One of the great challenges of writing shoe reviews is to avoid posting crap. After all, readers of running shoe reviews should be expected to be critical of the information and opinions presented to them. And, if you post crap reviews, you're wasting everyone's time.
I am guilty of posting shoddy reviews on this blog. No, not all of them suck. In fact, I like quite a few of the reviews I've written. But, there are some that fall short—way, way short.
I was inexperienced. I was naive. I'm sorry.
What constitutes a crappy shoe review? Well, that depends on the individual reader. So, ha ha, you can't win, shoe reviewer!
I'll tell you what I think counts as crap-ish, though.
For instance, you would hardly need to twist my arm in order to learn that I consider an impersonal, fact-laden review to be unworthy of anyone's time. Regurgitating shoe specs with the addition of just one or two sentences about your only (albeit not explicitly stated) run in the shoes would constitute a less-than helpful review. I mean, come on! Online shoppers don't need me to tell them what the online retail sites make readily available while that would-be shoe buyer hovers the pointy finger over the "add to cart" button.
Likewise, it would barely take one beer to persuade me to admit that I loathe certain reviews based almost entirely on repurposed marketing verbiage. The text that's scraped from the manufacturer's product page or reference collateral hardly counts as a review. And, a reviewer should know that. Rewriting or using text produced by the company selling the product is called posting an advertisement. And, if you're not getting paid for that, you're an idiot. Er, I mean, you're naive!
So, now you think, "Well, okay, asshole, what counts as a good review?"
Well, I would say that the best reviews are the ones that are written with genuine personal experience right out on the blog page. You're expressing your opinion, after all. Readers know that you do not have their feet. They know that your preferences for shoes might be a little different from theirs. So, you need to remember that you're writing this based on your experience.
Be thorough with your personal descriptions. As I mentioned above, a good review should not have 90% of its content consist of marketing copy and specs that you copied from somewhere else. Throw a little bit of that stuff in, sure! But, don't make the manufacturer's words your own.
At the same time, you don't want to be unfair to the shoe by basing the review on an assumption that the shoe was custom made for your feet. So, you have to describe the perceived flaws and benefits somewhat objectively:
The shoe might be narrow on your feet. But, remind the reader that your feet are of a certain size. So, the shoe might fit other feet nicely. Etc.
Quite the conflict, isn't it? I mean, sweet and sour is one thing. But, objective and personal? Come on, life!
There's no formula for the ideal shoe review. And, really, I'm just ranting here. But, I feel that I've seen a lot of crappy reviews demanding your attention elsewhere on the internet. And, I don't want to be one of those reviewers who ends up wasting your time.
I feel like I make every attempt at combining the secret sauce of objective and personal description with each review here. But, I know that everything I write for you could be better. And, after this post, I'm about to unleash a whole heap of new shoe reviews on ya.
So, I'm going a step further by providing you with these photos and measurements of my hideous left foot. (Apologies to those of you who hate the sight of a man's feet) All measurements were done with a tape measure and rounded to the nearest tenth of a centimeter. If you need more details, feel free to ask. But, I think this data gives you a pretty good frame of reference for my personal descriptions of shoe fit and feel.