Why Are Running Shoes So Expensive?

Running shoes are usually more expensive than regular shoes, for GOOD reason. Not only that, some are even ugly to look at!

You might be wondering, why are running shoes more expensive? Well, running shoes are different from regular shoes. You need properly crafted shoes for running to prevent injuries. 

The foam, the cushioning, arch, outsole, heel counter- everythings are different and especially made for running shoes. These things cost a lot and end up making the shoes more expensive. 

In this article, you will find out reasons why running footwear is more expensive, why they look ugly and some pairs that don’t look ugly!

Why are running shoes so expensive

There are lots of things that make running footwear more expensive. You should not use regular shoes for running. 

As I’ve mentioned before, running footwear is specially made to protect you from injuries, provide comfort and let you run properly. Now, let’s take a look at the things that make these shoes so expensive.

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 Read More: Are Running Shoes Good For Everyday Use

1. Shoe brand

Depending on the brand, the price of shoes vary. Almost all brands have affordable models. However, some brands such as Hoka sell a lot more expensive shoes than Asics, Brooks etc.

It’s difficult to find a Hoka pair under $120. On the other hand, Asics shoes can be found for under $50. Do you see the price gap? The purpose of the shoes is also different though. 

Hoka shoes are made for marathon runners and targeted towards a more specific consumer group. On the other hand, Asics has shoes for everyone!  

2. Comfort and cushioning

The comfort and cushioning are crucial aspects of running shoes. Some shoes have minimal cushioning and some have a lot of cushioning.

This comes down to preferences. A newbie might prefer comfortable and more cushioned shoes. Professional or experienced runners might choose zero drop shoes.

You need comfortable shoes to run. More cushioned and more expensive shoes do not mean better shoes. You need to check which type of shoe is better for you.

3. Design

The design of the shoe also makes it expensive. If a lot of investment goes into the research and development of a shoe, it will naturally be costly.

Some shoes have unique technology. It is especially true for trail running shoes. Salomon Speedcross 5 is a dedicated shoe for trail running. It is durable, has deep lugs for slip-resistant and is designed for extreme conditions. 

Saucony produces trainers that are specifically designed for speed training. These shoes are lightweight, snappy and really comfortable. 

Nike’s Vaporfly series and Adidas’ Adizero series have really expensive shoes (exceeding well over the $200 mark). Why are these shoes so expensive? Because the manufacturers put a lot of investment in R&D for creating the fastest shoes.

 Read More: Best Color for Running Shoes

Are expensive running shoes worth it?

Running shoes definitely come with a lot of advantages. If you ask me, I would say it’s well worth it. That’s not the point. The real question is- are running shoes for you? Do you need them? Let’s find out!

There are a lot of running shoes in the market. Some are cheap, some are expensive and some are REALLY expensive! Which shoe you need and whether or not the shoe is worth your money, depends on you. Let me clarify.

You’re looking for comfortable running footwear with proper cushioning. You bought an Under Armour pair with big cushioning. It cost you a fortune but it’s not comfortable at all for you! A higher price doesn’t always mean a better pick. 

Expensive shoes come with more features. If you don’t need them, they are not worth your money. For example, you are a casual runner. You don’t need to buy a trail running shoe or a speed trainer. 

If you buy them, you might get disappointed. It doesn’t mean the shoes are bad. They are just not for you! You might be more comfortable with a $50 running shoe.

Some shoes have some fancy features which have no real-life value. For instance, shoes with led lights on the outsole. It lights up in the dark. But does it assist you in running? NO! Should you buy it then? It depends on you. I personally don’t think it’s worth it.

So, expensive running shoes are not always worth the money. Think about what you need and pick the right one for you! 

Expensive running shoes

Running shoes come in all shapes and sizes. Usually, a good running pair is expensive. Can you guess how much a pair of running shoes can cost? Well, it can start from as low as $30 and go all the way up to $200-$300.

Obviously, there are more expensive pairs but they are limited editions and not for everyone to buy. So we’re not going to include them here. 

Another thing to remember, this is not a review! We’ve just listed some of the most popular expensive shoes you can buy.

1. Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%

Nike Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT

This is one of the most unique shoes you will ever see. It costs $275. The pair has a really comfortable, plushy midsole. The outsole lets you run without slipping. 

Perhaps the most interesting feature of this shoe is the upper. It is unbelievably breathable. You will barely feel anything more than just wearing socks.

2. Adidas Adizero Prime X shoes

Adidas Adizero Prime X shoes

The AdiZero series is designed for professional runners in mind. It’s a really comfortable max cushioned shoe with an aggressive rocker. It gives a natural feel while running. 

Breathability and great forward propulsion are ideal for half marathons and shorter non-world athletic events. This shoe will definitely give you a speed advantage.

3. New Balance Lerato

New Balance Lerato

New Balance has some really popular running shoes. Lerato © is one of them. It has a hefty price tag of $250. This pair is a bit on the minimalist side.

It has great cushioning and comfort. The lace closure is adjustable so you can get the proper fit. There’s a carbon plate fiber for protecting your toes. Breathable upper and propulsive FuelCell technology will give you a head start on your races.

