Running gear review: New Balance Beacon run jacket
Feature editor Matt Baird takes the Beacon run jacket from New Balance out for a run
Like the Helly Hanson jacket reviewed in the January issue, the New Balance Beacon run jacket seems to exist in that autumn/spring niche where a base layer and t-shirt aren’t enough, but the weather’s too warm for a genuine wind-stopper. The Beacon, as the name suggests, has two major selling points that elevate it above the competition, however.
The first is the surprising degree of water-resistance that, despite lacking a classic hardshell feel, withstood an aquatic attack on the run (and, helped by the dropped back hem, on the road bike, too). This lightweight polyester/spandex mix, coupled with the back vent, also provided plenty of breathability compared to the vast majority of run shells out there.
Where many jackets offer reflective hems and decals, the Beacon takes this to the next level by proactively glowing in the dark. Simply charge it under a light before you go out, and the graphics will glow, even if you’re nowhere near any nocturnal illuminations. Coupled with the reflective trims, this is a brilliant and inventive way of being seen and hopefully staying safe on pre/post-sunlight pursuits.
While the marketing bods at New Balance tout its athletic fit, we did find the Beacon excessively loose, even with a base layer and t-shirt underneath, with the hood adding to the floaty feel. Elsewhere, we would’ve appreciated the addition of a smaller MP3 or key pocket to complement the vast zipped pockets on the
sides. The price is acceptable, too.
Verdict: Some questions over fit; but an inventive way of being seen after sunset 86%
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