Whether you’re an experienced runner or an enthusiastic beginner, there will come a time when you need to buy a new pair of running shoes. And as with most purchases, you’ll probably ask yourself whether you should spend more to get a mid-price pair of shoes. After all, why pay more if less expensive shoes are just as good? While there’s no denying that less expensive shoes can get the job done, most runners prefer the reduced weight, improved cushioning, smoother ride and enhanced fit found in mid-price running shoes.
If you are a competitive runner, these shoes are an excellent option for daily runs. Not only are they more affordable than high-end shoes, but they also allow you to save your more expensive and specialized footwear for races and PBs. On the other hand, newer runners will appreciate the improved performance without the significantly greater cost associated with shoes sporting more bleeding-edge technologies.
And with that out of the way, here are the top mid-price running shoes for spring 2023.
Best for runners who prefer a zero-drop shoe for daily training.
Altra Rivera – $97.50
The Rivera features a zero drop and Altra’s unique FootShape forefoot.
Runners who prefer a zero-drop shoe for daily training will appreciate the Altra Rivera. This versatile road shoe offers plenty of cushioning while maintaining a light and responsive feel. The shoe features Altra’s unique FootShape forefoot that encourages your foot to splay out naturally as you run. But unlike previous Altra shoes, the Rivera has a slightly slimmer forefoot shape that will appeal to runners with less wide feet.
Weight: 6.9 oz/197 g
Stack: Heel: 26 mm, Forefoot: 26 mm
Drop: 0 mm
Best for runners seeking a mild/moderate stability shoe for daily training.
Saucony Guide 16 – From $140
The updated Guide 16 offers stability and guidance for daily training without excessive weight or intrusive stability technologies.
The new Guide 16 combines an optimal blend of stability and cushioning that overpronators will appreciate. Saucony has updated this shoe with a new, more refined and somewhat roomier upper and a slightly softer PWRRUN foam midsole. The other specs, including the stack height and drop, have remained unchanged, which will be appreciated by fans of the Guide 15. This is a great shoe for runners wanting stability and guidance for daily training without excessive weight or intrusive stability technologies.
Weight: TK oz/269 g
Stack: Heel: 35 mm, Forefoot: 27 mm
Best for runners seeking stability and durability in a daily training shoe.
Brooks Adrenaline GTS 22 – $140
The Adrenaline GTS 22 provides stability, durability, and a responsive ride overpronators will appreciate.
The updated Adrenaline GTS 22 delivers the stability mild-to-medium overpronators need in a daily training shoe. Brooks has updated the midsole with a DNA LOFT foam for a more responsive ride and greater durability. The Adrenaline GTS 22’s upper is constructed with a new mesh textile that is softer and more breathable than the previous generation’s upper, resulting in greater comfort.
Weight: 10.2 oz/289 g
Stack: Heel: 24 mm, Forefoot: 12 mm
Drop: 12 mm
Best for neutral runners wanting maximum weather protection in wet conditions.
Brooks Ghost 14 GTX – $160
The Ghost 14 delivers unparalleled weather protection for neutral runners without compromising cushioning during longer runs.
For many runners, spring signals not only the arrival of warmer weather but also rain. Individuals living in these wet environments should consider the Ghost 14 GTX shoe. Constructed with Gore-Tex, the industry-leading waterproof breathable membrane technology, this shoe delivers complete protection from rain and wet conditions while allowing perspiration to escape. This weather-shielding upper is mated to a DNA LOFT midsole that provides durable cushioning and responsiveness. Neutral runners wanting maximum weather protection without compromising cushioning during longer runs will appreciate the Ghost 14 GTX.
Weight: 10.7 oz/303.5 g
Stack: Heel: 34 mm, Forefoot: 24 mm
Drop: 10 mm
Best for neutral runners seeking exceptional cushioning and a higher drop.
Brooks Ghost 15 – $140
Neutral runners seeking a daily trainer with a smooth ride will appreciate the Ghost 15.
The updated Ghost 15 now offers a smoother ride that will be appreciated by runners wanting a neutral shoe for daily training. The relatively high drop will also be welcomed by heel-strikers – a category often overlooked as the industry has moved towards lower-drop shoes. Brooks specs a new DNA LOFT v2 midsole that’s lighter and provides exceptional cushioning. The upper has also been updated for a more secure and foot-conforming fit.
Weight: 9.7 oz/277 g
Stack: Heel: 24 mm, Forefoot: 12 mm
Drop: 12 mm
Best for neutral runners seeking maximum cushioning without feeling sluggish.
