The best cheap running clothes are well worth looking at if you prefer to spend most of your pennies on shoes or fitness trackers.
We’ve reviewed everything from shorts, shirts, and socks to compression gear so you can see at a glance what you might need.
All of these products are affordable and still sport high-end features.
Top 7 Best and Favorites
BALEAF 5 inch Running Shorts
Joe’s USA Driequip Moisture-Wicking Track & Field Running Shorts
Defender Sports Compression Tights
TSLA Short Sleeve Shirt
TSLA Workout Shirt
Drymax R-Gear Lowcut Running Socks
Best Cheap Running Shorts
1. Joe’s USA DRI-Equip Moisture-Wicking Track & Field Running Shorts
Running shorts need to check a few boxes to be satisfactory. These shorts do that, offering a soft and comfortable fit that won’t ride up. They’re made from breathable polyester and wick moisture even on the hottest of days, keeping you cool.
They have tricot side panels for extra breathability and a built-in crepe jersey that also reduces moisture. The elastic waistband is adjustable using a drawcord, so that you’re comfortable and won’t have to worry about your shorts slipping down.
There’s plenty of legroom even when you’ve tied the drawcord, and you’ll find a nifty pocket that allows you to safely store your keys and small items while you’re running.
When you order these, you need to check the size chart and may need to order a size smaller to ensure a comfortable fit.
- Elastic waistband with drawcord
- Tricot side panels
- Come in extra-large sizes
- Internal pocket
- Sizing isn’t consistent
2. BALEAF 5 inch Running Shorts
BALEAF 5-inch shorts are a great option for ultrarunners. With two side pockets and zip pockets at the back, you’ll be able to put your cap in one pocket, your cellphone in the other, and keep your keys safe in the zipped pocket.
These shorts move with you and stretch when you need them to. They’re made from quick-dry material and have a soft mesh liner that draws moisture away from the skin and allows for better air circulation to keep you cool and comfortable.
The five-inch inseam allows a fuller range of motion without riding up. There’s an elastic waistband but they’ve added a drawstring as well, so you can adjust the fit around your waist.
Some individuals may find them to be too stretchy, and you may want to order a size smaller as they do tend to run big.
- Five-inch inseam
- Three pockets
- Drawstring closure
- Quick-Dry woven fabric
- Some may find the material to be too stretchy
Top Cheap Running Tights
3. Oalka Leggings
If you’re looking for leggings to wear while running, especially on those chilly mornings, then Oalka leggings would make a great addition to your wardrobe. They have flat edges so they won’t leave indents or chafe you when you’re running.
They have a high and wide waistband that won’t pinch or squeeze, but will stay up through any range of movement. They’re made from nylon and spandex, which allows them to mold to the shape of your body. This blend of material also makes the leggings effective in terms of moisture-wicking and breathability, without being see-through.
The inside of the waistband also has a hidden pocket where you can safely store your keys without them interfering with your natural movement. When you get yourself a pair of these leggings, you may want to order one size smaller so that you’ll have a snug fit.
If you’re not satisfied with the product, you can return them for a full refund.
- Wide waistband
- Four-way stretch fabric
- Flat seams
- Moisture-wicking fabric
- The sizes run big
4. Defender Sports Compression Tights
Defender Sports compression tights can be used in any season, as they’ll cool you in summer and retain heat in the winter. With a UPF-30 level of protection, they’ll shield you from the sunlight while wicking away moisture, and allow for good air circulation to help you keep cool.
The fabric molds to the shape of your body without irritation and the compression fit increases circulation and bolsters muscle support. The material is thin enough to be worn under jeans to keep you warm in winter.
- UPF-30 protection
- Compression fit
- Thin, durable material
- Sizes run small so you’d need to order one size bigger
Best Cheap Short Sleeve Shirts
5. TSLA Workout Shirt
This shirt will protect you from the harmful rays of the sun, as it has a UPF-50+ rating. It’ll also draw moisture away from your skin, keeping you cool while you run. It’s made from thin, breathable, soft cotton-blend material that won’t chafe.
When you’re done with your run, you can put the shirt into the washing machine, although it’s advisable to air-dry as the cotton-blend material may shrink in the dryer.
- Moisture-wicking material
- Thin and breathable
- Machine washable
- Could shrink in the dryer
6. TSLA Short Sleeve Shirt
This relaxed shirt is made from stretchable material that wicks moisture even on the hottest of days and dries quickly. It also offers protection from the harmful rays of the sun as it’s UPF-50+ rated, and it has antimicrobial properties to leave you feeling fresh all day.
