Why Internet Shoe Reviews are Worthless
Running, Running Reads

Why Internet Shoe Reviews are Worthless

Why Internet Shoe Reviews are WorthlessThis is a topic I’ve written about before, but I think it’s important to write about again,  As someone who puts out plenty of internet shoe reviews, it might even seem weird I’m even writing it.

The short story is, no running shoe is perfect for everyone. Not that the Nike 4% Vaporfly, not the Brooks Levitate 2, not the adidas ultraboost.  Yes, you would think they were all the best, by how much those shoes are hawked.

Since I work at a run specialty store,  I’m lucky enough to try new running shoes. 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.

Why Internet Shoe Reviews are Worthless

For the most part, I purchase a new shoe monthly from work, run a hundred or so miles on it and review it. If I like the shoe, I run in the shoe for a lot longer than 100 miles.  For instance, I almost always have a Brooks Glycerin and Hoka shoe in my rotation.

If it’s not my favorite shoe, I run it once a week, wear it to work, or give it to someone. I also don’t run in shoes that knowingly won’t work out.I’ve turned down several blogging opportunities for a free shoe because I would probably end up with an injury.

Why would I buy a shoe that would set me up for failure and injury?

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

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 specific 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 lightweight shoes for me.

And you know what?  That’s fine because it works for me!

The brand Mizuno works for a lot of people. It’s 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 feel right.  It doesn’t mean they are bad, just not the right fit for me. Mizuno clearly has a large following that it does work well. This can be said about every single brand from Nike to Asics to Saucony…the list is endless.

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.  I can’t tell you how many people come in, get fit, and say: wow that didn’t take long at all.  That’s because running store employees know what they are looking for.  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.  (The Brooks Levitate 2 is one of the most over-promoted shoes in the industry right now.  Online you’d think it’s the best…but it’s far from it).

Remember in cliché fashion, every person is 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?


7 thoughts on “Why Internet Shoe Reviews are Worthless”

  1. I was immediately drawn to this post because I too work in the running retail industry and I constantly have customers coming in going “what’s the best shoe?” As you have said, that’s not a question someone can answer. I run in Levitate 2s and I love them. I also run in lots of other neutral high cushion shoes. But I always try to keep an open mind when fitting others.

  2. I would buy a LOLZ-recommended shoe if it was a shoe you told me would be a good candidate for me based on information I gave you about my training/gait/injury history. Haha in other words I think you’re a good running store employee.

  3. For roads, I primarily run in the On CloudFlow and occasionally swap in the Brooks Ghost 10. For trails, I’ve been relying on the Hoka SpeedGoat 2, but I’m now trying out LaSportiva Akasha and innov-8 TrailRoc 235.

    This year has taught me a lot about shoe fit. I had some little things bugging me even before shin splints kicked in, and in some cases, I chalked it up to the shoes when really I was going through a period of adjustment to trail running. I appreciate stores that have a trial period because it really takes me at least a few miles to figure out whether something is going to work, and 6+ to figure out whether I’ll be able to rely on them for long runs.

    I skim shoe reviews. I don’t put a lot of stock in them, but I think they can be useful in a couple of scenarios. When companies release a new model, the comparison to the old can be informative. Of if someone wears a model I do and reviews another, it might be something worth checking out. But I still go give them a try. The only shoes I’ve bought without trying them on in-store is replacing CloudFlows—they’re hard to find in stores, and (knock on wood) the fit has been pretty consistent.

  4. I once had a website ask me to write a running shoe review…but didn’t want me to actually try on the shoe! Instead they wanted me to research other reviews online and give an opinion. It was completely ridiculous! It really made me think about how shady some reviews may actually be.

    I definitely agree with you. You have to actually try on the shoe and see how it feels. Great post!

  5. This is so true. I only read shoe reviews that talk about the updates from one model year to the next, so I can get an idea of what to expect in the change. Almost always, though, the reviewer “loves” the update, so it seems a little biased. I miss the Runner’s World Forums where you could ask shoe experts questions.

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