Herein, we describe the use of thioglycosides as glycosidase inhibitors by employing novel modifications at the reducing end of these glycomimetics. The inhibitors display a basic galactopyranosyl unit (1→4)-bonded to a 3-deoxy-4-thiopentopyranose moiety. The molecular basis of the observed inhibition has been studied by using a combination of NMR spectroscopy and molecular modeling techniques. It is demonstrated that these molecules are not recognized by Escherichia coli β-galactosidase in their ground-state conformation, with a conformational selection process taking place. In fact, the observed conformational distortion depends on the chemical nature of the compounds and results from the rotation around the glycosidic linkage (variation of Φ or Ψ) or from the deformation of the six-membered ring of the pentopyranose. The bound conformations of the ligand are adapted in the enzymatic pocket with a variety of hydrogen-bond, van der Waals, and stacking interactions.