V-slits on the bottom of each side allow for a better range of motion while you’re out on the road. Make sure you order a size smaller than normal, as these shirts run on the bigger side.
- Quick-dry material
- V-Slit on each side
- Has antimicrobial properties
- These shirts run a size bigger
Top Cheap Long Sleeve Shirts
7. BALEAF Long Sleeve Shirt
This shirt would be perfect for those early morning runs, as it’s made from quick-dry material that helps to draw moisture away from the skin, leaving you dry.
Keeping you sweat-free will also ensure that you don’t get cold if the weather is chilly. It has a longer back hem that prevents the shirt from riding up while you’re running, and it has chafe-free seams so you can run comfortably.
A reflective logo and tape on the back help increase visibility in low-light. Some women have said that the shirt is see-through, so you’d have to pick your color wisely.
- Longer back hem
- Chafe-free seams
- Made from quick-dry material
- Fits true to size
- Some customers have said the shirt is very see-through
8. Joe´s USA DRI-Equip Long Sleeve Moisture Wicking Shirt
You’ll find this shirt to be roomy, as it has a long torso, and the lightweight fabric won’t leave it clinging to you. The material dries quickly, which helps to draw the moisture away from the body. The breathability of the shirt will keep you stay cool on those long runs.
The long sleeves also add more sun protection. When you get home, you can toss it into the washing machine and dryer without having to worry that it will shrink.
These shirts do run in bigger sizes and you’d need to order a size smaller to ensure a comfortable fit that wouldn’t be baggy.
- Breathable, moisture-wicking fabric
- Machine washable and dryer-friendly
- Shirt doesn’t cling
- Long enough to tuck in
- Shirts run one size bigger, so you’d need to order one size smaller
Best Cheap Running Socks
9. Drymax R-Gear Low Cut Running Socks
Choose from one of three cushion levels that best suits the level of support you need. All of them come with double-cushioning in the forefoot and toes, to help absorb impact. They also have a compression arch band for additional support.
The socks have flat seams that help to prevent chafing and blistering, and the dual-layer of the sock will help move moisture to the top layer so it can evaporate quickly.
Watch for tearing at the seams, which could leave you with a hole in the front of the sock. If this happens, you can contact the company, as they have a 1,000-mile blister-free promise and they’ll make it right.
- Moisture-wicking knit fabric
- Double cushioning
- Available in three cushion levels
- Compression arch band support
- They may tear at the seams
Top Cheap Lightweight Jacket
10. J.CARP Packable Windbreaker Jacket
This jacket is lightweight and packs down to a small size so you can take it wherever you go. It’s made from polyester, which will allow light rain to bead and roll off the jacket, keeping you dry. However, it won’t keep you dry in heavy rain.
The zip in the front is backed with a wind flap that helps keep cold winds out so you can maintain your body temperature. If you’re running in the early morning, the mesh at the back allows for air circulation that will keep you cool.
You can also adjust the hem to keep the cold out, and the cuffs are elasticized to help them stay in place while you run.
- Mesh ventilation
- Zipped back pocket
- Front zipper is backed by a wind flap
- Packs down to a small size
- It won’t keep you dry in heavy rain
11. BALEAF Sports Windbreaker
This ultra-lightweight jacket packs down to a very small size and comes with a pouch so you can keep it nearby, wherever you are. It has a breathable liner that helps you to maintain your body temperature, and the jacquard woven fabric helps keep wind and light rain out.
It has deep, zippered side pockets and a chest pocket so you can keep your wallet and phone securely stored. Be gentle with the zips, as they can break while you’re wearing them. There’s also a drawstring in the hem, so you can adjust the jacket to suit your needs.
- Packable windbreaker
- Breathable liner
- Adjustable hem
- Zippers aren’t durable and you may find them breaking while you wear the windbreaker
Best Cheap Compression Shorts
12. Neleus Compression Shorts
These shorts are good for running or working out on the elliptical at home. The Dri-Fit fabric is breathable and absorbs sweat, which helps it to evaporate more quickly.
A wide waistband stops the shorts from sliding down. However, you may find that the elastic inside the band is thinner and can twist. This may be uncomfortable to train with.
They are tight-fitting and the flat seams will prevent any irritation. It also has a side pocket that’s big enough to fit an iPhone 6 Plus.
- Made from Dri-FIT fabric
- Wide elastic band
- Large pocket on the side
- Flat seams
- Thin inner elastic band within the wider fabric may lose its elasticity and/or twist inside the material which can be uncomfortable
13. TSLA Athletic Compression Shorts
You can wear these compression shorts throughout the year, as they’re made from a soft mesh material that wicks moisture and releases heat to give you a cooling effect.
