New Balance Beacon – 200 Mile Review
Well, getting the New Balance Beacons to 200 miles did not take all that long (my first run was on January 24, 2019) and you know something there was a really good reason for it…they just work for the way I run and do not bother my feet.
Which is what I want and expect from my running shoes.
Let’s get this out of the way. I purchased the Beacons from Running Warehouse when they were on sale. So all the comments and opinions in this review are my own. Of course since we are all experiments of one, your experiences or opinions of these running shoes may be different.
Great fit. I have weird feet, fairly small – somewhere between a size 7.5 and 8.5 (depending on the shoe last, brand and cushioning in the heel cup), skinny heels, fairly wide forefoot with a Tailor’s Bunionette on the right foot that makes many shoes not fit quite right. With the Beacons from my initial try-on to my last run yesterday, I have not had any issues with the fit.
Versatile. I got the Beacons primarily to run on the treadmill. I have done just about all of my Hansons Half Marathon Plan that have been pushed to the treadmill due to living in Maine and me being a wimp this winter through week 12. This includes the speed, strength, easy, recovery and long runs. Quite a variety of different runs and the Beacons have done well on all of them for me.
I have also run outside multiple times in the Beacons and gone for double-digit long runs of up to 12 miles. They have performed well on every kind of run that I have chosen to do in them.
Feel Underfoot. In a word comfortable. This version of the Fresh Foam is without a doubt the best one for me yet. It is cushioned when running slower and firms up nicely when I run faster. The heel-to-toe transition is smooth for me and comfortable.
Weight. I like and prefer my daily trainers and running shoes to be on the lighter end of the scale and coming in at sub 7.0 ounces for my size 8.0s put them under many marathon racing shoes, but with still enough cushioning that I can use them as my daily trainers.
Outsole. This is something did concern me when I purchased the Beacons. The lack of outsole rubber made me question how long they would last, before I would need to replace them. Happily for my peace of mind the outsole wear has been minimal and very much in line with my experience with other shoes that have much more outsole rubber.
The other thing is that these shoes are very quiet, there is no heel dragging that causes my feet to slap down, which I attribute to the lack of rubber on the outsole and the correct heel bevel for the way that I run. Yes, I am a heel striker and there is no unusual wear in that part of the shoe.
I do toe-off fairly hard and there are the usual signs of wear on the very front of the toe box, but not to the point where it is unusual for my stride or going to impact how long the Beacons will last for me.
Upper – No issues, the tongue has just enough padding so that I can cinch the shoes down snugly and not have it bother the top of my feet – unlike many other shoes that have gone to a too thin tongue.
The upper is free of overlays and other features that might affect other runners who have foot issues different from mine.
Actually, the upper is fairly minimalist and to my way of seeing things – addition by subtracting all the unnecessary crap that brands feel they need to add to shoes, to make them more appealing to the more fashion conscious.
When I do run faster paces, there is a little bottoming-out feel, that doesn’t really effect how I run fast, but it might be more apparent to others who are faster runners.
One issue that several runners have commented on in my social media sites is that the insole is too thin and can move around inside the shoe, especially when running in wet conditions. I have not experienced this at all and found the stock insole has worked fine for all my runs so far and yes, I have run outside in conditions where my feet have gotten soaked inside the Beacons.
The Beacons are definitely road shoes, the outsole has decent grip in moderate conditions or easy trails, but are not shoes that I would reach for to run more technical trails or really nasty weather i.e. snow, sleet, heavy rain, mud, wet grass – you know the really nasty stuff. Weather and/or conditions that I have better shoes for or that I no longer run in. You know the kind of weather where I choose to go find a treadmill.
The reality is that
I love running in the New Balance Beacons. I currently have a two shoe running shoe rotation, even though I have many more than that shoes in the house. However, the Beacons are the shoes that I find myself reaching for more and more when I head out the door whether it is for the treadmill or for a run in decent conditions outside.
Needless to say the Beacons have completely surpassed my expectations that I had for them when I decided to buy them. The biggest thing that I can say about them is that they are comfortable and any run that I do, I can do in the Beacons.
For me that is the best thing about the Beacons – their versatility. It has gotten to the point where I really believe that when I do start racing again, even though I do have race specific shoes, that when I toe the starting line the next time the Beacons will be what is on my feet for any distance over 2.0 miles.
Yes, I do like the Beacons that much.
Will I buy another pair? When these wear out, I foresee a replacement pair sitting in my gym bag. Although I would love a bright orange or yellow pair.
Well done New Balance, now please do not screw-up version 2.