4. HOKA Men’s Bondi X

HOKA Men’s Bondi X

HOKA is known for manufacturing shoes with soft, balanced rides. The Bondi X currently has the softest and comfortable feel among all HOKA shoes. A pair of Bondi X will cost you $200.

The shoe is built using 100% vegan material. It’s a highly cushioned shoe with good propulsion. The carbon fiber plate assists easier transition during the gait cycle. 

An extended rocker is a nice addition. It gives you better acceleration. Super breathable upper with TPU yarn will keep your feet dry.

5. Brooks Hyperion Elite 2

Brooks Hyperion Elite 2

This is yet another expensive shoe but it is fast! It’s futuristic-looking footwear. The shoe currently retails at $250. The Hyperion Elite 2 has everything you look for in a running pair.

It’s lightweight, stable, has great energy return and comfort. This shoe is not only for racing. You can do some speed training too! 

6. Saucony Endorphine Pro 2

Saucony Endorphine Pro 2

It’s hard to ignore this shoe. The Endorphine Pro 2 is a beast. Yeah, it’s expensive. You can get a pair of these for $200. But the shoe is well worth the price.

It’s snappy, light, comfortable, breathable, and has excellent energy return. The roomier toe box is the best feature of this shoe. It’s basically a speed trainer. But there’s more to it. Despite being a cheaper pair than the others on this list, it’s great for race day.

Why are sneakers so ugly

Well, the answer is simple. They don’t make these sneakers for people like you and me. If you’re looking for stylish and attractive looking shoes, you might search for them properly. 

The manufacturers try to be unique. They put in a lot of investment in research and development and use unique technologies. 

The shoes just need an ‘exclusive brand tag’. No matter how ugly they are, they will sell out in no time! Collaborating with a celebrity, they become even more costly.

Many big brands like Nike, Jordan, FILA are notorious for bizarre-looking shoes! This is true for running shoes as well.

Runners need the best results. They are not looking for the prettiest pairs. The shoes will be sold if they can be delivered, regardless of the look!

Inelegant running shoes ever

In the past couple of decades, we’ve seen our fair share of bizarre running shoes. The worst part is they were ridiculously expensive too! Here’s a list of the top 5 ugliest shoes ever!

1. Adidas Kobe 2

Adidas Kobe 2

The Kobe 2 is considered as the inelegant sneaker of all time by many people. In 2001, Kobe was involved with this signature shoe. But the lackluster shoe performed poorly in the market as well. The thick design, weird shape did not appeal to people at all!

2. Air Jordan XV

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Air Jordan XV gives the Kobe 2 fair competition. The patterns and design of the shoe is painful for the eyes, I would say. This shoe was not only bizarre-looking, it was unbelievably expensive.

The pair was okay in terms of performance but that’s all there’s to like about it. That’s why it comes second on our list as the 2nd best ugliest sneaker ever.

3. Dada C4

Dada C4

Dada is considered as one of the undisputed kings of ugliest sneaker designs. The brand is still hanging on in Japan.

The chunky design of this pair with metallic silver finish is bewildering. It has no elegance, comfort and anything useful.

3. Adidas X Jeremy Scott Totem

Adidas X Jeremy Scott Totem

This shoe designed by Jeremy Scott makes our list as one of the ugliest running sneakers ever. Let’s be honest. It looks hideous! Not only the colors, the design itself is controversial.

The design took religious symbols and slapped them into the designs thoughtlessly. Jeremy Scott’s aesthetics and the design was disrespectful at best.

4. Nike Air Footscape Woven Motion

Nike Air Footscape Woven Motion

No doubt about that, these pairs are inelegant. They’re really hard to wear as well. The shoe came out in 2011. It gave quite a stir. Some loved it, some hated it. 

If you could wear it properly, these shoes would be great. They offered excellent support and stability. But we cannot ignore the fact that the design is ridiculous!

Running shoes that aren’t ugly

The expensive pairs in this article look great. Don’t worry. Running shoes are not always ugly! Most of them are not expensive. There are lots of other pretty shoes as well. We’ll list some good-looking pairs of running shoes here.

  1. Nike Juvenate
  2. Adidas Adizero Prime X
  3. Mizuno Wave Rider
  4. Adidas Ultra Boost
  5. New Balance Lerato
  6. Brooks Hyperion Elite 2
  7. HOKA Men’s Bondi X
  8. Saucony Endorphin Pro 2

There are a lot more other options. We have just named a few models here that we like.

Final Words

Runners look for the best results from their footwear. They don’t really care about the looks and the price. The shoes come with EVA soles, breathable uppers, toe protection, comfortable midsole, good energy return etc.

All of these factors sum up and make the shoes more costly. If you don’t need them, you can pick a much cheaper shoe. Not all running shoes are expensive. They will do but you can’t expect all the features of an expensive pair. 

A decent pair like Asics Contend SL sells for just $35 currently. You can do all types of basic running wearing it. 

I guess you realize now why running shoes are so expensive? If you have any questions, comment down below or contact us.

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