ANNOUNCING THE 'BEACON' FROM NEW BALANCE
We asked JackRabbit runner Eric Hubbard to take a pair of the Beacons for a tempo run. Eric is our shoe guru here at JackRabbit, the man who gets to touch every, single pair of shoes that reaches you at JackRabbit.com. His latest accomplishment is the gruling Ragnar Relay Colorado, so we let him off with a shorter run for this shoe test!
“I ran in the Beacon for a speedy 3 miles to test not only the legendary Fresh Foam cushioning, but how this lightweight shoe could perform for speed. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised! Fresh Foam is a wonderfully soft feeling and the Beacon has it in spades. This, plus the engineered upper, allows the shoe to be wonderfully light and helps my strides be quick. My fear with many extra-light shoes is the lack of security around my Achilles and ankle; I’m pleased to say the Beacon was snug-fitting where I wanted it, while feeling free and light where I needed.
The great New Balance fit is present too, as the light and breathable upper allows my slightly-wide forefoot to have plenty of room and my toes to breathe.
Some runners might be concerned by the relatively low heel-to-toe drop of only 6 mm, but I found that the cushion and lightweight more than make up for any hesitation there. I still felt propelled forward on my run. Similarly, Fresh Foam here does not provide the quickest of response, but I found no issue with feeling fast thanks to the other factors mentioned”
The Beacon is constructed with a more durable version of the Fresh Foam which is exposed to the pavement which eliminates the need for heavy rubber on the sole.
To get technical for a moment, the engineers have circumvented the durability challenge by using an injected, molded midsole (over a composite version) then adding EVA outsole rubber pods which rest in key abrasion areas. It’s sweet to see and explains how they managed to keep the shoe at such a bantam weight!
Our test runners loved the fit in the heel and pliable midfoot and the accommodating toe box. They found the Beacon to be an easy shoe to run in for short, fast runs as well as recovery runs and that it was an easy an amenable shoe that flows with the natural movement of the foot.
Technical aspects aside, this is a good looking shoe and everyone at #teamjackrabbit have loved the aesthetics of the knit upper that does not over-compress the foot and actually looks as good with jeans as it does with spandex.
WHO'S IT BEST FOR?
The New Balance Beacon is an all purpose shoe and a truly versatile shoe that accommodates both short and longer runs. Some runners will like the wider platform which provides good stability for those who who run off road.
The Beacon is a great shoe for a half marathon although many will gain from it’s cushion/weight ratio for 10ks and under too. We’re not coming down either side on this one as it’s such a versatile shoe and may be the best release from New Balance in years! The Beacon has a great chance of becoming a shoe that will be around for many years to come.