The tight-fitting elastic will move with you so you won’t have to worry about your range of motion being restricted.
You can wear them just like that when running, or under your shorts as they’ll protect you from the sun as they have UPF-50+ rating. The seams are flat, but there’s a seam that runs up the front middle that may cause some discomfort and seems to tear easily.
- Releases heat and wicks moisture
- Non-abrasive material
- Breathable mesh material
- Has a seam that runs up the front middle, which could cause discomfort or tear
Best Cheap Sports Bra
14. RUNNING GIRL Sports Bra
This medium-support bra is made from breathable, antimicrobial material that helps keep you feeling fresh throughout the day. The added Lycra allows it to stretch when you slip it on and it maintains its shape well. It has a soft elastic under-bust band and criss-cross back straps that allow for a full range of movement.
You can remove the pads if you find that more comfortable. However, they may move around while you’re exercising and you could find yourself adjusting them at times.
- Removable pads
- Soft elastic under-bust band
- Criss-crossed back straps
- Moisture-wicking, antimicrobial material
- Padding doesn’t stay in place and can move while you’re exercising
Top Cheap Running Cap
15. GADIEMKENSD Unstructured Sports Cap
When you’re running, you want a hat that shields your face and neck from the sun. This hat has a wide and long brim, which helps reduce glare as well as protect you from the sun.
It has an unstructured crown, which allows you to fold it and put it into your pocket. The material is a breathable mesh, which provides better air circulation to help keep you cool and dry quickly. The wide sweatband will keep the sweat away from your face.
It has an adjustable strap and buckle so you can get a snug fit. However, some individuals may feel that the top has too much material and that it doesn’t fit securely.
- Wide and long brim
- UPF-50+ sun protection
- Wide sweatband
- Unstructured crown
- Some may find that the hat doesn’t fit their head even after adjusting it
16. ZZEWINTRAVELER Quick-Dry Cap
This cap is made from soft, lightweight material that dries quickly. It also has mesh vents on the side for improved air circulation to help with evaporation of sweat and to keep you cool.
It has an adjustable webbing at the back so you can adjust it to sit comfortably on your head. You may find that the buckle won’t hold the tension of the webbing, and you’d have to adjust it while running.
If you’re not happy with this product, the company provides a 100% money-back guarantee, or they’ll replace the product.
- Adjustable webbing for easy fit
- Breathable mesh
- Extra-long brim
- Made from quick dry material
- The buckle may not hold the tension of the webbing and you may find yourself adjusting while you’re running
What clothes are essential for running?
You want to make sure your running kit has everything you need, and while having good running shoes is important, there are some other items to consider.
Make sure you have good seamless socks that draw moisture and sweat away from the foot and offer some cushioning. This will reduce friction and help prevent blisters.
While it may be comfortable in the beginning to run in generic athletic shorts, they’ll end up chafing, so it’s best to invest in shorts or leggings that are designed for running. This will prevent chafing and they’ll allow for a better range of motion.
Depending on the weather or the time of year, it’s best to have both a long-sleeved shirt and short-sleeved shirt to cater for those hot or chilly morning runs. A lightweight windbreaker will help you to maintain your temperature but keep the cold winds out. This will help to prevent colds and flu. You may want gloves as well, so you don’t get frostbitten while you’re out.
For women, a comfortable sports bra can go a long way, especially if you run longer distances. A soft bra with sufficient support will prevent aches, pains and chafing.
A cap will protect you from the sun, but can also help you focus as it prevents glare and keeps sweat out of your eyes. Make sure that the cap you get is comfortable and you don’t feel any pressure on the front or sides of your head when you wear it.
Budget running kit – What to look out for:
Before you run out the house wearing your new running kit, try it on and mimic the movement you’ll be doing. This will give you an idea of whether it’s comfortable, if it restricts your range of motion, or if the seams are uncomfortable. If there’s any discomfort, then wearing it could lead to chafing.
Look at the stitching of the clothing. This will help you see if it’s likely to tear or come loose in a few weeks. This goes for the elastic in the shorts too. A drawstring will help to keep your shorts up if the elastic wears away.
Always check the washing instructions. This will prevent shrinkage or the item losing its shape.
What’s the alternative to cheap running clothes?
The best alternative is to look at sale items or items that are being sold for a bargain.
You can often get better quality at a much better price, because their clothing items are out of season (last year’s product range). Sometimes brands will have a sale before they launch their new product range, which means you can also snap up bargains.