Awwwww yiss! I just got my hands on the latest update to my favorite road running shoe EVER!! Will it improve on its predecessor or will it suck? Who knows?! Well, I do because I’ve been using it on my runs. Read on to find the verdict.
I’ve already heard of this update since last year and it’s not relatively new in terms of release date. But it is the first time I’ve seen it in local shoe outlets so I immediately went to try them on. Just like every other New Balance shoe I’ve tried, it fit perfectly like Cinderella’s slipper. Since my OG pair of Beacons are already a bit worn out (and I have two pairs!!), I decided to give in and purchase this one as an addition to my shoe cycle.
Before you read this review, I suggest you read my review of the OG Beacons first. It will help you get an idea of how great the shoes are and you can use it as a baseline for this review.
Fit and Comfort
I don’t think I’ve ever fitted a New Balance shoe that didn’t feel comfy the first time. It’s the first thing I notice. They lure you in with a very nice first fit and then you just notice some of the cons after you buy it. When it comes to comfort, the Fresh Foam series has remained unbeaten.
Additionally, the new material in the achilles area has this tab which makes the foot insert easier, but it also rubs against the achilles area of the foot. Even in walking, this can get uncomfortable. In runs, it can chafe the skin and even leave a blister. This is just a small issue that can be remedied by wearing longer socks than usual, but it is the only flaw I found in an otherwise perfect shoe.
Wide Toe Box
Despite the change of the upper material, there is still so much room for my toes. Never has my foot felt cramped while using the shoes. Even in the times of quick direction changes while running in the city, the shoe gives a secure wrap without making it feel tight. In daily walking, the shoe is simply a delight to wear.
There is absolutely nothing new with the cushioning since the V2 uses the same soles as the V1. This is not a bad thing, as the Fresh Foam Ground Contact is pretty much a miracle material. The bounce is so good and comfortable while the drop (6mm) is barely noticeable as I have gotten accustomed to this type of shoe for so long. I’ve been using this shoe on the daily for just normal wear aside from running and it has been great.
The single block of fresh foam plus the lightweight knit material makes this shoe very light. Shoe weight has never been an issue for me with regards to road shoes, and the Beacon V2 continues the trend of being almost unnoticeable.
The experience is absolutely the same with the previous version. The fresh foam gives excellent energy return while shielding my foot from the hard impacts of pounding the pavement. I might have fixed my form since I first started running with New Balance, but my feet have never been uncomfortable with the shoes even on long distances such as a half-marathon. The best part is that the shoes are amazingly quiet. When I’m running efficiently, I can hardly hear my strides and that’s something I find joy in.
The sole works well on any running surface except wet concrete and loose soil. I have used it on unpaved dirt roads and even short jaunts on grass and I never felt uneasy. Despite the cushioning, you still feel connected to the road.
Durability and Protection
The only part of the shoe that’s new is the upper and the laces. Instead of using just one knit material for the entire upper like the V1, this new upper is composed of two materials: a new mesh-like wrap for the front of the shoe and a stiffer and more-cushioned material for the heel cup.
The mesh material seems to be more durable than the previous version as the fibers that make it up seem more tightly wound around each other and won’t fray easily like the knit of the V1. The heel cup material seems to be made of a thin layer of foam and I don’t think it’ll break down unless slashed by a foreign object. Overall, I think this new upper will be more durable than the old one.
Being the absolutely same material, I can foresee it lasting a long time as well. I guess that I will be seeing some wear and tear after a couple of hundred of kilometers of running, but since I’m also using the shoe for daily use, it might be earlier than that. But considering that my old Beacons have lasted more than 500 kilometers each (and still going), I am confident that this pair will also be a long-term companion.
I haven’t ran in the rain with this pair yet, but it has been soaked with a lot of sweat and water during my long runs. I found that the new upper material is less absorbent and it doesn’t get as heavy as the previous version. The front side of the upper with the new mesh is also quicker to dry, although the foamy rear part took longer. However, this hasn’t become a problem for me yet, and even just air-drying the shoes overnight is enough to make them wearable for a run the day after.
+ Very comfortable
+ Maximum cushioning and bounce on a medium build shoe
+ Good for daily walking, and runs of every distance/speed
+ Durable outsole
– Heel tab chafes against the Achilles
– No life-changing upgrades
– Still no quicklace system (and the laces seem shorter than those on the V1)
The New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon V2 is a very good shoe. If you are looking for a good road shoe to help you love running, this is a pair I would recommend. But if you are coming from the Beacon V1 and asking yourself if you should upgrade, I have to say no. The changes in the upper is not worth having to buy a new shoe. This marginal improvement is not worth paying full price.
The good thing about the release of the V2 is that we will surely see a price drop for the V1. If you see a V1 your size in a store and it’s discounted, buy it at once! You will not regret it. The Fresh Foam Beacon V1 still has my heart, but since it will eventually be phased out, I can find comfort in the knowledge that the V2 is there to provide the same running experience.
Thanks for reading!