NEW BALANCE BEACON – SHOE REVIEW
by MELANIE MITCHELL | AUGUST 27TH, 2018
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Introducing the New Balance Beacon
- Who's it Best For?
- Pros and Cons
- Shop New Balance Beacon
- About the Author
Let’s welcome the new kid on the block! The New Balance Beacon is the newest member of the fresh foam family from New Balance.
Why are we excited about this new style at JackRabbit? From a an aesthetic appeal, it’s on trend with a mesh upper and a sleek look. More importantly, what gets our slow and fast twitch muscles going, is the super light and fast mid-layer of fresh foam that makes this a near-perfect shoe for a fast 5k or knocking out high mileage with enough cushioning to save your bones.
Our JackRabbit trio of reviewers, each with their own personal running styles (endurance, track workout, and short and fast), took the New Balance Beacon to the max to see what it had to offer.
The New Balance Beacon has come out of the gates like a prize racehorse – and there’s good reason. So incredibly light you get an amazing bang for your buck in the weight category.
The simplicity of the Beacon is what is garnering the attention from reviewers nationwide. That and its featherweight. A sleek knit upper and a one-piece midsole means this shoe checks a lot of boxes and at $120 is one of the best valued performance running shoe to hit the market.
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.
PROS AND CONS OF THE NEW BALANCE BEACON
The weight/cushion balance of the New Balance Beacons both men and women is perfect for days when you need to feel light on your feet – recovery runs when your legs might be feeling heavy and you need the mental (and physical) benefits of being light on your feet. The toe box has great room if you’re the type of runner who leans towards blackened toenails and the look of the shoe is on trend.
There are few cons to this new shoe as far as our testers were concerned. If you’re a heavier runner or one who completely shreds soles, then another shoe might better accommodate you. We’re all curious to see how the outsole foam holds up. About 40 miles between the testers, we all need to knock out more miles on these new shoes to find out.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MELANIE MITCHELL
Melanie Mitchell is a triathlete with a gear problem. Having raced for more years than she cares to mention, she’s run in most shoe types at some point or another. Originally from England, she started running in the rain and now runs in the Colorado sun and appreciates her luck every day.
As JackRabbit’s resident tri-geek, her goal is to keep racing long enough to qualify for Ironman World Championships in her 70's through sheer determination over talent. As a freckled ginger, she’s also holding out for sponsorship from a sunscreen brand.