Sure, it’s fun to lace up 10 inches of Goodyear-welted, lug-soled full-grain leather boots. But if your wallet’s on a strict diet, good luck finding a decent pair of boots for under a hundred bucks. Sneakers, on the other hand, fit a wide range of budgets. And, there are plenty to choose if you like shoes but also like keeping your checking account in the black. From the tried-and-true to the oft-forgot to the steal of a deal, these are the best sneakers you can buy if all your sneaker budget is only $50.
Vans has consistently churned out classic sneakers over the decades, many of which orbit the $50 price point. Though the Eras and the Slip-Ons are great choices regardless of price, the Authentics are the classic plimsoll-style sneaker in our eyes. It’s well-suited for spring through fall thanks to the lightweight and breathable cotton canvas uppers. The details are pared back, clean enough to pair well with literally (yes, literally) any outfit. But they’re not overly manicured, either. Like, subtract two details and you’ve got a sneaker that scoffs pretentiously minimalist. So, they don’t need to be babied like a luxe pair of featureless sneakers. In fact, a few seasons through some rigorous wear makes them look even better.
The Supercourts aren’t as popular as other stalwart sneakers in the Adidas lineup, but they undoubtedly warrant more shine than what they get. It’s a classic tennis sneaker style with soft leather uppers and the signature three stripe motif perforated at the sides of the shoes. Its many influences put the Supercourt somewhere between tennis, basketball and skateboarding, giving it a look that’s simultaneously distinct and versatile.
If you’re after some real value, you’ll have to stalk the sale section. These Converse One Star sneakers are part of Converse’s more premium line (like its popular Chuck 70), which normally puts it out of the fifty-buck range. But if you keep tabs on Nordstrom Rack’s ever-updating stock, you’re likely to snag a pair that fits the premise of this article. The hairy suede uppers are texturally satisfying and the ochre/turmeric/instant macaroni cheese powder color stands out but is also way more versatile than you’d think. They offer that premium comfort and upgraded materials like the Chuck 70s, but come at a fraction of the price.
With NBA star status inevitably comes a sneaker deal. Though today’s sneakers are bold and splashed with vivid colors, these Ralph Sampson Demi OGs take a simpler approach. The Demi OG sits between the original High-Top and the Low-Top versions, and features an all-leather upper with contrast paneling throughout. The black-and-white colorway almost comes off like a pair of Rick Owens Geobaskets if both the size and price were compressed.
Yes, you can definitely get a pair of Converse for under fifty bucks. But if we’re sticking to the $50 limit, that means the Chuck 70 is disqualified and we’d pick the PF Flyers Center Hi over the mainline Converse Chuck Taylor. The silhouette emanates vintage energy and if you’re a fan of “The Sandlot,” there’s a hole in your heart that only these will fill. They’ve got a durable double-layered canvas upper with reinforced rubber cap toes and a removable insole.
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