There’s been a lot of talk about reviews in the ultra and trail running forums of late. Who is trustworthy? What are there value? How can you identity a good source? Do they receive product free of charge? Are they paid?
I’ll be honest. It’s not easy. No matter the model, person or knowledge, it is all subjective to the reviewer and ultimately how they interact with the product.
I am in a fortunate position. I’m sent a lot of the products I review by brands and PR companies, free of charge. I am not paid to review products, receive briefs about who they are looking to target or guaranteed social airtime/influence/exposure. I do this because I enjoy it.
My personal view is I wish to create unique content which helps explain a products performance to the reader, while adding some humour and real world testing.
I’m no elite runner, nor someone who will argue till I’m blue about lug designs and compounds. But I know purchasing isn’t cheap and lots of content is limited to a short description. Here, I can bore you with details if I feel like it – please shout if I ever do!
I’ll often add in my own disclaimers; fit is down to body type, drops suit different running styles, ‘true to size’ what even does that really mean?!
I aim to achieve balance, if a product doesn’t suit me, why? Because a Hoka doesn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t be the shoe you’ve been looking for, or a Salomon shirt I give top marks to, isn’t for you.
I have broken relationships by posting my true thoughts and other relationships have grown due respectively.
Beyond it all, the time spent testing a product, taking and editing photos, writing the review and distributing is a large personal investment. I’ll always respond to comments and am happy to talk about my own experiences openly online.
Always take what I say with a pinch of salt.
By their very design, brand X will fit me better than brand Y. Brand A chose to send more products or opportunities than Brand B and C, thus giving them more content on my channel and therefore, my bias may appear on the surface in their favour. But it isn’t.
My opinion on a shoe may differ from another reviewer, it doesn’t nullify either review, it shows that these are personal opinions and gives it more validity.
Read several reviews from a variety of sources. Don’t put your eggs in one basket and all that…..
They may seem unbiased or having little outside influence. But, my and other people’s purchased items are normally based on research, trial and reading other reviews. Money isn’t finite and therefore it’s a judged decision based on the likeliness it suits you from the go
I’m not saying they are the same as items received free of charge, but they aren’t all that different from any other product reviewed at times. Unless there’s a horror story.
There have been requests to see the source, providing context to the review. And I will.
I will say whether I purchased the item or it was provided for review.
I also welcome your comments. If you want to see certain information, my opinion on features or if you want to share you own, please comment. I’ll always reply and I’m here to provide a service to you. Yes you, reading this now, looking around you in disbelief I’ve addressed you directly.
So reviews, not always straight forward but here is my take on them. Let me know if there’s anything you’d like me to look at and in the mean time, here’s me overheating severely at the finish of Trail Marathon Wales.