Saucony Endorphin Shift 3 – $150
The Endorphin Shift 3 offers excellent cushioning, feels fast and is ideal as a daily trainer for neutral runners.
Offering maximum cushioning and propulsive geometry, the Endorphin Shift 3 is ideal for daily training at various running paces. The tall stack height provides great protection and cushioning, and thanks to Saucony’s SPEEDROLL Technology, the Endorphin Shift 3 does not feel sluggish. A large flex groove and bevelled heel further enhance the shoe’s smooth ride. For the upper, Saucony has speced a foot-hugging breathable mesh with a reinforced TPU heel cup. This results in a comfortable, supportive fit during longer runs.
Weight: 9.4 oz/266 g
Stack: Heel: 39 mm, Forefoot: 35 mm
Drop: 4 mm
Best neutral/mild stability shoe for runners seeking understated aesthetics.
On Cloudrunner – $150
With its innovative CloudTec cushioning and Zero-Gravity foam, the Cloudrunner delivers a smooth ride for runners seeking mild stability.
On has made a big splash in the running shoe world thanks to their innovative midsole construction and understated aesthetics. Fans of the brand will be happy to hear that the Cloudrunner continues with this theme. Designed as a mild stability shoe, the Cloudrunner uses On’s signature CloudTec cushioning and Zero-Gravity foam resulting in excellent cushioning. For the upper, On specs a plush and highly breathable mesh fabric that ensures your feet stay comfortable in hot and humid conditions.
Weight: 10.58 oz/300 g
Stack: Heel: 28.5 mm, Forefoot: 19.5 mm
Drop: 9 mm
Best for runners that need a light, well-cushioned neutral running shoe.
Saucony Ride 15 – From $105
The updated Ride 15 is lighter while still retaining the plush cushioning and smooth ride desired by neutral runners.
The updated Ride 15 delivers lower weight, plush cushioning and a smooth ride that neutral runners will appreciate. With the Ride 15, Saucony has used a softer PWRRUN midsole foam resulting in better impact absorption while at the same time reducing the shoe’s weight. The midsole geometry has also been tweaked for a more effortless heel-to-toe transition. Additional comfort has also been achieved thanks to the PWRRUN+ cushioned insole. Finally, an engineered mesh upper delivers excellent breathabilty at the front of the shoe while ensuring a locked-in midfoot.
Weight: 8.8 oz/249 g
Stack: Heel: 35 mm, Forefoot: 27 mm
Drop: 8 mm
Here are some common FAQs (and answers) about affordable running shoes:
Are there any drawbacks to spending more money on mid-price shoes?
If you are a serious experienced runner or an enthusiastic beginner, there are no shortcomings to buying mid-price shoes. These models frequently offer lower weight, better cushioning and a more responsive ride. They will also feature more sophisticated uppers that are more breathable, more comfortable and provide a more foot-hugging fit.
How should running shoes fit?
The ideal running shoe should fit your heel securely (no heel lift when running), provide a secure mid-foot fit and offer plenty of room in the toe box. This last point is particularly important because as you run, your feet will swell. If your shoes are too short, your toes may end up hitting the front of the shoes resulting in bruised and blackened toenails that may eventually fall off. This is not a good look.
How long will running shoes last?
The simple answer is about 500 to 800 kilometres. Factors that will influence running shoes’ longevity include the runner’s weight (bigger runners are harder on shoes) as well as the intended purpose of the shoe itself (ultra-light race-day shoes may not be as durable as footwear intended for daily training).
Do I need neutral or stability shoes?
The traditional advice has been that if you have medium to flat arches and you roll in (pronate) during your gait cycle, you may benefit from using a stability shoe. This type of footwear tends to be built up (more structured) on the medial side of the midsole to help control that pronation. On the other hand, runners with high arches may not roll in enough during their gate cycle. This inward roll is the body’s natural way of absorbing impact when running. For these high-arched individuals, a neutral, more cushioned shoe may be more appropriate. Ultimately, if you are using a shoe that fits properly and you are not experiencing any discomfort, you’re doing fine. Finally, consider visiting a specialty running shop for a more thorough evaluation of what footwear is most suitable for you.
What is stack height and drop?
In the simplest of terms, stack height refers to the amount of material between your foot and the road. Shoes with a taller stack height may provide more cushioning, but some runners prefer footwear that allows their feet to be closer to the ground.
Drop is the difference between the heel and forefoot stack height. Shoes with a lower drop encourage runners to land on their mid/forefoot, while higher-drop footwear is appreciated by runners that heel strike