Running Shoe Reviews Are (Mostly) Worthless

I toyed with the idea of several titles for this post including:

Why you shouldn’t believe too much in running shoe reviews

Take every shoe review with a grain of salt… 

The internet lies to your feet…

There’s a good and bad shoe for every foot… 

There are plenty of shoes in the Running Shoe Sea… 

Or sorry your favorite colored shoe is the worst one for your feet…


Ultimately each title speaks about the same topic.  Every month I’m lucky enough to try out a new running shoe. One of the perks of my job is being able to see the newest and latest shoes on the market. The downside is half of my paycheck goes to work.


For the most part, I purchase a new shoe monthly from work, run a hundred or so miles in it and review it. If I like the shoe, such as the Saucony Triumph, I run in the shoe for a lot longer than 100 miles. If it’s not my favorite shoe, I run it once a week or will just wear it to work.  I don’t play Russian Roulette and scope out shoes that I think won’t work for my foot type. Why would I buy a shoe that would set me up for failure? Duh.

I’ve reviewed plenty of shoes such as:
Saucony Triumph
Saucony Zealot
Asics Nimbus
Asics Quantum 360
Nike Vomero
Hoka Clifton (Holy moly…I’ve come a long way since Newtons!)

Throwback to the Newtons

Throwback to the Newtons

In summary, I’m not reviewing a shoe for what works with your feet but what works for my feet.  This goes with any shoe review.  It’s easy to spew facts about the shoe or how the cut has changed, but there is no way to tell how the shoe will work for you…until you run in the shoe.

2015 running shoes

No two feet are the same including your own two feet. Each shoe works well for a particular foot type and doesn’t work well for a certain foot type.

For instance, I supinate; have high arches and wide unshapely feet.  My feet also prefer a lot of cushion.  Right off the bat this eliminates minimalist shoes or low profile and light weight shoes for me.

And you know what?  That’s fine! 

For example, the brand Mizuno works for a lot of people. They are lightweight, firm and narrow. The Mizuno Wave Rider is a neutral shoe, and it looks like it would be great on paper for me, however, when I put it on it doesn’t good. They have a large following of runners that the show technology does work well. Mizuno’s are great shoes…just not for me. This can be said about every single brand from Nike to Asics to Saucony…the list is endless.

There is a shoe that works and a shoe that doesn’t for every foot type.  It’s important that once you find out what works to stay with it. Sure you can switch brands but don’t jump between ultra stable and minimalist or you asking for an injury.  That is an injury that was probably easy to avoid…

So how do you find these so called right shoes for you? 

I’m biased because I work in a running specialty store.  One route of finding a good for you shoe is going to your local running store and being fit by a professional. Most running store employees have seen every foot type imaginable.  They aren’t going to put you in a shoe that isn’t correct for your feet.

Getting properly fit also saves time, energy and possibly going through multiple pairs of shoes.  Many running stores (such as mine), have a two-week exchange policy that you can run in the shoe and make sure it does work for you. You never know until you hit the pavement, trails, treadmill or track.

So yes while reading reviews of various running shoes can be helpful, it will never replace trying a pair of shoes on your feet and seeing what works for you.  You should never base an opinion of a shoe on what I or anyone says about it.

Remember in cliché fashion, every person in different. Every foot’s needs are different, and that is why there are so many different makes and models of running shoes.  My point is this running shoe reviews can be helpful in learning other people’s opinions of a shoe, but they are just tool to find your perfect shoe.  No two feet are the same and what works for me might not work for you.

Questions for you:

What kind of running shoes do you wear?

How seriously do you take running shoe reviews? Would you buy a shoe because LOLZ told you too?



14 responses

  1. I just choose a pair of running shoes that feels good on my feet. I’d never buy online unless I’ve worn that shoe before. I’ve got a pretty typical stride, and I’m not injury prone at all, so I’ve got some leeway when choosing shoes. Usually, I go for support and cushioning, if only because I run my shoes ragged before getting a new pair. (I shudder to think about it, but I’ve probably got well over 1,000 miles on my current pair.)

    Usually, when I read reviews for running shoes, I don’t look so much at the recommendation as I do at the information. So if someone says the shoes have a lot of support but gave them blisters, I’ll pay more attention to the support the shoes have than the blisters they caused because the blisters will vary more from individual to individual.

