bargain hunters loved the Floatride Energy 3 because it delivered a similar level of performance to shoes that cost twice as much as its £75 RRP. Reebok has done the smart thing with the fourth version of the shoe in keeping the updates fairly small.

All of the big changes come in the upper, which is now thinner and locks down the foot more effectively. The thinner material helps to bring the overall weight of the Floatride Energy 4 down, too, which is always good to see on a running shoe.

In the midsole, you still have the same Floatride Energy foam, which is lightweight and comfortable, and makes the shoe suitable for a wide range of running, from easy plods through to speedwork. The outsole grips well in all conditions and is durable, and in general you can expect to log many hundreds of miles in the Floatride Energy 4 without worrying about it breaking down. This only increases the value it offers.

Key specs – Terrain: Road; Arch support: Neutral; Best used for: Training; Weight: 238g; Heel-to-toe offset: 9mm

Buy Men’s from Reebok

Buy Women’s from Reebok

2. Nike Revolution 6 Next Nature: Best cheap running shoes for beginners

Price: £55 | Buy men’s | women’s from Nike

The Revolution 6 is an entry-level option in Nike’s extensive range of running shoes, and it offers a soft and comfortable ride to beginners looking to protect their legs from the impact of the sport. The latest version has a softer foam in the midsole, and it’s also now made with at least 20% recycled content by weight.

It’s a shoe best used for running around 5-10km two or three times a week, rather than logging heavy mileage, but the Revolution 6 will certainly serve beginners well, especially as it’s a comfortable, good-looking shoe you’ll also enjoy wearing when not running.

Key specs – Terrain: Road; Arch support: Neutral; Best used for: Training; Weight: 304g; Heel-to-toe offset: Not given

Buy Men’s from Nike Buy Women’s from Nike

3. Puma Liberate Nitro: Best running shoe under £100

Price: £90 | Buy men’s | women’s from Puma

The Liberate Nitro is a shoe that makes running fun, or even more fun, depending on how much you like running to start with. It’s very light, coming in under 200g in a UK 9, and has a bouncy midsole made from Puma’s excellent Nitro foam.

It’s particularly good for short, sharp interval sessions, but really can handle almost any kind of running, with the one caveat that you might want more support than it offers on long runs. It’s certainly got the speed for racing as well as training, and the durable outsole grips fantastically well in all conditions.

Puma’s Nitro range of shoes offers good value in general and another option to look out for in sales is the Puma Velocity Nitro, since the second version of that shoe is about to launch. The Velocity has more cushioning than the Liberate and is a great cheap option for marathon training.

Key specs – Terrain: Road; Arch support: Neutral; Best used for: Training and racing; Weight: 193g (UK 9 ); Heel-to-toe offset: 10mm

Buy Men’s from Puma Buy Women’s from Puma

4. New Balance FuelCell Prism: Best cheap stability running shoes

Price: From £66 | Buy men’s from Amazon | Buy women’s from New Balance

Runners who overpronate and need a stability shoe sometimes miss out on the most exciting new developments in running. That’s often because brands focus on creating new soft, springy foams, which are great fun but not exactly what you want underfoot if seeking stability.

However, the FuelCell Prism bucks that trend, using New Balance’s delightfully bouncy FuelCell foam to create a fun and fast ride. To ensure the shoe doesn’t become unstable, New Balance has also placed a medial post in the midsole to counter overpronation and reduce the risk of injury.

The Prism has an RRP of £110 but, as it has since been superceded, the original version of the shoe is available in sales for a lot less. There are a few different colours on offer at New Balance, with both men’s and women’s styles discounted.

Key specs – Terrain: Road; Arch support: Stability; Best used for: Training; Weight: 244g; Heel-to-toe offset: 6mm

Buy Men’s from Amazon

Buy Women’s from New Balance

5. Kalenji Run Cushion: Best shoes under £25

Price: £20 | Buy Men’s | Women’s from Decathlon

If you’re a new runner, perhaps working through a Couch to 5K programme and not sure if the sport is for you yet, you might want to spend as little as possible on your first set of running shoes. In this case, you should check out the Kalenji Run Cushion, which are a snip at £18.

These aren’t shoes designed for a lot of running, so once you complete that Couch to 5K programme you might want to upgrade to a better pair. However, if you’re just heading out for short runs on pavement or the treadmill two to three times a week, the Run Cushion will work just fine, providing enough cushioning to protect your body from the impact of the sport.

Key specs – Arch support: Neutral; Best used for: Training; Weight: 235g; Heel-to-toe offset: 6mm

Buy Men’s from Decathlon

Buy Women’s from Decathlon

6. Higher State Soil Shaker 2: Best cheap trail running shoes

Price: £40 | Buy from Sports Shoes

If you’re planning to head off-road for your runs, it’s wise to get a dedicated trail shoe, and the Soil Shaker 2 is a bargain for those likely to spend most of their time on soft ground. The outsole has deep 7mm lugs that find purchase on even the boggiest ground, and the rubber also grips well enough on rockier trails. However, the shoe can feel a little firm if you stick to harder ground for long spells.

The second version of the Soil Shaker is lighter than the first, which is a very welcome upgrade when you’re struggling to lift your feet out of sticky mud on your runs. The upper has also been updated to provide more protection from any stray roots and rocks you come across.

Key specs – Terrain: Trail; Arch support: Neutral; Best used for: Training; Weight: 296g (UK 9 ); Heel-to-toe offset: 8mm

Buy now from Sports Shoes

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