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New Balance Beacon 2 – 50 Mile Review

Hey, can you believe it, I am reviewing a pair of New Balance Beacon 2s and it is before they are over a year old.

Well, you can thank Bennie for that, he got them for my birthday, but due to necessity they were brought into service early when none of the other shoes in my rotation were working the way that I wanted.

How have they done?

I have used them for just about every type of run that I do, except a double-digit long run or trail running, but do not have any doubts that they will perform quite nicely when I do get back up to that mileage again. Trail runs nope, I have better shoes for that stuff, the Beacon 2 are road shoes only in my mind.

Below are the runs that I have done in them:

I did a longer 9.3 mile run in them recently that is not on the above log and there were no issues with my shoes, so I am very confident of how well they will do when I am ready to start running further.

Initially, I thought that the Beacon 2 required more effort to maintain my usual running paces than other shoes I was running in. So on July 30th (one of the hottest days of the year), I went over to the Cony Track and performed multiple shoe testing.

AJ had commented previously after my whining about the B2 in a post, that it was because of the weather. After running in 3 pair of “go faster” shoes, I figured out she was correct and that it was the humid weather more than any issues with the Beacon 2.

So with that information in hand, I felt pretty positive about how I am running in the Beacon 2.

Fit and Sizing

I am somewhere between a men’s 7.5 and 8.0 U.S. sizing, although in most running shoes I wear an 8.5 due to my wonky feet (narrow heel, wider forefoot with a Tailor’s Bunionette added in to make things more difficult on the right foot). Over the years, I have found that New Balance’s sizing is truer than most Brands for me and the Beacon 1 and 2 both fit quite nicely in a size 8.0.

Although the Beacon 2 does feel narrower in the toe box, which probably is the result of the changes to the upper.

The heel counter that curves away from the Achilles’ tendon does its job nicely and I don’t notice any other issues with the heel counter to my narrower heels. I don’t have any problems with heel lift, without using heel-lock lacing, which is an issue in many shoes for me.

Personally, I prefer the fit of version 1 over version 2.

Version 2 doesn’t bother my Tailor’s Bunionette, but at the same time I wouldn’t want it to be any snugger. Possibly moving to a 2E would resolve some of that “close” feeling, but then again it would also widen out the heel just a bit too much. A possible solution might be to move to a women’s EE width, it is something to think about, but not loose any sleep over.

The bottom-line is that the Beacon 2s fit my hard to fit feet quite well.

Weight

It is hard to believe, but the Beacon 2 are lighter than my “go faster” shoes. Which seems weird, but works well for me so far.

Upper

I like, not love the changes to upper from the Beacon 1. Some called the B1 fit loosely-goosey or didn’t hold their foot well enough, me I loved fit and roominess of the toe box. As I said above, the toe box feels slightly narrower, which I tend to think is more about the redesigned upper than any change in width. Now that the shoes have molded more to my feet (i.e. the fabric does stretch just a little), I don’t notice it as much, but if I don’t wear thin socks, the snugness becomes more pronounced.

The two-tone color way with the weird patterns that attempt to match the outsole just do not do anything for me. Also the Beacon 2 men’s colorways are mostly boring grays, blacks or the one I have with a crappy blue color combo.

I know that is personal preference and New Balance and other brands are going after the lifestyle market as well as the running market. However, I want bright colors – to be seen when I am running – more for safety reasons than preening for others to see me.

Midsole/Outsole

According to everything that I have read about the midsole and outsole are the same as version 1. So if you loved v1 there are not a lot of changes.

The outsole is pretty much only for road or dirt road running in decent weather. Although the Beacon’s outsole surprised me in how well it performed in wet conditions and on dry dirt, but much beyond that, I have better shoes for nasty conditions, trails or head for a treadmill where they excel.

The Beacon 2, like the Beacon 1 are super quiet, which tells me that I am running efficiently in them.

Surprisingly I was impressed with how well the outsole held up on the Beacon v1s and got 340 miles of running and am still wearing the B1s as my primary walking shoes. All totaled they probably have around 500 miles on them, which is not all that bad. I would imagine that the Beacon 2 will hold up about the same.

The shoe on the left is the Beacon 2 with just over 70 miles on them and the shoe on the right is the Beacon v1 with over 340 miles of running and at least another 160 miles of walking or lawn shoe duty. It seem that after the initial wear down that the the outsole of the Beacons wear longer than I expected.

One thing that bothered me in B1 was a popping or sucking noise from the bottom of the shoes when running in hot/humid weather. It doesn’t affect the performance, but is a distraction. I have heard this noise starting to come from the bottom of the Beacon 2 as well, so for me it is a design of the outsole issue once the outsole wears down. A partial solution that I found worked a little was to cut siping into the black forepads.

Uses

I primarily plan to use the Beacon 2 as my daily trainers and since I started running in them they have worked well in a variety of runs and distances as my daily workhorse.

I could probably use the Beacon 2 as a go faster shoe, but I find that when I get to running faster for me, the shoe seems to bottom-out and suck up too much energy. So while I can run faster in them, I have found that I have better shoes to run fast in.

The reality is that

The Beacon line of shoes from New Balance are the best shoes that I have run in from that Brand in several years. They fit well, do not aggravate my Plantar Fascia issues or tear up the under side of my ankle like other NB models have. New Balance is really upping their “game” as far as running shoes go over the past year and they now have several model lines that I want to try.

Which goes along with the fact that I really like the New Balance Beacon 2 so far and as my daily trainers they are doing everything that I want from them. They are comfortable, mostly quiet and do not hurt my feet when I run in them – which is the most important thing to me when it comes to running shoes.

In my opinion the updates to Beacon 2 are good updates that will work slightly better for most runners than the originals.

The bottom-line is if you liked the Beacon 1, you will like the Beacon 2. However, if you loved the Beacon 1, you might still love the Beacon 1 just a little more than Beacon 2.

The forefoot in the B1 works better for my feet, while fit of the heel of the B2 is superior by far. Even so I have a feeling that I will stick with the B2, unless I find a helluva deal on the B1s. 🙂

The Beacon 2 are an excellent choice of running shoes and most runners should 300 or more miles (some many more) on the shoes before they need to be replaced.

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