Can I run in cheap sneakers?

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Not everyone has the desire to splurge on expensive specialized running shoes of leading brands.

Not everyone wants to splurge on expensive, specialized running shoes from top brands. Especially if running has not yet entered the stage of a serious hobby.

So is it possible to save money on athletic shoes and consider buying sneakers unpublished firms? After all, the price of them as it hints that their quality leaves much to be desired and for serious races and trainings they are not suitable.

You can. There is no reason not to buy inexpensive running shoes if they fit you. What’s more, cheap doesn’t always mean poor quality. There are plenty of examples where they outlasted the lauded brands in the same running conditions.

And we can only compare prices relative to something. In this case, we have to focus on the market leaders who drive up the price as much as possible. You have to pay for their advertising campaigns. So against their background, other options start to seem too cheap and worthless to us.

It should be understood that we are not referring to absolutely nameless Chinese slippers without any classification for 500 rubles, which are not very suitable for walking. At the very least, we are talking about fairly well-known sports brands, positioned as budget ones.

Demix and Kalenji Sneakers

When it comes to inexpensive options, we usually mean models from sports hypermarkets Sportmaster and Decathlon. They both offer products from their own subsidiary brands, Demix and Kalenji.

We can say right away that Kalenji beats Demix, both in sneakers and related running gear in the banal price-quality ratio. They are lightweight and fairly hard-wearing. They are used for various workouts and competitions even among advanced runners whose minds are not clouded by the pursuit of a fashionable brand.

The main disadvantage of these stores and their products is that in most cases you cannot find shoes for hyperpronation or hypersupination, but only neutral options. Whereas running brand stores are able to meet almost any need, depending on the structure of the foot and biomechanics.


Demix sneakers are also praised by some beginner runners, but this is most likely due to lack of experience with other brands, including the top ones. They have a couple of good models, but they are a bit heavy. Their price is too overpriced and is already approaching the well-established models of more reputable companies. The cheapest Demixes did not inspire me. But they are fine for those who do a couple of laps a week on the stadium treadmill.

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As for the Kalenji, in addition to the price, their weight draws attention. They are lighter (although it’s not the right comparison) than Asics and Sakonis by 50-80 grams on average. At the same time their cushioning is quite sufficient even for beginner runners.

There are almost all the same similar models for women as there are for men. Or even more. So, to avoid confusion, we’ll just take a look at what Kalenji offers for men.

All of Kalenji’s sneakers are well made. If you look at the price just above 2,500 rubles, you can find quite remarkable options with foot support and proper lacing system. Cheaper than this price line there are probably only a couple of models suitable for running – Run 100 and Run Active with a resilient sole and rubber pads for better traction and protection against wear.

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These are the simplest sneakers possible, without any trimmings, with no good heel fixation. But they breathe well, are very soft, and don’t need to be worn. In addition, they are not sorry.

Sneakers for trailrunning

Still, I don’t recommend taking the lowest-priced options if you are a beginner runner. There should be at least some stabilization of the foot and heel, until you develop a traumatic-free technique of running. But for 2500 – 4000 rubles Kalenji has several options that can compete with Asics, Saucony, Nike, Mizuno and the like.

For example, the Kiprun Long series (analogous to the former Ekiden Active Trail) is an unbreakable sneaker for light trail riding.

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But they can be counted among the ranks of universal models. Their weight is superior to all trail models and some asphalt models. By the way, they seem to be the only sneakers at all about which there are no negative reviews (because of the price, among other things). Of course, I am by no means comparing them with such a leader in off-road, such as Salomon, but also the task is not so. And we are not talking about a serious trail.

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Sneakers for beginner runners

For beginners runners can advise to try on a more expensive option, more suitable for asphalt: Kiprun Fast (analogue of the former bestseller Kiprun SD) Their cost in the area of 4000 rubles, but they correspond to the level of specialized running shoes, the price of which usually flies well over 5-6 thousand rubles. They already use all the most advanced materials, support and cushioning elements.

Беговые кроссовки Kalenji Kiprun SD

This and some other models are positioned as suitable for athletes with any foot structure thanks to some kind of K-Only stability technology.

The above-mentioned sneakers didn’t really fit me: they soon began to press on the instep (although I have a low one) near the root of the tongue. The problem was partially solved by changing the lacing method. But the discomfort only manifested itself when I used the sneakers every day, in which I not only ran, but also actively used them just for walking.

After washing, the soles suddenly started squeaking. Both of them. This sonic effect was neutralized by making several holes in the inner, sewn-in insole, into which I made several squirts of WD-40. Maybe the extra moisture just evaporated, or maybe the grease helped, but there were no more squeaks.

The need for such fine-tuning did not make me very happy, but exactly the same situation is recalled with more expensive brands.

On the whole, personally, I found the previously mentioned Ekiden Aktive Trail much more comfortable, which went out of business after 2,000 km on various types of roads with a worn sole, but with an intact top.

In general, regarding the structure of the foot and biomechanics, it should be noted that this article assumes that you have neutral pronation, your weight is within normal limits and you do not bump your heel into the asphalt when running. Otherwise, you really need to look for specialized shoes with increased cushioning or support.

By the way, all of our tested models were sewn not in China, but in Vietnam. We never wondered about this, but perhaps for someone this is a vital nuance. For some reason in Russia it is believed that better running shoes are made in Vietnam.

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Expensive running shoes

The top sneakers commonly discussed on forums among advanced athletes are by no means always the ideal running shoe. Moreover, finding and discussing differences is as much a hobby as discussing different colored baits among fishermen with no differences in terms of fish.

In fact, professionals almost never discuss their equipment at all, simply because, if there is a difference in it, it is extremely insignificant. Especially when you consider that a pro runs a marathon in minimalist shoes, having chosen the most suitable from the sponsor’s collection.

Trail running shoes are a more appropriate topic for discussion, given their actual variety for different conditions, but there is not much to discuss there either.

In most cases, novice runners mistakenly believe that by buying the most expensive running shoes, which were actively praised on some forum, all their problems will be solved. But with this approach problems on the contrary, can only begin. It is possible that you absolutely do not fit the chosen model because of the structure of the foot or your biomechanics. But the cheapest variant will work perfectly. By the way, this happens quite often.

That’s why we always urge to look not at the brand, but at the actual comfort of the shoe. And as for the stereotype that good runners only choose Brooks, Mizuno, Altra or … (insert as appropriate). These same runners usually cannot explain “their” choice, except for the “technology” described and promoted by the manufacturer itself. And through the feet of amateur athletes passes not so many models of shoes to make global conclusions, and the structure of the feet, in turn, all are unique.

The logo should not be guided at all. At any manufacturer can find the perfect (for you) pair of shoes, and the next one from the collection will be disgusting. So no third-party recommendations for you can not work, you have to go and try on. Preferably with the opportunity to test-drive.

Here’s what you can definitely advise, is to pay attention only to those companies that really have to do with running and not with sportsstyle.

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