Top 5 Affordable Running Shoes for Men

Updated on January 20, 2018
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Writer, teacher, blogger. I have worked hard to stay in shape, and to keep from going broke in the process.

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A Quick and Easy Guide to the Top Five Affordable Running Shoes for Men

This guide discusses the top 5 running shoes for men, based on several factors. In addition to affordability, the shoes on this list score high marks for comfort, durability, and features such as foot-bed and moisture wicking. Some of the pairs in this guide are from well-known manufacturers, but there are some lesser-known brands that have received much praise from the people who wear them. This guide provides clear, useful suggestions for staying competitive and strong without looking like you spent a ridiculous amount of money on your shoes.

A note about price -- for many running shoes, there's a price range that depends on size and color. While all of the shoes on this list are available for a strikingly low price, many also have colors and sizes that have a higher top end as well.

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Number 5: Tesla Men's Lightweight Sports Running Shoe

These shoes are amazingly inexpensive, considering the good reviews they get. They're loaded with features, too -- there's enough here to make a consumer wonder if maybe it's just a little too good to be true. Let's look first at the features of this pair.

1. Flex Groove Flex Groove Sole

According to the manufacturer, the "Flex Groove Sole" has a hydro-grip outsole that provides traction and stability. For runners, this is obviosuly a bonus, since you never really know what's around the corner, whether it's a puddle taking up the entire width of the sidewalk, or a snake curled up under a rock. This Tesla pair has soles with a "multi-directional flexible groove and cushioned insole" that, they say, gives unparalleled agility, even on wet surfaces.

2. Specialized Dual Structure

It's not clear what this means, if anything -- but the words sound cool. More reason to wonder if this seriously low-priced shoe is the real deal.

3. Vent Mesh - High Quality Synthetic Suede Skin
This pair sports, according to Tesla, a "unique dual vent mesh structure." This feature promises quick drying and top-notch breathability, including something called dynamic mobility.

4. High- Quality Synthetic Suede Skin

Synthetic suede is not a common descriptor for running shoes, but I had genuine suede Pumas when I was a kid and they worked just fine.

5. Thermal Bonding PU Pattern

Here's where the descriptors really take off. For a shoe that costs less than a fast food meal for the family, it's remarkable that you can get an "ergonomic side pattern design that conforms to each individual's movement," complimented by "thermal bonded PU detail technology for support and stability." If the Tesla pair described here really is as unique as it sounds, then it's almost a miracle it doesn't cost five times as much. But there's more!

User reviews of Tesla Lightweight running shoes are very good. Often where the true story lies, and on the surface at least this pair of shoes does live up to the hype, if not the post-space-age jargon. In a long, glowing review on Amazon, one user highlighted every feature of these shoes, especially their durability, which would be the first thing to suspect when it comes to hype. The bottom line: Tesla has apparently found a way to make high-quality running shoes by researching and using innovative materials. Somehow they have also managed ot make them cheaper than almost any pair on the market.

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Number 4: ASICS Men's Gel-cumulus 18 Running Shoe

Features:

  • Synthetic, Imported materials
  • Rubber sole
  • I.G.S (Impact Guidance System) Technology
  • FluidRide Midsole
  • Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL Cushioning Systems
  • Guidance Line Midsole Technology

When it comes to impressive jargon, it's hard to beat Asics. According to the Asics people, these shoes feature "rearfoot and forefoot gel cushioning system for strike-specific shock attenuation to create smoother transitions." What we think this means is this: the shoes have support across the structure of the soul to make running easier on your feet. And Asics does seems to be remarkably adept at making high quality running shoes at an affordable price.

User reviews re generally positive, although there is some ongoing confusion about whether this shoe's sizing runs large or small. This kind of issue can reflect deeper questions about quality control, and while durability and initial quality all seem strong, at least one reviewer felt that the newer versions of this shoe had problems with rough edges and materials. That being said, ASICS shoes may also help alleviate knee and joint issues for runners.

Fun Fact: The name of this shoe, ASICS, is an acronym. It comes from a Latin phrase: "Anima Sana In Corpore Sano." Translated, this means "A Sound Mind in a Sound Body."

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Recent Study Highlights the Benefits of a Running Regimen

If you are like me and you have a good weekly routine that includes running and other low-intensity, steady-state exercise, you already know what running can do for you. I'm in my mid-50's and I'm not trying to set the world, or the track, on fire -- I just do my 3-5 miles every couple of days, and I feel the benefits in my lungs, stamina, heart, and in virtually every aspect of my life.

Science has long supported the power of a running regimen for men of all ages, but a recent review by Dr. Aaron Baggish, the associate director of the Cardiovascular Performance Program at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital, sheds more light on the positive effects of running. Dr. Baggish's study focused on a group of more than 55,000 men and women ages 18 to 100, of who about 25% were already runners. The study followed these subjects for 15 years, and discovered that those who ran less than 50 minutes a week were less likely to die from any cause, including cardiovascular disease. Dr. Baggish's conclusion? "“A little bit is good but a little bit more is probably better.” This study backs up a 2013 study in Denmark that suggested that the “sweet spot” for maximum longevity is up to 2.5 hours of running a week.

People Who Run Have a Lower Chance of Dying of Any Cause

Affordable Running Shoes for Men
Affordable Running Shoes for Men | Source

Another Benefit -- You'll Feel Better!

