Brands are quick to promote their latest tech-loaded marathon shoe, equipped with top-tier innovations designed to keep you running faster and for longer distances. These looks often eclipse a $200 price point and are made with a specific runner in mind.
What doesn’t get nearly as much fanfare, however, are the inexpensive shoes made for someone who runs less frequently and is just looking to stay fit.
Chances are, this is you.
“We are seeing new runners coming into the sport. Many are strictly running for health and wellness,” explained NPD Group senior sports industry adviser Matt Powell. “They are likely running short distances and only a few days a week. This entry level runner does not need a $150 [or more] running shoe.”
According to Sport & Fitness Industry Association data provided in its 2020 Topline Report, there were 24,972 casual runners in 2019, which is described as someone who runs 49 times a year or less. This category of runner has increased 1.7% over the past five years.
As for core runners, or someone who runs 50 or more times a year, there were 25,081 last year — a 2.1% decrease since 2014.
As someone who runs infrequently, one of the shoe franchises that I’ve become enamored with is Launch from Brooks. The brand’s latest look in the line, the Launch 7, is a lightweight neutral runner equipped with adaptive BioMoGo DNA midsole cushioning and one-piece mesh uppers.
The Brooks Launch 7, which is available in men’s and women’s sizing and a variety of colorways, will run you $100.
However, if you are loyal to another brand, chances are they also have a $100 performance running shoe. Saucony, for instance, has a $100 style available now called the Fastwitch 9, which features breathable and supportive engineered air mesh uppers and the brand’s traction-focused Pwrtrac rubber outsoles.
And capping the price at $100 isn’t a hard-and-fast rule. There are several great choices on the market now that are within $20 of that price such as the Mizuno Wave Shadow 3 for $110 and the Hoka One One Cavu 3 for $120.
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