Running Gear: When To Go Cheap And When To Pay More

frugal fitness running gear cheap fit equipment shoes sneakers

If you’ve taken up running as cheap way of getting fit, it’s unlikely you’ll want to fork out money for premium running gear – and why should you? With many expensive items of sportswear, you’re simply paying for the brand. That said, there are times when going cheap isn’t advised (such as poor shoes that could lead to an injured foot). Here’s some advice to help you get kitted out with some of the essentials for all runners. 


Standard trainers won’t do when running regularly. Specialist running shoes provide the support that your joints need whilst also protecting against blisters. If you’re light footed, you may be able to get away with a decent pair for less than 50 dollars. Those that are more heavy-footed may benefit more from a pair costing around 100 dollars. You can get custom-made trainers for maximum protection but these should only be considered by professional athletes and people with orthopedic problems. 

Sports Bras 

You can buy sports bras for 5 dollars but it’s likely these bras will fall apart quickly. That said you don’t want to spending much more than 20 dollars on a sports bra unless you need one specially fitted. Buying a bra in the right size is more important as it will give you the support you need. Even men can purchase sports bras or chest compression garments on certain websites! 


While athletic leggings were originally made for sports purposes, they’ve progressively evolved into casual wear (yoga pants for example). It’s important not to buy cheap casual leggings – they’ll unlikely not have the stretch in them for sports use and may be prone to staining. You should never buy second-hand leggings as these items of clothes are known to breed bacteria. 

Thermal Base Layers 

A lot of premium thermal clothing for running in the cold weather is a complete rip-off – it’s likely you’ll be paying for the brand. Merino wool is a material to look out for when buying thermal base layers as it’s great at protecting against chafing whilst it also hides sweaty smells well. A pair of merino wool socks is always a good purchase. 


These aren’t strictly running gear, but many people like to listen to music on headphones whilst they run. Earphone wires can be irritating when running – cheap headphones may even snag and get damaged. It’s worth buying a pair of durable earbuds that won’t get broken from the slightest tug. Cordless headphones can be useful for getting rid of the nuisance of wires, although they are much more expensive on average. 

Wearable Tech 

Fitness tracker sports bands also aren’t compulsory running gear, although many people wanting to record their progress find them a worthy investment. There are lots of different makes – your more expensive sports bands may be able to offer more stats. 

If you’re simply looking to measure your distance and read your heart rate while running, you’re best off saving a couple hundred dollars with a cheap 30 dollar sports band. It’s likely that the average runner won’t many of the other stats.

There are plenty of great running gear deals out there, especially on Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, and other discount ecommerce websites. Happy shopping and happy saving fellow runners!

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I hope you enjoyed this article about when to pay more or less for running equipment and runner shoes on a frugal budget.

Interested in more articles about endurance running? 

Read My Posts:

- Intro Guide For Beginner Runners

- Cross Train Your Running With Leg Lifting Days

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