  2. I wear- Mizuno Inspires (my favorite!!), Saucony Guides, and Asics 2000s. I love working in a running specialty store for the same reasons- try out all the shoes that are best for me! I don’t like brooks, hated new balance, but some people loooove them. Definitely feel the same- people should get professionally fitted and have their gait analyzed!

  3. Any time someone asks me my opinion of what shoe to get since I run a lot I send them to the store to get their gait analyzed and test some out. Right now I am pretty much always in one of my 3 pairs of Saucony Kinvara’s. Considering most days my runs are 5-7 miles then one long run they work really well. I have several pairs of Mizuno wave riders and sayonara but now that I am not training for a full I haven’t really worn the wave riders much and the sayonara’s take a back seat to the kinvara.

  4. TOTALLY AGREE. I tell people all of the time to NOT read shoe reviews — everyone’s foot is different.

    I wear Mizuno Wave Riders, and Brooks Pure Flows. I usually throw in Zoot TTs, but the last series shoe was designed differently (something we all have to deal with at some point with our fave shoe).

  5. I’ve worn Brooks Flows for years but have recently over the past year or two alternated in a pair of Brooks Cadence. Doesn’t make sense because one is considered neutral and one stability, but they are both on the minimal side. The Cadence seems better for me for long distance and feels good so I go with it.

  6. Asics seem to be the go to shoe for me!! Usually nimbus or kayano and recently the nyc marathon edition.I must say I have been told I am like a “woman”when it comes to my shoes because at any given time I will have a dozen pair. I also seem to keep buying the asic noosas. I think it’s just cause Theyhave a whole bunch of crazy freaking colors because they’re not really great on my feet like most back up brand has been sacony. I recently have tried the mizuno wave riders! Wow do they hate my feet! They only come out for speed work . Also recently have tried the hooka Clifton and Bondi. They feel great and my times seem to be the same but I just am not comfortable running in them . I love the fact that I’m 2 inches taller !! I think I am going to go down this week and get the ASICS quantums! Thanks for your input as always HOLZZ!

  7. I agree with you also. The reviews are good to find out what is new and what they changed with this year’s model. Ultimately you have to go for a test run at the store, and you won’t really know if a shoe works for you until you’ve put a few hundred miles on them.
    I think the reviews have a place in making a decision, but just like picking a shoe because you like the color, it should not be your only reason to buy a shoe.

  8. I wear Mizuno Wave Riders and Wave Creations, and also rotate in Brooks Ghosts. Love the cushion of the Brooks but found at longer distances my heels hurt in them. I’m pretty heavy on my heels. As for shoe reviews, I take them with a grain of salt.

  9. You know I love my Adidas and I learned long ago to shop for the shoe that works for me. I would love some of the jazzier running shoes but most of them are just not for my feet. But, like you, I’ll buy a pair just to walk around in or do some cross training. Thanks for the peak inside your shoe store brain 🙂

  10. I admit I am a sucker for the color/look . That said, I won’t buy the shoe if it also doesn’t feel good. I also won’t buy what I think is an “ugly” shoe – I won’t even try it on so I won’t know if it feels good 🙂

  11. Oh I could go on with quite a list, but my recent batch (I switch between them and don’t usually wear the same pair twice in a week) consists of Nike Frees (they’re old but they were the second-most “barefoot” experience when I got them), Mizuno Wave Mushas, Brooks Launch (that’s my heavy shoe) and an old pair of Asics racing flats. Originally, I used to wear one pair of shoes for 400 miles and was told that was bad and that would lead to an injury, so now I have a mixture of shoes ranging from almost 400 miles down to 60 miles. I plan to replace my older Asics racing flats with Brooks PureConnect once my local store receives the order I made with them (hopefully in a day or so!!). I feel like it’s really HARD to find lightweight trainers in stores these days though 😦 Everybody and his brother wants cushion. But, I’ve never run in anything other than lightweight trainers or racing flats and anything else feels like bricks on my feet. Do you have any opinion(s) about wearing one shoe for X amount of miles versus having several pairs and switching between them?? I’d be curious to hear since you’re an expert who sells shoes 🙂

    • I normally do have an opinion of changing shoes. They last a bit longer because the cushioning is able to bounce back and recover, instead of continuing to compress. The shoes you use have such minimal cushioning that I’m not sure it preserves the cushioning as long since there is very little to preserve. It sounds like they are working well for you though, which is awesome!

%d bloggers like this: