Verdict from 13 experts and 100+ user reviews

9 reasons to buy

  • Ride: The Beacon v3 feels “soft and firm at the same time,” giving some plushness upon landing but firming up for a bouncy push-off. Runners with various strike patterns find the ride smooth.
  • Versatility: It is one of the most well-rounded trainers that “can fit the bill” for tempo runs, recovery days, and long hauls.
  • Weight: Lighter than a typical daily running shoe (300 g on average), the Beacon surprises runners with the amount of cushioning it offers for its weight.
  • Heel hold: The overly soft tapered collar may seem misleading but it does a “terrific job” holding the heel in place. None of the reviewers experienced heel slippage.
  • Fit: The “simple” and “not over-engineered” upper does a great job contouring and hugging the foot.
  • Toebox: There is a generous amount of room in the forefoot which accommodates medium and wider feet.
  • Breathability: The semi-transparent mesh breathes well, according to those who wore the shoe in summer heat and humidity.
  • Grip: Despite not having a full-length rubber outsole, the trainer handles wet surfaces quite well.
  • Reflective element: The “N” logo on the sides shines in the dark.

3 reasons not to buy

  • Outsole pattern: An expert reviewer warns that the traction pattern can become “a rock magnet” on gravel.
  • Not for narrow feet: Runners with slimmer feet complained about having too much space in the toe box and not being able to get a good lockdown overall.
  • Sloppy tongue: Several wear-testers wished the tongue was at least semi-gusseted to prevent it from sliding sideways.

Bottom line

The Fresh Foam Beacon v3 from New Balance is claimed to be one of the most versatile daily trainers of 2020. It takes the lightness of a speed trainer and the cushioning of a daily runner to make a “Swiss Army knife” of a shoe. It shines on mid to long-distance runs at any pace.

Tip: see the best running shoes.

New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon v3: Your versatile road companion

Designed to help you run faster and further, the New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon series continues to improve to give you a comfortable and secure ride. In its third iteration, the Fresh Foam Beacon incorporates significant improvements to meet the high standards of runners and shoe enthusiasts. 

With a lightweight design, the New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon v3 is a well-cushioned shoe that works great at any speed. Whether you are a beginner or advanced runner, this reliable road shoe will make your run effortless.

Best for

Equipped with a durable and sticky outsole, this New Balance footwear works well on asphalted roads, tracks, and fields. It is also suitable for the following activities:

  • long runs
  • easy recovery runs
  • tempo runs
  • daily training
  • casual walks

New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon v3 vs v2

For a lighter and better in-shoe feel, the Fresh Foam Beacon v3 brings refining upgrades without interrupting the essence of the Fresh Foam Beacon v2. Here are some of the new and improved features of the Fresh Foam Beacon v3:

  • a more breathable upper material for better ventilation
  • an updated outsole pattern for enhanced grip and durability
  • the new Fresh Foam X midsole technology for a bouncier and more comfortable ride


How New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon v3 ranks compared to all other shoes
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The current trend of New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon v3.
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Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.