The wide-ranging health benefits that come with a running routine are one thing -- dying young is low on everyone's list. But there's another, more subtle upside to lacing up your running shoes and getting out on the track (or sidewalk, or beach): People who run regularly report feeling good. Let that sink in for a second -- running makes you feel good all the way around. That means that from the minute you get up to the minute you go to sleep, a running regimen adds that hard-to-describe feeling of comfort and wellness that's called feeling good. “Many dedicated long-term runners do not run because they want to live longer,” Dr. Baggish notes. “They run because it makes them feel better on a daily basis. There is a mood elevating, quality-of-life benefit that comes from being a regular exerciser.”

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Number 3: Nike Men's Air Monarch IV Training Shoe

I have been a big fan of Nike running shoes ever since a pair of Air Max runners basically cured my plantar fasciitis. The heel unit in those shoes was excellent, and provided foot-strike cushioning without making it feel like there was nothing but foam for structure and support. The nexus between cushioning and support is one of the prime variables when it comes to runners, and Nike has for years had a lead in finding the balance.

I really like the Nike Air Monarch IV Men's Training Shoe. While it's not an Air Max design, it is a Nike product, which puts it several steps ahead of the competition. This shoe boasts "lightweight cushioning, solid support and excellent traction" -- the holy trinity of quality running shoe features. They look sharp, too. There are times when all the bells and whistles used to describe running shoes are just that -- noise. In the case of Nike Air, in my experience it's not just hype.

A word about affordability with this brand -- while some colors and sizes are under $50, most are not. This shoe costs more than the other on the list, but with the features and very real benefits of Nike, "affordable" takes on a slightly different meaning.

Features:

  • Full-length Phylon midsole for lightweight cushioning
  • Multi-pattern rubber outsole for enhanced traction
  • Mesh tongue and perforations in the midfoot and forefoot
  • Outsole wraps up the toe for protection and durability
  • Pull-tab on the heel for easy on and off
  • Flex grooves for forefoot flexibility.

User reviews are generally glowing, and often from people who have been buying the same Nike shoes for years. However there are occasional sour notes, including at least one reviewer who felt that the sole had been radically changed in her most recent pair. There are no other remarks like this across several sites.

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Number 2: Skechers Sport Men's Afterburn Memory-Foam Lace-up Sneaker

Skechers is one of the great brands of casual shoes, an innovative and fashion-forward label that has also remained affordable. Although Skechers is not immediately associated with running shoes, this pair of Afterburn runners has some great features and excellent reviews.

Features:

  • Leather/Synthetic materials
  • Imported
  • Articu-Lyte shock absorbing midsole
  • Mesh upper with supportive overlays
  • Padded collar
  • Cushioned mesh tongue
  • Removable memory foam insole

Comfort is the chief concern of this pair. Those of us with heel and ankle pain should appreciate the padded collar and tongue; runners suffering from the nagging pain of plantar fasciitis may find relief from the removable memory foam insole. In terms of style, this pair looks great -- genuine leather compliments the Skechers knack for making even the most casual shoe look uniquely fashionable.

Reviews of the Afterburn line are almost uniformly excellent. Users report that the sizing is accurate, which is often an issue with less-expensive lines of casual shoes. Comfort and durability also receive high marks. On the downside, some users found these shoes too heavy for long-distance running, and more suited to regular gym use such as lifting and exercycle/elliptical workouts, as well as for walking.

Runner's Poll

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Number 1: New Balance Men's MX608V4 Training Shoe

Features:

  • Leather
  • Rubber sole
  • Dual-density collar
  • EVA (Ethyl Vinyl Acetate) foam footbed for cushioning
  • IMEVA (injection-molded EVA foam) midsole for firm yet flexible cushioning
  • Internal shank
  • Non-marking rubber outsole

Traditionally, what New Balance sacrifices in style it makes up for in functional comfort. While the Skechers pair discussed above is the kind of shoe you can wear with jeans and still feel at least somewhat stylish, New Balance and similar "running only" shoes are designed for the gym and the track. That said, if you need affordable shoes for the gym or the track, these are top-notch.

I have a pair of New Balance trainers that I wear for running only, since I prefer the look of a shoe like the Skechers pair discussed above for casual wear. But for comfort, durability and price it's really hard to beat this pair of New Balance runners. I tore my ACL some time back and opted for rehab rather than surgery, which means I have to take extra care of my knees. I have also suffered from Plantar fasciitis on and off for years. I wear New Balance when I run and they have good cushioning and support. For those of us who have knee, foot pain or are nursing a nagging injury like plantar fasciitis or knee bursitis, the extra-wide toe box and high-quality footbed support are essential. The "dual-density collar" uses two foam consistencies to provide specific cushioning and support, with a softer density foam where the foot directly contacts the shoe, and a firmer density foam for structural support.

The Top Five Affordable Running Shoes for Men

This guide has discussed the top 5 running shoes for men, based on factors such as comfort, durability, and, of course, affordability. User reviews are highlighted for first-hand opinion about each pairs relative merits, and although individual experiences are variable, these shoes have high overall marks. For the man who doesn't have a lot of cash to spend on running shoes, these pairs are affordable, high-quality, and won't fall apart when you step in a puddle.

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Resources

The following sources were consulted for this guide:


runnerclick.com/affordable-running-shoes-under-100/

https://www.solereview.com › Guides

visionaryathletes.com › Training

www.runningshoesguru.com

https://runrepeat.com/expensive-running-shoes-are-not-better

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/running-health-even-little-bit-good-little-probably-better

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