adidas and New Balance differ from their industry peers in an important way – both sell a high number of sub-$100 running shoes. adidas doesn’t allocate a significant marketing spend on this segment, so these products have lower visibility when compared to products lines such as the UltraBoost.
While adidas sells a lot of these shoes through their main website, lower-priced footwear also find their way into family footwear stores and online footwear merchants like Zappos, DSW, and Famous Footwear.
Though the both shoe brands have a wide affordable shoe assortment in common, adidas also offers a surprisingly high count of cheap trail and general purpose outdoor footwear.
We’re not exactly sure why this is. We hypothesize that it’s influenced by adidas’s one-time ownership of the Salomon brand between 1997 and 2005? Back then, adidas was interested in making inroads into the outdoor equipment industry, and building a strong footwear assortment around that theme would have served them well.
Or maybe we’re over-thinking this. Outdoor could be just another category which adidas wanted to monetize, similar to the way Nike built the ACG (All Conditions Gear) division.
Whatever the reason, adidas sells both road running and outdoor footwear under $100. This assortment also helps adidas build market-share in price-sensitive countries with tariff barriers.
This guide is grouped into two categories – road and outdoor. Naturally, road-running shoes can also be used on the treadmill.
The shoes are sorted in the order of ascending retail price. Mind you, these are full retail prices. If you visit the adidas website, chances are that you’ll find a good deal on a few of these models.
We haven’t included the adidas adizero Tempo 9 here, but the off-white color now retails at $95. Darned good value, we say.
Category 1: Road-running shoes
1) adidas Galaxy 4
At an MSRP of $50, the Galaxy 4 is the price of entry into the adidas brand, and a pretty decent one at that. A large piece of EVA foam serves as the cushioned midsole over a rubber outsole which is inspired by the Sprintweb design. It even has an Ortholite insole.
The true-to-size upper has a pretty basic construction. The front and rear are flanked by synthetic overlays while the midfoot gets the now-familiar plastic cage.
2) adidas Duramo 9
For $10 over the Galaxy, the Duramo 9 offers a more contemporary aesthetic. The heel trims are inspired by the PureBoost DPR, and the tongue gets a piped flap for a cleaner look. On the midfoot, the hard plastic is only confined to the lacing panel, the result being a much smoother fit inside without any pressure points.
Cushioning is delivered by adidas’s Cloudfoam EVA midsole. The outsole isn’t Continental, but there’s plenty of rubber for above-average levels of traction.
3) adidas Asweerun
The Asweerun is based on a design template which differs from the other models in this price band. Its 8-ounce weight comes from utilizing a minimal upper and midsole set-up which is optimized for reducing bulk.
An airy mesh upper provides a smooth and soft upper fit on top. Underneath, the cushioning comes from an EVA foam unisole with limited use of outsole rubber. If you do not want the conventional design of the Duramo or the Galaxy, the Asweerun is worth taking a look at.
4) adidas RunFalcon
The RunFalcon is one of the two shoes (the other being EnergyFalcon) within the Falcon series; it also happens to be the less expensive model.
A $60 MSRP brings together a basic mesh upper which fits without hot spots, and a ride quality which produces a basic level of cushioning through its EVA midsole.
5) adidas EnergyFalcon
With the $70 EnergyFalcon, we’re slowly inching towards the psychological $100 barrier, so we see improved materials over, say, the Galaxy. The full-coverage outsole is made of adiwear rubber which is grippy and durable.
A thick upper mesh is used along with a floating midfoot reinforcement for a supportive fit. The heel uses a soft lining material along with a lipped Achilles for an easy on and off. A thick, plastic rearfoot clip cups the heel for ride stability. And this shoe even comes in a wide version!
Like the Duramo, the Energy depends on a full-length Cloudfoam EVA midsole to deliver cushioning.
6) adidas Solar Blaze
You would have heard of the SolarBoost, Glide, and Drive by now. So what in the blazes is the SolarBlaze? The difference lies in the midsole – or the lack of Boost foam in this shoe.
Instead, you the Bounce EVA foam midsole (of the Alphabounce fame) which isn’t responsive as the Boost but gets the job done nonetheless. The upper design is inspired by the more expensive models, so you’ll get trims like the split heel cup in the rear and a few extras over the smooth-fitting upper.
7) adidas Nova Run
The Nova Run has an MRSP of $90, but it looks like a more expensive product. The engineered mesh upper with its thin, fused overlays create a smooth and supportive fit along with adequate ventilation. The reflective trims also make the Nova Run suitable for low-light conditions.
A two-part midsole adds visual depth to the shoe while adding functional comfort. One part of the Cloudfoam EVA midsole is mesh-wrapped while the rearfoot has a plain foam wedge.
Category 2: Trail-running shoes
1) adidas Kanadia Trail
This trail shoe has an entry-level $70 MSRP but comes packed with features. The aggressively designed outsole utilizes deep lugs along with a grippy Traxion rubber compound to deliver on-trail traction. Above, the Cloudfoam midsole and the Ortholite insole give you the required cushioning.
The upper uses a durable ripstop mesh along with sturdy forefoot overlays for protection from the elements. It runs a half size larger, so bear that in mind while ordering the Kanadia.
If you want just a trail-worthy outsole but a more basic upper, then the Questar Trail could be your shoe.
2) adidas Response Trail
Spending $5 over the Kanadia buys you the Response Trail, a Cloudfoam midsole powered trail running shoe with a conventional upper design. The outsole has the Traxion rubber – the same as Kanadia – so there’s ample grip over unpaved surfaces.
We used the term ‘conventional’ to describe the upper because the aesthetics has a hiking-boot theme. As in a suede forefoot and toe-bumper protection along with mounted lacing eyelets and a neoprene-kind of mesh in the rear.
The Response Trail also sells in a wide fit.
Also see: The Terrex Tracerocker
3) adidas Terrex CMTK
The CMTK also made our multi-brand affordable shoe list because of the value it offers for its $90 MSRP. Thick, welded urethane overlays flank the toe-box and forefoot for protection; a closed mesh helps keep the debris out. The interiors have a true-to-size and secure fit character.
The surface area of the outsole is shod in its entirety with Continental rubber for superior traction and durability. A firm EVA foam midsole offers insulation from the uneven trail surface.
If you require water-proofing, the Terrex CMTK also sells in a GTX (Gore-Tex) version. But that’ll be $30 extra, please.
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