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The Top 5 Affordable Running Shoes for Men

Updated on July 14, 2017
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Writer, teacher, parent, musician. I have worked hard to stay in shape, and to keep from going broke in the process.

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The Top Five Affordable Running Shoes for Men -- a Quick and Easy Guide

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 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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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.

The Nike Air Monarch IV Men's Training Shoe is not an Air Max design, but 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.

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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.

Uniformly terrific reviews set this pair of New Balance runners apart from the crowd. Especially for those of us who have 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.

Bottom line: if you're going out, leave the New Balance shoes at home. But if you're going running, and affordable shoes are what you need, these are among the best.

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

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

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