New Balance Beacon – Initial Thoughts

My New Balance Beacons, a pair of reasonably newer shoes, even though a few images of version 2 are out in the wild, they are not available for purchase yet. So the original Beacon is still pretty current.

Let’s get something out there right now.

New Balance running shoes generally fit my feet better than any other brand in a men’s size 8.0, which is my true to size foot. I have not had a pair of New Balance running shoes that did not fit my Hobbit feet well. The problems with the New Balance daily trainers that I have tried is that they tend to be heavy, stiff, have high ankle wells and bother the hell out of my left foot’s Plantar Fascia.

If it were not for those reasons I would have been running in a LOT more of their shoes over the years.

Enter the New Balance Beacon.

A light-weight, cushioned, yet flexible running shoe that has intrigued me since it came out last summer, but I haven’t been able to put my hands on a pair to try on until I saw a pair on close-out from Running Warehouse the other day.

One that reviewers have had a difficult time putting into any one particular category or what “they” would use the Beacons for. Short, faster runs – check, easy runs – check, long runs – check. Actually, if you read the reviews it depends more on the age, build and times that the runners who reviewed them on what they would use the Beacons for.

For right now, I am hoping they will be a good long run shoe for the treadmill, anything beyond that will just be gravy.

I haven’t bought a pair of running shoes since November and while my Tempo 9s are doing fine with almost 300 miles on them, I am finding that for longer treadmill runs the forefoot cushioning is not quite what I would like. So I was due for another pair, even though I have two more pair of new in the box T9s in the closet waiting for freedom.

Enough background.

When I weighed them and saw the 6.9 ounces (both shoes), that did make me go mmmm.

While trying them on initially there was none of that pressing in or tight fitting feel on my right foot.

Both good signs.

The real test was this morning’s treadmill workout. 7.0 miles total with 5.0 at what I hope will be my race pace in April. Nope not a fan of blue laces on a blue upper, so that will probably be changed out.

Otherwise, the Beacons disappeared on my feet and I was more worried about my run, than my running shoes after the first mile. Which is the way it is supposed to be. They were comfortable, my legs didn’t feel trashed and the bottom of my forefeet didn’t feel like someone beat on them with small hammers.

So it was a pretty good first impression.

Now to see how they do going forward. That will be the true test and which shoes I reach for when I am doing my workouts. A lot of reviewers and other runners have compared them to:

Hoka Clifton 1 – Similar bounce, but the fit of the upper and especially the toe box of the Beacons are much superior, even after only one run.

Kinvara (early) – A little, but the Beacons have more bounce and a much more comfortable fit for me.

It will be interesting to see my comments about them at the 50 and 300 mile review points – if they make it that far. Initial impressions are often fool’s gold and when the newness and novelty wear off and the real running begins, will be when I find out how much I really like the Beacons and if they work well with my body/running style.

4 thoughts on “New Balance Beacon – Initial Thoughts

  1. I tried New Balance about five years ago and they were horrible. But I’ve been running in a different model for about two years and they are great. They fit well and they are quiet. I hate loud shoes.

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    • No, my left Achilles talks badly to me when I go to zero drop or even below 4mm, which means that all the Altra lines are out, which is too bad because I really, really love some of their shoes, especially the Torin line and was a big supporter when they first came out.

      The lower drop was a big concern with the Beacon and it being “only” 6mm, but so far with a 7 and 6 mile run in them it hasn’t complained.

      My go to shoes would be a 6mm drop Torin 3.5s would love to see it, but they will not make a non-zero drop shoe with the current leadership in place, too bad because it does limit their growth beyond a very particular niche. I think that more runners would be more willing and able to use their shoes if they did add a little heel drop.

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